Small Steps on the Path

It’s been a very busy two weeks for me, between organising my end-of-spring student recital (the hardest one to find a good date for in ten years!) and one of my cats deciding she was going to have an allergy attack over the weekend. (She’s fine, but on way more medication than before.)

Consequently, I don’t have much of an update on my musical representation project today–especially given my computer froze recently before I could save a bunch of notes for my next History Hunt piece. However, I can at least share a few small additions I’ve made to my Classical and Romantic Era timeline.

I’ve blogged about this timeline in the past, and how its ratio of men to women (11:1) and white people to POC (12:0) tells an incomplete story of the musical landscape of the time. So here are a few small steps on the path toward making my studio more inclusive and more historically accurate.

To learn more about Zitkála-Šá and Teresa Carreño, you can read my History Hunt posts about them.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Representation Remixes: Playful Puppy, by Linda Niamath

I realised earlier this week that it had been a little while since I last did a Representation Remix, and so I picked up my old RCM New Piano Series Preparatory Book and skimmed through it. “Playful Puppy” by Canadian composer Linda Niamath jumped out at me as a piece I remembered enjoying playing as a young piano student, and so that settled that!

This arrangement is a little different than my previous ones. Instead of simply divvying up the piano parts between the flute and accompaniment, I very slightly filled out the accompaniment part so it wouldn’t sound too sparse. What I added wasn’t much, since I wanted to follow the original composition as much as possible, but I think it enhances the arrangement all the same.

I also located the fix for the issue wherein tempo markings weren’t showing up on PDF files when I exported them from Finale, so over the next while, I’ll be reuploading the PDFs I’ve shared here.

This arrangement would work nicely as a study to introduce the upper register to students, as it reaches upper register D, but it isn’t terribly complex otherwise. Grade 1 RCM students would find it most useful.

flute-Niamath-Playful Puppy

flute-Niamath-Playful Puppy-flute

The first link is to both the flute part and the accompaniment; the second is the flute part only.

Enjoy your weekend, all!

Representation Remixes: An Ancient Tale, by Bohdana Filtz

Hello, all! This week’s remix was a two-for-one deal, in that one of my students commented that she wasn’t fond of one of the Grade 4 RCM studies I had assigned her. Rather than give her one of the traditional choices, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to do a Representation Remix.

I chose Bohdana Filtz’s “An Ancient Tale” from an older Grade 6 RCM book–and discovered that since Filtz doesn’t have a Wikipedia page of her own, that makes her a prime candidate for a future History Hunt writeup (yes, I’ve still got those on the back burner!).

Here’s what Discogs.com has to say about her:

Bohdana Filtz (born 1932) is a Ukrainian composer and musicologist from Lviv. She has composed over 400 pieces including classical symphonic and piano music, liturgical choral arrangements, as well as children’s songs.

And here’s the piece! I’d recommend it for a Grade 4 RCM student; while the rhythms are overall straightforward, it does hit that high A toward the end of the piece.

flute-Filtz-An Ancient Tale-flute part – Flute solo.
flute-Filtz-An Ancient Tale – Flute part with piano accompaniment.

Incidentally, my computer isn’t displaying the MM in the PDF files; I suspect it’s an issue with importing from Finale. If someone could let me know if they can see the MM, that would be great. Thank you!

New Student Library Addition!

This week’s addition to my student library is a bit different than usual. One of my current students is a retired lady who’s taking piano lessons from me so she can play her favourite hymns. She brought in a copy of “Jesus Loves Me” from her hymnbook, but the print was so tiny that I was having trouble reading it. There was also no room for me to suggest fingering–a necessity for a SATB (soprano-alto-tenor-bass) arrangement!

So, students of my studio, you can now download a reasonably-sized version of “Jesus Loves Me,” complete with fingering instructions. Simply log into my website. Everyone else…well, why not consider joining my studio?

Representation Remixes: Skipping Rope, by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina

Over the past half of a year, I’ve been making a real effort to expand my music collection to reflect the composers I’ve featured in my History Hunt series (and hope to continue to feature when time and health permit!). It’s been a real challenge, though, especially with my flute music collection. There are real gaps–so much so that I recently had to apologise to one of my students for only giving her music by white men to play so far when neither of us fit that bill.

So I’ve started to do some very simple arrangements to fill in the gap a little. Normally, I keep my arrangements as a perk for members of my studio, but addressing the incredible imbalance in core flute repertoire is something I feel very strongly about. So, I’d like to make these arrangements generally available.

The first one I’ve completed is “Skipping Rope,” by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina. It’s found in the Grade 5 Royal Conservatory of Music repertoire book; the arrangement should be suitable for flute students playing at a Grade 1/2 RCM level.

flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope (Flute and Piano parts)
flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope-flute part (Flute part alone)

I hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to send me feedback! I don’t arrange music as often as I should, and so I could do with some constructive criticism.

A Pleasant Surprise

As I was preparing for a lesson this afternoon, I noted in some surprise that not only was the study I was going to be teaching by a female composer, but by a female composer I’d not heard of.

RCM Grade 5 Study #15, “Skipping Rope,” is by (Y)elena Fabianovna Gnesina. She doesn’t have her own Wikipedia page in English (yet!), but here’s what The Free Dictionary has to say about her:

Born May 18 (30), 1874, in Rostov-on-Don; died June 4, 1967, in Moscow. Soviet pianist and teacher. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1935).

Gnesina graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1893 as a piano student of V. I. Safonov and devoted herself to teaching. She was a founder and director of Gnesin’s School of Music (from 1895) and Gnesin’s Music Pedagogic Institute (from 1944), where she worked as artistic supervisor and professor. As a teacher Gnesina developed the finest traditions of the Russian school of piano. Her students included the pianist L. N. Oborin and the composer A. I. Khachaturian. She was awarded two Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.

V. I. ZARUBIN

It looks as though I have some research to do!