Joe Holt's Notes
Joe Holt's Notes Newsletter
Jaunary 2009 
Vol 5 No 1
                       Happy New Year! 
Hope that you and yours had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season, as I did with my family. Technically, it's not over, but once January 1st rolls around, what remains of Christmas seems to be seen most prominently in the rear-view mirror (in which I gaze longingly; not wanting Christmas to end). Much to see ahead, though, and the anticipation is joyful, especially in remembering the proverb: "We may make our plans, but God determines the outcome". And plans I do make, but my trust and expectation lies beyond them. Remaining grateful for your interest, encouragement, and support of this process. Now, here's what's up (as of today):
Joe's Concert Schedule 
TUESDAY 1/6/09: 7pm
Solo piano entertainment concert - featuring jazz and popular standards, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home chapel, Philadelphia, Pa. For info (215)697-8564
Joe has performed in concert for the Phila. Protestant Home retirement residents and surrounding community every other month since 1994 (over 80 performances)! This event is like one big family, where Joe shares personal and family stories, and presents a solo piano concert. Unique among his "venues", this program is an opportunity to enjoy a warm and friendly evening
FRIDAY 1/30: 8pm
Joe performs in concert - "An Evening of Piano Improvisation" at the Church Hill Theatre, Church Hill, Md (410) 758-1331
Joe returns to the Church Hill Theatre, this time to the stage.
An evening of solo piano; from classical themes to popular standards to contemporary melodies (and a surprise or two) - all improvised.
From a recent review:
"The piano man is back. Nobody - and I mean nobody - plays the 88 keys with more fervor than Joe Holt. Leading scientists from around the world concur that it is physically impossible to display any more pleasure than Joe does when he performs. It's borderline selfish, because, as amazing as it is to hear him, he still looks like he's having more fun than anyone else in the room...His animated gestures and facial expressions really serve to capture an audience. It's less like you're sitting in a concert hall, and more intimate, like you've snuck into his living room and are hiding behind the curtain as he plays all by himself."

SUNDAY 2/1: 3pm
Joe performs in concert at the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown (MD)
Joe take this opportunity on the same weekend as his Church Hill Theatre "Evening of Piano Improvisation" concert to share the "spirituality behind the performance". Hymns, Jazz, and improvisational demonstrations are featured. And not to worry, you'll be home in plenty of time for the Super Bowl :)

FRIDAY 2/20: 7pm
Joe performs solo piano for "A Night of Broadway" at the Melwood Church of the Nazarene, Upper Marlboro, MD
Joe performs improvised arrangements of Broadway classics as the featured performer for this evening, sponsored by the Melwood Church. Between Joe's sets, members of the church will also perform.
Other Opportunities 
SATURDAY 1/3/09: 7-10pm
Joe performs with Holly Lane and Shore Jazz at the Globe, Berlin, Md
Holly Lane is a true jazz singer, and eclectic performer. Together with Shore Jazz, she takes the Globe stage.
SATURDAY 1/31/09: 7-10pm
Joe performs with the Mike Allen Trio at the Globe, Berlin, Md
Joe joins John Ewart and Michael Allen McShane for an evening of instrumental jazz.

SATURDAY 2/7: 7-10pm
Joe performs with Holly Lane and Shore Jazz at the Globe, Berlin. Md
Continuing as the "regular guy" for this group, Joe hones his ADD (or, multiple personality disorder) by performing on the keyboard with left-hand bass. Check it out at the fine venue, if you're nearby

SATURDAY 2/14: 9:00pm-1am(?)
Joe performs with Holly Lane and Shore Jazz at the Frogg Pond, Rehoboth Beach, De.
Holly is in heaven singing love songs - but she can really swing too!

see the schedule

From the Comment Box
"A very musically satisfying performance, showing true depth of musical knowledge, presented in an extremely entertaining manner.
Mixing virtuosity with humor. Victor Borge is smiling somewhere."
"I'm a hip-hop DJ and gangsta rap fanatic...but I can listen to you play all day. You are a PIANO pimp--keep up the good work!!!"
"Just beautiful, Joe..I think I told you before that I feel finding your music on You Tube was a "gift" sent to me...This song, another "gift." Thank you so much."
"Great job on this one..... and you even Holt-erized it and made a fun song even MORE fun .. WOW ! Lovin every note of it!"
to which I replied: Is Holterize like cauterize? Does it hurt? :)

