I’ve lost count of how many times recently that I’ve stumbled back into my apartment past 2 am, dazed, tired, hungry, and with sore hands after a three- or five-hour session at the piano. For the last six months I’ve been playing nothing but Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, which makes it, by far, the biggest musical project of my life. Now, I can play it front-to-back from memory, but still I’m so vexed and worn down by this damned piece that frequently I think to myself: “I wish I had a different hobby.”
In its 22-minute expanse, I have an interminable list of details to refine: the smoothness of the cascading double-stops in Ondine, the constancy of the bell in Le gibet, the snappiness of chord pairs in Scarbo, so on. I’m resigned to the fact that I will never play Gaspard precisely no matter how much I practice — it’s just that hard — but now I start to wonder: with these diminishing returns, when should I stop? Continue reading Illusory Standards
Gaspard de la Nuit: Ravel’s complex, atmospheric, dark piano masterpiece. I’m learning all 22 minutes of it right now, and the music is consuming me unlike any other piece has before.
Continue reading Temptation, Dread, and Terror on Piano
For three weeks, Sing For Hope has scattered 60 pianos painted by local artists all around the five boroughs of New York City. After today, they will be transported to their final homes: NYC public schools.
I don’t know why I decided to challenge myself to visit as many of them as possible — especially during a pretty busy stretch in med school — but that’s what I did! Continue reading Finding the SFH Pianos
I’m working on three solo piano pieces composed by Ravel right now, and they’re all kind of obnoxiously difficult. What are they? And why oh why?
Continue reading #Ravel
A hospital floor is so noisy. Despite posting signs reading “Quiet is Healing” in the halls, it’s mostly an iatrogenic cacophony.
Some of it is necessary distraction, like IV Pump alarms, telemetry alarms, bed alarms, telephone rings, beeper beeps (lol, yes still a thing). Sadly, they’re all dissonant tones! Phones are B-E trills, heart monitors are a high B-ish, beepers are mostly F#. Why couldn’t they be harmonic in the same key so that when they inevitably pile up it’d be a pleasant chiming instead of this din of ding-dings we have to yell over? Continue reading Music Against Medicine
I wrote this post in the style of a spoken word performance. It is Part 3 of 3 about my stance on surgery, but it is meant to stand alone. Continue reading My Hands Shake
I want to tell you about a piano piece. If technologically feasible, please listen to this recording while reading. Continue reading L’isle Joyeuse