Look for the Silver Lining
is an inspirational phrase that is often used, especially as of late as we all cope with the Coronavirus. Although the origin of the phrase seems to be taken from John Milton's 1634 poem "Comus," the song that Judy Garland made famous is often what comes to our minds! ♫
Our team has been making the best of this difficult time by continuing to engage with music, even if we can't currently share the music in-person with others. As Mallory put it, "[During this season,] we can better our gifts and talents while we have so much time, even though we are taking such a financial hit."
For Mallory this means setting aside practice time for piano and guitar; for Kim this means engaging in "fun, new projects that [she] did not indulge in before because [she] felt the pressure to 'prepare' for [her] upcoming gigs." And for me, this means checking off a "bucket list" item: learning the violin. My husband and dog have been good sports as it's not a pleasant instrument to listen to a beginner play!
I've also had time to release creative energy through learning more about video editing which I never would have pursued without this extensive break. Here's a couple of the fun projects I completed (one as a birthday gift and one for Easter Sunday) and I hope to do more in the future:
I believe we have all been thinking more "outside of the box" lately! Kim specifically shared with our team: "A fun thing I do that I now have time for now is to play with other musicians, but they don't know I'm playing with them! YouTube is such a phenomenal learning and playing tool for us musicians, and I'm having a blast playing some of the new tunes I'm learning with some of the best musicians in the world... I accompany them and we play together. It's most fun if there is a trio or already a duet playing. [Since] I play Celtic harp... playing along with one of the best Celtic harper, an Irish fiddler, and a hammered dulcimer is fantastic fun!"
Many other members of the Lowcountry Pianist & Company team have also expressed a new energy and joy from learning new music. It has been nice to engage in music solely for self-enjoyment and self-growth.
Whether you are a musician or not, we hope you will be able to also find things during this time that bring you joy. Below we have included links to a few of our favorite Facebook groups that encourage a "silver lining," positive approach to this season.
We miss each of you and cannot wait to be back making live music soon!
- Holly Slice and the Lowcountry Pianist & Co. Team
Corona Positive Group: This group is to help us all find the positive in dealing with the Coronavirus. Positive stories and memes are shared to help us all pass the time until the world gets back to normal.
Shower Songs with Josh Groban: We'll just let Josh explain #showersongs himself...
View from My Window: This group has been created to connect people from all around the world during these tough times. Members are encouraged to take a picture from the view of their window to share with others. Guidelines are shared on the page for photo submissions and after the pandemic, a book and calendar will be created to present a photo gallery with all the most inspiring photos.
What is your favorite Facebook group or webpage that spreads positivity?
Share it in the comments below!
PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS AND CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
We know this is an incredibly difficult time financially and emotionally for all musicians, especially performers. As a performance-based music company, Lowcountry Pianist & Company has gone from 50 performances per month to zero performances due to social distancing. This is a tough hit!
VIDEO CONFERENCING TO TEACH PRIVATE MUSIC LESSONS
In order to supplement income, many of our team members teach private music lessons and have moved to teaching online through video chat apps. The extended Charleston, SC, musician community as a whole has been recommending the "Zoom" app to continue their music teaching, music therapy work, and more!
Kim, harpist with LCP, shared "[My son] is doing his karate classes through Zoom and I am teaching homeschool kids at home using this tool... [I like that] it is free to use... and is a way to maintain some income and some continuity and routine for the students."
In this video, Holly Slice (Owner of Lowcountry Pianist & Company) interviews Emilee Johnson (Professional Musician and Music Teacher) to learn more about using Zoom Video Conferencing to teach private lessons. Emilee gives an overview of the app plus features of the app that are specifically helpful for music teachers!
(Video Filmed with the Zoom App Recording Feature)
We are looking forward to "this" passing and everything returning to normal! In the meantime, if you have additional resources to share that would be helpful for others, please comment below ↓
ERIN: CHARLESTON WEDDING VIOLINIST
Erin's Background: As the daughter of a classical pianist, Erin has always been a lover of music and the creative arts. For the past twelve years she has performed professionally for weddings in both the solo and ensemble setting, accompanied praise & worship bands throughout the Charleston area, and has been featured on the albums of local indie artists including Joel T. Hamilton & Mechanical River, Slow Runner, and Run Dan Run. We are grateful that she is a part of the Lowcountry Pianist & Company team and we enjoyed getting to know her better through our recent interview!
Q: What is your favorite quote?
"Only a life lived for others is life worthwhile." - Albert Einstein
Where Words Fail, Music Speaks
As we look ahead to the new year, our team has taken time to reflect on our experiences during 2019. We had the opportunity to be a part of almost 600 events where the power of music was evident. Below we have shared some of our favorite memories from performing at retirement centers, accompanying for local schools, and providing music for wedding ceremonies.
MUSIC FOR SENIORS
"Nathan, [my son], and I were playing at Savannah Grace and there were several of the residents in assisted living present who had pretty significant health challenges. They rolled one elderly lady into the room and she just stared out the window while we played. I suspected she was suffering from dementia, so we just pressed on with our program.