Nobody like Joe Holt!! This is awesome! I love the way you incorporated other tunes in this...knew what they were too! How 'bout that! Dynamic performance!!
to which I replied: These days it's called ADD :)

 YouTube featured video for January, 09 -
Featured Playlist -
"Christian" solo piano improvisation concert
Look for new postings coming soon on my new 2009 YouTube video channel
 Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio" continues on 840am WKDI, Denton, MD Sundays @ 2pm. Join me as I play the piano for you, and share thoughts about music and it's makings.
A new year, a new video channel (yes, again). JoeHoltsNotes2009 is now active, with current year "video journaling" from the variety of public performances coming soon. Posting continues on my Original channel, and 2008 channel (for now).  
The on again/off again exploration of making sheet music available is back on. Having adjusted to the reality that obtaining permission to publish copyrighted material is unavailable (at least for now), work has begun on the transcribing of select public domain songs posted on YouTube. I'll keep you posted.

Work has also begun on the revision of lesson articles for the "Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist" series (it will be a busy year), with the potential for on-line delivery. Again, I'll keep you posted.
From the Journal
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Just received the following message in a text comment box from one of my YouTube posts (edited):
"I don't even know where to begin. Maybe just, "How much fun must it be, to be Joe Holt?" I'm overwhelmed, agonizingly envious, and thankful for having discovered a master pianist. 'And I subscribe to 'em all, Mr. Holt, ******, ******, ******...etc. All gifted; generous in sharing their talents. But the "happiness" with which you generate achingly inventive, wonderful sounds from that instrument is utterly compelling. This is my first "text comment post" ever. Glad it goes to you. "

My reply:
"Me too. The most "fun" of all is the growing understanding of the "connections" that the music facilitates. I'm 48 years old, and in many respects, I feel (almost) like a teenager (with a 48 year old's worldview) :) Your comment (and others like it) provides needed validation and encouragement as I travel this path, and I am most appreciative..."

I don't know if a day goes by anymore where my "conviction" of this "calling" is not encouraged/validated. Just telling Carol (my wife) earlier today that I am feeling this on nearly every gig. Honestly, though, am seeing this from the "big picture" perspective: I have now, by God's good grace, been able to set a foot into the door of this next "place", and am met with both the awe and gratitude of "arrival", and the sobering humility of the growth opportunities that lie ahead, as well as the joyful anticipation this brings.
All of this said, it seems realistic now that I begin this path of "solo improv" concerts; sharing "discoveries" with new friends. No illusion here that this isn't the beginning of another long (and winding) road. In fact, I've recently put on paper my 5 year plan/goals for this path. One step at a time.

On Making Music
An exchange of comments on one of Joe's You Tube posts:
"Wow! You're so good at maintaining your rhythm! I think it gives your performances a lot of momentum and confidence. Thanks for posting your videos. They're an inspiration. I think I need to become better friends with my metronome."
my reply:
"Thanks for this. If I could comment on your comment - Yes, maintaining rhythm gives momentum and confidence. This goes beyond the idea of getting the rhythm right, to establishing a "relationship" with the "time". This is where musicians use terms like "swinging", "groove", "in the pocket". Practice playing with the metronome on 2 and 4 at varying tempos until you are comfortable. It's important for solo pianists to "lock it in". Too few do. Again, thanks!"

reply to me:
"A "relationship" with time. That's such a cool way to look at it. I think a lot of pianists (myself included) are taught early on to obey the metronome and resist the urge to defy it. And when we grow up and learn to improvise, I guess it's the time to reconcile differences and play with it, rather than against it. It's a complicated relationship. Thanks for the reply and advice. Tightness in rhythm is very important to me, so I'll do as you suggest."
Want to hear and read more?
Listen - to Joe Holt's Notes on the Radio. Each week, Joe devotes a portion of the program to sharing his thoughts on making music.

Read - Lessons for the Thoughtful Pianist. 24 Instructional articles to point you on your way.

Have a musical topic on which you would like Joe to comment? E-mail Joe now 

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May 2009 be happy, healthy, and prosporous. Hope to see you soon!
Blessings and awareness,