Joyce Grill (b.1936)
- Born in the USA and in 1958 graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BM in Music
- Trained at Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts, France studying with Robert and Jean Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger.
- 1974 – taught piano at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 1974-1999 where she wrote the UW-La Crosse Fight Song.
- 1980 onwards she concentrated more on publishing music and books as well as presenting workshops to teachers and students around the world.
Joyce Grill have been writing music for students throughout her life as a music teacher. She has written books as well which have been aimed at helping teachers and performers. I’m Happy comes from a collection of piano pieces called Musical Scenes. Although a MODERN piece, Joyce has taken her inspiration from the 19th century tradition of writing a group of piano miniatures which expressed a variety of feelings through character pieces. Each piece in Musical Scenes has a catchy title like Being Silly and I Just Get So Mad. You can probably imagine the musical character of these just from these titles!
‘I love teaching piano although now I’m down to one adult student. (Too much traveling to workshops to make up lessons.) I am an optimist and I thought that every student would stay with me forever. But, I’m also a realist and I knew some would leave earlier. If, whenever or for whatever reason, they said they enjoyed their lessons, I was content. For those who didn’t, somehow I failed them. But, in my later years, when they left, every student could play Happy Birthday!’
- Try to capture the spirit of the title I’m Happy in your playing. Notice that you could almost sing these words to the main theme of the music. Perhaps you can write your own lyrics to this piece to make a song?
- The tempo could be a shade brisker than indicated if you like. This will give it more life – but do not rush
- Staccato notes must always short and crisp – especially with the left hand crotchets and the end of the right hand phrases:
- Scale patterns should have direction. Get a little louder for ascending, and a little quieter for descending. So you might like to try shaping the music like this around bars 7-10 for example:
- Put a little more weight onto the main beats, and make the Dynamics really obvious to give as much character to the music as possible.