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Learn about the Russian composer, Pyotr Tchaikovsky at Galaxy Music Notes where Mizue writes a lot of piano sheet music arrangement:
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Learn about the Hungarian composer: Edvard Grieg


Born: June 15, 1843 - Bergen, Norway
Died: September 4, 1907 - Bergen, Norway
Historical Period: Romantic era
Musical Media: Orchestra, chamber music, keyboard, choral, songs.

Edvard Hagerup Grieg, the Norwegian musical prodigy, was born in 1843 in Norway. Grieg attained fame for his many uniquely Norwegian compositions, which included concertos and piano miniatures. His popularity spread worldwide, with most of his music having a sense of traditional Norwegian emotions, scenarios and a great deal of descriptive imagery.

Some examples of his masterful pieces are:

Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 7
Violin Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 8
Concert Overture in Autumn, Op. 11
Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major, Op. 13
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
Incidental music to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's play Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op. 22
Incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, Op. 23
Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folk Song in G minor, Op. 24
String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27
Album for Male Chorus, Op. 30
Lyric Pieces, Op. 71
After an extensive and long musical career, the eminent composer passed away in the year 1907. At his funeral ceremony, his own as well as Chopin’s funeral marches were played. He is considered to be a composer of Romantic era.

Dive in more about Edvard Grieg: Composer Magnifico:

Grieg had an extreme affection for Norwegian folk music and traditions which seamlessly got integrated in his pieces. Although Grieg was not exceptional at academics in his early years, his profound interest in music reflected his genius by the age of only nine.

Grieg’s youthful years introduced him to the revered violinist Ole Bull, a well-respected figure in Norway’s nationalist movement, who was also related to his mother, Gesine. Bull, who paid a visit to the Grieg family in the year 1858, experienced Edvard’s compositional talents, and suggested that he be sent to the Leipzig Conservatory for his studies.

There, Grieg drew inspiration from many master composers, such as Chopin and Schumann, and learnt piano with Ignaz Moscheles. He presented the Four Piano Pieces, Op. 1, in 1862, upon graduation. These were published along with the Four Songs for Alto, Op. 2, in 1863.

In that very year, Edvard Grieg moved to Copenhagen where composer Niels Gade acted as his mentor, offering sound advice to the future genius. Edvard Grieg fell in love with his cousin Nina (who later became his wife), also a talented singer, to whom Grieg dedicated his Six Songs, Op. 4. It was during this period that he produced The Heart’s Melodies, Op. 5, which are songs associated to Danish texts written by the author Hans Christian Andersen.

Edvard Grieg had a distinct sense of Norwegian nationalism, which reflected in the musical pieces composed by him. An evidence of this is the piano piece Humoresques, Op. 6, which he dedicated to his close friend Nordraak.

In the year 1865, Grieg finished a couple of other pieces, Piano Sonata, Op. 7, and Sonata in F major for Violin and Piano, Op. 8.

Grieg lost his friend Nordraak to illness in the same year, and wrote the Funeral March in Memory of Rikard Nordraak for piano. His first theatrical break came for Bjørnson’s play Sigurd Jorsalfar, for which he composed music in 1872.

Edvard Grieg, in 1874, was asked by Henrik Ibsen to compose incidental music for the latter’s play Peer Gynt. This resulted in the creation of Grieg’s most widely revered and played music. The play, written in 1867, was performed for the first time with Grieg’s music in early 1876. The music became a double set of suites, Op. 46 and Op. 55. That same year, he had also written several pieces which included Six Songs, Op. 25, “The Mountain Thrall,” Op. 32 and a String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27.

After a period of illness, Grieg decided to start writing again in 1880. He started composing music for Twelve Songs to Poems of A.O. Vinje, Op. 33. Among these, Grieg transcribed two of the songs for the string orchestra in the form of Two Elegaic Melodies, Op. 34, as he was then the conductor of the Bergen Harmonic Society.

In 1884, Grieg composed the Holberg Suite, Op. 40, for honoring the 200th anniversary of playwright Ludvig Holberg’s birth. During the 1890s, Grieg finished composing the set of nineteen piano pieces titled Norske folkeviser, Op. 66. In 1895, he began to write music for Haugtussa, which were poems by Arne Garborg. This was published as a set of eight songs in 1898.

From the year 1896 till 1898, Edvard Grieg worked on and completed his Symphonic Dances, Op. 64. Published in the year 1899, it has become an extremely popular part of Grieg’s repertoire.

From 1905 and forward, Grieg’s creative works focused on piano pieces, giving us the memorable Lyric Pieces, Op. 71, and the Norwegian Peasant Dances, Op. 72.

Additionally, Grieg's earliest pieces unusually include a symphony and a piano sonata. Also, Grieg composed three violin sonatas along with a cello sonata.

Such was Grieg’s mastery, that Nikolai Myaskovsky, a Russian composer, utilized one of the former’s themes for his Third String Quartet. Grieg had many of his piano compositions recorded during the latter stages of his life.

Grieg wrote Holberg Suite originally for the piano, but eventually presented it for string orchestra. The composer wrote classy pieces for eminent poets such as Heinrich Heine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Rudyard Kipling.

