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Interview with Jennifer Haines 
by Edward Weiss


Jennifer Haines is a melodic solo piano player whose music is both peaceful and moving. Although she hasn't had a formal musical education, Jennifer has been a musician and composer from the start. More info below.

Edward: How Did You Get Started Playing New Age Piano?

Jennifer: I
first had the desire to play piano when I was a child. My parents got me lessons, but I quickly lost interest. I wanted to play only the songs that moved me and the pieces I was learning just didn't suit me. I quit the lessons after only 9 months. I never lost the desire to play, though, and after a while I  realized I could play certain pieces by ear. My favorite songs to  play were the piano pieces "Watermark" and "Miss Clare Remembers" by Enya. They were beautiful and full of emotion and in them I found joy at the piano.

It wasn't enough to really keep me in love with the piano and I  ended up selling my piano so I could buy a car. I spent the next  ew years feeling like I would never play a piano again - and I was o.k. with that. After all, I didn't really know how to play, right?

Then I got married and my new husband decided I needed a piano again (despite my protests). I would sit at that piano and attempt to play a nocturne by Chopin or perhaps the "Moonlight Sonata", but it wasn't enjoyable to me.

One day I was sitting at the piano with my, then, two year old daughter Naomi. Naomi was patting at the keys and stumbled across a succession of notes that I really liked. I wrote a song around those notes right then and there. It was amazing and emotional and a song that I have now completely forgotten, but it was mine and I loved it! I couldn't get enough piano from that point on.

Edward: What Inspires and Informs Your Music?

Jennifer: Whenever I write a song, I always have a place or picture or memory in my head that goes with that song. It's the beauty of an aspen tree swaying in the breeze or my daughter's dancing or the heartbreak of a forest fire that claimed my parents home and belongings. Other pianists such as George Winston and David Lanz are also inspirational to listen to, but  I have no interest in writing a song that sounds like their music. Writing music is so deeply personal that I have to speak with my own voice.

Edward: What Is Your Method for Composing a Piano Piece?

Jennifer: I sit at the piano and pick out a pattern with my left hand that almost becomes a song itself and then I add melody and chords with my right hand as an accompaniment. It starts out somewhat basic and then, with time and repetition, transforms itself into the finished song.

Edward: Do You Get Blocked Creatively, and If So, How Do You Get Past It?

Jennifer: Yes I do. There are times when I am meant to sit at the piano and write and times when I'm not. Whenever I begin to feel "blocked creatively", I give myself a total break from the piano. Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes a month, but when I'm ready to write again, the music just flows.
 
Edward: What Advice Would You Give To Aspiring New Age Pianists?

Jennifer: Have fun and write what you are feeling! Listen to other pianists for inspiration, but never try to make your music sound like theirs. Each pianistís music should be unique to them.
 

Jennifer Haines is a melodic solo piano player whose music is both peaceful and moving. Although she hasn't had a formal musical education, Jennifer has been a musician and composer from the start. Find Jennifer's sheet music, CD's and videos at http://www.usfourmusic.com