Category Events

Free Bass Competition Winner!

I went to the American Accordion Musicological Society Festival over the weekend. I competed on accordion and I won the Free Bass competition with my performance of Bach’s Invention 13 from the Two Part Inventions.

There were some very fantastic players young and old at the Festival. I met all kinds of great folks, and I got geared up for the small event I am organizing on May 7th for World Accordion Day.

Check out this video I made while warming up in a stairwell of the hotel before the performance.


 

 

New Impress at Deannas Feb. 2011

Bringing Back the Golden Age

The Golden Age for the musician is the age of radio, night clubs, and the days when people came out to hear live music in places with ambiance. The people, the music, the place. The jazz age. There are still spots and music like this around. Deanna’s in Lambertville, New Jersey is one of those places. Check out some photos of my latest gig with my duo The New Impressionists.

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If you like the photos and you’d like to hear of The New Impressionists, or come out to one of our shows yourself, click on the giant Facebook logo below and become our Facebook friend:

Favorite Things Recap of 2010

I started this out thinking it was going to be a top 10 posts list. But the more I look back, most of them are about me, and thats cool it is called dallasvietty.com. But as I look back I see alot of things I did or experiences I had as a performer or listener that I was really appreciative of. So here is a list culled from my year’s worth of posts.

10. Mazurka Clandestina – The Mazurka, Europe’s tango, in public off the cuff dance parties. So elegant. So connected. So not America. : (

9. Great video from Hot Club at Pastorius Park – Halfway through the year I hooked up with The Hot Club of Philadelphia and blazing guitar leader Barry Wahrhaftig. So far its been 6 months of playing Gypsy Jazz and I’m going strong.

8. Ludovic Beier and Sansom Schmitt – Virtuosity personified. WOW. What a show.

7. Success and Failure at Tedx Philly – My drama of instrument mishap and coping at the Philadelphia Ted Talks.

6. Thriller on Accordion – The fulfillment of a dream. My ultimate plan of remaking Thriller in a graveyard up here in Bucks County with Chris and I replacing MJ et al. However we got close as we performed it trio: accordion, trumpet and iPhone drumbeat.

5. World Accordion Day in the Mojave Desert – It was quite a year for the desert. World accordion day this year was spent in mourning. My mother passed away and so I returned to the homeland. But music is a healing and expressing vehicle for me. And so it was on that day too.

4. Playing duos with Alex Meixner at Musikfest – I wrote two arrangements for Polka Prince Alex Meixner. He’s a force of nature that guy.

3. RIP Art Van Damme – Virtuoso and foremost idol of American jazz accordion style. Art Van Damme passed away this year. I recently learned he was a giant, literally. Super tall. And beloved, in fact at least one festival this year featured an entire hour was taken up by a speaker musing about Art’s greatness, career, recordings and other such fawnings.

2. Selling Accordions for Liberty Bellows – I shall repeat here: I am no Natasha Enquist, although I own her underwear.  And I think I will be doing some more vids coming up!

1. Galliano and Kurt Elling at Lincoln Center – I first posted in January about this upcoming concert. Which happened in May. So I was definitely anticipating for at least five months. What a thrill to see a man sooooo thoroughly musical. THE Richard Galliano.

Accordion News Before the New Year

  • I’ll be playing my New Year’s Eve gig at the historic Black Bass in Bucks County, PA. This year with “The Sound of the Delaware River”, The New Impressionists. And I’ll be playing New Year’s Day for a free show with The Hot Club of Philly down at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
  • Swedish-American accordion technician holds down Accordion shrine in central Oregon. (Hidden lead is prodigal return to accordion after he meets hot girl into tango!)
  • I love it when I come across blogs that do lists of some small genre from some corner of the world. Here is a great list of Norweigan Fiddle music, complete with pictures. Also check out my postings of French Pop music lists, and retrospective of Norweigan pop music.
  • Also, officially as of me declaring it…Myspace fucking sucks. They redid their interface about a month or so ago. And now at the end of listening to a track, you are likely to get an audio ad for some ebay ripoff store that sells electronics!!! ITs crap. BTW I found this out while I was enjoying the work of Frøholm Tillung and Tindra.
  • iPhone apps which are cool: NPR Addict (Free) gives you direct access to tons of NPR shows you never knew existed. And TuneIn Radio (.99) you can search say “Django” and come up with American, Australian, and English radio shows all related to Django. Very Very cool! It works on the road as you drive too!
  • And another thing. If you are brave and have time. Search using Google in other languages, like French. You may get better results. : )
  • SF Gate gets to know Accordion babe Renee de la Prade.

