Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Quote #4

Technique is like grammar, once it is a part of you, you speak without conscious attention to it. - Seymour Fink

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

Nicholas McCarthy - The FIRST One-Handed Pianist To Graduate From Royal College Of Music

  • Nicholas McCarthy was born without his right hand
  • He graduated from the Royal College of Music today, the college's first one-hand pianist
  • He is also part of The British Paraorchestra who performed to welcome Paralympic athletes to London
  • He plays music written for left-hand only

  •  A music student, who was born without his right hand, has made history by becoming the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the 130-year-old Royal College of Music.
    As a child Nicholas McCarthy, 23, was refused an audition and told he would never succeed but went on to stubbornly defy the odds and the pessimists to reach the milestone today.
    The pianist from Tadworth in Surrey is also part of The British Paraorchestra, the country’s first disabled orchestra, which played to welcome Paralympic athletes to London

    After he was refused an audition at a school for young pianists as a teenager, Mr McCarthy became more determined.
    He said: ‘It was soul crushing because that’s all I wanted to do - I could feel it would be an uphill struggle, but it made me more determined, I’m quite a stubborn character.

    He taught himself to play on a cheap, electric keyboard from Argos and did not start piano lessons until he was 14.
    Mr McCarthy said: ‘I had never experienced anything that came so naturally. I found I could play a one-note melody accurately with my little arm - although anything with big chords was out of the question. I practised for hours and hours. Time just disappeared.
    ‘I vaguely knew how to read the notes from my compulsory music lessons at school, but I played a lot by ear at first: Beethoven sonatas, pieces by Mozart.
    ‘One day I had the volume quite loud and Dad called up: “Turn off the stereo, Nick”, and I said: “It’s not the stereo. It’s me on the keyboard.” There was silence from downstairs. My parents obviously realised something was happening.

    Self-taught: Playing the piano came 'so naturally' and after teaching himself on a cheap keyboard, he started piano lessons when he was 14
    Self-taught: Playing the piano came 'so naturally' and after teaching himself on a cheap keyboard, he started piano lessons when he was 14
    ‘It was then that I asked them for piano lessons… Mum and Dad never denied me an opportunity.’
    The pianist had planned to become a chef but on hearing a piano sonata by Beethoven he was left ‘dumbfounded’ and changed his career path.
    He said: ‘I just fell in love with it and decided that was what I wanted to do. I started playing around with the piano and found it came very naturally.’
    When he was 17-years-old he secured a place at the junior department of London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, winning the annual piano prize.
    He then went on to the prestigious Royal College of Music in London.
    Professor Vanessa Latarche, the head of keyboard at the college, said he had been ‘incredibly enterprising’ in overcoming big challenges such as developing the stamina to present a 50-minute recital with one arm.
    She said: ‘He has been a great inspiration to many of his fellow students in showing what it is possible to achieve with a disability.’
    He plays music written specifically for the left hand including works by Austrian composer Paul Wittgenstein who lost his right arm in the First World War.
    Mr McCarthy said: ‘There is a lifetime’s worth of work available. There are more challenges than for a two-handed pianist because you have to cover the whole piano. 
    ‘It does sound like there are two hands playing.’
    Various other well-known composers such as Ravel, Prokofiev and Bartok have written pieces for just the left hand which Mr McCarthy plays at performances.
    He believes much of his audience is drawn in by curiosity.
    He said: ‘For many, the first reaction is astonishment, that wow factor. I’ve had some people who thought I’d played with a backing track, but it is just me and my left hand.’
    When he first joined The British Paraorchestra, some of the sight-impaired musicians were unconvinced that Mr McCarthy could play with only one hand.
    He said: ‘When I first joined the orchestra, a couple of the musicians who are partially sighted and blind didn’t believe I was playing with one hand, that was a big compliment to me.

    ‘The music is all written for the left hand alone, I’m not changing anything, I’m playing the music as it was written. ‘It’s written very cleverly but you’ve got to be very quick and good with the pedalling to sustain the bass notes while playing the top notes.’
    His determination has allowed him to turn an apparent disadvantage into an advantage, learning to ride a bike and drive a car.
    Mr McCarthy said: ‘There are people in my position having counselling, and I just think: “Please get over it and make something of yourself!”
    Last week he performed in Malta at the country’s prime ministerial offices and on September 13 he will headline his first evening concert at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
    Father Ray, a 46-year-old salesman, always let his son do things that other said he could not do.
    He said: ‘You can do two things when you have a disabled child. You either wrap them in cotton wool and pretend the world isn’t there or you make them do anything and everything.
    ‘Nick stumbled across the piano. As a parent you think, “he has only got one hand, but what the hell”.

    Source : dailymail.co.uk

    Quote #2

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." -  Aristotle

    Saturday, 18 January 2014

    Quote #1

    Without discipline and passion, no matter how talented you are, it's just a waste of time - LANG LANG

    Kawai CN34 Review

    I just bought my Kawai CN34 a few months ago, and now I think I will write a short review about the sound, the action, and the overall performance of the Kawai CN34.

    Honestly, the first time i played my Kawai CN34 (just after finished assembled all the part of the piano), i found it sounds a little strange. Maybe because my older digital piano was a Yamaha, and you know there are visible differences between Kawai 'sound' and Yamaha 'sound', so maybe my ear still too familiar with the Yamaha sound.

    But after playing more and more, I now realized that I really like Kawai sound. I compared it with my old yamaha piano and my friend new clavinova, and i still love the Kawai sound. I think that Kawai sound is a little soft, bold and Yamaha is a little bright. So, the Kawai sound, hmm.. exactly Kawai CN34 sound is very good. especially when use headphone :D

    Now to the action, VERY NICE (from my point of view, of course). Let's not compared it with my old piano :D
    I will compared it with the upright and grand i usually play on my piano course. I think the CN34 action is closer to the grand, it's heaviness is really similar although grand piano is a little bit heavier. And i love the ivory touch, so smooth.

    Ok to the pedal, it's similar with the grand i used to use on my piano lesson. There are different weight between the 3 pedal.

    The recording feature very nice.

    Thanks for reading this short and simple review, god bless you :D

    Watch my video play song on CN34 here