The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
come to Andalucia – Online piano concert

Music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly drifted out over the lower Alpujarra mountains earlier this month as my students performed in their annual online piano concert. Such a concert is not so unusual – except in this case some played live, some via Skype, and some on video. Twenty came in person from nearby towns such as Málaga, 14 appeared on Skype (mostly from overseas – India, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK, Chile and Guam) and seven sent videos.

Students played short and sweet pieces. Some were their own compositions (one about a werewolf!); others were by Bach, Mozart and Villa-Lobos. I played my piece, Córdoba by Albéniz, and practised and performed a duet with my student Lexi by Dutch composer Gerard Hengeveld, a new discovery for me. Those ‘attending’ on Skype were able to watch the concert via a live feed (apart from when they played, of course). The venue was a function room at a local campsite, the host an old friend.

The online piano concert gave students a chance to meet each other – learning one-to-one, whether face-to-face or online, can be a bit lonely. They were perhaps reassured to hear other students working hard to master their pieces (and it’s much easier to learn from imperfect performances!). It boosted their confidence and, most importantly, was a fun afternoon.

Last year’s concert can be viewed here:

Harvard-based researchers have found that there are links between learning to play music and high exam results (although it’s not proved that the former causes the latter), and various studies suggest a link between listening to low tempo music and lower blood pressure. Perhaps the benefits for both performers and audience are wider than we realise.

March 27, 2015