Happy New Year!

I could not be more into this! (Unless I decided to transcribe it, which I have not yet.):

Accordion News Around the Internet Mid-December 2010

  • Check out  South African piano legend Tony Schilder. He died on the 9th.And as this S. African blog recalls, “He was better known, however, as a traveling musician, sometimes riding to gigs on a horse with his accordion strapped to his back.”
  • The Fullerton Accordion orchestra sounds good. Deep in orange county this ensemble can be seen performing the famous Leroy Anderson composition Sleigh Ride.
  • Public Radio International covers polka accordion LEGEND Don Lipovac. Great solo playing can be heard on the interview extras here. After you are done listening to Don click the link at the bottom to hear a really good Gypsy Jazz violin and 2 guitar trio.
  • Crazy Italian neo-bop accordionist Simone Zanchini (google bebop duets with Frank Marocco) has a new record out with Croatian Guitarist Ratko Zjaca. Listen here. And read AllAboutJazz story.
  • Indie blog which is bizarre, has an attitude and a blogspot content warning, has a very well written and interesting survey of comtemporary Norweigan pop music from 1961-present. Its a RollingStone-esque article, interesting and picquant.
  • TODAY, Sunday 12/12/10 Teackneck, NJ. Great gypsy/klezmer band. 4pm.
  • Guy Kluscevsek gets 50K Artist Grant money from the Gov’t!

There could be more, but thats enough for today! Enjoy life. And if you are too hard on yourself, try reading Kenny Werner’s Effortless Mastery. What a great book! I really wish I had read it in college. : )

Performance Piece: Makes Perfect, Makes Permanent

-WORK HARD THEN REST-

Photos by Shekinah Rae

One of my hobbies of late has been the science of practicing. Really, the studies by those who choose to understand practice and how it is some who practice succeed beyond others. For a brief overview of my exploring which I think would be helpful to any musician: the 10,000 hours/10 years theory, 10+2×5, The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, and most influentially the 1993 study The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance.

When my girlfriend, Fluxahedra, asked me to participate in an art show she was curating I agreed, and did not immediately know that my piece was going to synthesize my appetite for this new knowledge about practicing. But that is exactly what happened. Below are some photographs of me performing the piece, but as it was a transient work, and I thought the knowledge and concept were good for many more than were there I have decided to reprint here the quotes I used to project in between video of me practicing, while I practiced in real life for an hour in the gallery.

SPECULATION ON THE CAUSES OF THESE INDIVIDUALS’ EXTRAORDINARY AVILITIES AND PERFORMANCE ARE AS OLD AS THE FIRST RECORDS OF THEIR ACHIEVEMENTS. EARLY ACCOUNTS COMMONLY ATTRIBUTE THESE INDIVIDUALS’ OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE TO DIVINE TO DIVINE INTERVENTION, SUCH AS THE INFLUENCE OF THE STARS OR ORGANS IN THEIR BODIES, OR TO SPECIAL GIFTS. AS SCIENCE PROGRESSED, THESE EXPLANATIONS BECAME LESS ACCEPTABLE.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

IN SUM, THE BELIEF THAT A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF EXPERTISE OR PRACTICE LEADS TO MAXIMAL PERFORMANCE APPEARS TO BE INCORRECT.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

