Words for Music

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

                                                                            - Attributed to Martin Mull

Perhaps, but...

I use words for music all of the time when I am learning and performing. I got the idea from a Jane Magrath workshop.  One of her handouts was a list of 68 words that Czerny had written to describe the range of effects that Beethoven conveyed when playing his own music at the piano.

Since this list inspired me so much in my own playing I decided to add to it and ask my students to contribute as well and here is our word list - the ones in italics are Czerny's original:

Agitated, Alarming, Angry

Bewitching, Bittersweet

Calm, Capricious, Carefree, Careful, Charming, Child-like, Chill, Chorale-like, Clownish, Complaining, Confident, Crazy

Dancing, Dangerous, Dark, Dejected, Delicate, Determined, Dramatic, Dreamy, Drowsy

Elegant, Empty, Energetic, Exalted, Excited, Expressive

Fantastic, Fierce, Firm, Flattering, Fleeting, Foreign, Funny

Galloping, Gentle, Gloomy, Glowing, Good-natured, Graceful, Grand, Great, Gripping

Happy, Haunting, Heroic, Humourous, Hypnotic

Intense, Intimate

Jazzy, Jocose, Joyous, Jumpy


Light, Lively, Lofty, Lulling

Mad, Marked, Mechanical, Melancholic,  Mellow, Melodic, Merry, Metallic, Mischievous, Missing, Moody, Mournful, Murmuring, Mysterious

Naive, Noisy

Odd, Old, Old-fashioned

Pathetic, Peaceful, Pious, Playful, Pleading, Pleasant, Powerful, Profound, Proud


Regal, Relaxing, Religious, Remembering, Resolute, RoaringRough, Royal

Sad, Scary, Secretive, Sensitive, Serene, Serious, Shimmering, Simple, Singing, 
Sleepy, Sneaky, Soft, Solemn, Sombre, Sparkling, Speaking, Spicy, Stormy, Strong,Surreal, Sweet

Teasing, Tender, Thoughtful, Touching, Tragic, Tricky, Twinkling

Unaffected, Unruly, Uplifting


Warm, Weighty, Weird, Witty



What a Great Weekend of Adjudicating

This past weekend I was adjudicating for the ORMTA Central Toronto Branch Spring auditions. It was held at the North Toronto Institute of Music. I was treated to a variety of repertoire, and levels from Prep to Grade 8. I heard some really great playing from some very hard-working kids. Thanks to all the teachers for prepping their students so well!

A sun-filled afternoon.

Beautifully organized by Liz Craig and Lucy Tonoyan.
In addition to adjudicating, I was also able to choose who will be playing at the scholarship recital on April 26th at The Music Gallery. This recital offers cash scholarships, and the opportunity to be assessed by the COC's Sandra Horst. It was a real challenge to choose from so many strong participants.

Thanks to everyone for a great weekend.


ORMTA Teachers in Concert Has a New Venue

I am so looking forward to playing for the ORMTA Teachers in Concert event. It is still on Sunday March 29th at 4:00, but it is now at The First Unitarian Congregation at 175 St. Clair West in the Sunderland Hall.

Come on out to hear the teachers of ORMTA and some of our scholarship winning students! All proceeds go to our Scholarship fund.

Follow this link to buy tickets: Tickets for Teachers in Concert 


ORMTA Central Toronto Branch Teachers in Concert

Mark your calendars for the Central Toronto Branch's annual Teachers in Concert event. As a member of the Ontario Registered Music Teachers' Association I am very pleased to be performing as a part of this concert.

There are many fine musicians who will be performing, and all of the money earned will go to the music scholarships that we hand out twice each year.

I will be performing a Romance by Clara Schumann. In addition to the teachers of the branch, some of the scholarship winners from the Fall recital will also perform.

This is a wonderful opportunity for young players to hear a wide variety of music played by both their teachers and their peers.

Below is a link to the site where tickets can be purchased:


Lending Choral Support

What an inspiring morning of music!

Yesterday was the final day of the TDSB Music Festival at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute. This is an annual event for choirs at TDSB schools. It is a non-competitive format designed to inspire the young musicians who participate, and offer ideas on how to be even better choristers.

Zimfira Poloz with the TDSB Choirs

The choirs today were Junior level (grades 4-6). Ours, McMurrich Junior Public, was one of the 3 choirs participating. We are led by Ana Vasic, and I accompany them throughout the school year. This was our first performance this year outside of in-school events.

The clinician/adjudicator was Zimfira Poloz. She is the Director of Young Voices Toronto, and a highly accomplished musician. She worked with all the choirs together and with each individual choir as well. Her enthusiasm was so wonderful for everyone there. She has a literal bag of tricks to help demonstrate musical and technical elements. She has a hand puppet to show air space in the mouth and the raised soft palate. She uses a large Hoberman Sphere (which was a big hit) to demonstrate the build and taper of the musical line. Her passion and energy were so engaging that all of the children stayed focused throughout the 90 minutes.

I was very proud of the choir for their communicative performance - even more so since many of my own piano students sang today.


Piano for Lapsed Adults

This past Autumn I was finally able to set up a group class for lapsed adult players. I was hoping for more interest from the community, but that being said I haven't done anywhere near the advertising that I should have.

I have a core group who come every Wednesday from 7:30-8:30. We work on repertoire and practice habits. We sight read duets. We talk about music in general and specific technical things as well. I am very pleased with the results I have seen this term. Everyone is getting to the piano - even if just to sight read with me.

I think that  the stress of some childhood piano lessons is dissipating.  I am hoping the class grows and that more adults can return to the piano for enjoyment.

May 2nd is the ORMTA adult student recital if you are interested let me know and I will sign you up.