Sunday, December 18, 2005

Linus and Lucy

This is the most-requested piece from the Vince Guaraldi collection of music from the Charlie Brown Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Piano Pedagogy Article-mania!

Today was a nice eventful day as it relates to piano pedagogy publications. I stopped by the School of Music today to drop off my students' grades, and also have a nice holiday lunch with fellow GAs, faculty, and staff. In my school mailbox, I received my copy of the Winter 2005 issue of Keyboard Companion. Yay, I got to see my article(s) in print finally. It really was cool to share some published real estate with Paul Sheftel. I officially met him at NCKP this past August, and you couldn't have met a nicer guy.

I also got home to find the December/January issue of American Music Teacher in my mailbox. I was wondering where it was. Over the weekend, JonE from Piano Pedagogy Plus posted an announcement about my software review showing up in this magazine, but I hadn't received my copy yet. By the way, if you haven't checked out the Piano Pedagogy Plus Forum, you really should. It's a great place to share teaching ideas as well as help some students out from around the world.
So back to the AMT magazine! I immediately skipped to the Reviews section (I promise I'll read the rest of it after I get done posting here!), and there on page 76 (kind of buried in the back of the magazine, but who cares?) was my review of the Virtual Grand Piano Software.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with the way they came out, and they even spelled my name right!! Seriously, I'm thankful to the editors of both publications for giving me this opportunity, and especially George Litterst of Timewarp Technologies for helping open up some of these doors for me.

Here's a special hello to someone who I haven't heard from in a LONG time (maybe 10 years?)

JACQUES, ol' Temple U piano buddy! Thanks for subscribing through the Feedblitz service. Drop me a line to let me know what you're up to!

Monday, November 28, 2005

O Tannenbaum

This rendition of the Christmas traditional song "O Tannenbaum" or "O Christmas Tree" was recorded on November 28, 2005 with a MIDI keyboard using GarageBand and Virtual Grand Piano software plugin by Art Vista.

I used the Classical Piano Dry patch and lowered the volume level down about 10 decibals to minimize distortion.

This is an arrangement of the Vince Guaraldi rendition from "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Christmas Time Is Here

I play a little Christmas music by Vince Guaraldi to get everyone in the spirit of the holidays. The piano is recorded through a MIDI keyboard on GarageBand using a Virtual Grand Piano software plugin by Art Vista.

You might recognize this piece that was performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio who played all the music for the Peanuts cartoons including A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Beethoven 3rd Symphony for 4 Hands

A performance by me and Julie Knerr. Last year, we played a 4-hand arrangement of the 1st movement from Beethoven's 3rd Symphony ("Eroica"). It's actually not that bad considering the few times that we got together. This was part of a Beethoven Marathon Concert put on by the piano department at the University of Oklahoma. The department will be putting on another marathon concert on Friday, December 2 from 7 p.m. until whenever. The theme this year is music from the Romantic Era.

Here's some technical info on this video podcast. It's about 15 minutes long and is about a 40 MB download, so be patient! It was originally recorded on an analog VHS camcorder, but converted to digital video and processed through iMovie and then burned onto a DVD-R through iDVD.

In order to get it back to a format that I can podcast, I used a free program called HandBrake to rip it from the DVD-R and save it as an MPEG-4 movie. You probably hear some weird drops in sound in this recording. I'm guessing if it was recorded from an original digital source, then it would have came out smoother.

Disclaimer: I don't condone the action of ripping video from commercial DVDs that you do not own.

Monday, October 31, 2005

iMovie Tutorial 4 - Adding Titles

Sorry that it's been a while since I posted one of these iMovie Tutorial video podcasts. This one focuses on adding titles to your teaching videos in iMovie.

