January News from Cori Belle

Getting Back in Shape

New Year, new habits! I have started to incorporate some daily habits on my way back to physical and musical shape! Moving a little more each day: tracking steps with a step counter, a couple days a week of weight/resistance training, getting to the piano daily for at least a ten minute read…(which tends to turn into much more!) 

Bach always seems like a good place to start. I’ve been reading through some of his partitas, which are suites consisting of dance movements. They aren’t much more difficult than the preludes and fugues, and are less familiar to me, so a nice change. The thing about Bach is that the independent moving of melodic lines between left and right hands really helps to bring back not only finger dexterity, but also mental focus. The brain is forced to think harder in this scenario than one, say, involving static chords in the left hand and finger gymnastics in the right. The mental exercise is just as important as the physical playing of the instrument, as both must work in tandem to learn and refine the music. 

To prevent injury, it is important to start small – not committing to three-hour workouts/practice sessions when my muscle and brain performance are coming out of holiday mode! Little bits here and there throughout the day, every day, help my body and brain warm up and re-learn what they are supposed to do!

Composer Highlight: Margaret Bonds

I am excited to be diving into some new-to-me music! One piece that I am working on is "Troubled Water," by Margaret Bonds, an American composer (1913-1972). The video above gives a snapshot of her life. I enjoy her fusion of classical, jazz, and gospel elements, and wish she had written more for solo piano (She has many compositions for solo voice and piano). She knew Langston Hughes personally and was inspired by many of his poems. 

You may enjoy her arrangement of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," performed by Kathleen Battle here, and by Veronica Moss, Heather Arnold, and myself at an Indie Musikhaus concert here (scroll down 3/4 of the way to find our version).

Around the Web 

I've found a new blog that I am excited to dig into, starting with these tips on bringing Baroque music to life! 

From the same blog, one pianist's goal for learning pieces in the New Year (2021). 

In honor of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., here is last year's performance of Dr. Stephen Newby's work, Montage for Martin. I had the privilege of playing the Seattle performances of this work at Meydenbauer and Benaroya Halls in the early 2000s, and it is just as relevant today as it was then. Enjoy! 

Upcoming Concerts 

Coming Soon! I am working on some wonderful music to share with you!


This content is from Cori's January 2022 Newsletter. If you would like to receive her newsletters in your inbox, click to subscribe here.

Leave a comment