Music & Art: A Direction Correlation

Oh, beautiful art. Every single person I have met so far enjoys art in some form or another. Street art, museums, art galleries, independent art shows, creating art (yes, kindergarten and pre-school counts!) My personal self-realization of a love for art did not manifest at a young age, it wasn't until my late teens/early 20's that I developed a more universal understanding of art, and expanded my mind towards the question posed: "what is art?" Since then, whenever inspiration arose, I would take out (a usually) unfinished canvas, paint brushes, water, and some colours on hand to express my feelings through colours, lines, and shapes. ...Although I must admit, it has been quite some time since working on a canvas piece (there are currently 2 unfinished sitting in the crafting room)

 image from: /

image from: /

Music was always a part of my life - no, my parents weren't musicians, but my dad loved music. He introduced me to The Beatles, and Japanese Folk Songs for Children at a very young age. After beginning piano lessons just before I turned 4, I was thrown into a whole different world of music: classical, baroque, romantic. Piano music, orchestral music, chamber music, even operas. As a child, I didn't have a single clue -

Yesterday, I attended a workshop presented by Alfred held at Long & McQuade Vancouver. I like to know what's available out there in terms of music, educational thoughts, new ideas, piano methods, etc. USUALLY 1 out of 3 workshops I attend there consists of the author/publisher attempting to sell their books. Yes, this workshop was more or less around that same framework, but there was something that kept me engaged throughout the entire duration: Catherine's passion about the connection between music and art, her knowledge from over 20 years of teaching piano, her genuine kindness and sincerity, and her wonderful break-down of explaining technique to students! YES!!!!! Pathways to Artistry (books 1-3, with supplemental Masterworks & Repertoire books) did you know there are 3 different types of staccatos?? Portato, quick/short, down-lift (she also explained how to physically play each one with specific wrist and arm movements to create each precise sound)

Catherine Rollin (I've seen her name by original pieces she's written published in the RCM repertoire books) was the presenter and she did a fantastic job captivating the audience while introducing and playing through her Museum Masterpieces Collection (books 1-4). It's a beautiful collection of original works that really helps students connect the best of both worlds, her pieces are beautifully written, pieces are accessible with technical teaching moments, lovely to listen to, and impressive for student concerts. Each book has a beautiful full-colour insert of the paintings she drew inspiration from. This is a wonderful way to inspire young ones to compose pieces of their own, while adding more artistry and musical colour by way of imagery.

She also accented on duets and ensemble work. I've always felt that piano is a rather lonely instrument, while almost 99% of other instruments are usually playing with fellow musicians in orchestras, there is only 1 piano. It will be a mission of mine to try at least one duet with some students, it's just a huge scheduling challenge when you're not yet at your own music studio!

Yay for a workshop well worth the time, and super thanks to Catherine Rollin for being such an inspiring music educator!