Titles are a helpful way to add a text cue to the intended audience to let them know what your teaching segment is focusing on, what kind of students you're teaching, and other useful information.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Schumann Performance Video

This is a 1-minute Video from a concert that I performed on Wednesday, October 19. I played the last piece from Robert Schumann's Novelletten, Op. 21.This is another video podcast to test the ideal settings. It was imported into iMovie HD, exported into a Full Quality DV Quicktime movie, and I compressed the movie in Quicktime Pro with the following settings:

1. H.264 Compression
2. Quality: High
3. Frame rate: 15
4. Bitrate: 71 kbits/sec
5. Frame reordering: yes
6. Encoding mode: multi-pass
7. 320 x 240
8. AAC - Stereo: 44.100 kHz, 128 kbps
9. Fast Start - Compressed header for Internet Streaming

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Clothes for Nio Video

30 seconds with Nio. He received new clothes and shoes in the mail from Grandma and tries them out.

This is also another video podcast test to see what works best. Here are the settings used for this:

Compression: H.264
Quality: High
Frame rate: 30
Key Frame rate: 75
Bitrate: 220 kbits/sec (Optimized for Download)
Frame reordering: yes
Encoding mode: multi-pass
AAC sound/Sample Rate: 44.100 kHz
Bit rate: 128 kbps
Fast Start Preparation for Internet Streaming

See if this works.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

MarioCast: iMovie Tutorial 3

This is the 3rd video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with using iMovie to edit their teaching videos. I go over how to split video clips already in the iMovie timeline, moving those clips back into the clip tray, and trashing those video clips.

This is a Quicktime movie encoded using Apple's MPEG-4 Compression. I recommend viewing it through iTunes 5 and Quicktime Player 7.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New iPod with Video!

Apple Ceo, Steve Jobs, introduced the brand new iPods yesterday. And yes, they do video! Their big selling point for it was that you could purchase and download music videos and current episodes of 'Lost' and 'Desperate Housewives' through iTunes to your computer for $1.99, then sync it to your new video-capable iPod and watch them on the go. No commercials or anything.

I'm more excited about the possibilities for educators publishing MPEG-4 or H.264 movies and then video podcasting them to students.

Jobs didn't really play up the fact that regular everyday people can get their video podcasts out to so many people and that they can watch them on their iPods, but I guess he's got money to be made through big companies like Disney/ABC and the music videos.

You can watch Steve Jobs's always-flashy presentation through Quicktime here.

If any of you gets your hands on one of these new iPods, let me know how the MarioCast and NioCast videos come out on it.

I also wouldn't mind getting one of those bad boys for Christmas, in case you were interested in shopping for your favorite podcaster.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

MarioCast: iMovie Tutorial 2

This is the 2nd video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with using iMovie to edit their teaching videos. go over how to split video clips that you've imported into the clip tray, and how to move video clips from the clip tray into the iMovie timeline.

This is a Quicktime movie encoded using Apple's MPEG-4 Compression. I recommend viewing it through iTunes 5 and Quicktime Player 7.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

MarioCast: iMovie Tutorial 1

This is the 1st video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with using iMovie to edit their teaching videos. I demonstrate basic importing of video into the iMovie application.

This is a Quicktime movie encoded using Apple's MPEG-4 Compression. I recommend viewing it through iTunes 5 and Quicktime Player 7.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

MarioCast: Handycam Tutorial 4

In the 4th video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with the Sony Handycam, I go over how to connect the Sony Handycam to the iMac G5 via the firewire docking station. I also demonstrate basic importing of video into the iMovie application, and tips on using the AC adapter and Lithium Battery.

These are MPEG-4 movies with the H.264 video codec.

It is highly recommended that you view them through iTunes 5 and have Quicktime Player 7 installed.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Sunday, October 02, 2005

MarioCast: Handycam Tutorial 3

In the 3rd video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with the Sony Handycam, I focus on mounting the camera to the Sunpak Platinum Plus Tripod and dismounting the camera in order to eject the MiniDV cassettes.

These are MPEG-4 movies with the H.264 video codec.

It is highly recommended that you view them through iTunes 5 and have Quicktime Player 7 installed.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Thursday, September 29, 2005

MarioCast: Handycam Tutorial 2

In the 2nd video podcast of our series orienting OU Piano Pedagogy students with the Sony Handycam, I focus on the touch LCD screen, recording, and zooming in and out.

These are MPEG-4 movies with the H.264 video codec.

It is highly recommended that you view them through iTunes 5 and have Quicktime Player 7 installed.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

MarioCast: Digital Video Tutorial 1

This video podcast is the first of a series introducing the new digital Sony Handycam to the University of Oklahoma Piano Pedagogy department.

