Friday, April 26, 2013

Piano Night 2013

I try to make this announcement every year, and it's hard to believe that another year has gone by. Swooosh.

Of interest to music lovers the world over is what is arguably the most ambitious music festival of all, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Although their music offerings tend to skew toward the fertile sounds that have been bred in the Crescent City, the festival puts on display a wide variety of music from the world over.

As a New Orleans style piano player, my favorite part is the annual Piano Night, which this year will be on this coming Monday, April 29, live from New Orleans' French Quarter.

It's been awhile since I've attended one of these in person, but the beautiful thing is you can listen to all of Piano Night from the comfort of your living room, or anywhere you can bring your computer or smart phone and a WiFi connection. Catch the entire event streamed live on radio station WWOZ-FM.

Things get under way about 7 pm Central time, so add or subtract the appropriate number of hours for your time zone and check it out.

If you like what you hear, let me know. This style of piano playing is kind of a specialty of mine, and if I get enough requests, I may include a workshop of this style at the upcoming Piano Retreat in September.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Here is the question I received from a subscriber who was considering enrolling in the fall Piano Retreat:

I would like to participate in this retreat. I
wonder if there is a way I can bring my spouse and
child, who would entertain themselves doing other
things while I play piano. Is this something that
others have done in the past?

I see this as a two part question.

1. Is it possible for members of my family to pay only for room and board at the Piano Retreat, and not pay for the actual tuition?

2. Will my spouse and child have something to keep them occupied while I'm gaining my piano skills at the retreat?

The answers are (in order) yes and yes.

Whatever accommodation level you chose for your self, your spouse and child can have the same level of accommodations and all meals (except the optional Sunday lunch) for $200 off the posted full price. Full prices range from $427 to $497, so the room and board only rate for them would be between $227 and $297 apiece. Your family would also be welcome to attend the evening "piano bar" party on Saturday night.

Bear in mind the semi private rooms have two twin beds, and would not accommodate three people. The economy cabins would work. We could put you in a co-ed (couples) cabin where you could be all together.

Another option is for all of you to stay off premises. There are hotels/motels in Petaluma (30 minutes), and probably on the coast some 12 miles away in the other direction. That way you would pay the Day Use rate for yourself (currently $377), and the rest of the family would be on their own.

We have had several people take advantage of both options.

If you opt for the $200 discount option, let me know, and I'll set things up where you can make a convenient payment on line. Just drop me an e-mail.

As for what your spouse and child might be able to do while you are immersed in your piano studies.

First and foremost we do have a track at the Retreat for the total beginner. We've been very successful over the course of 30 years in introducing total beginners to the art of playing piano. We will have you playing your favorite songs with two hands by the end of the camp. That's a guarantee.

If you choose to pass on the piano lessons, there is plenty to do right on the property. Walker Creek Ranch is over 1500 acres of pristine rolling hills, and abundant wild life. They have almost 50 miles of hiking trails, a swimming hole, and great opportunities for bird watching or stalking the deer, fox, raccoon, and other life forms. On the property there is also a small natural history museum.

And it's only a few miles to the coast where you will have access to Tomales Bay and the Point Reyes National Seashore and numerous beaches. It's just a short hop to the towns of Sausalito and Tiburon and the Golden Gate Bridge. And on the other side of the GG Bridge...San Francisco.

So there will be plenty to do both day and night, if you choose not to be part of the Retreat itself.