July 09th, 2020
November Composer of the Month
Miklós Rózsa (1907-1995)
The Composer of the Month for November is Miklós Rózsa!
Mr. Rózsa was a Hungarian composer who is most known perhaps for composing the music for such Hollywood films as the epic Ben-Hur, Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, the classic noir Double Indemnity, and Billy Wilder's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
Rózsa was one of the first "serious" composers, along with Erich Korngold, to cross over into the world of film music. For example, Rózsa's score for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes originated as a highly virtuosic violin concerto that he wrote for famed violinist Jascha Heifetz. Though it is not performed very often today, his violin concerto is one of my personal favorite pieces of music!
Another notable piece by Rózsa is his Toccata Capricciosa for solo cello - a very technically challenging and exhilarating piece that has recently seen something of a revival in cello recital programming.
October Scale of the Month
The key of C Major has zero sharps or flats (natural notes only).
The relative minor key of C Major is A minor.
Some pieces I enjoy that are written in the key of C include Franz Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 in C Major.
October Composer of the Month
Erik Satie (1866-1925)
I am pleased to announce that the Composer of the Month for October is Erik Satie!
Satie was a French composer who wrote music around the turn of the 20th century. He is most known for his simple yet hauntingly beautiful works for piano.
I first learned of Satie when I was in high school, after hearing my grandmother (who is a pianist) play Gymnopedie No. 1. I was immediately entranced by its dreamlike quality. I wanted to hear it again and again, but this was before we had the kind of immediate access to music that we do now (via the internet). The easiest way for me to hear Gymnopedie No. 1 at the time was to borrow grandma's sheet music and learn to play it myself, so that's what I did! I could often be found at the grand piano in my high school orchestra room before and after rehearsal, working out the music one measure at a time.
I hope you come to love Monsieur Satie's music just as much as I do. Happy listening!
Why We Play Music
One morning, after several hard hours of practicing cello, I stepped outside to find this note on my doorstep:
The neighbor who wrote the note remains a mystery to this day, but it was a wonderful reminder of why you and I play music. Even though practicing can feel lonely and difficult sometimes, it's important to remember that the music we create makes the world a nicer place to live, not just for us, but for everyone else too!
I hope all my students keep in mind just how special it is to be a part of something like that.
Here is where you will find monthly studio challenges, studio news, teacher thoughts, and more! Feel free to send Ms. Hayley a note in the comments - she would love to hear from you!
Composer of the Month:
1) Find and listen to a piece by the composer written (or arranged) for your instrument.
2) Find a piece by the composer that you really enjoy. Explain what you like about it.
3) Write down three interesting facts about the composer.
Scale of the Month:
1) Be able to play the scale memorized by the end of the month. (Ask Hayley how many octaves you should learn.)
2) Invent a 2, 3, 4 or 6-beat rhythm to play on each note of the scale OR invent a bowing pattern for the scale (using slurs, hooked bows, staccato, legato...the possibilities are endless).
3) Find a piece of music written for your instrument that uses the same key as the scale of the month OR compose your own.