Bach and a nature walk

Last night was my final performance at this year’s Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. I had a lot of fun teaching and performing during the past 2 weeks and it was great to see the amazing progress all my students made in such a short time! I definitely recommend that you attend some sort of piano workshop like this when you can. I myself used to go to a Jazz in July program at the University of Massachusetts each summer and I greatly benefitted from going each time.

At the Fairbanks festival, they have an informal “lunch bites” concert every day at noon. It’s a mashup of whoever wants to perform so you’ll hear jazz, roots music, opera, classical, or whatever. You never know what’s coming next so you hear lots of new pieces!

One day last week, I was sitting there, eating my lunch and listening to the performances when a teenage girl walked onstage with her violin. As soon as she began playing her piece, a slow Bach sonata movement, my jaw dropped. The music had a stillness that touched my emotions very deeply. Even though I was enjoying all the music that afternoon, this particular piece surprised me like that. It’s like everything just stopped. I sat there, transfixed, for about 5-6 minutes until she ended the piece and I went to teach my piano improv class.

Sometimes we actually forget how wonderful music can be until we have an experience like this!

The same thing happened again this morning in a totally different way. I’m spending a few days post-festival at Denali National Park here in Alaska. It’s where Mount McKinley is and there are very few visitors. Very rural and beautiful. Well, I was hiking along a river for a few hours and had almost the exact same feeling as I had experienced while listening to Bach’s music. That same depth of stillness.

This all re-reminded me of the power that music (and nature) has. What music does this for you? Perhaps it is Bach too. Or maybe an old blues tune. Or a lullaby. Or the right jazz recording.

Whatever it is, why not take a few moments today to relax and let the sounds wash over you. Sometimes we don’t take the time to do this but we really just need a few minutes at a time.
Do this for yourself. You deserve it!

Have you tried improvising on piano? It’s easier than you might think and a lot of fun! Here are some lessons to get you started.

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