Friday, February 9, 2018

Workshop with composer Mr. Dennis Alexander

It was always a privilege to meet with the composer or the concert pianist in person and gain the insights of their compositions and performances. Monday was no exception! Thanks to my local chapter CAPMT Santa Clara Valley, we had Mr. Dennis Alexander as our featured guest and clinician. He shared his newest publication "Nocturns" as well as teaching tips and stories behind his composition inspiration.

Mr. A is a very expressive performer, like he said, "romantic at heart", which resonates with my strong belief in playing music with expression. No matter what kind of techniques we try to teach to our students, they serve as means to fulfill the musical purpose. In my conversation with Mr. A, he talked about how he choreographs physical movements to help students play more expressively. He also demonstrated using a body leaning movement to add more arm weight when playing big sound.

Talking about rhythmic counting, Mr. A emphasized the importance of counting out loud when playing! Totally my teaching philosophy. As many of my professors have addressed, if you can't count aloud when you play, you don't know the rhythm well enough nor develop the rhythmic pulse in you. He also offers ideas such as tapping the rhythm with the "practice version" of the CD to gain a thorough understanding of the piece.

Here are a video of his Chopinesque Nocturn and photos highlights!

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