Fun with the theremin for Halloween!

Here’s one of my young students—he’s 9 and in the 4th grade—playing a spooky-music theremin and piano improv!

What the heck is the theremin?

And here is a documentary about the theremin: Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey.

It’s Halloween; time to take out the theremin!

The what?
Well, it’s Halloween week, which is when I take out my Etherwave theremin to show to all my students. Dusted off, it’s ready for the kids (and adults!) to play this week in lessons. Sure wish I could play it; it’s pretty hard. But it is great fun to play around with for kids of all ages, and piano and theremin go very well together for spooky-music improv duets! And listen below to the greatest thereminist of all time, Clara Rockmore, who was a master of the instrument.

Etherwave theremin set up and ready to play!
Etherwave theremin set up and ready to play!

Below is Clara Rockmore, the greatest thereminist who ever lived, playing at a house concert, not sure of year, Bob Moog is there. All the songs she plays at this concert (with her sister on piano) are beautiful (they’re all on YouTube), but this is one of my favs; her artistry is astonishing. A great documentary on Léon Theremin and his instrument is Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey; you can get it on Netflix.

Hillbilly Rock played by MG!

This is one of my students, who’s 10 years old, playing Hillbilly Rock, which is a slow blues in 4/4 time with what we call a “12/8 feel.” Awesome job, MG!

Julie Plays Government Center! Street Pianos | Boston: 2013

There’s an incredible event going in Boston—”Play Me, I’m Yours”—I got to 6 pianos, here’s me on the only baby grand in exhibit, there’s 75 all over the city and surrounding neighborhoods, for anyone to play! See info below.

Piano @ City Hall Plaza, Government Center:

(This poor piano, pedal needs some WD40, and keys were sticky and spongy—@ 0:18 you can see me pick that E key back up! I think it got rained on, several of the ivory keytops fell off while I played!)

And check out this girl playing Linus and Lucy!

And this boy playing Linus and Lucy too!

Love this boy in the fedora playing “Take Five” by Brubeck:

And this pianist’s playing takes my breath away, can you name the piece?

Link to all info, including map of where all the pianos are located:

Maybe I’ll see you in town this weekend!

Street Pianos | Boston: 2013 will be in Boston from Sep 27 through Oct 14.


Street Pianos Boston: This guy rocks!!

Check him out! (Keep practicing y’all!)

Street Pianos Boston will be in town from Sep 27 through Oct 14.

Play Me, I’m Yours – The Boston Street Piano Festival includes a downloadable map of the locations all 75 pianos!

First Look @ “Street Pianos Boston” Which Begins Tomorrow!

I’m so excited about this art/”sound” installation; 75 pianos painted by local artists will be placed on the streets of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and other Boston area neighborhoods for absolutely anyone  to play! All the pianos hit the streets tomorrow, Friday, September 27. Here’s the map, with a lot of pianos already in their locations; click on the icons to see the piano and its location!

Field Trip Anyone??

One mom and her son from my studio are already on board to go to this event with me, we were thinking it would be fun to have other students/parents join us, and either taking the train in from Gloucester station, or all piling into a mini van/SUV.

So parents, if you’re interested, contact me so we can plan a mutually convenient date (Sat/Sun); the event runs from Sep 27 through October 14. Adult students, please join us too! And any other friends too! 🙂 Can’t wait, it’s going to be a great piano adventure.

Here’s some pics of some of the pianos out already:

This one's in Boston Common!
This one’s in Boston Common!
And here's the one in front of Berklee College of Music.
And here’s the one in front of Berklee College of Music.
And can you guess where this one is? ;-)
And can you guess where this one is? 😉

Play Me, I’m Yours – The Boston Street Piano Festival includes FAQs on where the pianos will be located (coming out tomorrow) and how you can nominate pianos to be donated to worthy causes.

Street Pianos Boston Coming Next Week

Street Pianos Boston will be in town from Sep 27 through Oct 14. I’ll be going in to play them, if anyone would like to join me—students? 😉 —I’d love to have you come along!

Here’s a video from the Street Pianos event held in London, with an interview of the artist who created this event, Luke Jerram. I especially love the guy singing and playing at the end!

Play Me, I’m Yours – The Boston Street Piano Festival includes FAQs on where the pianos will be located (coming out next week) and how you can nominate pianos to be donated to worthy causes.

“First Days of Fall” Piano Lesson Special!

Sign up for 4 free trial piano lessons with Julie Cleveland!

Limited Time Only! Trial Lesson Period: September 30 – October 26 only.

Trial is available for kids, teens, and adult learners.
Four weekly* 30-minute or 45-minute lessons.
Lessons must be taken in four consecutive weeks.

Timeslots Available for Trial:
Currently, there is only one 30-minute-lesson trial lesson period timeslot left, which is for ages 5–7 (K–2) only.
Limited 45-minute lesson timeslots available for the trial lesson period; 45-minute lessons are required for ages 8 through adult.

Acceptance into the trial lesson period is contingent on initial interview to determine whether the student and teacher are a good fit.
One book for young learners will be required, and is available for sale in the studio at the first lesson.
If continuing after the trial period, students can choose from timeslots that are still available; those timeslots may not necessarily include the timeslot the student is currently in for the trial.

Contact Julie Cleveland here for more info about the First Days of Fall Special!


Seniors, it’s never too late to start…

The other day I was in my local drugstore, Conley’s (family owned!), picking up some stuff for my mom. One of the ladies that works there, greeted me with her usual, “Hi Jul!” and we got to chatting. She didn’t know I was a piano teacher. As soon as she did, and this happens a lot, she launched into her own story about lessons when she was a kid. She told me she had lessons over at the convent, and the nuns would whack her hands every time she hit a wrong note.

If I had a buck for every time I’ve heard this story, well, I could buy myself a really nice cocktail dress! Makes me sad every time I hear it. And then yesterday a nice gentleman came to my studio for his first lesson with me. He’s a senior, already an accomplished trumpet player, but has struggled to learn piano for 20 years and yet has never given up. His story moved me, and in places, saddened me: his last two piano teachers were not exactly kind, understanding, or encouraging. My hope is that I can get him where he wants to be, what his goal is—able to open a book of music and play anything inside. And I’m not interested in getting him to a place in which I think it should be played—which is the approach of many teachers—but that he plays to his satisfaction, not mine.

Music has meaning in our lives whenever we play, whether we are any “good” at it or not. After 43 years of heading to the piano to play or practice, I still get excited heading over. When I sit down in front of the keys, it’s like I’m home, and sitting down with a really good friend. 🙂

I’m adding this link to my site and posting it here: these are wonderful books of beginning music—I use these most often in my studio with beginning adult learners—and are great for seniors either just starting out at, or returning to—sometimes after decades of being away—the piano. You can download examples of the music in Ms. Perez’s books, as well as mp3 files to play along with.

Musical Moments – Recreational Music Making


Article about CAPS @!

A great resource for all things kids and families.
Thank you Kelly O’Conner! for the write-up about my teaching studio on your terrific website.

Piano Lessons for North Shore Children