Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

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Sing a Song of Summer 2020

June 22, 2020

Karin-relaxes-at-the-piano-TWO

Summer 2020 is officially here! I love this season: the endless flowers, the long days, the sun’s heat and, often there are camping trips and garden party get-togethers with friends.  This will be a very different kind of summer for everyone due to the current pandemic. Typically this month, I am preparing music for various  music camps that I teach at each summer season however,  all those camps are cancelled for this year.

Since the very beginning of the pandemic I have been able to shift most of my voice and piano students to an online platform. There certainly have been some major challenges along the way and, this method of teaching has required a great deal more work and preparation and flexibility however, I do appreciate the fact that in this current world, I am able to connect with my students and remain safe and distanced and yet still share the beauty, creativity and joy of music making and learning.

“adapt, modify, be positive”– those have been my key words in teaching online music to people of all ages.

I am aware that there are many people who are missing the experience of singing with others or, they are missing the in-person experience of sharing music in a lesson. Some people (perhaps especially the ones who are living alone?) are missing their social circles and have expressed a sensation of feeling anxious, sad, and frustrated with this current and continuing reality.

Over the past month or so I have designed a virtual song camp that I will offer online this coming July called “Sing A Song of Summer” I am really hoping that this song camp will bring some much-needed joy and connection to people who love to sing. I have been researching music that was made popular in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Some of the songs that were pop hits in the day are recognized as jazz standards while others were blues or country hits.  I have gathered “famous, familiar and perhaps forgotten” songs that have lovely melodies to sing and a potential for easy harmony parts.

Crazy-grin-at-the-microphone

Through the magic of the internet I will invite interested participants into my music studio each morning in this virtual song camp. One fact that has come to mind and which makes me rather excited is that people from various Provinces and States and, even those living in other countries could feasibly attend this song camp. Although my studio is located in Vancouver, BC you can live anywhere in the world and it may be possible that you can participate.

In my mind the type of person who might enjoy this song camp would be someone who longs to sing but wishes they could do so with accompaniment; a vocalist wishing to extend a current repertoire or someone who considers themselves a poor singer. One fact about this online camp is that people will see and hear me on the screen (piano and voice) and they will SEE others on the screen but not hear anyone else. So, you could feasibly sing your heart out and no one will be able to criticize how you sing! This is not a technique camp but rather a sing ’cause you love to sing camp.

I’ve got a lot more to say about the 2020 virtual song camp, but this blog is already longish. People interested can email me directly about the cost and other specifics: karinplato@shaw.ca

Have a safe summer everyone! K

Pink-CROP

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What’s Your Story Morning Glory?

August 21, 2019

August greetings everyone! Here in my Vancouver garden the flowers seems content with today’s refreshing rain. Moments before the rain really kicked in, I ran outside to take a photo of my Morning Glory flowers. I love this blue! It’s a good day for me to write a blog about some of the music related projects in my life right now.

Morning-Glory

I have a new recording which will be officially released in December. It’s called “I’ll Send This Dream” and it is dedicated to the memory of Nancy Thorwardson, a musician who really made an impact on many people with her songs, her sense of humour and her engaging personality. She is dearly missed. Check out more about Nancy at her website: https://www.nancythorwardson.com/

I consider myself lucky to make music with and record with mandolin star John Reischman and incredible guitarist John Miller.  I admire and respect the musicality of both these men so much! Recording engineer Marc L’Esperance  was able to record us “live off the floor” here in our dining room and I am very happy with the end result. It’s natural and unadorned and just the way we like it! We recorded some beautiful jazz standards and we also included some original songs. We’ll be performing a CD release concert later in the year. Thank you to Paul Norton for the graphic design:

Dream-CD-Cover

I’ve been putting the finishing touches on the next Joy of Jazz Concert Series for 2019-2020. These concerts take place at Hood 29 on Main Street and this year we’re presenting the concerts on Sunday evenings: October 27, December 15, February 23 and April 26. These are early evening concerts starting at 7:30 PM so even people who are working the next morning will (hopefully) consider attending. This is my labour of love series! I am part of each concert however some of my personal pleasure comes from hearing my fellow musicians in performance together and in solo presentations as well. Web-Meister Paul Norton will have the new website up and running soon. Here’s a link to last year’s series: www.joyofjazzconcerts.com 

Take a look at who is involved in the 2019/2020 series!! Yeah, it’s going to be a doozy…

Colour-Wall-JOY-JOY-3

There may be one more “Plato Pop Up Performance” which will be part of this series in 2020. I’m still scheming…

Enjoy the rest of your summer days everyone and thanks for reading my blog.

