Thursday, August 10, 2006

Melecio Ajero (1933-2006)

I'm going back home to New Jersey, but it's for a reason that I wish wouldn't come. According to my brothers, my dad suffered a stroke yesterday August 9 and passed away sometime around 11:30 p.m. He was supposed to celebrate his 73rd birthday on August 14. It hasn't really hit me yet, possibly because of the geographic distance between us. But I know when I see him for the first time in over a year and also for the last time in my life, the emotions might come pouring out and I might lose it.

I know this isn't a piano-related post, but my dad was really instrumental in shaping me to be the pianist that I am today. He would always push me so hard to practice when I was young, always checking on whether I practiced after he got back home from work or was just messing around. Unfortunately, it was usually messing around, so he'd sit there in the living room and watch me to make sure that I did practice piano. And if he didn't do that, then I probably wouldn't be where I am today. I wish that I was able to actually tell him that. However, he was never one for all that warm-hearted talk. Even though he spoke with very few words, I can tell that he cared for his family by his actions and how hard he worked to provide for us.

Dad was one of the toughest guys I ever knew. I hope that I can exhibit even just a little bit of that character in raising my family.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

GP3 Forum with Tony Caramia

Just finished the Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy (GP3) Forum, and what a wonderful experience it was. I did a presentation on Podcasting during the lunch break of Day one, and I thought maybe 5 people would show up if I was lucky. It turns out almost EVERYONE showed up and squeezed into the piano lab where I was presenting. What was even cooler was the amount of nationally-recognized piano pedagogues who attended my session as well, such as Sam Holland, Sylvia Coats, Andrew Hisey, and Tony Caramia.
Tony Caramia, from the Eastman School of Music, showed a particular interest in podcasting and was kind enough to record an impromptu podcast with me. In this podcast, he treats us to a snippet of "Get Happy" by Harold Arlen on the piano. If you really dig Tony's arrangement and performance, be sure to check out his new solo jazz piano CD entitled "Tribute". You can find out how to get a hold of it on his faculty website at Eastman. Tony's performance is set to photos highlighting the first day of the GP3 Forum. To learn more about GP3, go to
Many thanks to to all the teachers who made my presentation a success, as well as making the whole forum a success.