Edvard Grieg never received any proper training to deal with more long drawn pieces, such as symphonies. Due to his breathing problems that plagued him all his life, he was preferential to miniature pieces as most of his music is short. Grieg, nevertheless, proved that he was a master in the musical arts, and his music acted as inspiration for future prospects like Ravel and Debussy.
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Which digital piano I recommend? 

There are all kinds of brands and qualities when it comes to digital pianos (some people also call them electric pianos). But when you say 'digital piano' it usually has 88 keys and keys are weighted, meaning, the touch feels like a real acoustic piano (or close to that). There are several different brands. But when it comes to digital pianos I only recommend Yamaha. And Yamaha makes all different  levels of quality when it comes to digital pianos. If I simplify the category there are P-series, Arius series, and Clavinova series. P-series' prices range from around $500 - $2000. Arius series' prices range from around $1000 - $2500. Clavinova series' prices range from around $2000 - $6000. You can purchase P-series and Arius series at any music stores or even on But if you would like to purchase Clavinova you have to go to Yamaha piano dealer near you. Within Clavinova series there are two types of series, CLP and CVP. CVP has a lot of buttons and features. If you are into high-tech  and electronics you can get CVP. But I highly recommend CLP with no doubt if you are looking for something close to a real acoustic piano. CLP has superior key touch and piano sound. It is just an amazing digital piano. If you are serious about learning 'PIANO' (not keyboards) and if you are considering purchasing Clavinova it's the best to get CLP instead of CVP. If you would like to learn more about Yamaha digital pianos and their features and specifications please visit Yamaha USA's website.  
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This is probably the most common question that I receive from parents of a new student: "How many minutes should my kid practice everyday?".....

I always say it really doesn't matter how many minutes they sit in front of piano and 'play' (not practice) the piano. It really matters how they practice and if they are practicing practically, mindfully and efficiently. If they are practicing practically, mindfully and efficiently and paying attention to what we talked about during the last lesson their practice time won't be too long which is OK. But if they are not paying attention and just playing pieces mindlessly for many minutes 'that practice' is not really helping them improve or progress. Also it's more important that they practice everyday even if it's a little than they practice a long time just once a week. It's also important to review what we worked on during the lesson right away (either that day or the next day) so that they remember what we worked on and what they need to be working on during the week. It'll help students advance much more quickly and efficiently. After they 'practice', they can enjoy 'playing' some fun songs. 'Playing', enjoying, exploring, experimenting, being creative are also all as important as 'practicing'. 
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This is what I recommend you to find out if you are good fit with your new teacher. 

Try lessons at least for a few months with a new teacher to see if the teacher is the good match with you. You can't really tell if it's a good match or not, by just taking 1 trial lesson. It takes time for the teacher to get to know the student as well, her or his weakness, strength, level, communication skills, learning style, and taste of music. You also can't tell until you take lessons more than a few lessons to see if the teacher has patience, dedication, consideration, understanding, compassion, and passion for teaching and if the teacher can adjust the pace accordingly for the student. So, I recommend taking lessons at least a few months and see how it goes.  
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People sometimes ask me "Can I take lessons even though I don't have a keyboard or piano?" 

Well, the answer is unfortunately, NO. It's because the most important thing is to practice at home during the week. If you have a very small budget and also you are not sure if this is something that you really want to do, then, I would recommend you to get an inexpensive keyboard. And when you are sure that you want to continue with lessons for a long time you can upgrade from that keyboard to either digital piano or acoustic piano. 
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Do I use Suzuki Method? 

I usually use conventional method of teaching. But I could use Suzuki Method as well as conventional method. With Suzuki Method you don't learn reading notes or music theory as much. I would like students to learn to read notes and advance with music theory. If students want to try other instruments or join a school band they have a solid foundation if they study conventional method. So, for most students I use conventional method. However, Suzuki Method is a great method for developing artistry and hearing. So, if a student specifically requests Suzuki Method I'm willing to do that as well as using the conventional method at the same time.
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What is Royal Conservatory Music (RCM) Development Program?

RCM stands for Royal Conservatory Music. Royal Conservatory Music actually started in Canada. It gives students assessments for their music development, accomplishment, and improvement by examinations. And they have been doing the assessments / examinations around the world including United States. Examination's name has changed a few times. But now it's called Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. It is classical music examination. There are a lot of levels, about 14 different levels (from primary level through professional levels). Also there are different instruments. But piano has been the most popular one for RCM Development Program. The exams consist with (depending on the level) performance of a piece from a few different classical eras, for example, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary. Also students are required to play 2 or 3 etude pieces. For technical examinations, there are scales, chords, arpeggios, and so on. There are also sight reading (playing), ear training, and rhythm reading and remembering. Written theory examinations are required from level 5 for piano students. Students don't get to shine or show off like a recital because the exam is held in a room with 1 examiner. There is no huge audience. And a student gets the result online or by email. You don't hear any clapping. You don't get flowers :-( Sorry...... But I like the quality of the program and materials they use to assess students. I highly recommend it.  
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