Performance and Instruction
Music "Cheat Sheet"
Favorite Musical Moments
(Quaadudes and the Amphetamen)
Nathan and Lois
Vickers with Kevin Bacon and the Rolling Stones
"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe,
wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and
to everything." - Plato
"If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I
often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of
music." - Albert Einstein
"Musical training is a
more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way
into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting
grace..." - Plato. Republic, Book III.
This shot has nothing to do with music. I just
happen to like it.
I did play the
piano in the lobby of the hotel, though. The Wyndham El Conquistador Resort,
Fajardo, Puerto Rico.
each add. 15 minutes
Lessons for mature
children and beginner
adults looking to learn a simple way to make music on the piano and/or guitar. Rock 'n'
Roll, Pop, Oldies, Blues, Folk and more. (Sorry, jazz ain't me: love it, though.
I love classical music, too, but there are plenty of teachers better than I
might ever imagine to be. Hip hop, rap - you're on your own. Want to learn the
Beatles? Now you're talking!) Let me know what kind of music you want to play
and we'll go from there.
I feel blessed to have been given the talent to "hear"
music. To play "by ear." I have taught many students how to PLAY piano and
guitar. To listen for the chords, to feel the rhythms. It shouldn't be WORK, it
should be PLAY. No scales. No classical. There are plenty of teachers for that.
Pick out your favorite song and let's see if I can teach you how
to play it. Simple.
Call for a free 15 minute consultation at the keyboard or
on the guitar. Most students are playing at least part of their favorite song by the
five minute mark.
Unleash that inner rock
star. Have no regrets.
"It's only rock 'n' roll, but
I like it." - Rolling Stones
My Favorite Musical Moments
- Playing the beginning of Elton
John's "Levon" on the grand piano on the stage of the Stravinski Concert
Hall in Montreaux, Switzerland, home of the Montreaux Jazz Festival.
- Many memorable musical moments occurred on several Windstar cruises. Whether it was sitting in on piano and guitar with the
ships' bands or performing solo for crowds around the piano, I have
had a blast. Tahiti and Bora Bora; Venice to Rome; Caribbean Islands.
Everywhere, people enjoy live music. And I was the guy playing it!
- Playing guitar at the world's most beautiful
campsite. Having a cord of wood piled high next to the big tree, friends
I've known for nearly three decades, plenty of food and drink, lots of stories to tell,
and lots and lots of music. Guitars, harmonicas, shakers, kids with their
songs, singing and so many amazing harmonies and sounds. Around the campfire
in the woods. Perfect.
- Playing background piano at a VIP reception in the
cliff-side restaurant at the Westin Regina hotel in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico,
overlooking the Sea of Cortez with a full moon glistening on the waves and
someone mistaking the Nora Jones cd on the house sound system with my piano
- Jamming on keyboards, guitars (acoustic, electric,
electric bass) and drums in San Francisco's Studio 28 with members of the
legendary Bay Area bands such as "Elements of Style," "The Quaadudes," "The Amphetamen"
and other wonderful musicians.
Singing, harmonizing, jazzing things up/slowing songs down - all great fun.
And all in Chris Isaac's
neighborhood. Special thanks to House of Hermanson Music Factory.
- Jamming at a Fourth of July party
on the piano with a guitar player who plays with Ringo Starr.
- Hearing a nine year-old child play my original music
on her own after listening to me play for her. She's still my friend. She's 29 years
old now, in 2005. I played piano for her at the University of the Sorbonne
in Paris in the early 2000's.
- Learning dozens of Elton John
songs on the brand new Steinway concert grand (9') piano on the stage of the
auditorium of the Student Union building at the State University of New York
at Stony Brook, 1974 - 1977. The Beatles ran a close second to Elton John. Billie
Joel was our local boy - I watched his concert at the Stony Brook gym. What
a cool moment when he yelled "This is my neighborhood!" to the Long Island
crowd back in 1975.
- Keyboards on "Brown Eyed Girl" with "Dr. Feelgood and
the Interns of Love" at a banquet and dance party for 600 people at the
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach in California, spring, 2004.
- Chicago's Navy Pier, at the very end. The piano in
that ballroom. Played there. Ballroom was empty, though. Oh well, too bad.
It sounded GREAT!
- Clicking out "Martha My Dear" on several
harpsichords: My first white/black pluck was at the University of Virginia,
1973. The other one was at Yale. For those who don't like puns, feel free to
pass this next section...
- Lisa Lannan told me her roommate
made harpsichords. [Here it comes, Dave...]. I said, "He must be going
ba-roke." (Pah dum pum, tsssch)
- My dear friend Lisa Lannan, RIP,
and I played the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco on Christmas
Day for Seniors. There were over 1,000 people in the audience, sharing a
turkey dinner and listening to the entertainment. This was sometime in the
early 1980's. I was in a black tux, Lisa was in her white tux. I came out
and played a solo. The piano part of "Layla." Lisa came out after that and
sang. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and Bette Midler's "The Rose"
were a couple of the songs we played.
- I played "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" for
Brenda and Eddie (not the Billie Joel couple) at their wedding at the
Fairmont hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco. The piano on the very top floor
of the Hilton tower in San Francisco also had my fingers on it. Also played in the lobby of the Mark Hopkins
(where I met and talked to Morey Amsterdam - famous cellist and actor). I
played piano in the Borgia room of the Saint Francis, in the Fairmont's Venetian
Room and dozens more throughout San Francisco.
- Played for hours on a beautiful piano in the
California Club in downtown Los Angeles for a wedding reception for 300
people in 2004.
- Singing with my friend, Rene and
his friends, a night or two before his wedding, in a hotel downtown Chicago. "Lady" by Styx and
"Someone Saved my Life Tonight" by Elton John were the hits.
- Playing Boz Scaggs' piano and
checking out the equipment
in his studio behind Slims in San Francisco in 1998.
- Meeting Steven Tyler in an elevator in the Four
Seasons Newport Beach. "You're with that rock band, right?" I said in my
voice. "Aerosmith, man," he said. I said, "Oh, yeah!" ( I did hear of them,
knew of them and liked them - I just froze on the name for the one split
second that I specifically needed it, like on jeopardy or, even more
specifically, on an elevator with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, one of rock's
heavy hitters. "I love your music," I said. Steven Tyler says to
Michael Durand: "Thanks, man." Barely one floor below his comment I said "I
love your song 'Rag Doll.'" I felt at that moment, and still do to this very
day, that I redeemed myself quite a bit for forgetting his band's name by
specifically citing an exact song title. The lead singer of one of the
hottest rock bands on earth was wearing a scarf and had a cocktail in his
hands and, I found out later from a friend, was meeting up with the rest of
the band at the pool. For my "Rag Doll" compliment, Steven Tyler said "Hey,
thanks, man." When the elevator doors opened, we parted ways.
- Farley's 50th Birthday, of course.
Playing keys with the "Hodads" in Mill Valley. What a blast! July, 2005.
- Sitting in at the piano at Brits in
Pasadena, playing quiet background piano as diners enjoyed fish and chips
and cold (not warm) Stella Artois. August, 2005.
- Playing the keyboards poolside on
a gorgeous evening at the Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico. Cocktail
reception for the VeriFone awards banquet for 200 people. 2007.
- Playing background music at the
Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Christmas party at Castle Green. 2007.
- Pianist at the grand piano at a
saki tasting party at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena.
- Background piano music at Kaiser
Permanente's National Sales and Account Management meeting at the Hilton San
Francisco Financial District. February, 2009.