Karin

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IS MUSIC AN ACQUIRED TASTE?

March 16, 2012

There is something that I have been thinking about on the “surface” level for the past several days since hearing an interview with a beloved CBC radio host who is retiring after many years of being on air. This is a host for whom I have much appreciation. I have listened to, met in person and enjoyed speaking with her. Something was said in a final interview that has stayed with me for some reason. This is not a direct quote since I cannot recall the specific words but something to this effect was said:“classical music does nothing for me”. Yes, I know and agree that everyone has a right to have their own opinion about the music that they love. I also know that in my case I am lucky that the music I love today “came” to me after a somewhat slow start i.e. I did not like it when I first was exposed to it.

“Jazz” to me was a cacophony when I first heard it being played instrumentally in a live setting and on recordings as well. I couldn’t make sense of it and I certainly could not understand how my friends (classical musicians) were so enamoured with it. It was classical music that I loved and studied and it was the rock and pop music of my generation played on the radio that I was drawn to. Somehow over the years I did come to truly appreciate jazz in most of its incarnations and I continue to love and listen to classical music, folk music some pop and rock music and some world music. I am lucky to have had teachers and friends who kept suggesting various recordings and artists to listen to and to learn from. I’m glad I listened and that I decided to “work” on my listening and listening tastes.

I try to remember to keep an open mind and not to judge what I am hearing too quickly. The concern I have is that I am aware that both jazz and classical music seem to be failing at attracting larger audiences. I see this when I am attending some jazz concerts and classical concerts and of course I am aware that jazz clubs and venues come and go over the years with the poor club owners struggling to keep their business afloat. I observe diminishing audiences for classical concerts with fewer younger people attending.

Now, I see a new responsibility for myself as a musician and as a music teacher. I must assume that many people in the general population may feel as the radio host does, only loving or appreciating one form of music. I believe it is important to broaden ones horizons in the music that we listen to on recordings and at concerts. I believe that it is important at a cultural and community level to at least explore and experience some music and art that is not necessarily familiar or immediately appreciated by us as music lovers. That is not to say that all art or all music is good and deserving of an audience.
Certainly within each most genres the crème de la crème will rise? Is it naïve for me to think so? I hope not.

I hope that if I attend a jazz festival and listen to artists I have discovered on the radio and on recordings I have purchased that I will also then make an attempt to see new artists that I have not yet discovered; perhaps selecting a direction in the music that I am not immediately drawn to. The example would be deciding to attend an adventuresome jazz ensemble not playing traditional jazz, i.e. exploratory improvising jazz or “free form” jazz. It is my opinion that without expanding ones horizons in the area of music we purchase or go to see/hear, we cease to grow as listeners and might become stuck in believing that only John Coltrane is valid or Miles Davis or Brad Meldau etc. and that classical music has “nothing to offer”.

As a music teacher I believe I must keep offering my students various forms of music to study and encourage them to give certain pieces some time before deciding whether or not they like it. Some may wonder why people keep playing and listening to the “old dead guys music” (classical music) but there is a reason that we do continue to study the music and perform it and work at the skills required to do so. The melodies, rhythms, excitement, emotional range, complex orchestrations, challenges in technical ability, dynamics and surprise elements are some of the reasons.

In jazz of course we have the world of improvisation, the re-invention in the moment that exists in playing in ensembles or even as a soloist. I believe great jazz musicians share some of the very same skills that classical musicians work at achieving. The “cacophony” I thought I heard in my early days of hearing jazz when I thought none of the musicians were listening to each other was in fact careful listening from each of the musicians. Perhaps I was overwhelmed with what I heard at the time and I had to learn to truly hear it and understand. Perhaps some classical music requires the same care and “practice” so that the music can make sense to the listener? I am not sure about this. I just think that both classical and jazz music are too important to be ignored or judged with a swift decision.

It is all music! It requires facility, commitment, artistry, interpretation, listening ability and endless practice to perfect one’s technical and artistic sensibility. Unfortunately one other thing that jazz musicians and classical musicians share is the fact neither is the “popular” form of music now-a- days.

I encourage people new to either genre to try a taste of jazz AND classical music. Try a few tastes in fact because, sometimes music could be an acquired taste. You might fall in love with a flavor you didn’t initially like at all…

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Beethoven and classical music

March 16, 2012

Beethoven and classical music

One of the composers who continues to inspire and delight listeners and musicians alike…I am a jazz musician but I also cherish the listening of classical and other music genres.