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?

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Representation Remixes: Alexa’s Music Box, by Jean Coulthard

I’m back again this week with another arrangement to fill out the holes in the flute (and hopefully later piano) repertoire! This time, I took a look at Canadian composer Jean Coulthard‘s piano piece, “Alexa’s Music Box.” I found the piece in Music of Our Time, published by the Waterloo Music Company, Ltd.; it would be ideal for flute students playing at a Grade 1 RCM level.

flute-Coulthard-Alexa’s Music Box – Part for solo flute.

I’m looking into adding a very simple teacher duet part, also for flute, but I need to road test it with one of my flute students first. I’ll be sure to update the post if it turns out to be a worthwhile addition!

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!

Discovered: Music by Canadian Women

While doing errands on Monday, I noticed I was walking past Granata Music. With my goal in mind of expanding the number of underrepresented composers in my collection, I decided to stop by.

Jackpot!

Not only did I discover two piano music collections heavily featuring Canadian composers Jean Coulthard, Joan Hansen, and Barbara Pentland, but both collections were on sale! I do so love a good sale.

New Works:

Music of Our Time I, by Jean Coulthard, David Gordon Duke, and Joan Hansen. Published by Waterlook Music. [Easy-Early Intermediate Piano]
Studies in Line, by Barbara Pentland. Published by Berandol Music Ltd. [Intermediate Piano]

Previous posts in this series discovering music by underrepresented composers: (1)

Music, Math, and Art

People often talk about the connections between music and math, and I occasionally give my older students an unpleasant surprise by suddenly diving into fractions to show how the beat in their pieces ought to be divided. But Marshall Lefferts of Cosmometry is taking a slightly different tack, by exploring the mathematical connections of such musical fundamentals as the scale, the Circle of Fifths, and tritones.

circle-of-fifths-tritones-cosmometry-net

A visual representation of tritones in relation to the twelve tones of the most common Western scale.

Even if you aren’t mathematically minded, the matrices are certainly pretty to look at! Lefferts’ diagrams become even more artistic in his followup piece, Tri-Tone Duality of Music.

music-triads-dualtorus-cosmometry-net

Triads and how they relate to one another.

Music is beautiful even when represented with mathematical diagrams! Is anyone surprised?