Hi everyone!  And hello to all my new viewers from Color In My Piano.  Great to meet you!

This is just a quick post because my day is pretty packed because I’m leaving town this weekend and have to get everything wrapped up tonight.  Anyway, the weather is stunningly gorgeous here in New Orleans, albeit a little warm ( but of course that’s always the case), so I’m listening to some really great upbeat music.

This week I had an adult student who was unfamiliar with the gypsy jazz movement, so I introduced her to it and created her a playlist.  It’s absolutely perfect for such a nice day.  I hope you enjoy it.

A little background:  While jazz began in New Orleans, gypsy jazz is indigenous to Europe.  When the musicians in Europe started hearing the exciting sounds coming out of New Orleans, they wanted to give it a try too (obviously).  However, unfortunately for them, at least so the story goes, there was a higher proportion of the population that played stringed instruments like violins, upright basses, etc than musicians who played trombones, trumpets, and saxophones.  This was at least in part because in Europe at the time, the symphonies as organizations were stronger and I suppose there was more demand for Western Classical music from those who funded musicians.  So anyway, the upshot is that the gypsy sound comes, at least in part, from the Europeans’ need to adapt the sounds New Orleanians were making with their brass players with stringed instruments.  That and of course the fact that the father of the movement, Django Reinhardt, had only three fully functional fingers and therefore played his guitar in a style adapted to accomodate his disability.

Funny enough that now there are Hot Clubs (aka gypsy jazz) players here in surprisingly large numbers.  Came full circle.

Anyway, here’s the playlist and below is a sample.

I always think it is vital to play music for my students, no matter their age.  Listening is one of the most important things that we do as musicians and sometimes it gets neglected in the everyday learning of scales and memorization of music theory terms.  I like to include some listening element in almost every lesson.  For the younger students, I will play the same piece for them multiple times in a row and I will always have playlists running in the background while we play various learning games.

Maybe I’m just superstitious, but my mother heard Pavarotti in concert with me in utero and she almost went into early labor – I think that has at least a little to do with my love of opera and music.  At least a little.  So expose your children early and often.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful post. Funny, when my mother was pregnant with me she went to hear a performance of Pirates of Penzance. At about age 12 I heard P of P for the first time and fell hopelessly in love with opera. It just resonated with me. Mom had totally forgotten she’d seen it until years later when we found the program in her memorabilia. There really is something to what you discovered.

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