Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The magic of the Yamaha Clavinova and transposing !

I had a very light day today, only four pupils ! With auditions and panto rehearsals and coughs and sneezes I am teaching a skeleton crew ! That said, those who are here have been working well, and the Ladies Concert on Dec 10th is shaping up very well.

I have spent a good deal of time this week transposing some of the songs which are in the programme for the concert. The wonders of modern technology and a new Yamaha Clavinova piano means that I have at my fingertips the ability to up or down any song with the push of a small button ! This is really something of a miracle. When I think back to my early teaching years, putting a song into a key suitable for the pupil was a Sunday job, working for three or four hours slogging at the manuscript book with a pencil and eraser ! Always hoping that one didn't make mistakes, so at the moment of playing an out of place B flat or a squeaky and incorrect F sharp would ping out causing a totally wrong chord, or jarring harmony.........and all because the pencil slipped or I was distracted by an unscheduled cup of tea !

The black button has my vote, and the quality of sound from the newest electric piano range is so close to the real thing that a mere singing teacher can barely detect the difference! Even my old friend and magnificent pianist Julia who was our accompanist for Pirates kept sidling into my music room saying how much she liked its quality ! A win indeed for good old Yamaha !

I am teaching a number of songs at the moment which, quite apart from being wonderful melodies, have tricky and ultra pianistic accompaniments, and even I feel that I can make different sounds, change the colours and add real light and shade with my instrument, so in Vaughan William's The New Ghost, I really can make the final phrases fade into the distance, and in Herbert Howells King David I can make the page two chords resonate and underpin the strong melody with warmth.

On a less erudite front, young J was so excited yesterday afternoon with her new 'duet', which she will sing with L, my 'baby' alto. In actuality it is the little folk song Michael Finnigan, split between the two of them - J is nervous of singing a solo, but when I cleverly split the lines between her and L, she does not see it as a solo - so she will, by deft manipulation on my part, learn to sing alone by osmosis, or perhaps deception !

Onwards and upwards to Wednesday and a rather heavier day than today ! Still it's good for the bank balance !

A Digital Miracle


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