Technology

My CD Project: Favorite Piano Classics for Students

Here is a peek at the project that has been occupying my spare time for the last two months:

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In November, I got the idea to record myself playing some classical pieces that I were my favorite to learn as I was growing up.  I thought it would make a nice Christmas gift for my family, friends, and piano students.  The project turned out to take MUCH more time than I had originally anticipated, but I am very pleased with the outcome! 

First, I dug out my old piano books and chose 18 pieces.  Using my Zoom H2 (a great little device that has since been superseded by newer models, such as the Zoom H2n and the Zoom H4N), I recorded myself playing the pieces on my piano in my studio.  I also decided to take video with my Nikon DSLR as well, so that I could later sync the audio with the video and put the files on YouTube.  (I haven’t done this part yet — this will have to wait until January.)

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Every few days, I recorded a few pieces.  Each piece required multiple takes until I captured a performance I was happy with.  I wanted a near-perfect take for each piece, because I do not have advanced audio editing skills to be able to correct mistakes like the pros do.

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Once I had captured all of the takes, I had to learn how to do some basic audio mastering.  A colleague of mine gave me some tips for EQ-ing the audio, adding reverb, and normalizing the tracks.   These adjustments improved the audio somewhat, although the recordings certainly still sound like homemade recordings.

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By this time, Christmas was nearing.  I had originally planned to burn all the CDs myself.  When I added up the list of people to whom I wished to give a CD, I realized I needed 75!  Burning 75 CDs would take a lot of time, not to mention printing some kind of album art to slip in the CD cases.

That is when I began googling for a CD duplication service.  I discovered a few sites such as DiscMakers.com and OasisCD.com.  The packages were much more affordable than I had expected, even with the inclusion of the CD cases (which would save me a lot of time, energy, and ink cartridges).  I loved the look of the “eco-wallets” at DiscMakers.com and completed a quote.  For about $300 (including shipping), I could get 100 CDs and cases.  $3 per CD was worth it to me!

DiscMakers provided some Photoshop templates so that I could design my own artwork for the eco-wallet as well as the surface printing of the CD.

W138 Joy MorinCMYK2 copyI submitted the audio tracks and artwork to DiscMakers.com.  10 days later, the CDs were in my hand!

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To you, my dear readers, I would like to offer a digital download of the album as a Christmas/New Year gift.  Feel free to take a listen to the tracks and then click the grey “Download” link below if you would like to save the tracks to your computer/device.  You are welcome to use and share these tracks for educational purposes with your students if they are of any use to you.

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You can read the album notes as well as the program notes for the pieces here.

Best wishes this holiday season!

14 thoughts on “My CD Project: Favorite Piano Classics for Students”

  1. Thank you soooo much! I’m very excited to share these with my students. What a wonderful Christmas surprise! The recordings are lovely. Thanks also for all of your wonderful free printables! They have helped me so much as a teacher!

  2. Awesome project! I am new to your blog, but I am a pianist and teacher in the Boston area. I also do recording engineering – next time you do a recording project, I would be happy to help with the editing and mastering if you like! Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

  3. I really love this idea! I thought about getting some of the recordable greeting cards and playing a snippet of a Christmas carol on each one, but it never happened. Maybe next year.

  4. Hi Joy, this may sound odd but how did you secure copyrights? Or are there none? I asked to do a similar project on the organ and my church refused to record anything until I could secure copyright releases from every publisher of every book and for every song in the book. So I assume your selections are public domain—right? Love your choices—most are mine too!!!! Your endearing love of piano and teaching shines forth to the world!

    1. Yes, I had to confirm that all of my choices were in the public domain. I suppose I could have paid royalties to be able to use music that is not in the public domain, but I wanted to keep this project affordable since I planned to give the CDs away. I was not able to choose more recent composers, but I still had plenty of options to choose from!

  5. I did this same thing a few years ago and loved it! I really enjoyed revisiting the pieces I loved as a kid. Yours looks tons better than mine, though! I opted for the homemade version. :)

  6. Wonderful music! These brought back many memories from years ago when you were learning them for the first time. Thanks for the CD.

  7. Thanks for sharing these! What a lovely idea! Thanks for all that you are willing to share – I have gotten so much inspiration from you!

  8. Joy, you are amazing! My mind is totally boggled by all the ins and outs of accomplishing this but you always inspire me. Thanks soooo very much for sharing your accomplishments so freely with the rest of us. God bless you richly in return!:):)

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