Monday, February 6, 2017

Truman Walker: A Let's Play Music Foundation for Success

Every year, more and more young musicians graduate from Let's Play Music and go on to further musical pursuits. We love checking in to see what these young people are up to and today we caught up with superstar Truman Walker, winner in the 2012 LPM Composition Contest.

Meet Truman Walker
Truman took three years of Let's Play Music lessons with teacher Tina Gosney in Eagle, Idaho. After graduation, he continued to study piano lessons with local teachers Launette Shaw and then Suzy Clive. Truman says, "Suzy is a very accomplished pianist and an amazing teacher who has taught me a lot. Let's Play Music helped me with the basics so that I could learn really quickly when I started with Suzy and started learning more classical music."
Truman learned that when working on specific piano pieces, attending master classes with different experts like Brandon Stewart, Andrew von Oeyen, Dr. Renato Fabbro, and Jason Lyle Black  really helped him master his work and prepare for competitions.

Truman's consistent work and training has led him to success in several fun and challenging venues, including:

2013 Apple Blossom Festival Music Competition, Payette, Idaho - Junior Division, First Place. Original composition, Good King vs. Evil King.

Treasure Valley Music Teachers Association Sonatina Competition
      - 2014 - Level 4 - First Place
      - 2015 - Level 7 - First Place
      - 2016 - Level 10 - First Place
2016 Meridian Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition, Junior Division (10-14 yrs), Second Place, performing Concerto No. 8 in C Major by W.A. Mozart

2016 Spokane Piano Competition
-Baroque/Classical Division - First Place, Performing Sonata in E Major by Domenico Scarlatti
-Modern/Impressionist Division - First Place, Performing Bagatelle No. 10, Op No. 5 by Alexander Tcherepnin

Question and Answer with Truman

Gina: How do you imagine things might have turned out differently for you if you did not do LPM, if you had just gone straight to your piano lessons?

Truman: Music wouldn't be as fun. I wouldn't have been as excited for just piano lessons. LPM helped me learn how to love music and express myself. LPM helped me do things I wouldn't be able to do, like compose songs. Now I have composed five piano pieces and performed them at different recitals and events.

Gina: Do you ever get discouraged or bored or tired when you are practicing? 
Truman: YES! But I get over it by thinking about why I love it and what I want to accomplish. I also think about how practicing makes my pieces turn out better, and that gives me motivation to keep trying. I practice 2.5 hours every day.  I have to think about my goals a lot so I can keep working hard.

Gina: Wow! 2.5 hours. What does that practice routine look like?

Truman: Ms. Clive has helped me break my practice sessions down into 7 parts. First, I review my goals for the day and list what I want to finish during that practice session. Second, I play through some of my repertoire so I keep my pieces fresh. Third, I work on technique by doing Hannon exercises or "power fingers" to strengthen my fingers, hands and arms. Fourth, I do scales to learn and memorize key signatures. Fifth, I play through LDS Hymns so I can help with the music in my church congregation. Sixth, I practice sight reading and work on musical theory workbooks. Seventh, I get to work on memorizing and playing my major piano pieces that I am preparing for performances, competitions or just for fun to challenge myself.  

Gina: How do you go about writing a song?  
TrumanFirst I think of one main idea and the key signature I want to use. Then I think of things that sound original and I piece them together and smooth them out to make a song. I have written pieces about family trips we've taken and other things. I have also written a song for my older sister who accidentally hit a wrong chord in her piano practice one day. She liked the chord and asked me to write a song using that chord as the main idea. That was fun.
Now I have written 5 pieces. After the LPM composition, I continued to build on that song and it helped me win $50 at the Apple Blossom Festival. Here's a piece I composed called Living Water.

Gina:Can you tell me about one of your musical memories?
Truman: One Sunday night when I was 9 years-old, our family was sitting together in the piano room listening to me play. They started asking me about how I write songs and how the music comes to me. Then my older brother, David, and sisters, Anna Mae & Katelyn, started playing a game with me. They would give me an idea, like 'standing next to a waterfall' and I would play a mini-song for them that created a feeling like they were experiencing the idea they came up with. We did this for about an hour that night and it was a fun memory for our family.

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