January News from Cori Belle

The Piano: A History in 100 Pieces 

Pianist-writer Susan Tomes has put together a wonderful compilation of mini-essays on 100 pieces written for piano in her newest book. Though not a strictly "solo piano" list, each piece that she highlights contains writing that makes the piano an important figure in the composition - either as "star" performer, as in a piano concerto, or as an equal partner in a collaborative instrumental piece. Tomes' writing style makes this an easy read, with fun anecdotes about composers and historical settings as well as notes on the technical side of things.  

Here's a fun New Year's goal: as you read through this book, make a point of listening to each piece on YouTube or Spotify or your choice of listening platform. You will find some gems and maybe gather inspiration for working on some of the pieces yourself! 

Musical Inspiration 

Here is a wonderful way to start off the New Year. I stumbled on this video via social media the other day. The accompanist is a former mentor-teacher of mine, Dr. Ann Nagell. This performance is part of a concert series held at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, and believe me when I say it is a treat. Melissa has chosen some of my very favorite songs for soprano. I hope you love listening as much as I have!



More Inspiration for the New Year



Ann Wood is a wonderful artist. She dabbles in the sewing world as well as in cooking and painting. Her monthly newsletters are a fun piece of eye candy and often inspire me to go make "something." In this month's installment she reflects on last year's 100 day sewing challenge, in which she made a point of sewing something every day for 100 days. I think she is right on the mark in starting with the discipline of getting to work each day, as routine often breeds creativity. The point is to set aside time each day to do something! 

The video above shows the result of last year's 100 day project. This is what she has to say about it: "This book, this process was full of surprises for me. Daily practice reveals things and it’s an excellent place for ideas to turn up. Ideas like a reliable place to show up."  

Show up! Commit to daily practice and see what creative fruit results!

Favorite Books from 2022 

I continue in my pursuit of great books for kids, and my favorite YA fiction novel last year was Emmy in the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido. It is the story of a twelve year old girl who moves to a new state and school and tries to find where she belongs. Her parents are classical musicians, but although she loves music she is not great at it. She finds her place instead in a computer coding class. Written in poetic form (and Java script!), this is a very clever, inspiring book! 

More fun Young Adult fiction: 

Redwall by Brian Jacques 
Fablehaven books 1-4 by Brandon Mull 
Banner in the Sky by James Ramsey Ullman 

Young Adult historical fiction: 

Words on Fire by Jennifer Nielsen 
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys 

Several Nonfiction favorites last year: 

The Woman All Spies Fear: Codebreaker Elizebeth Smith Friedman and her Hidden Life by Amy Butler Greenfield 
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe 
A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte 
The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America's Deadliest Avalanche by Gary Krist 
The Good Rain: Across Time and Terrain in the Pacific Northwest by Timothy Egan 
The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball 
The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural by Wendell Berry 
Parenting Generation Screen: Guiding Your Kids to be Wise in a Digital World by Jonathan McKee 
A Rebel's Manifesto: Choosing Truth, Real Justice, and Love amid the Noise of Today's World by Sean McDowell

Around the Web 

The writers at Stoney Creek Farm remind us that The Feast is Over! How's that for New Year's inspiration?! As you clear out the old to make room for the new, take time to revisit these healthy habits that may have dwindled over the holidays! 

Jarrod Richey offers some ideas for Expanding Music Enjoyment in Community that you might like to try in the New Year. 

Some good perspective on practicing. And another article approaching practicing as problem-solving

Pianist and writer Susan Tomes shares her favorite books of 2022.


This content is from Cori's January 2023 Newsletter. If you would like to receive her newsletters in your inbox, click to subscribe here.

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