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About PianoLessons 4 children.com
My name is Maria Miller. In a nutshell, I am a math teacher turned homeschooler and work-at-home mom. I have had my math sites (www.homeschoolmath.net and www.mathmammoth.com) online for a while. This site (PianoLessons4Children.com) is a newer endeavor.
I hope to help parents and teachers of elementary children by providing them piano lessons, general music lessons, music theory lessons, lessons about famous composers, and about well-known genres and ethnic music.
But I'm sure you want to hear more about my background in music.
My dad learned to play the accordion as an adult, in his 30s, soon after he had gotten married. Listening to him play was probably the main factor that pulled me towards music.
When I was 8, my mom enrolled me into the local music school. She told me later that she thought I would never pass the entrance exams and be enrolled, especially in piano which was the most requested instrument, because I "looked so small".
But, they accepted me and thus I started my journey with piano. I did fairly well with my studies and practiced diligently. I learned to love piano music and all kinds of classical music. I often had to play a piece at school functions, weddings, funerals, and so on. Sometimes I played songs at the old people's home where my mom worked as a nurse.
I started having students when I was about 13 or 14. Over the years I taught dozens of kids and enjoyed it very much. Then, after high school, I went into the local university to study mathematics BUT I could not let go of the piano! I loved it too much! So, I decided to try to pursue a double career... to also become a piano teacher.
It was at age 20 that I got accepted to the local music school's piano teacher program. So I was now doubly enrolled... studying both math and music, and I was indeed very busy, shuttling between the two institutions in my home town. Fortunately the town was small, so the two buildings were just about 10 minutes from each other by bike.
For a secondary instrument, I studied classical guitar for 2 years. I sang in the music school's choir for many, many years, and found it very interesting, especially when we did some larger productions like mini-operas. I also accompanied people (a cellist, a flutist, some singers), and played chamber music with other students. It was all very, very near my heart.
Then, something happened to my ears. I still remember it. It was a cold January day, and I was practicing with the grand piano in a small room at the music school, and suddenly I noticed my ears hurting from the loud sound of the piano. I stopped for that day, but it soon became evident that even the noise of traffic had the same effect. I could not stand loud noises, and especially not the grand piano! I also got some tinnitus at that time.
I went to several doctors who never found anything. They suspected it was some kind of after-effect from a flu or something.
Gradually the feeling and tinnitus subsided so I could lead a normal life. But I could NOT play piano for more than a few minutes or listen to other loud sounds or the pain came back. The sound of a piano was especially difficult because it is literally produced by hammers (the piano is essentially a percussion insturment).
Because of this, I had to completely stop pursuing the music career. At that point, I had completed 1 1/2 years of the 4-year course to become a professional piano teacher. I was practicing pieces such as George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Shostakovich's piano concerto no. 2, or the easiest of Chopin's Etudes.
For about 15 years I didn't do much with piano. I had a few students and taught my children, that's about all. I would dream often about practicing and playing piano, or about not being fully prepared for a performance. I was longing for some more piano music in my life -- yet by that time I was so involved with my math business that it seemed to absorb nearly all my time (and I like working with math too!).
Then, I had the idea of building a WEBSITE with piano teaching videos - THIS website! It has piano lessons for beginners, children's songs with downloadable sheet music, and lessons about famous composers for music appreciation. This site has given me a way to use what I had learned to benefit others!
Currently I can play the piano for maybe up to an hour before noticing this effect in my ears. Also, nowadays I own an electric piano where I can control the volume, so that helps.
Music I listen to
Growing up, I listened to my dad play accordion. As a teen, I listened a little bit of the pop music of the 80s. Later on I started to listen to classical music and going to classical music concerts.
Several years ago, I became a fan of 24K Gold Music, a large oldies group from Florida. I have really fallen in love with their music! They have introduced me to a genre that I actually really like: oldies from the 1960s. You can listen to some samples below! The shows are done with beautiful costumes, dancing, backgrounds, and a big band.My connection to them has its origins in the early 2000s when I used to tutor the boy who then became the trumpet & trombone player in the band (Joe). Joe's mom Kathy (my friend) ended up playing the saxophone.
You can find them standing side by side on the far right of the stage. For example, you can see a closeup of them in the song Sweet Nothings, at around 27 seconds.
Over the years, I've simply followed what they were doing with the music — and 24K Gold music started growing on me, and growing on me... Now, I can honestly say I LOVE their music. Not only that, they truly are professional in what they are doing.
One of my absolute favorites from 24K Gold (though not featuring the horns) is My Heart Will Go On, from the movie Titanic, sung by Cheryl.
It's hard to pick just one favorite though , so here are some others for you to check out.
...and even more videos on this page.
In fact, I want to spread the word and help others find this spectacular music so much that I've decided to do a little giveaway of their music CDs (on my own expense) on the 15th of each month.
This means I'll hold a new drawing on October 15, November 15, December 15, and then January 15, 2017, and so on.
If you'd like to take part in and to possibly win a free music CD or DVD by 24K Gold, simply send me a message using the contact form, stating you want to take part, and you'll be entered into this monthly drawing! Winners are chosen by a random number generator, and anyone on the globe can take part. That's all!