2007 June

Basic Piano Music Improvisation Technique for Hymns

Music improvisation is kind of like losing weight. You see other people successfully doing it but you can never really get it down quite right. I admire those great pianists who can turn an ordinary, boring hymn into a complicated prelude. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that. I figure, anyone can learn how to play precisely what is printed on a music score. But not everybody can add embellishments and grandeur to a plain piece. When people want me to play a hymn, often they also add, “Can you make it sound cool too?” They just don’t know how much I long to make it sound “cool.”

improv_church.jpgWhen I ask these accomplished accompanists the secret to their talent, they usually tell me, “I don’t know how to explain it. It just happens.” It seems that learning how to improvise is something that just gradually occurs little by little until one day you play something and you realize what you played is not what is on the music score. I wish somebody could actually think, pinpoint, and explain what happens when they improvise and share that knowledge to thirsty musicians like myself.

Luckily, I once had a piano teacher who was close to that point. She accompanied her church every week with grandiose, glorious, complicated fluff all from just reading off the church hymnbook. There is one secret that she taught me that made a world of difference in the hymns I play for my church. I like to call it the “left chord inversion sequence.”
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June 25th, 2007 | 9 Comments | DDR, Miscellaneous, Money, Music

Last Minute Bidder - (Almost) Always Win the eBay Auction

esnipe_ebay.gifA couple of months ago, I wrote about how eBay changed my life as a seller. However, much more often, people proclaim how eBay turned their lives around as consumers. They not longer get excited when they see a sale in the Sunday circular, look in the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart, browse a garage estate sale, or shop at the local Salvation Army. I mean, these low prices are a normalcy on eBay. The other day, my dad excitedly informed me that the Computer Show was coming to town. But I told him, “What’s the use? I can get even better prices on eBay. It’s not worth the gas money and admission fees.”

eBay is great and all, but who has time to keep up with an auction? Often, it may seem like you could save just as much money by visiting financial advisory sites such as lovemoney.com, which don’t require you to sit around waiting for an auction to end. Auction-style retail seems like such a waste of time if you’re considering petty items like Beanie Babies or computer memory. They only appear relevant for big-ticket purchases like computer systems, cars, and famous works of art. Because of this, I love eBay’s Buy it Now, Express, and Make an Offer formats. They allow bidders to just cut to the chase and flat out purchase the item without the mess of a long, drawn out auction. Unfortunately, the majority of eBay listings are still in the auction format.
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June 25th, 2007 | 6 Comments | Buying and Selling, Internet, Money, eBay

 
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