Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ten Hands - Five Pianos

This was new to me: ensemble piano playing on the fly. Like maybe you've never even read the music before, much less met the other players. You just get together and play. Each person plays a different part of the music. It's like an orchestra of fingers.


Veteran musician David Cutter is Mr. David of Piano-La.com. He teaches all levels and all kinds of pianists. (Note the cherub in the background of the photo above.) Last weekend, he got five people together to play Pachelbel's Canon, Home on the Range and a gorgeous traditional French Christmas carol, a stunner because: I hadn't heard it, it's dramatic, and these people had never played together before.

Plus I liked the reception.


But here's what I love most about this story: David got this idea and he ran with it. He searched for the pianos, got Arroyo Seco Time Bank members to help move them, and he converted his garage to a piano studio. He was driven to do it and he did it. He's got 6 pianos in there!


David's main goal is "to educate, and ensembles are part of the process to becoming a musician. Yes, the sightreading and spur of the moment stuff is fun," he says, "but what I want people to do is sign up for an ongoing ensemble class where we perfect a piece of music as opposed to just read through stuff."

Wanna play?



20 comments:

William Kendall said...

This is a concept I've never heard of before! I like the idea.

Petrea Burchard said...

Yes, pretty cool. And imagine when the musicians have worked on the pieces together, how brilliant they'll sound.

David Cutter said...

I knew how good it could sound. That's what motivated me to do all that work, Even then, I was still surprised at how good five pianos actually sounded. I'm really looking forward to hearing a piece that people have rehearsed.

Petrea Burchard said...

I will definitely attend that concert, David.

Irina Rekhviashvili said...

Another brilliant idea how to connect people and make them feel in unison. Good luck, Mr. Cutter!

Jean Spitzer said...

This is marvelous.

Petrea Burchard said...

Well said, Irina!

I agree, Jean. Many artists work alone, and I love David's idea of being creative together.

altadenahiker said...

David, please post an audio/video.

Bellis said...

It must be such fun to take part in.

LOLfromPasa said...

Isn't that incredible and such a creative idea. Enjoyed reading about this!

Petrea Burchard said...

For a split second I considered asking to join in. Then I remembered what sheet music looks like and, in my mind, I couldn't read it at all.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Not much of a player beyond chop sticks, but I could be an audience.

Petrea Burchard said...

I was hoping for a youtube video, but no. If David's not careful I'll video him with my iPhone next time.

Margaret said...

So fun. You know I really do want to learn to play piano.

Petrea Burchard said...

I know a good teacher...

Ms M said...

Wonderful! How fun!

Shell Sherree said...

I love Mr David's get up and go, and it's a wonderful concept !! The irony of piano is that it's a wonderful instrument for accompanying others but is also fully self-sufficient as an instrument, so can end up being a very solitary affair, especially when learning. This is a marvellous way to keep people encouraged and motivated. I'd had loved hearing the Pachelbel Canon this way, Petrea.

Petrea Burchard said...

I loved it, too, Shell. I imagine many different pieces will work well in this format.

Sheila said...

Absolutely beautiful! Incredible charming!

Petrea Burchard said...

I agree, Sheila!