What can I do now?

Last night on “The President and the People” Townhall meeting, the discussion centered on recent violence in the US and improving police/community relations. Toya Graham, who became known as #motheroftheyear last year for pulling her son out of the Baltimore protest, got to speak with the president and ask him a question. She asked “What can I do?” I was so proud of her!

If I was the president I might have asked, “What would you like to say to your neighbors?”
I suspect she would have responded, “Follow my example.”

The president and all of our elected officials are doing what they can. But why should we wait for them? What can we do right now to stop violence in the world? Check on your kids. If they have guns, take them away. If they are misbehaving, remind them how to behave. And show your kids that you love them. Even if you can’t do anything else, tell them “I love you.” Every day.

Get to know your neighbors; at least be polite to them. Offer to help in some way. You never know how much a kind word can deter violence.Maybe this is the best start for true gun control and mental health. Without these things laws and more police probably won’t help.

In addition, we must all be extremely careful about what we post on social media. Misunderstandings and outright falsehoods are often quoted and reposted as truth. Have you gotten emotional about something later found out to be untrue? These false posts and spam emails that are designed to get people overly emotional about something and repost/forward the story may be more harmful to society than we realize. And we can stop it right now without legislation.
Check your sources.

If you read about a new law that seems completely ridiculous, or heathenish horrors happening overseas; do not repost it. How can you be sure someone didn’t just make up the story to get you to click on his story to make money? Posts that denigrate a religion or culture not your own may help you feel superior, until you find out that post was a lie. Don’t act on lies. That literally causes unnecessary violence in thoughts, words, and actions.

Rather than commenting on supposed facts that could turn out to be falsehoods, comment on principles, ideas, ideals you hold to be true. Don’t repost inflammatory articles. Make your own comments on what ideas you think to be truthful and good.
If you hear someone hit so and so, but you really don’t know if it’s true, you may still comment on what you think about hitting.

Posted in philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Piano Damper Pedal

This is a tutorial on some of the special points about the use of the piano’s damper pedal.


Piano pedals. http://kevinweed.com

Pushing down the right pedal of a piano lifts the dampers off the strings so they ring freely.

There are several points along this up and down traveling of which to be aware.

______ 1. The top, when the pedal hits the wood.

______ 2. Where the dampers begin to lift off the strings.

25% down

50% down

75% down

______ 3. Where the dampers have all cleared the strings.

______ 4. The very bottom of travel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The distances will vary from piano to piano. But the attentive pianist will feel and hear these positions as soon as she/he sits down to play.

  • Use the damper pedal between the two inner points to avoid clunking.
  • Listen to the sound with the pedal pushed down half-way; 25%, 75%, 10%, 90% etc.
  • Slowly lift the pedal (float off) to adjust the speed of dampening.
  • Often bass notes may tend to ring with more strength, because of the momentum of the bigger strings. So you can float off treble notes while the bass notes ring through.
  • Hold down a consonant chord while the pedal is holding a cacophony. Then slowly lift the foot off the pedal and hear the sound resolve to the held chord.

Following is a video showing these ideas:

Posted in education, Music | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Music justifies its existence to the extent that it instills harmony in the listener and aids in comprehending the harmony of the universe. – Plato

An interesting aspect of music is that it can give the listener the actual experience of harmony, conflict, resolution, structure and chaos.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Can I Keep From Singing?

   Recently, I was privileged to record an album of inspirational songs with a former student, soprano Alyssa Wills. 
   Here is a link for more information about the cd: http://kevinweed.com/how-can-i-keep-from-singing-cd/
   Although I am the older and more experienced musician, Alyssa took charge of this project. She had a clear vision of what songs would be appropriate to include on this album; and how to present each song, including the approach to my accompaniments. She wasn’t overbearing but gave me complete freedom to create accompaniments that would support the style she wanted. Sometimes I used printed music, other times I could improvise something much more interesting and poignant. It is an album worth listening closely to, and also one you might play softly with a fire in the fireplace, a cup of tea and a good book. 
   Music can seem magical, but often it’s the conscious choices that allow the musicians to do their jobs, really well, so they make a home for the magic. 


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Joshua Bell in the subway

There is a well-circulated story about an experiment that had violinist Joshua Bell playing Bach suites in a New York subway. This got very little crowd response, and only $32, which disappointed many readers of the story. This was an interesting experiment. However, many potentially wonderful ramifications are overlooked in analyses.

You will never know how many people appreciated the music and even were inspired. They were there to catch a subway and stopping was simply not an option; but they still heard the music; and even a little can make an impression. Not everyone likes classical music, violin, or street musicians of any kind; yet this may have opened them up to something new. Still others may have recognized Bell, and Bach, but did not want to interrupt or seem foolish: “what would I say to Joshua Bell?”

Outer recognition, applause and money are parts of the business of music; but not the only parts.

Posted in education, Music | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music and education

Music is a primary subject. It is one of the creative areas in which people take an interest, because they like it and see it as healthy, invigorating, worthwhile, inspiring, wonderful; not because it is a step to something else.
The arts, athletics and all creative areas attract kids and adults because they are enjoyable; they are good to do; good for life. And music provides all the mind-body coordination of sports, without the bodily danger!
While research shows that studying music can strengthen the mind in other subjects, most people want to learn music just because they love music and find it interesting, not for some other reason. So, I am willing to study math, English and history, and work at getting good grades in order to be a better and more successful musician. The musical interest is first and drives the desire to be good in other subjects, so I can get scholarships, get into a better college, better job or whatever.
Music is not in schools to help academic scores, academics are in school to help kids be better musicians and improve growth in all creative areas.
Posted in education | Leave a comment

The Star Of The East

In the West there is a Bible story of wise men, magi, or kings, following the star of the East to the baby Jesus. In the East, the phrase “the star of the East” refers to the light seen in deep meditation, helping to direct one’s focus to greater spiritual understanding.

The Star Of The East, musically follows the magi over the sand dunes on their journey; or your own journey from inspiration to realization. Enjoy this slide show of cards and stamps from my wife’s wonderful company, Stampendous, with The Star Of The East played by Kevin Weed. Find videos and the whole story at: http://bit.ly/TheStarOfTheEast

Happy Epiphany!

Posted in Music | Leave a comment