Holiday Songs, Music to see in NYC

I’ve got a few rehearsals in Park Slope with the Berkeley Carroll School choruses this week, as well as the obligatory Halloween assembly on Halloween day, featuring “Five Batty Bats” and other hits. Carolyn Sloan, my good friend and musical partner, directs the chorus and composes most of the material for the kids. Carolyn re-introduced an older song today, “Snowfall”, that we’ll play in the Winter concert.

The piano lessons in Brooklyn are going well; I’m really excited about my second grade student Rosa, who has been working on Alicia Keys’ “This Girl is on Fire”. Rosa has a great voice, and has been accompanying herself on piano.

There is some great live music to see in the city this week, as always. Bill Cosby will MC the Jimmy Heath Big Band at the Blue Note. Next week, Joanne Brackeen and Ravi Coltrane are playing duo also at the Blue Note, and one of my favorites, Fred Hersch, will be at the Blue Note late in November.

New Piano Students In Brooklyn and Things To Do This Weekend

I started teaching three new piano students in Brooklyn this week, a third grader and a fourth grader in the Park Slope area and also a five year old in Prospect Heights. The Prospect Heights student is in a really convenient location, since the lessons that happen right before him are in Crown Heights, which makes for an easy and efficient drive from lesson to lesson. I love it when that sort of thing works out.

I always enjoy teaching that first lesson to beginners, breaking out the John Thompson “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” book. It’s a terrific book for getting started, and I think it’s the perfect start for someone even as young as four or five. There are a lot of beginner books out there that feature huge-font notes with the letter of the note displayed within the huge note- a total distraction, in my opinion. The “Teaching Little Fingers” book sticks to the very understandable finger numbering system, with both thumbs anchored on middle C, which leads to a very quick understanding of the Treble Clef/ Bass Clef relationship.

There is some fantastic live piano music in town this weekend. McCoy Tyner, the great jazz pianist that performed with John Coltrane’s legendary quartet, will be at the Blue Note October 4-6. Speaking of Trane, his son Ravi Coltrane will be at the Village Vanguard; his pianist is David Virelles- I’m not familiar with his playing, but I bet he’s a monster.

Now Accepting New Students