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#9418 - 02/17/07 05:20 AM Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
I realize this happened a few weeks ago but I'm curious if anyone saw the Oprah episode where she featured child geniuses or whiz kids, and one high school girl performed on the piano? I didn't see it but heard about it from several of my parents; apparently, what impressed Oprah was that this girl could take 5 notes that were given to her at random and improvise a short piece. Oprah was amazed.

The thing is (and I explained this to my parents), this skill isn't that uncommon. I demonstrated it to several group classes this past week. I would have a student put 5 random notes on the board, I played back those notes slowly, then improvised a short 8-12 measure piece, using those notes as a melody line. Everyone was impressed but I explained that their kids could potentially do the same thing (a little further down the road).

What I think was MORE impressive (and I'm tempted to call the Oprah show about it) was what I saw at MTAC Convention last summer. I attended an improvisation workshop where 5 high schoolers each had to pick a piece of paper out of a hat and create a song based on what was on that paper. Sample themes were "The Falls at Yosemite", "Sunset on the Beach", "Immigrants' Arrival at Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty". Another group had various animals they had to create songs about (chipmunks, whales, dinosaurs, etc...). These were unrehearsed improvs; students were given 30 seconds to prepare in their head and then perform. The results were astounding.

Anyhow, has anyone done this kind of activity before with their students?

#9419 - 02/17/07 01:42 PM Re: Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
misslaluna Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 708
Loc: Broussard, LA
I can't stand those kid genius shows.

#9420 - 02/17/07 02:25 PM Re: Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
VioletBeauregarde Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 502
Loc: Alabama
alidoremi- I do the "pull something out of a hat" all the time with my students. Some of them catch on to it quicker than others but it really forces them to think about dynamics, style etc..

They really love it because it's something new each time.
Adopted childen are NOT lucky- they are blessings.

#9421 - 02/17/07 10:55 PM Re: Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
Doenny Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 02/15/05
Posts: 155
Loc: Canada
(I know this is a little off topic, but Violet would you mind sharing what kind of things you write down to have "pulled out of the hat"?)

I'm afraid I didn't see this show Alidoremi.
"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major."
- Sergei Prokofiev

#9422 - 02/18/07 05:35 AM Re: Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
VioletBeauregarde Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 502
Loc: Alabama
I just use 3x5 cards. I put a variety of things down.

* walking in the woods
* a rainy day
* night time
* sunrise
* sunset
* a windy day
* a quiet stream

these are just some examples. You could include things for younger students. Some that I do for them include:
* jumping rope
* swimming
* riding a bike
* playing soccer
* being mad
* being happy

I use them about twice a month for students to kick off lessons.
Adopted childen are NOT lucky- they are blessings.

#9423 - 02/18/07 06:05 AM Re: Piano 'Genius' On the Oprah Show
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
I'm with laluna on hating those kid genius shows. I missed the piano player but did hear thesegment with the little gal singing the Queen of the Night Aria, and I actually was pretty amazed at her. The piano ones usually make me cringe though...Sorry, ali, that I missed the one you're talking about!


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