’10 YEAR or 10,000 HOURS’ RULE

SIMON AND CHASE OBSERVED THAT NOBODY HAD ATTAINED THE LEVEL OF AN INTERNATIONAL CHESS MASTER ‘WITH LESS THAN ABOUT A DECADE’S INTENSE PREPARATION WITH THE GAME’

SIMON AND CHASE’S (1973) ’10-YEAR RULE’ IS SUPPORTED BY DATA FROM A WIDE RANGE OF DOMAINS: MUSIC (SOSNIAK, 1985) MATHEMATICS (GUSTIN 1985), TENNIS (MONSAAS, 1985), SWIMMING (KALINOWSKI, 1985) AND LONG DISTANCE RUNNING (WALLINGFORD, 1975).

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

IN THE ABSENCE OF ADEQUATE FEEDBACK, EFFICIENT LEARNING IS IMPOSSIBLE AND IMPROVEMENT ONLY MINIMAL EVEN FOR HIGHLY MOTIVATED SUBJECTS. HENCE MERE REPETITION OF AN ACTIVITY WILL NOT AUTOMATICALLY LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT IN, ESPECIALLY, ACCURACY OF PERFORMANCE.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

WORK VS. PLAY

…DELIBERATE PRACTICE WOULD ALLOW FOR REPEATED EXPERIENCES IN WHICH THE INDIVIDUAL CAN ATTEND TO THE CRITICAL ASPECTS OF THE SITUATION AND INCREMENTALLY IMPROVE HER OR HIS PERFORMANCE IN RESPONSE TO KNOWLEDGE OF RESULTS, FEEDBACK, OR BOTH FROM A TEACHER.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

MOST IMPORTANTLY

FINALLY, DELIBERATE PRACTICE IS AN EFFORTFUL ACTIVITY THAT CAN BE SUSTAINED ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME EACH DAY DURING EXTENDED PERIODS WITHOUT LEADING TO EXHAUSTION (EFFORT CONSTRAINT). TO MAXIMIZE GAINS FROM LONG-TERM PRACTICE, INDIVIDUALS MUST AVOID EXHAUSTION AND MUST LIMIT PRACTICE TO AN AMOUNT FROM WHICH THEY CAN COMPLETELY RECOVER ON A DAILY OR WEEKLY BASIS.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

FROM OUR SEARCH FOR IMMUTABLE CHARACTERISTICS CORRESPONDING TO INNATE TALENT, WE CONCLUDE THAT INDIVIDUALS ACQUIRE VIRTUALLY ALL OF THE DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS OF EXPERT PERFORMERS THROUGH RELEVANT ACTIVITIES (DELIBERATE PRACTICE).

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

CONCLUSION

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT BECAUSE EXPERT PERFORMANCE IS QUALITATIVELY DIFFERENT FROM NORMAL PERFORMANCE THE EXPERT PERFORMER MUST BE ENDOWED WITH CHARACTERISTICS QUALITATIVELY DIFFERENT FROM THOSE OF NORMAL ADULTS.

…WE ARGUE THAT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EXPERT PERFORMERS AND NORMAL ADULTS REFLECT A LIFE-LONG PERIOD OF DELIBERATE EFFORT TO IMPROVE PERFORMANCE IN A SPECIFIC DOMAIN.

the role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance

RANDOM

STUDY OF VIOLINISTS CONCLUDES BEST MUSICIANS PRACTICE 90 MINUTES  AND THEN REST. NO EMAIL, NO CLEANING. JUST REST.

RANDOM

TONY ROBBINS (MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER) URGES ALL WHO WANT TO IMPROVE IN A GIVEN AREA TO RECORD AND MEASURE.

