First things first, if you haven’t yet watched the new YouTube video of Jarrod Radnich performing “Don’t Stop Believin’,” scroll down and watch it! Really, we promise, it’s that cool. Heck, even if you have already seen it, watch it again … we’ll wait.
We are so excited to share with our blog readers more about the man behind the piano. Jarrod Radnich is a modern classical pop star who’s perhaps best known for astonishing audiences and inspiring piano virtuosos with his re-imagined arrangements of rock, movie soundtrack and video game standards. He started professionally instructing piano at age 11, received a full scholarship to Berklee at 14, was named a Mason & Hamlin concert artist in 2012, and, we’re proud to announce, is now an official Musicnotes artist. We’re thrilled to offer Jarrod Radnich’s downloadable Virtuosic Piano Solo™ sheet music for “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Nights In White Satin” and “Come Sail Away.”
We asked the innovator to talk a little about how one becomes a virtuoso, what inspires his amazing arrangements, why giving back plays an important role in his life and how YouTube is changing the music landscape. Oh, he also provides some great piano performance tips to live by!
You’ve been enthralling audiences with your talent since you were a child. Do you remember the definitive moment when you thought, “OK, this is what I’m meant to do”?
J.R. I think that if I were to identify one single moment, it would have been right after I watched the movie “Titanic” as a pre-teen. Since the time when I was very young, I was captivated by the story of the ship sinking (I actually built a plastic model of the ship that I lit on fire and sank in our pool), but then I became fascinated with the music and I started understanding more about it. I became consciously aware that music moves people in profound ways and that it communicates a part of our being unlike any other form of expression. I knew I wanted to create and give people something beautiful, or help give them the tools to be able to create and express themselves more fully.
Congratulations on your latest Virtuosic Piano Solo arrangements! (We’re so excited to get to offer them to you fans on our site.) Would you be able to share a bit about how you go about creating/composing them?
J.R. Thank you! It is an honor to be named the first “Musicnotes Artist” and I am excited to continue building an ever-growing library of virtuosic piano solos for people to enjoy for years to come. The “Virtuosic Piano Solo Series” began out of my childhood frustration with not being able to find contemporary piano music that kept the integrity of the original piece or song intact. Normally, the solo piano arrangements would sound incomplete as they would be missing major rhythmic or melodic elements and they were rarely (if ever) geared toward accomplished pianists. Consequently, if I wanted to play something that was pianistically exciting that wasn’t 100 years old, I had to create it myself. I normally start creating a new arrangement by analyzing the original piece and determining what I believe to be its most important musical elements – those elements that people “expect” to hear when it is played. I then approach writing the new arrangement as if the piano were an orchestra – making sure to incorporate the most important musical elements so as to make sure that the piece doesn’t lose its “spirit.” This results in challenging arrangements that are fun to play and translate well to the audience. Oh, they also have to be able to be played with just two hands.
Amongst your many solo projects and professional endeavors, you also make sure to give back to the musical community. Why is philanthropy important to you, and could you tell us a little bit about the Joshua Tree Philharmonic?
J.R. Philanthropy and giving back to the musical community is an essential part of my philosophy in the musician/audience dynamic. As musicians, we are blessed to have been given the opportunity to spend time learning and accomplishing music. I feel it is our responsibility to give back to others at the same time. And actually, giving back to the musical community often translates to giving back to the entire community, as the nurturing and healing aspects of music and art extend far beyond the circle of musicians.
As a teenager I founded the “Desert Music Foundation” which offers music education and scholarship opportunities for aspiring musicians and later I started the pioneering intergenerational community orchestra, the Joshua Tree Philharmonic (J-Phil). For the J-Phil, I compose orchestral arrangements so that each member of the orchestra, regardless of skill level, can participate in and contribute to each of the full-scale orchestral movements. The orchestra has grown tremendously, with some families having three generations performing together. Also some of our musicians have learned a lot about the scoring techniques so that they assist with preparing these special scores.
Do you have any pre-performance rituals you’d be able to share or tips for current and aspiring musicians getting ready for a big performance?
J.R. For me, I NEVER DRIVE MYSELF before a performance. . . I have been known to run stop signs and red lights, not because I am late, but because I just don’t see them. My mind is so occupied with musical thought that I don’t see things (or hear things) right in front of me. As far as other “rituals,” I recommend trying to avoid “cramming” before a performance. The extra stress and anxiety translates into tension, which translates into bad technique and potential problems. The fact of the matter is you can only hit a block of wood with your fingers so many times in a row in any given amount of time before your finger tips cry-out for more “Second Skin,” lol. Create a plan, map-out your time in advance, practice smart, and always be efficient when determining and implementing good technique.
How do you think technology, in particular YouTube, is changing the way people experience music?
J.R. I think it is fantastic. Having co-invented PianoTubeLIVE! and having helped pioneer other amazing Internet-based technologies that enable real time interaction between pianists and musicians, I have always been a big advocate for the benefits that technology can have on the music-making process. As musicians, friends, and colleagues, the ability to be able to interact with each other, share knowledge, share musical ideas, share recordings of our performances, and so much more through new technologies is truly exciting and inspiring on so many fronts. YouTube gives individuals the world as their audience, it shines light on new talent and breaks down all physical and socioeconomic barriers so that the musician — the person, the very soul that spent countless dedicated hours by themselves honing their skill — gets the opportunity to say what they want musically and then broadcast it to the world for all to enjoy and share. . . that’s pretty cool.
What’s up next for you? Is there any additional news you’d like to share with your Musicnotes fans?
J.R. Besides lots of new YouTube videos and sheet music that will be coming-out (make sure to subscribe to the JarrodRadnichMusic YouTube channel and Musicnotes e-newsletter!), I have been composing two significant original works that I am hoping to be finishing and releasing soon. They are dark, powerful, rhythmic and yet melodic and ultimately uplifting in tone. We are beginning to storyboard the pieces’ different movements for new YouTube videos, and though the word “epic” gets thrown around a lot, these pieces truly will be as there has never been something done quite like this before. One of the pieces, ARMAITA: La Vendetta Dell’Angelo – Piano Concerto No. 2, is in an orchestral setting where the piano will be punctuated by high-powered electric guitar, bass, and drums.
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A BIG thanks to Jarrod Radnich for taking the time to answer our questions. If you haven’t already checked out his sheet music, you may do so here. And, if you’ve already downloaded his sheet music, do you have a favorite to play? Are there any arrangements you’re working on now? Any dream songs you’d like him to create Virtuosic Piano Solo sheet music for? Share with us in the comments below!