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Virtual Musicale March 3 Notes - "Senior Moments Musicaux" by Tom Slavicek

Another wonderful Musicale came to us on a beautiful pre-spring day thanks to our talented performers and presenters. A total of 13 members joined us..great to see everyone again!


We started off with Judy's interpretations of Schubert Scherzo No.2, B Flat, followed by his variations on a waltz by Diabelli. Judy gave a spirited performance of the Schubert Scherzo (in ABA form), one of two that he composed. Her interpretation contained some fine pedaling and dynamics that brought out the joviality and "seriousness" of the middle portion of the piece. Next came the variations on a waltz theme by Diabelli. Again, great legato sound and dynamics came through on this short piece. Both pieces were "very exposed", Judy said, meaning that every note is important and has to sound perfect.


Pam was next with her interpretations of four of J. S. Bach's Sinfonias (Three-Part Inventions) - #4, 3, 11, and 10. There is a total of 15 Sinfonias that Bach composed as "studies". These Sinfonias came across as part fugues, arias, and inventions. Pam used Andras Schiff's study notes for these Sinfonias to gain further understanding of their construction, dynamics, pedaling, etc. No. 4 was very plaintive in sound; No. 3 had a more light and optimistic sound; No. 11's quiet and introspective moods were evident; and finally No. 10 was a faster paced piece moving at a nice pace. In all Pam's balance of each of the three voices in these pieces came across as excellent.


Sam finished us off with his recounting of the days he went back to school (West Georgia University) to earn a music degree in Piano Performance, at age 62. In order to take tuition-free courses one has to be at least 62 years old, a Georgia resident and other requirements, the list of which can be found on the school's web site.


Sam has three bachelor degrees already, including a music degree dating from 1976. He had many transfer credits already accumulated towards this 4th degree. One of his pieces for the audition included Beethoven's Sonata No. 2, first movement - memorized. The only things that he had to buy were his books. He had to take 3 academic classes and an Art Appreciation class. He had to do 4 semesters of Piano Pedagogy geared toward future teachers. Sam also taught a beginner student for two semesters and an adult student for another semester, for which he actually got paid. Another class was the Collaborative Keyboard Skills - for Voice and the other for Instruments. Plus two semesters of Keyboard Literature from Baroque through Beethoven. An interesting class was Music Technology class. A final project for this class was to compose a piece for a snippet of a silent movie. Two recitals were required at the end of the 4-year degree, memorization was not required, though. Among his pieces were a Bach Fugue, a Mozart Sonata, Schumann Arabesque, and several pieces from the modern period.


Sam had a lot of opportunities to perform and he learned to memorize. A tiresome time was having to be graded every time for a performance. Sam had to practice 2 to 3 hours a day in order to meet his deadlines. He had to learn about the types of memory - aural, relative pitch, and muscle memory.


Sam fielded many questions from us that made his presentation all the more interesting. His pursuit of a 4th degree is very inspiring to us all! Thank you, Sam!


Tom Slavicek



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