Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Marya Made it a Red, White, and Bluesy Day

Two weeks ago, on a Wednesday night, we got 3 inches of sparkly snow. This morning, we woke to rain changing to heavy, wet snow, an accumulation of 2-5" expected. I must say, it's a lovely snowfall... but these snow days are wreaking havoc on my teaching schedule!

Considering the alternative, I guess I should be thankful for the sunny, albeit cold MLK holiday this past Monday. Trapezoids traveled far and wide -- from the Triangle in the east, from Asheville in the west, from points in between -- to Winston Salem, for a day of practice and play with Marya Katz of Blacksburg, VA. This mid-winter musical boost has become an annual event on MLK Monday.

Marya had pronounced a red, white, and blue theme for the day. Attendees got into the mood by dressing for the occasion. We started with some ear training. We learned Cailin Deas Rua, The Pretty Red-Haired Girl, with no paper assistance, then added embellishments to make it sound Irish.

Then, on to The White Cockade. We considered varied hammer patterns to play the basic tune - taking advantage of duplicate notes - then worked out the chord progression. I think some folks were amazed that there were so many correct chord possibilities! You mean chord progressions are not set in stone??

We ended the day improvising over the 12-bar Blues chord progression in D major, to the tune, Joe Turner Blues. Yes, we really did the dreaded "I" word... and we had fun doing it!

Nearly two dozen trapezoids filled the room. I managed to capture this shot of Marya with four of my students. Maybe I'll catch YOU there next year!

1 comment:

  1. We *did* have fun (in spite of that improvisation - by the time we finished, everyone - even the beginners - was hammering up a storm!).

    I found a site (today, of course) that has downloadable blues licks for the piano - not in our favorite key scheme, of course, but for some of us it might be useful - as Sue pointed out during our workshop, just having a "tool box" of patterns that can be used for these improvisation exercises helps us to be more comfortable in doing it.