RANDOM

IN THE AREA OF OFFICE WORK THERE IS A STRATEGY POPULAR TODAY CALLED 10+2X5. THIS IS A STRATEGY TO EFFECTIVELY AND WITH CLARITY, KNOCK THINGS OFF A LIST, OR ATTACK STRONGLY SPECIFIC ASPECTS OF A GIVEN PROJECT. THE STRATEGY IS TO WORK ON A GIVEN TASK WITH MAXIMUM EFFORT FOR 10 MINUTES. THEN TO REST FOR 2 MINUTES TO REGAIN AND REJUVINATE. AND TO THEN REPEAT THIS 4 MORE TIMES FOR A TOTAL OF 5 REPETITIONS. THIS CYCLE ADDS UP TO AN HOUR. AND THEN YOU HAVE EFFECTIVELY WORKED ON A TASK AT MAXIMUM EFFORT FOR 50 MINUTES. IT IS VERY POPULAR BECAUSE IT WORKS.

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Success and Failure at TEDx Philly

How do express myself in this post? I guess I’ll share my feelings and the drama of suceeding and failing in one wonderful, big day. First off I will say that the Musette Group performed wonderfully. We took the stage just between the breaks from 11-11:30 and covered the crowd in Musette waltz. They loved it! Read this great interview of me after our performance by Joe Petrucci on FlyingKite Media.

But my other engagement at TED was not to be. I was to play a solo piece. An original composition, of which is mentioned in this City Paper article. The night before my performance, I was struck by a calamity. As I was running through my piece at about 8:30p, I pressed a bass button and the note did not stop playing. It was some sort of leaky, broken bass note that annoyed me like a brake pad gone too close to the disc. This constantly playing note did not stop when I changed register switches, nor when I ran through all of the bass buttons. The inside of the bass machine is a thing of wonder, and I know my limits of repairative ability.  I was exhausted from preparing and teaching all day long. I had to wake up at 5:30 the next morning. There was no time for this. I quickly contacted a friend and she lent me a wonderful accordion but which ultimately was of no help. As I changed the straps from mine to hers and let loose a first performance, then a second slower, then a thrid, the bass notes were smudged, the treble articulations where not as tremendous, the register switches were halted by location. I sat and thought. I had prepared for months on this piece.  To be performed at such a wonderful event. The limits of the event were that I had to perform music I had the copyright to, so I couldn’t just do one of my solo musettes. As I woke up the next morning at 5:15a I knew I had to make the decision not to perform. To let down my obligation of which the organizers were so looking forward to, of which we had agreed upon so early in the scheduling for speakers. Of which they created such beautiful promotion for me. I wrestled with the idea, and then I called the organizer. I am sharing  this on my blog because I feel like it is necessary to talk about the limits of artistic preparation and also the ability of a performer to say, no.

I was limited by my intense preparation on my particular instrument. With which I managed and finessed every phrase, every rhythm, and especially every register switch. But with less than 7 hours including sleep between accordions, I could not manage to produce the art that I had set my heart to. And that was my decision. Many years ago my friend told me a flaw of artists/musicians is that they will always give. They will give to the point of being over worked, pulled too thin, or unprepared. And it is this feeling of giving and the obligation I made which filled me with such guilt. After I arrived and set up my equipment for the Musette Project performance, I was whisked away to the green room with all of the other speakers. And there the wonderful nimbus of TED engulfed me. The speakers excited and a little nervous, engaging each other, introducing, lubricating their vast engines of ideas. I had several conversations with these wonderful presenters, their side telling me of the truly fascinating work, and upon my telling of my immediate accordion malfunction, they reply, “well what are you going to do?” This is the TED personality, the personality of conquering, and creatively working through it. And yet I stayed there, unswayed in my protection of my work. In the prohibitive unveiling, the egotistic artist feeling guilty, like had I only prepared more, I could have accomplished this on the borrowed accordion. But knowing deeper that I had done enough, and on this occasion solo performance of my art was really foiled. And that is life, that is how it goes sometimes. There are ideal situations, there are the actual situations of performance, and then there are accidents that happen.

