About this project
I'm Rachel Matthews, a pianist, composer, and piano teacher. I am inspired by those brilliant musical figures of the past -- JS Bach, Schumann, Bartók -- who not only left us with great masterpieces, but also took children seriously, writing wonderful music for even the earliest beginners, not "dumbing it down" but approaching young people as developing artists. I endeavor to do the same.
I am blessed with an extraordinary group of students, mostly children but also teenagers and adults. From all different backgrounds and walks in life, they inspire me every day with their curiosity, creativity, insight and passion for playing the piano. I am aware that an awful lot comes down "from on high" to children regarding music study (why it's Good For You! Why you should practice!). This project takes the approach that surely those actually studying piano must have something to tell us about studying piano.... SO:
The project is for my students to make an audio documentary about their musical adventures, in the form of a CD including both piano music and their spoken narratives & interviews.
At one level, it offers these students a formal opportunity to reflect on the place of music in their lives. Why do we do this expensive, challenging, time-consuming thing? What is it like? What are we like when we do it? What are its challenges and rewards? What does it show us about ourselves and about the world?
I believe this opportunity for reflection itself has tremendous value in itself...& then, there is the matter of communicating these reflections. After working carefully to clarify their ideas and hone their speaking skills, students will go to the recording studio to read aloud their personal reflections - and/or be interviewed “live” by fellow students. All of this will happen with the support and coaching of Jack Straw Studios staff (www.jackstraw.org), highly experienced in helping school-aged kids develop spoken-word projects.
And then... the music. Students - of all ages & levels - will have the opportunity to record in a professional studio, on a gorgeous Steinway B. They have selected some of their absolute-most-favorite pieces, works with which they have a special connection and/or have experienced their greatest mastery. In addition to rising to the musical & pianistic challenge of playing something as beautifully and expressively as they possibly can, each student will also gain solid real-world experience the recording & editing process.
And the END RESULT will be a beautiful, unique and inspiring CD. A montage of speech and music, it promises to be beautiful and touching and probably with some funny moments too, reflective of the joy and challenge and mystery of music-making. It’ll be something that all the students involved can be proud of, an experience with music they will not forget - and the finished product will offer a marvelous kaleidoscopic window into the world of piano study.
And to do it, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Money raised on Kickstarter will cover recording engineers' fees, vocal coach fees, graphic design for CD jacket, short-run CD duplication services, and licensing fees. Any overruns will give us more generous time in the studio for recording and editing; allow for producing more CD's; cover the costs of my reward CD's, which otherwise will be donated; and/or compensate a portion of my time spent on the project, which will otherwise be donated.
On behalf of my wonderful flock of passionate pianists of all ages and backgrounds and levels - THANK YOU for your support!!!!
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- (35 days)