December 29, 2011

Bach on Wood

Check out this huge wooden xylophone playing a part of Bach’s Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben in the middle of the forest. The video is made by Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo to promote their Touch Wood phone.

And behind the scenes....

December 11, 2011

Make Note...

I will not be giving lessons on the following dates:

  • December 24
  • December 25
  • December 26
  • December 27
  • December 28
  • December 29
  • December 30
  • December 31
Lessons will resume January 2.

December 4, 2011

New Medalists!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
The following students received medals in the recent Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA) Student Affiliate State Theory Test

Receiving Gold Medals
Victor L. - Grade 3 
William L. - Grade 7 
Samuel H. - Grade 10 

Receiving Bronze Medals
Corey H. - Grade 4 
Savannah N. - Grade 5 

Let's have a thunderous ovation for these students!

November 21, 2011

Double Bravo and Congratulations!

William and Victor (brothers) both received Superior with honor ratings at the Richardson Music Teachers Fall Festival. The Fall Festival focuses on different music from each historical period of music. This year, twentieth century styles of music were featured. William played the first movement of Bela Bartok's Sonatina, and Victor played Dmitri Shostakovitch's A Funny Story

After performing in the Honors Recital that evening, Victor received his 15 point trophy, and William received his 30 point trophy. In each Festival the boys have entered, they have always received the highest rating of Superior with honor. Victor has played in 3 Festivals and William has played in 6 Festivals. Five points at each Festival was awarded towards their trophy accumulation of points.

November 6, 2011

Congratulations, Victor!

Victor received a first place trophy and ribbon in the Dallas Piano Solo Competition held this past Saturday, November 5, 2011. The competition, hosted every year by the Dallas Music Teachers Association, was held at the Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

Students enter according to divisions which are based on their ages. Victor entered Division 1, which is for students who are 8 years or younger as of September 1, 2011. Division 1 contestants were allowed to select one piece from Dmitri Shostakovich’s collection of children’s pieces in his opus 69 Children’s Album. Victor chose to play the piece, “A Funny Story” - a brisk comical piece. 

This is Victor’s second competition in which he has been awarded a top prize. He took second place in his age division in the Hubbard Piano Competition earlier this year. 

October 9, 2011

Christmas Around the Corner

Recently, I was privileged to join some of my colleagues as a reviewer of new Christmas music for piano students. Each reviewer had 12 minutes to showcase some of the new Christmas arrangements available this year for teaching. About 35 piano teachers in the area were present. I found some great collections which I will be sharing with my students in the weeks ahead.

Pender's Music Company has a rich history of providing music for band, orchestra, choir, piano teachers and more since 1967. The original store is still in Denton with branches in Oklahoma City and Carrollton, which is the location where I purchase most of the music for my piano students. 

August 18, 2011

Warming Up

In all practice, the mind has to be in focused concentration to achieve musical beauty.  Warm-ups, scales, and exercises especially need to be played beautifully.  This article gives further insight.  Read and benefit from your reading.   ~ AL

What's The Point of Warming Up?

Sharpening your mental and artistic preparedness

Playing piano is a physical activity which needs a lot of precision, agility and looseness, and you shouldn't go straight into the most demanding part of your repertoire without making sure that your fingers and hands are ready for it. Some physical as well as mental preparation is needed at the beginning of your practice session or before a performance. Note that the mental part of it is at least as important as the physical one. Therefore your warm-up should consist only of things that make you feel good about music, about your own playing, about the sound of your piano... in short, things that make you tick...Read More

July 11, 2011

First Prize!!

Congratulations to William who competed in the Third Annual Young Artists Competition held July 11 at Southern Methodist University. He won First Prize in the Intermediate II Division! William performed two pieces: Sonata in F Minor, Op. 2, No. 1: Allegro by Beethoven and Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, Op. Posth. by Chopin.

The Young Artists Competition is sponsored by the National Piano Institute for Teachers and Young Artists (NPITYA).

July 9, 2011

I discovered a wonderful site devoted to Hanon: Interestingly, Sergi Rachmaninoff, in describing the 9 year piano training path for Russian pianists, says that by the fifth year each student is to have mastered Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist, to the point that the examiner can call out any number of an exercise and the student will play it.
Hanon exercises can be very helpful if played intelligently and musically. But if practiced mindlessly, they are not that helpful, and potentially harmful for technical development. If played in different keys, with different touches and dynamics, they are fabulous! 

