Posted by: Marie | December 24, 2010

(473) Through the night to dawn

Post #473
[Private journal entry written on July 15, 2010]

I did it! I delivered a solid performance at the Rotary Club today.

I stayed up all night and composed a second piece, titled “Amanecer”, which translates from Spanish as “becoming day”. This piece was inspired by one of my student’s efforts to learn Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. This piece is a bit unusual because it merges Moonlight-esque passages with haunting Celtic passages. The underlying story tells of the transition from contemplative darker times to promises of brighter times that come with the dawn. I am pleased with how it turned out, overall. At least, I like it and my audience seemed to really like it.

I prerecorded a few instrumental tracks on my digital keyboard and played the piano part live for the Rotary performance. This was the first time I have ever attempted to perform live with a recorded track . . . it turned out just fine!

Here is the recording of “Amanecer”. I’m still learning how to use all my new, fancy digital recording equipment, so be forewarned . . . you will want to turn down the volume before you start playing it because I got the recording level pretty high, LOL! And, there is about 10 seconds of deadtime before the music starts . . . I haven’t figured out how to trim off the extra lead time yet . . . I’ll keep working on it!

So, I was able to provide nine minutes of music by utilizing my two compositions – I played the piece I composed last night and also the piece I composed for my students’ piano recital a few months ago.

However, before I played the compositions, I gave a very short lesson on chords and chord progressions . . . keeping it very simple . . . and had the people at each dining table create a chord progression (written on paper). I gave them a few simple rules to follow.

Photo by Martin Chen

Then, I played each table’s chord progression, mixing in a little extra fanciness along the way. One table had an accomplished guitar player in the group, so his table’s composition had a few transitional and substitute chords not included in my list. Fortunately, I was familiar with all of those chords was able to really jazz it up. That table’s piece got a huge round of applause. Everyone had fun with the exercise and it seemed to be a big hit.

In between the chord progression exercise and the performance of my compositions, I spoke a little bit about my experiences as a piano teacher. I briefly touched on how I had been in a very dark place 8-10 year back (without getting into any details) and how, after avoiding music for 20 years, music is now playing a huge role in my healing process.

I spoke of my special needs students and how their victories are just a bit sweeter to me. I told the story of how my autistic student invited me to join him under the grand piano. As I got to that part, I got all emotional and actually shed a few tears. I decided to not fight it . . . I just let the tears come and go. I figured it was okay because it was an authentic expression of what was in my heart.

The most exciting part of the experience was how powerful I felt in the moment. It was a space in time where I allowed the real me to come through. It was evident to me, through the strong expressions of appreciation, the people in the audience were deeply moved.

It was awesome.

Now . . . I’m off to get some sleep . . .


  1. I’m glad the concert went well.

    The stuff with the audience sounds great.

    I can’t get the file to play on my computer. (Maybe I don’t have the right software?)

    • Hey, Evan –

      Thank you for the kind words!

      The file is a .wav file, so it should be playable with any media/music player like Windows Media Player or RealPlayer. If you have a slower internet connection, it might work better to download the file and play it directly from your harddrive rather than to play it via the internet connection. Keep in mind there is the 10 second deadtime at the start, so make sure you get past that part before expecting any sound.

      Let me know if you get it to work . . . I tried it at my mom’s house on her computer and it worked . . . I’m not sure what else to tell you . . .

      – Marie

  2. At the moment my connection is a slow one so this might be the problem.

    When I clicked on the play arrow it started to play (went to the pause stripes) but then the little moving dot went back to the beginning and the icon things went back to the play arrow. This was before it started playing anything (only a few seconds).

    I’ll try downloading it and see what happens. Hope you had a great Christmas.

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