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Recently, it was proposed (yet again) that the National Endowment for the Arts be eliminated, which has arts advocates (and anyone who can do math, frankly) in an uproar. Just before the budget proposal was unveiled, I submitted the following piece to Movers and Makers, Cincinnati’s monthly chronicle of local culture and philanthropy – you can read it below, or here. Though it isn’t about the NEA, my underlying point …

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again – Bach turns 332 today, and he hasn’t aged a bit! To celebrate, here’s a video on the final movement of the first Suite – perfect party music, by the way – a raucous Gigue! We’ll also learn how Bach was a pioneer in “foreshadowing”, used all the time by modern writers and moviemakers!   Thanks for watching, …

Today’s video is on the Minuets from the G major Suite, and that means we have to talk about form.   Wait, come back! I promise, it will be ok. As you’ll see, it takes a pop musician to explain baroque paired dance form effectively, and as a bonus, you’ll get to see my soon-to-be world famous James Brown impression. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Pairs of dances in classical …

  Today’s piece is perfect for a Sunday morning – it’s a sarabande, a slow movement full of repose, calm and peace. There is another side to the sarabande, however, one that made the Catholic church try to ban it. Watch the video to hear the piece and learn more! Thanks for watching – if you’re enjoying the videos, please take a moment to support 4-Way’s free lessons program by visiting …

In yesterday’s post, I shared examples of 4-Way’s students learning to play together in small groups, the musical version of a conversation. Music imitates speech in many ways, but today I want to share an example of a conversation only possible with music. This example reminds us of our civic duty too, and it seems like an especially good time to share it. We’ve all been in meetings or discussions where people …

Playing chamber music is the most satisfying kind of music-making – it’s a great conversation with notes instead of words. Working in groups also brings people closer together. The picture above is a nice example, as Marie helps Tara with her bowhold. Yesterday, in the afterschool program, we began helping the kids learn to play in small groups by themselves. We’ve been laying the groundwork by playing simple tunes in …

Today’s video is a reminder of how simple classical music really is. To understand it, you only need to know one thing – that Bach had 20 children. That’s all there is to it. In the Courante from the G major Suite, Bach gives us a musical conversation that any parent will recognize, and he must have had all the time. To learn more, watch the video below! And if you …

Yesterday, 4-Way began our education program! After a quick snack, we started playing. Led by our amazing violin teacher, Trista Emmons, by the end of the afternoon we had the kids playing simple duets together, and had some pretty impressive bowholds to show off, too! We ended the afternoon with some “body percussion”, led by Woodford’s awesome music teacher, Angela Carota – here’s a snippet:   It was a great way …

Today, part 2 of my new video series on the Bach solo cello suites, featuring the G major Allemande. After Bach’s relentless use of one motif in the famous Prelude, he shifts gears completely and uses several different ideas, going from one to the next very quickly. There’s something of Bach the family man in all his pieces, and this one’s no exception – you’ll see what I mean. Bach also …

  For a long time, I’ve wanted to share my take on the Bach cello suites with a wider audience, so I’ve decided to make a series of videos – each one will cover one movement.  No better place to start than the beginning, with the most famous of Bach’s pieces for solo cello, the Prelude to the G major Suite. I hope you like the video and that the music …