These are MPEG-4 movies with the H.264 video codec.

It is highly recommended that you view them through iTunes 5 and have Quicktime Player 7 installed.

iTunes 5 can be downloaded for free here:

Quicktime 7 can be downloaded for free here:

Thursday, September 15, 2005

NioCast: Journey Down the Street

Take a 2-minute journey down the street with vidcast superstar, Nio! Recorded Thursday, September 15, 2005 in an MPEG-4 format with an H.264 codec.
If you don't have the free Quicktime 7 Player, download it here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)

Ouch is right. Yes, the Eagles start the season 0-1 just like the OU Sooners. The difference is that unlike the stupid BCS system, in the NFL you don't have to pack it in and say we have NO chance of a championship after losing the first game. I think even the Patriots got blown out by the Bills on the opening season game en route to one of those Super Bowl victories.

Here are some game thoughts:

What's the deal with Jeremiah Trotter getting ejected?!? You definitely saw a hole in the run defense yet again with his absence. Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick definitely saw that hole.

How awesome is Brian Dawkins?

When did kicker David Akers become human?

Donovan McNabb did NOT look good last night. He seems to telegraph his passes too much. Why can't he be like Tom Brady who looks one way and finds an open receiver through his peripheral vision? And stop holding on the friggin' ball so long! If no one's open, take off!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

NioCast: He's walking!

Recorded on September 1, 2005. Nio had only taken 2 or 3 steps on his own. Today, he started to get more courage and was able to take more steps on his own.
Pretty quiet birthday that I had this week with the family. Seeing Nio walk more by himself was a good enough gift for me.
Gas prices are out of control. I filled up because I figured that the prices aren't going to stabilize or drop anytime soon. I normally go to Albertson's or 7-eleven to get gas, but they were already at $3.09 per gallon. I know other parts of the country have it worse. $3.00 per gallon at the closest Texaco was the best I could find. The final damage was $25.25. I never paid that much to fill up the good ol' Honda Civic.
I find it kind of insulting to the victims of Hurricane Katrina when I keep hearing the media blame the rising gas prices on this disaster. I'm sure there may be some impact, but there's more to this than meets the eye. That's just the conspiracy theorist in me talking again.
It's interesting that during this video podcast of us getting all jovial for Nio's walking, you can hear the TV discussing the horrible news down in New Orleans.

Friday, August 26, 2005

NioCast: Short Film by Nio

Nio was being extra uncooperative on August 26, 2005. For about one minute he was in a good mood. This video podcast shows evidence of it, even though he was a monster the rest of the day.

Monday, August 22, 2005

MarioCast: Mason's Slice of Life

At Kimberly and Kellie's party, Mason shares a slice of his life in regards to his grandpa's funeral.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stupid things in Oklahoma #1

I keep meaning to keep a log or podcast of stupid things that I encounter in Oklahoma, but I keep putting it off. Well, enough putting off. Now just to be clear, I do NOT think that Oklahoma is stupid. Just that in the 3 years that we've been here, sometimes we encounter some stupid things that boggle the mind sometimes.
So Gina goes to Goddard Health Center to check to see if we made a September appointment for Nio with one of the doctors. Here's the conversation paraphrased a bit:

Gina: I'd like to check to see if we made a doctor's appointment for my son in September.
Receptionist: Can I see your ID?
Gina: I'm sorry. I forgot my ID. But I know my ID number.
Receptionist: I have to see your ID card before I give you any information.
Gina: Can I call you later and check my son's appointment if I give you my ID number over the phone?
Receptionist: Sure. No problem.
Gina: But didn't you just say that you need to see my ID card before you give any information?
Receptionist: Yes, but that's because you're here in person.
(Gina stands there confused - as most of us would if we were confronted by this warped logic)
Receptionist: If you have a complaint, you can talk to my manager.
Gina: No, that's okay. Thanks.

So if Gina had a cell phone and stood there in front of the receptionist and called her and asked her over the phone for appointment info, would they accept that?!?
Don't get me wrong. Dr. Rice has been great for checking out Nio, and Karen the physical therapist fixed my neck last month when it was all screwed up.
Policies are good in most cases, but sometimes we need to take a look and see why they are there in the first place.

MarioCast 17 August 2005

The next bunch of MarioCast podcasts will be special "Back-to-School" editions of the MarioCast. We will hear interesting stories and tales from some friends here at the University of Oklahoma about what they did during the summer.
Today's episode:
Kimberly talks about how her parents discover the wonders of wireless internet.
Courtney talks about his trip to Germany and what a great driver his father-in-law is.

Monday, August 15, 2005

MarioCast 15 August 2005

Here's my first podcast using the Griffin iTalk attached to my iPod! I apologize for the poor sound quality. Sometimes if you speak too loud or too close to the iTalk, then you get a whole bunch of distortion. I'll try to fiddle around with finding the right distance to keep from the microphone.
More rejections from potential employers, including UNLV which sent me a rejection letter thanking me for applying for the Professor of ASTRONOMY position! I also go off on a rant why UNLV "suks".
Kimberly and Kellie are throwing a piano pedagogy party this Friday at their house.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Accord TV Spot

This video podcast is from a TV commercial that I shot for Steve Davis's Accord Piano Gallery in Oklahoma City. I never saw it on TV, but people said they saw it on ABC and the WB networks. Although I stopped by their website and now they're called Davis and Evans Piano Warehouse. So I don't know if he sold it, got a partner, or what. I should drop him a line and see what's up. Looks like he may have dumped Baldwin and went with Pearl River. Guess I didn't sell as many Baldwins as they liked...
My Odeo Channel (odeo/e9cdf2323ae0f4c4)
I also noticed that if you do a Google search on me, my podcast listing on Odeo shows up at the top. So I decided to "claim" my podcast, but in order to do that I have to stick in the above link. I'm not sure how it works, but let's see if it does.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Technology on Center Stage

Hi again from Chicago (Oak Brook, Illinois to be precise). This is another special experimental podcast. This is the first podcast of one of the presentations from the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.
Timothy Hester presents an "informance" in which MIDI and reproducing technologies like the Yamaha Disklavier are actively used to enhance artistry and effectiveness in practice, performance, and pedagogy.
I probably should have asked permission to record people first, but hey, it's all for the sake of education. Dr. Magrath is ill at home and might even want to hear what she missed!
Pardon the sound quality as I recorded this from about the 4th row with my Powerbook G4. You can even hear me typing notes on the keyboard as the recording goes on. I really could use an external microphone.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Arrived at NCKP

I arrived in Chicago without any bad incidents. I'm at the National Conference of Keyboard Pedagogy at the DoubleTree Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois. I'm at the keynote address where Marvin Blickenstaff is addressing the audience (Isn't wireless access cool?). He stated that there are 300+ people who registered for this pre-conference seminar. Both Louise Goss and Sam Holland were recognized. We're going to break up into 3 separate seminars, and I'll be going to the seminar for Collegiate Teachers of Piano Pedagogy, subtitled Preparing Pedagogy Students for the Future. I got to meet up with Kimberly, Kellie, and Julie at the registration area. Maybe we'll do a podcast later if we find some free time, although the schedule looks packed.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Good ol' fashioned blog post

I haven't posted here for a while, so I figured I better do so. No podcast, just text. If I get time, I'll make an audio podcast this week. I think I have some quality material to constitute making a podcast. I'll probably have a segment called "Stupid things in Oklahoma", because there sure have been a lot of stupid things I've heard about especially as it relates to the good ol' university.

Some bad news on the job search. I got rejection letters from William Carey College in Mississippi, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Heidelberg College in Ohio. It's not exactly boosting my confidence to get passed up by these schools. I'm still holding out that I might get a call from Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania, but I know that their committee met about a week or so ago. So that doesn't bode well.

I'm heading to Chicago in about a week for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Although this probably won't be the party trip that MTNA in Seattle was, I think it might be good to just recharge the batteries and gain some confidence. I'm supposed to help George with his multimedia recital. He's been really good to me since I met him in Seattle. Thanks to George, I'll have an article published in Keyboard Companion for its Winter 2005 edition, and he set me up to be a reviewer for American Music Teacher. I'm supposed to review some virtual piano software. No money for these gigs, but hopefully it will get my name around and someone will notice.