One lady mouthed the words to a Beatles tune while I played, and a couple of folks knew the words to “Can’t Help Falling In Love” that Nathan played on the ukulele. Still, the one lady continued to stare out the window... Nearing the end of the hour, I began to play "Edelweiss," from The Sound of Music. Suddenly, the lady appeared to awaken as she began to sing along...
CLAIRE: MUSIC THERAPIST & PERFORMER
Claire's Background: Claire is a board-certified music therapist who has served the Lowcountry for the last 10 years providing medical music therapy services. Music has always been an important part of Claire's life; her background includes involvement in musical theater, private lessons, church choir, orchestra, band, and opera,
She has an associates degree in vocal studies from Sandhills Community College and a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Appalachian State University. She is a member of the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Society.
Since college she has continued her education, completing advanced trainings in neurologic music therapy and NICU-music therapy. Claire is passionate about the creative arts and having a career that ties in some of her favorite qualities: music, healing, performance, mentorship, and self-care.
Q: What instruments do you play and how long have you been playing each of them? / What is your music background and what inspired you to pursue music?
"I play violin and viola. My mother is a violinist and she started teaching me at the age of 3. I picked up the viola at age 12 and fell in love with the rich, beautiful sound. I prefer to play viola whenever possible. I also play a bit of guitar, mandolin, and piano, but piano is what I am currently working on."
Q: What style of music do you like to play?
"Classical: Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev, Dvorak, Mahler.
Q: What style of music do you enjoy listening to?
"I like listening to classical, folk, world music, and 80's tunes!"
Q: How did you connect with Lowcountry Pianist & Company? How long have you been a part of the team?
"I met Holly [the owner] through a teaching engagement. Since then, I have been part of the team for over two years. I like that the events are so organized and filled with positive energy!"
Riley's Background: Riley is a Board-Certified Music Therapist who works in the Lowcountry with children and adults with disabilities through private practice. Besides her Music Therapy career, Riley is a Certified Kindermusik Educator at Kindermusik of Charleston. She enjoys the blend of music related work that she does in the Charleston area; "there is always a need, and with that you get a nice variety". Riley is passionate about helping others with music and embracing it's natural power to heal. We are grateful that she is a part of the Lowcountry Pianist & Company team and we enjoyed getting to know her better through our recent interview!
Q: Where are you from and what college did you attend?
"I am from a small town in Western New York called Dansville. I attended the State University of New York at Fredonia for my Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy."
Q: What brought you to Charleston?
"I moved to Charleston for a 6-month internship at Trident Hospital. At first I thought that I would move back to NY after the internship, however, I fell in love with the area and I wanted to be away from my home and get to know who I was. I then was offered a job with a private practice here in Charleston doing music therapy plus a position with Kindermusik of Charleston working with children in early childhood music classes. Later on that year I joined Lowcountry Pianist & Company!"
Q: Top 3 Favorite Books or Movies?
"Tough one - I have so many! I like a variety from romantic movies and books by Nicholas Sparks to scary and crime movies!"
Q: How is your name pronounced?
"[Kur-Stin]... I think people get various versions of my name because of the actress Kirsten Dunst. Her name isn't pronounced like mine."
Q: What is your favorite genre to play?
"I love playing impressionist music. The sounds blend together making it sound like a water color painting. It's not technical like classical, so I can feel a lot of emotions with this type of music."
Q: What is your favorite piece to listen to?
"I love listening to Addison Agen's rendition of Humble and Kind. It's a good reminder that no matter what is going on, I can always go back to where I started."
Q: What inspires you to continue to pursue music?
"The people that I have played for are the people that inspire me. I don't play music for myself. I do it for other people, and if I can bring a smile upon someone's face with my music, it makes it all worth it."
Q: What is your goal in life and what drives that for you?
"My goal in life is to be able to help kids achieve success through their passion. I have been blessed by numerous people who believed in me, and they have given me opportunities I would only dream of. I want that for others."
ANDREA: PROFESSIONAL CELLIST
Andrea's Background: Andrea has been the Director of the Orchestra, Piano & IB Music at James Island Charter High School since 2007. The Piano program was established in 2008 and has grown to be the largest, most successful in the Southeast Region! A native of Miami, Florida, she has her Masters Degree in Music Education from the University of South Carolina where she was the Graduate Assistant of the USC String Project. Andrea earned a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education with a double-principal in piano and cello from the University of Miami. Andrea appears as featured solo cellist throughout the Charleston area in a multitude of settings and is known for her classical-style playing as well as her ability to improvise in a less standard setting. We are grateful that she is a part of the Lowcountry Pianist & Company team and we enjoyed getting to know her better through our recent interview!
Q: What is your favorite quote?
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
- Aldous Huxley
Q: Name Your Top Favorite 3 Books / Movies:
"Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
The Count of Monte Cristi by Alexander Dumas
Meet Me in St. Louis (Film Starring Judy Garland)"