Thursday, January 27, 2011

new stamped charm samples

Just received the first batch of my new symbol stamps and had to try them out..These will become pendant necklaces and dangle earrings, with the choice to be paired with gemstones(birthstones) or pearls.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Steinway Moving In

A few days ago I posted on facebook about my weekend plans, which included posting new designs. It ended up that I had too many other things on my mind and only listed some 14k solid rose gold hoop earrings on Etsy. I didn't expect myself to get all carried away by my new piano, which was moved in on Monday morning. I spent all Saturday and Sunday working on my new website for my music business, and on Monday morning I practiced on my old upright for the last time before it was officially traded in and taken away by the piano movers.

I took one last picture of my old Yamaha U1.

This was the first time I saw how grand pianos are moved into a home. The piano movers had to take the legs off because the piano was too wide to go through the front door.They put two legs and the pedals back while the piano was still lying sideways on the dolly, and then turned the whole piano 90 degree so it would stand upright on the floor.A thick moving blanket was folded and placed under the piano so it would serve as the temporary "third leg" until the piano movers put the real third leg back on the piano.

After going through the tough moving process, my beloved antique Steinway went seriously out of tune, but I still practiced on it with excitement for a few hours, and also took some pictures for the music website. I have never taken photos of myself using a tripod and timer before, so this is a new experience. I'm sure it can be done a better way , and I really probably should hire a professional photographer to do this, but for now let's just put some "home made" photos up so I get get the new site up and going.

I picked out a few photos and just cropped them and turning them into black and white to make them look more professional and also match the template of my site.Here were a few ones I was deciding on...

In reality I identify myself more with this look -

or this -

and when I  perform in concerts I usually tie my hair up like this(although I still always wear glasses when I am on stage) -

but I ended up using this one, so that basically you can't see what I really look like - 

Here is a screenshot of the website in progress. It's a very simple profile website using wordpress as the platform. I'd like to give special thanks to coding genius Laura at prix-prix for helping me fix a few details on the design -

This is again another new experience for me. I have never used wordpress before, so there was a bit of learning curve for me, but once I got a hang of it, and once everything was set up, it was very easy to manage.

I will upload some of my home recordings on the new site in a few months, when the piano is tuned and when I figure out how to set up my home recording studio. Oh, and of course I need to figure out how to upload the music and make it downloadable for everyone. :)


Sunday, January 9, 2011

My First Grand Piano

It's been a while since my last long update. Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I haven't had time to sort out my New Year's resolution, but I have another news I want to share so we will leave that for a later date.

I have been looking for a grand piano since October, about a month before Mike and I moved into our new house. I was so excited about finally having a big enough piano room to fit a grand piano in it that I just couldn't wait until the moving day to check out some grand pianos at the local music store.

Now, you may be interested to learn a little background about my piano obsession..

I grew up in Taiwan, where most people in the cities live in small, one level condos, and only professional musicians would own grand pianos. Since I had been an amateur pianist until I was 21 years old, there was no point in purchasing one. Also, since there was simply no room in our condo, I never even thought about asking my parents to buy a grand piano for me.

The first time I realized how much I wanted a grand piano was when I had a chance to perform on a Bosendorfer concert grand. That was the first time I played a concert grand piano, and  it was love at first "sound". There was simply no other way to describe it. I was literally in shock that I almost forgot how to play!

A year later, against all odds, I was accepted to the BM program (Bacholor of Music in piano performance) at Birmingham Concervatoroire and started my music advanture.During the whole time I was working on my degree, I felt like Cinderella being invited to the King's palace, totally out of place. My piano professor John Humphreys not only shared with me many old recordings by great pianists, and as a piano collector himself, he also loved telling me stories about pianos (which I always loved to hear).That was when I started to develop a taste for Steinway pianos -- especially the old ones built during the "Golden Age"(early 20th century). 

I did my Master's degree in Music at Indiana University, where almost every practice room has a Steinway grand piano in it. There were also other brands, but other than Steinway, I only seemed to like Baldwin. All of these piano I loved had a distinct rich and warm sound. 

After being in a music school for seven years, I had this dream of having my own Steinway grand piano one day, but I never had enough money nor room for it, so I bought a Yamaha upright to practice on. I suppose psychologically that was never enough for me, so the first thing after I realized I would have a good size piano room at the new house was to search for a grand piano. 

In October, I first went to the local music store, saw a few old Steinway pianos, and only liked one --  and of course the one I liked just had to be slightly out of my price range, so I started searching for pianos from individual owners. I drove all around Charleston, and also checked out a few stores in Columbia. I saw a few pianos that were either newer, cheaper, or larger, but there was always something "missing" that made me feel uncertain about buying them.

I don't know why I always do this, but I do it anyway -- I would think a lot and try out many things, but eventually always come back to the first thing I liked. So, after three months, I went back to the same music store, negotiated with the sales person for a price I could afford, and then bought my first grand piano. It is a 1925 Steinway model L in walnut color. The original owner put a lot of money in it, so not only does it still sounds gorgeous, it is also in great cosmetic condition. It is a dream come true. It's funny, but for the first time I feel like a "real" musician - whatever that means. :)

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