Lot of people getting more into blogging. The Dude, Slab, or whatever you want to call him just started his blog. My brother, Mike, just got his blog up at Looks like he's going to start podcasting too, as I tried to talk him through some of the steps on and Feedburner. It's amazing that podcasting seemed so difficult about a month ago, but once you understand the whole RSS concept, it's not so bad. I cleaned up my Safari RSS feeds in my bookmarks bar, so that it only includes NHL, Flyers, and Eagles news. It makes getting those news articles a lot easier, especially since there's been a flurry of news from the NHL since they got back in business. Thanks for the memories, John LeClair. He provided lots of great moments when he was in orange in black.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Mom's B-day Video Podcast

Here's a Quicktime Video Podcast of Mom's birthday on July 12. This was compressed using the old H.263 codec to see if it will play in the iTunes music store. If it works, then we'll see if we can bump it up to the new H.264 codec. This clip is only about a minute long and 4 MB. Gina and Nio sing Happy Birthday to Mom while I play the piano.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Published on the iTunes Music Store!

Woo hoo! Those lovable geniuses at Apple came through. They actually published my podcast on their music store! Now I HAVE to come up with some decent content. I'll also have to find a different picture than the one they use for artwork there. The one on there now is getting old, but probably the only half decent one I have.

Here are screen caps to prove I got on, just in case one day they decide not to allow us to do this for free anymore. If you do search in Podcasts for "mario", then it will come up (along with some German dude apparently also named mario). It's also listed under the category of Audio Blogs if you don't mind swimming through that scene of chaos.

Also the direct URL to my iTunes music store is:

Stay tuned to figure out what I do next.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Nio Video Podcast test

Here's an MPEG4 video of Nio bouncing a ball. It uses the new H.264 codec that is in Quicktime 7, so if you don't have it, get it by clicking here!

You can now subscribe to the MarioCast podcast through the iTunes music store. Make sure you have iTunes 4.9 installed. You can get it by clicking here.

I'm still not listed in the Podcast directory, but if you go to the "Advanced" menu in iTunes select "Subscribe to Podcast..." and plug in this URL: then you should be subscribed through iTunes and get new Podcasts whenever they're posted!

A reason for this blog post is to test to see if this video will play through iTunes (should show up in the artwork box from what I hear). I'll let you know if it works. Or better yet, you guys let me know if it works!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Mario's Podcast About Nothing

I talk about music, life, sports, and whatever else I feel like. I might even play something.

This Podcasting thing is tougher than I thought. I don't know if it will go through. It really is a jumbled mess how this works. Anyway, at least this link will point you to where the feed for the podcast is. However, it still seems more complicated than it should be. I'll keep on tweaking this. Enjoy if you can.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

How 'bout them Phillies?

So when I was out visiting the folks, Dad set me up with 6 primo Phillies tickets against those lovable NY Mets. Baseball really isn't my sport, but it was nice to finally see the new Citizens Bank Park. Quite an improvement over the Vet (R.I.P). It was nice getting together with The Dude, Spoonman, and Lisa. Gina's mom got her first taste of baseball and noticed how much slower the game is compared to the other sports I watch.

The Phillies got spanked hard, and there were way too many Mets fans there. Urbina stinks. He sent us home after giving up 2 HRs in one inning.

My first Blog

Okay, so I'm finally jumping on the Blog bandwagon. I've been doing the website thing for over 10 years, so I figured I'd give this a try. Actually, the only reason I'm trying this is that I'm interested in getting into Podcasting (not that anyone would want to listen to me anyway!). But from what I've read, you gotta have a blog before you get into it. I have to figure out how to get this RSS feed to publish an mp3 or AAC file. If anyone knows the steps to link those, let me know.
So we'll see how that goes. Don't expect me to get too political here though. I've already read the story of the Google employee getting canned for his blog, so I'll probably just keep comments limited to just music, tech stuff, and maybe wrestling if I feel so inclined.

I might as well test to see if this can upload pics from my computer. Let's start with a pic from our trip on the east coast.