I have been playing a heck-ton of music this Christmas. On the piano, that is. And otherwise. But it's been fun, challenging, and is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the season. For example:
1. I have decided I love Christmas duets. Like, Christmas is a time for piano duets. My sister and I used to play this super hard one of Sleigh Ride and we'd just bang on the piano and hope to hit one or two correct keys because it's so fast, there's no time to be careful about it. This is the best and my favorite way to do it. I am the opposite of a perfectionist but I also think it's just way more fun for a duet. You could both practice really hard and do it perfectly and that's nice, but.. where's the humor? The desperate flailing? Where's the smacking at piano keys? It just feels more right to me. I have a friend who lives near me that I've dubbed (unbeknownst to her) my duet partner. At Julian's recital this year some kids played a Nutcracker medley duet and I was like, I want that. So I bought it and yes, after what I just said, I practiced it a lot. But it was tricky for me and really would have sounded like nothing if I hadn't practiced some. Anyway, I gave it to my friend and we performed it for other friends at a Christmas book club and it was kind of the best.
2. Church choir. I'm accompanying this year and that same duet friend, also the conductor, is kind of my enemy because she chose the craziest/fastest songs! One of them is TEN PAGES. That's right, ten. Any players out there will know that's a little bit bananas. I decided to divided it into two and tape five pages together. I don't really trust people to turn my pages for me, no offense, so I've figured out a way to whip that first set away from the piano and will probably tape the other set to the piano because we accompanists live on the edge. Anyway, speaking of practicing, I have had to drill and drill these songs. It's been a good lesson to illustrate to Julian the importance of practicing. But also I'm kind of mad at my friend for choosing such crazy songs. 3/4 of them are whippersnappers. Wish me luck.
3. For his duet recital, Julian played one Christmas song and one non-Christmas. He was assigned these songs in August so since then we have been playing Little Drummer boy which is a very long time, though I have always felt like that song was bigger than Christmas.* Anyway, every year I like to come up with a new Christmas song arrangement. Just my own spin version on the piano. I never know what song it's going to be but something usually comes out and I enjoy it. This year it's Little Drummer Boy, inspired by playing with Julian. My goal is always to find a different twist in something that may have already been decided as a certain kind of song. Some hidden beauty or different vibe. I worked on this one quite a bit and implemented all my favorite techniques these days which are a) syncopation (whenever possible) b) simplicity and c) steady rhythmic patterns. I love it.
Here is a video of me playing the song. Get excited, it's really quite artsy: