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After receiving a how-to book on juggling one Christmas, he spent a year fixated on the craft, eventually able to keep five items aloft at once. His mother also remembers him enjoying jigsaw puzzles. Troy remembers Kris hanging around Ryan's piano lessons. Kris has always been pretty intense. One day, Dawn heard a practiced version of a Scott Joplin ragtime coming from the piano room. Is that Ryan? I couldn't believe it! But that was just a party trick, it seemed, and as soon as Kris had picked it up, he put it aside.

When Kris was 14 years old, his family was set to move to Indonesia. He was given a choice: go with them or return to the States for boarding school. He chose the latter, and enrolled at the prestigious Deerfield Academy, in western Massachusetts. In an attempt to embrace the new culture head-on, he tried out for junior varsity football. Remembering his leisurely childhood bike rides, Kris turned to cycling, taking it on with typical intensity. After graduating, Hull went to Rice University in Houston on a full scholarship to study architecture he was also a preternaturally gifted draftsman.

Still, though, he planned to become a professional cyclist, until those dreams were cut short when he contracted Lyme disease. Usually passed through tick bites, the chronic illness causes a number of recurring physical symptoms, including arthritis.

For Hull, it was nearly debilitating. Depressed, he remembered the piano in his dormitory rec room and wandered down to sit in front of it. He still knew how to read basic sheet music. And he was developing a nascent interest in, and a CD library of, classical music. So just as suddenly as he had decided to become a pro cyclist, at age 20 he decided he would become a classical pianist. By teaching himself, of course. The technical stuff, especially, I thought I didn't need help with.

Instead, he just played — up to 10 hours a day.

Sunny Came Home

He carefully listened to recordings by favorite 20th-century pianists such as Vladimir Horowitz and Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. After a brief love affair with Liszt, he settled on mastering his current repertoire: a dash of Rachmaninoff, but mostly Chopin's nocturnes and etudes, the latter having been specifically written as a series of technical exercises.

Hull took a leave of absence from Rice to prepare for an audition for the school's esteemed music conservatory. He was rejected, but a professor offered to take him as a private student if he returned to school to study another subject. Hull just couldn't. After a couple of attempts to resume school, he left again, never to return.

Instead, he informed his parents he was going to become a concert pianist. This is not something that one just springs on their parents when you've had no musical background," Dawn says. He's just going to do his own thing. On a weekday afternoon in late February, Kris Hull is cheerful. The Worst Day Ever is still a few days away, and his spirits are high. Miami seems full of possibility. Having played one day on Lincoln Road, he has decided to try a new location: the boardwalk-like promenade along the beach behind the Delano hotel.

As he pushes the black-covered piano up the walkway ramp, accompanied by Staaffe, bathing-suited passersby do double-takes. Hull comes to a stop at a wide, circular concrete part of the path. He uncovers the piano and stacks a few of his CDs on it. He unfolds his little table and atop it places a placard that reads, "Frederic Chopin CDs, 10 dollars. He sits down, stretches his arms and fingers, and begins playing Chopin's etude Op. It's a bright, rolling, airy piece, instantly recognizable to anyone with a cursory knowledge of classical music.

Hull plays with a measured intensity and finesse — eyes closed, head periodically rolling from side to side. Somehow, on this overcast and placid day, it hardly seems incongruous that he's here, as tan young things walk by with their purse dogs. In fact the only comments he attracts are positive, if sparse. A few people sit down for a while. Even a couple of cops roll by on ATVs, stare for a bit, and move on without a word. Who, they must figure, would be playing a piano on the beach if he weren't technically supposed to be there? He's unbothered when, while packing up, there's a technical snafu as he pulls the piano up the ramp into the back of the pickup.

The winch creaks and groans. I never had an error with the ramp itself," Hull says as his shaggy, wavy brown hair flies in the wind. In no time, he has the piano successfully packed up. We did it! Fate, however, wouldn't allow Hull to immediately delve into piano playing.

In early , he developed excruciating pain in his fingers whenever he tried to play, and soon couldn't do so for more than half a minute at a time. On the advice of a friend, he went to Thailand in search of alternative healing. Thus began a dizzying period of expatriate wanderlust in Hull's life, a cross-continental journey that took him from Bangkok, back to the States, and then to Fiji, Tangiers, and Berlin. After a couple of months of rigorous, two-hour daily yoga practice in Thailand, he says, he regained use of his hands.

Miguel Cervantes's 17th-century classic, a picaresque tale of a man who reads too many chivalry books and wakes up deciding to be a knight-errant, struck a chord. I was so delusional, convincing myself I was going to be a concert pianist, even though it was, like, totally impossible. Don Quixote just woke up one day and had read so many damn books about chivalry he decided he was a knight.

I was so bananas about piano, one day I just said, 'I'm a concert pianist. Well, not yet. Thus was born, as Hull came to call himself, the pianist-errant. He would become not only a classical pianist but also a traveling one, playing, literally, in the streets, for the masses. How to do so, then, was just a remaining technical puzzle. After a couple of years in Morocco, Hull and Bouscarian shuffled off to Berlin, where he met Victor Staaffe at a mutual friend's poker party. The Arrangement Details Tab gives you detailed information about this particular arrangement of Sunny Came Home - not necessarily the song.

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Subscribe to our Newsletter Stay Connected. We think your country is: Finland Change Country. Originally Posted by keystring It is the C that surprised me because I somehow imagine the notes of a key rather than of a whole tone scale. Smaller hand can play with pinky B. Quote I'm trying to picture the kind of music the students would play, and how hard it would be for beginners who are just dipping their feet into reading could manage it. The idea here: to make friends with a keyboard , not only with white keys.

Two logics - tonal absence signs of alteration and the natural anatomic convenience. In the first lesson, wins the second , at least for me. I have no idea what you do. Do you teach any other positions other than this whole-tone thing?

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Gary D. The concept is solid because the 5th finger is not cramped on C. But I believe 5-finger position when used by teachers is about putting the fingers of each hand on just 5 fingers, usually in the C, G, F, D scales, and A minor, D minor, and C minor.


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  • Piano Teacher. I would appreciate a bit more clarity in your posts. Not sure how I should react to this. A mixture of "What the heck is this??

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    Do you have a rather broad definition of "beginners"? Of course not! This is the answer to your question : Quote Do you teach any other positions other than this whole-tone thing? Quote Do you have a rather broad definition of "beginners"? Beginner, he is a beginner.

    He could be at the age of 5 and 6 such students I hadn't, only from the age 8 , or 10, or 15, or 22, and such I had enough apart from students at the Academy, which naturally could not be beginners. Originally Posted by Gary D. A good and necessary question! I am a jazz pianist and teacher of jazz and pop piano; so setting the hands on an instrument, the basic techniques and classical repertoire required for this takes a lot of time in the first stage a pity that not all understand this need.

    But sooner or later it comes to improvisation.

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    The main element of jazz - improvisation, along with the rhythm, has a very interesting relationship with fingering. If in classical music fingering is completely subordinated to the interpretation of the composer's intention, fingering in jazz improvisation influenced by phrasing, and in turn affects the their construction.

    In the book of Russian classical improvisation teacher Sergei Maltsev, he describes the different methods of the past to create the basis for improvisation, which are based on combinatorics intervals, melodic patterns, transposition and fingering combinatorics. All of this is familiar to us from the collections of various exercises, reflecting belonging to the era of the music and imagination of the author himself. In this context the term motility - auditory anticipation, where the auditory imagination creates previously by the movement of finger. It is a process opposite to what is happening in classical music performer.

    In this context, the choice of alternative fingering in real-time improvisation causes the change of the phrase. Therefore required preliminary preparation also to unusual combinations of fingers. But it is already at an advanced stage. Our Most Popular Forums. Digital Pianos - Electronic Pianos - Synths Piano Forum.

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