September 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
For my piano lessons in college, one of the only assignments I had to do each semester was write up 3 concert reports. Any concerts that had a pianist in their ensemble was acceptable, and it wasn’t limited to just Classical concerts. In fact, it was a simple 2 page observation on the music, the atmosphere and of course the way a pianist plays. When I first started writing these concert reports, I hated it because I felt that taking notes during a concert was NOT the way to enjoy live music. Usually I loved just sitting back with my eyes closed, surround myself with the music and let the notes do their thing.
Of course, it wasn’t before long that I started to enjoy observing the different play styles and techniques of different pianists (cause I’m nerdy like that). For classical pianists, I developed a spectrum. On one end, you have Lang Lang, who is known for grandiose gestures and flourishes. On the other end, you have Horowitz, who is stoic and a minimalist in terms of movements. Most pianists fall somewhere in between on that spectrum.
The point of this written assignment for this class was for the student to be exposed to a wide range of pianists and examine the different techniques they applied. Some students that may have less movement (like myself) might find it beneficial to add more gestures to express the notes more, like raising your hand higher and let gravity help create a fortissimo sound (it helps a lot). 21 concert reports later, you kind of realize all the great pianists have more or less tailored a unique style of playing. There’s no “correct” or “incorrect” way of playing, there are just different ways that suit different people.
June 29, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Watching movies is one of my favorite things to do (second only to sleeping and eating). I love just sitting down and immersing myself into a completely new and foreign world, watching stories and events that belong to other people. It takes my mind off everything going on in my life and instead, dive into the lives of others. It’s my form of meditation and means for escape, my go-to topic of conversation and my top favorite form of entertainment.
I finally got the chance to watch Finding Neverland today, a movie I’ve been meaning to watch since it came out back in 2004. Finding Neverland is a semi-biographical film of J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan played by Johnny Depp. The film explores his relationship and experiences with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (played by Kate Winslet) and her boys, who inspired the timeless classic. Classic children’s literature such as Alice and Wonderland and The Little Prince have always been my all-time favorite books. The creativity and imagination the writers used to create these mystical and fascinating worlds, combined with a touch of childish innocence and whimsical nature appeals to the kid in everyone.
It’s refreshing to Johnny Depp play a normal looking person, as oppose to a pirate, an artificial scissors man, or a crazy barber butcher/killer. The acting from both Depp and Winslet were steady, nothing too exciting. Freddie Highmore’s performance as Peter blew my mind; the range of emotions he was able to depict was so natural. I think what makes this movie such a treat was watching the relationship between Barrie and the boys develop and the inspirations he drew from their role-play and pretending. The scenes from the actual Peter Pan play in the movie were magical and captivating. If you haven’t had a chance to see this movie, I highly recommend it.
The title of this post refers to the absolutely stunning soundtrack by Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, which won an Academy Award for Musical Score. I mentioned before that music adds soul and amplifies emotion in movies; this movie especially so. The music just sounds exactly what daydreams and fairies sound like. Below is my favorite song from the movie called Piano Variation in Blue:
May 15, 2011 § 2 Comments
That feeling when you hear a new piece of music and you instantly fall in love:
His music has hints of Philip Glass, but somehow more expressive and human. All his pieces are just hauntingly beautiful and stirring.
Music adds soul to movies and images. It enhances and amplifies the emotion the image evokes. I love this music video for Opus 23 by Italian director Marco Morandi; the animation is so simple and charming.
January 14, 2011 § 4 Comments
Not too many people know this, but I am a classically trained pianist. I have a love-hate relationship with the piano. When my older sister started playing the piano before I did, I got so jealous of watching her play that I bugged my mom to let me start taking lessons too. Only after I started taking lessons did I realize practicing was part of the process of being able to play. I went through phases when I would really love playing and then get really lazy. Needless to say, I am no professional pianist. Yet, I stuck with it throughout high school and college (even minoring in college). So thankful that I never quit playing and continue to play to this day.
Just a cool piece of violin hip-hop. I always love the marriage of different musical genres. Feeling happy and musical on this Friday night.
December 19, 2010 § 3 Comments
Creative agency Dentsu put together a creative and beautiful ad for Canon Pixma called Bringing Colour To Life. Essentially, they shot a series of paint sculptures, created by sound vibrations. Paint drops were placed on top of a membrane, which wrapped around a speaker. When music plays from the speakers, the vibrations cause the paint to jump into the air, creating these amazing shape or ‘sculptures’ for a split second. High speed camera were used to capture these shots.
December 16, 2010 § 2 Comments
I know it’s the end of the year when I begin to get bombarded with “Top 10 ____ of the year” articles. Although I love complaining about them and how most lists suck, I secretly find them interesting to read and a great way to kill time; Times Magazine has a Top 10 for everything. While the people at Times Magazine have successfully taken me down the memory lane of 2010, I wanted to write a post about something that will never make a Top 10 list but had personally affected me this year.
Not many people know who Nujabes is. Tragically, the young underground hip-hop producer and DJ passed away February of this year and will likely quietly fade away in music history without further discussion. Nujabes was a secretive person and avoided the limelight while he was alive. Similar in that regard to Daft Punk, he seemed to want the world to focus on the music and not the creator behind it. He doesn’t need to come out for interviews and tv appearances; his music speaks to those who listen. It music captures and woos the listener into falling in love with what they hear. At least, that’s what happened to me.
December 1, 2010 § Leave a Comment
November 22, 2010 § 3 Comments
I have always been a huge Kanye West fan. His debut album The College Dropout remains one of my favorite hiphop album to date. I borrowed the CD from a friend in 9th grade and I couldn’t stop listening to the whole thing. Woven together, the songs and interlude skits created a very solid concept album. While everyone else was churning out the same formulaic pop song, hoping to score that one summer hit, Kanye West never seemed to see creating just one hit. He makes his own path. To this day, he has constantly reinvented himself and his music so that he stood out amongst all the others. It’s a shame that his often questionable behavior has been magnified in the public eye, turning everyone’s focus on the VMAs or the George W Bush-Kanye feud instead of his work. Kanye will probably always remain in the center of the music scene for his controversial behavior. Then again, who is ever interested in someone who behaves the way they should? His behavior and ego makes the music just so much more…his. « Read the rest of this entry »