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Keep Up-To-Date with the Student/Parent Portal

  Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by Mary O'Connor | parents

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The O'Connor Music Studio features fully functional parent/student portals. These are a great way to share information with you, save time, and add value to your lessons.

The student portal provides you with:

  • Student’s calendar with upcoming lessons and events
  • Student’s repertoire
  • Student’s practice log
  • Family’s account and invoice information (only visible to parents/adult students)
  • Access to your download library and a list of borrowed items
  • View student's attendance
  • Track student's practice time and leave notes or questions from the practice session
  • Add and track their repertoires
  • View their email history
  • View Mrs. O'Connor's contact information
  • Keep up-to-date with studio news

Students can also join and cancel lessons based on the OCMS studio cancellation policy.

Using the student portal is completely optional, but highly recommended.

How do I join the Student Portal?
 
To join the student portal your teacher will send you your login information. Once received you will be able to access the student portal and all of its features.

How do I cancel a Lesson?
 
To cancel a scheduled lesson simply click on the lesson or event in your calendar and click “Cancel Attendance”. You can optionally leave your teacher a note about why you are canceling in the provided “Note to Teacher” dialogue box.

How do I register for an Open Lesson Slot?
 
To register for an Open Lesson Slot click on the event or lesson on the calendar as select “Register”. A dialogue box will appear asking you if you “are you sure you want to register for this Open Slot?” Click “Yes”. If the lesson or event you are trying to register for is a recurring event, choose the dates you would like to attend.

Check your email for information about logging in!

Vivaldi's Spring on Piano Maestro

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | piano maestro

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Vivaldi, one of the greatest baroque composers, has a very interesting story. He ran an orphanage in the 18th century in Italy that became famous all over the western world for its musically talented children. A lot of his pieces were written for specific children in his school. Vivaldi learned the violin from his father, and was trained as a priest. He was nicknamed "the red priest" for his red hair and was apparently somewhat sure of himself, having claimed once he can compose a concerto faster than it can be copied.

Vivaldi wrote over 500 pieces, most of which are lost today. He is considered one of the greatest musical landmarks in history, having inspired many composers that followed him, including J.S.Bach and others.

Other fun facts about Vivaldi can be found here.

Vivaldi's Spring is available on Piano Maestro, which is available to my students free of charge.



Van Cliburn, American Classical Pianist

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | pianists

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Van Cliburn was just a pianist much the way Neil Armstrong was merely an astronaut. Simply put, the tall Texan's musical talent and successes were out of this world.

Cliburn, who died Wednesday February 27, 2013 at age 78 at his Fort Worth home due to complications from bone cancer, was 23 when he strode into Moscow for the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition, created to showcase Soviet cultural superiority.

Playing with unerring precision and sublime emotion, he took the top prize and was given a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan, the first and last time a pianist won such an honor.

"Imagine galvanizing the attention of the entire world in the pre-Internet, pre-global TV year of 1958," says Howard Reich, who got to know the Texas-based pianist while researching his 1993 biography, Van Cliburn. "As a Texan, he was so emblematic of the United States. But the Russians fell in love with his romanticism."

In many ways, however, that seminal performance both made his name and sealed his fate.

The pieces that won him the competition — Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 and Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 — sold countless records (his Tchaikovsky No. 1 was the first classical record to sell more than a million copies) and became required concert staples.

"Playing on that treadmill for the next 20 years led him to burn out, and by 1978 he looked terrible and bowed out of public life," says Reich. "He was a gentle soul, and that harsh public spotlight had a negative effect on him."

It would be nine years before Cliburn performed again, at the White House for Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Although he made occasional appearances in the following decades, he spent most of his time overseeing his foundation and a quadrennial competition that bears his name.

"I can't think of anyone who has done more to help promote the instrument and young performers than Van," says Cliburn's friend Yoheved Kaplinsky, chairman of the piano department at New York's Juilliard School of Music, which Cliburn attended. "He was an icon in Fort Worth, and a person of great humility."

Born Harvey Lavan Cliburn Jr. in Shreveport, La., Cliburn started piano lessons at age 3 and immediately showed prowess under the watchful eye of his mother, who had trained on the instrument under a teacher who had studied with Franz Liszt.

After moving to Texas, Cliburn played with Houston's symphony at age 12, and at 17 entered Juilliard. At 20, he performed with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall, setting the stage for his triumphant coup in Russia.

No one can imagine a ticker-tape parade for a pianist in this era, but in Cliburn's heyday he was as much an inevitable cultural icon as he was a reluctant political figure. In the late '50s, the Cold War was raging, the Beatles were still practicing and classical music still held sway.

But what truly made Cliburn unique was the humble ease with which he went about seducing the alleged enemy.

"Van marched in full of the musical values of the Old World, full of tremendous sincerity and with a remarkable ability to connect with audiences," says Kaplinsky. "He may have transcended the boundaries of the art world and breached into the political world, but foremost Van was a consummate artist."

That artistry is on display in various YouTube clips of Cliburn reprising his competition-winning form in Moscow in 1962. The pianist's eyes are often closed as massive hands fly across the length of the keyboard. Utterly lost in the music, Cliburn seems almost oblivious to his audience.

"He had more of everything," says Reich. "More height, more smiles, more sweep on the piano."



In his later years, Cliburn collected the usual array of awards accorded cultural heroes. A Kennedy Center Honors tribute in 2001, a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003, and in 2004 Russia's equivalent, the Russian Order of Friendship. In 2004, there was a predictable Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1994 a less-expected guest appearance as himself in the TV cartoon Iron Man.

On the personal front, Cliburn was a devout Baptist but also quietly gay; in the late '90s, his longtime partner, Thomas Zaremba, unsuccessfully sued the pianist over compensation claims.

Ultimately, Cliburn will be remembered not just as a performer of startling skill, but also as a global cultural sensation in the age of shortwave radio.

"He did something that no one could have ever imagined back then," says Reich. "He was ubiquitous."

Adapted from USA Today

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Pianist Nuria Planas-Vilanova In Concert!

Friday, February 22, 2019 by Mary O'Connor | local event

Pianist Nuria Planas-Vilanova In Concert!

Jordan Kitt's Music is proud to host a solo piano recital by pianist and Jordan Kitt's Music School teaching specialist Nuria Planas-Vilanova in the recital hall in Fairfax, Virginia.

Núria was born in Barcelona, Spain and began learning music theory and piano at a young age. She studied both at the Conservatori Municipal Superior de Musica de Barcelona for ten years.

She also studied piano in Germany with Stanislav Rosenberg for an additional four years. Since moving to the United States she has continued her classical piano studies with renowned Russian pianist Nikita Fitenko. Núria competed in her first Washington International Piano Festival Competition in 2017, and looks forward to competing again in 2019.

Nuria is currently welcoming new students to the Fairfax teaching studio.

Her repertoire for the concert will include works by Chopin, Debussy, Schubert and Scriabin. The concert is free but seating is limited, so reserve your space now or call 703-573-6070 for more information.

Sun Feb 24, 2019 at 2:00 PM

Fairfax Showroom 
8500 Lee Highway 
Fairfax, VA 22031 
(703) 573-6070