Grafton Piano & Organ Music Workshop by George WInston
We have been privileged to host and participate in recent music workshops by George Winston.
It was interesting to have the chance to get some insights on his views on music, and other topics. One tidbit — he carries two cell phones. When he loses one he can use the other to call to find it.
Previously Tim Roof, one of our piano tuners was on hand to go over the piano he would be using for a past concert at the local Sellersville Theatre. George practiced until about midnight to an audience of myself and the Tim, finally calling it a night.
Observation from TIm:
Although this was my third time tuning for him, I had several opportunities to interact with George this time that I did not have previously. And Tuesday night he returned to the store to give a workshop for local school students and musicians in which he discussed and
demonstrated guitar and harmonica techniques, as well as his theories about harmonics and piano playing. My number three son Matthew was with me for the workshop and got to meet Mr. Winston.
“From his early days of learning to play organ and piano by ear after listening to The Doors, Fats Waller, Professor Longhair, Henry Butler and others on records and tapes, to his thoughts on the rigidity of written notation, it was a great and informative evening. For me, the most instructive insight into his playing came when he said, “Why play with two hands what you can play with one?” In addition, George explained his need to recreate sounds on the piano and guitar and harmonica that other instruments make, at least giving an ethereal impression to the listener of instruments and techniques that a piano wouldn’t ordinarily be able to produce. And so the secret to the Winston sound and style is not tracking and overdubbing (which I knew), but raw talent and, more to his way of thinking, “a whole lot of hard work.”
With his background on organ and guitar he shared that he missed the variety of sounds that could be produced on the piano. He showed us his solution by reaching inside the grand piano with a combination of plucking, strumming, tapping and even pitch bending.
The workshop was entertaining, yet filled with a lot of solid music theory. We came away with practical tips, were shown some unconventional techniques and overall a greater appreciation for music – and of course in closing he played Linus and Lucy in front of the Christmas tree on the Kawai RX5 grand.