Come Out To Accordion Day – 11/7/10

BE PART OF THIS PHOTO

November 7th Festival Features
Grand Opening for the Newest Club in Town
Acme Button Box Club
of Acme Accordion School
Tex Mex, Zydeco, Cajun, Louisiana Styles of Squeezing

Sunday – November7th will be an exciting day for
Delaware Valley Accordionists, Acme Accordion School and residents of
Haddon Township.

Acme Accordion School kicks off its NEW Diatonic-Button Box Club After todays festival, the new Acme Button Club will meet each Friday evening beginning at 8 PM
All events to be held at Acme Accordion School & Musikgarten:
322 Haddon Ave., Westmont, NJ 08108

Today’s festival will begin with a 10:00 AM workshop presented by Stanley & Joanna Darrow on the Art of Practicing a Musical Instrument. Benefits derived from musical involvement will be discussed. These include the long term physical, emotional, and social skills.

The ANNUAL ACCORDION DAY PHOTOGRAPH will begin assembling at NOON.
All attendees are requested to participate in the photo. Bring an accordion if you have one!!!!!!!

1:00 PM will bring forth a diversity of accordion styles thru performances of the Westmont Philharmonia Accordion Orchestra, Westmont Accordion Clubs, the ACME Accordion School Junior Band, Preparatory Band and Musikgarten Ensembles.

Invited featured guests are being scheduled to perform program sections…

Rik Kaplan from Washington DC, is a well known figure to area accordionists. He has performed extensively during the AAMS Conventions. His feature is Button Box and its related music styles, Cajun, Zydeco, and Louisiana styles will be presented.

Dee Langley performing accordion artist from Minneapolis, Minnesota will present specialty ethnic music of the Balkan countries with its exciting mixed meters.

Additional guest artist are being arranged. Thomas Groeber-Bavarian Specialist from the Philadelphia area will be performing on his Havlecek Diatonic Accordion

Throughout the day from 9:AM till 4:00 PM, there will be performances as well as an accordion market where anyone who has an instrument they would like to display for sale may do so. Call Stanley Darrow 856-854-6628 to make arrangements. This must be pre-arranged, as there is only room for 20 – 25 accordions in the Accordion Mart.

This event is open to the public and FREE of CHARGE
A Free Will offering is graciously accepted and will be placed in the ACME SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

FOR MORE INFORMATION – please call – 856-854-6628 Joanna Darrow.

Ludovic Beier in MARYLAND and Philadelphia Gives Accordionist to Cirque

  • Classical accordionist Lidia Kaminska has taken a soujourn from her Philadelphia base to join the Circus. THE circus. Cirque du Soleil’s show Allegria. Nice little Q&A interview with her on the philly.com blog.
  • Angelo Debarre’s tour is cut short by tendonitis, what a real shame, wish him a quick recovery. But, the show goes on: AMAZING French swing and Gypsy accordionist Ludovic Beier will be with Samson Schmitt (filling in for Angelo) on guitar, Doudou Cuillerier on guitar and Antonio Licusati on bass at Windsor Hall in Cumberland, MD. On FRI Oct. 1st, 2010. 8p. Call The Book Center for tix (301) 722-2284.

Accordions Around the Web

  • Guy Klucevsek, renowned avant-folk accordionist, will perform as part of Whitney Museum’s song marathon.  Great story on it from Staten Island Live.
  • New album by Claudia Quintet, whose core membership includes accordionist Ted Reichman, reviewed on hipster blog Pitchfork.
  • Polka great and working-est man in Polka, Alex Meixner, has a blog. I had now idea. I’ve spoken to the guy tons and not once has he ever mentioned his blog. I found it. And he has a great post up on the accordion festival not run by accordionists, which makes it so cool, Cotati.
  • Anibal Velazquez: Cumbia, Rumba, Accordion-Awesomeness. From Knight of the Round Tables (via merry ol Engweb.)
  • A man blogging through a love thing with French music. And with youtube illustrations. (We call this Tube-o-Vision.)