June 27, 2011

Great Artwork!

Congratulations to Victor for placing at the state level in the Texas PTA Program for the Arts. 

This year's Reflections 2010-2011 theme was "Together We Can". Victor's submission was titled "Together We Can Help the Earth" and earned an Award of Merit in the category of Visual Arts.

Way to go, Victor!

April 26, 2011

High Five for Caleb!

Congratulations to Caleb!
He competed in the UIL State Number Sense Competition
Of 2000 participants he placed 19th!

Competitors in Number Sense have 10 minutes to complete 80 questions. They have to figure the answers to complex math questions . . . in their heads! They cannot use scratch paper to figure the answer. 

On the UIL Academic Contests website, you can see an overview of Number Sense. 
Click here for a sample test.

April 4, 2011

New Guest in Our House

Our son and daughter-in-law have graciously allowed us to give a home to their Yamaha grand for several years.  It is a quality instrument with a rich, full sound, and we look forward to sharing it with you at piano lessons.

Below are photos taken on the day of the move. Our 40 year old Schimmel piano has found a loving home with our daughter nearby who will enjoy playing it herself and sharing it with our granddaughter.

March 2, 2011

Sonatina/Sonata Festival

Congratulations to William who received a 1+ (With Honors) in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sonatina/Sonata Festival, February 26th. He played Sonata, Op.2, No.1, 1st movement, by Ludwig van Beethoven.

Congratulations to Victor who received a 1+ (With Honors) in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sonatina/Sonata Festival, February 26th. He played Sonatina in G, 1st movement, by William Gillock.

Congratulations to Caleb  who received a 1 (Superior) and received his 15 point Trophy in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sonatina/Sonata Festival, February 26th. He played Sonatina in D, 1st movement, by Friedrich Kuhlau.

Congratulations to Savannah who received a 1 (Superior) in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sonatina/Sonata Festival, February 26th. She played Sonatina in F Major, 1st movement, by Dennis Alexander.

Congratulations to Clare who received her 15 point Trophy in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sonatina/Sonata Festival, February 26th. She played Sonatina in Eb Major, Op.20, No.6, 1st Movement, by Jan Ladislav Dussek.

February 24, 2011

Congratulations are in Order!

Samuel Huang
Congratulations to Samuel who received the Eagle Scout Award, February 23rd.

For his Eagle project, Samuel planned and carried out the construction of a 24 ft. boardwalk for the Oak Point Nature Preserve in a rapidly eroding area of the trail. Fellow scouts and friends helped over 2+ days, for a total of 135 service hours devoted by the boys to the project.

Samuel will be attending the high adventure activities of Philmont and the World Jamboree (in Rinkaby, Sweden) this summer, as well as Northern Tier in 2012.

February 19, 2011

Hubbard Competition

Congratulations to Victor who received Second Place in the Hubbard Chamber Music Young Artists Solo and Chamber Music Competition held February 18th. He performed in the Junior Division, ages 8-10, and played, Little Flower by Gurlitt.

Congratulations to William who received First Place in the Hubbard Chamber Music Young Artists Solo and Chamber Music Competition held February 18th. He performed in the Junior Division, ages 11-13, and played Nocturne in C# minor by Chopin.

Sacred Music Festival

Congratulations to Clare who received a Superior with Honors (1+) in the Richardson Music Teachers Association Sacred Music Festival, January 29th, Grade Level 11.

January 22, 2011

January 18, 2011

A Festival of Piano Duets

Featuring the Students of the Allen Long Piano Studio

(in alphabetical order)

Saturday, January 22
Grand Staff Piano Center
(click HERE for directions)

Family and Friends are Welcome!

MTNA and partner organizations are currently in the midst of celebrating the Year of Collaborative Music (YCM). Programming, publications, and special events mark the joy of playing music together. The celebration began last year at the MTNA National Conference in Albuquerque, and will culminate at the next National Conference in Milwaukee next March. 

One special day has been designated for MTNA affiliates to participate in collaborative or chamber music. Organizations around the world will be offering concerts on the International Day of Collaborative Music (IDCM), on January 22, 2011. This local-level initiative is meant to involve many different instruments or vocalists in making music; we anticipate hundreds of performances happening that day from coast to coast and around the globe.

January 16, 2011

What is Counterpoint?

Bach ... to Chopin ... to Schoenberg ....
Counterpoint is the compositional key for understanding musical connections.