"Peaks of Red"
Amy Janelle has been a featured artist on The Artist Gallery.com since January 05, 2015.
"A New Direction"
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I started playing piano in third grade. A friend came over and played me a few songs, and taught me how to play one. I was so ecstatic! I told my parents I really wanted to learn how to play, so they hired the church pianist to teach me. She was wonderful! I learned the basics of piano, and how to laugh at myself when I made mistakes. When she moved to Alaska, I had a new teacher. I learned even more technique, including how to memorize several songs. Each summer she had a competition to see which students could memorize the most songs. The prize was a bust of a famous classical composer. That challenge was all I needed! I dove into the music, played hard, and won every year.
Then, as a teenager, I had a new piano teacher. She was rigorous and strict, pushing me to always play at my best. I loved her, I hated her. I appreciated how she knew how to push me, I learned so much. This was a time that I was most involved in music, playing at church, as the accompaniment in the choirs at school, and in competitions with my piano teacher. At this point, I found solace and peace when playing the piano, I found myself – and made it a priority in my life.
The teenage rebellion showed up around the age of 13. After so many years of classically trained piano lessons, I yearned for more freedom and expression in music. I decided that if I wrote my own music, then my teacher couldn’t tell me how to play it – because it was my own creation. So I started composing. Once she heard my songs, she said, “oh, this is what you like?” and brought me music by David Lanz. I fell in love with new age music! Yes, this is the music I want to play! I continued writing music over the years, honing my skills, nurturing my creativity, my own collection building. When asked what I wanted to do when I grew up, I said, “maybe a doctor – I want to help people be well.” The response I got was, “music is healing.”
At age 19, I played piano at local churches during my lunch break at work since I didn’t own my own piano. I turned down several offers to play for others, I somehow felt like playing my music was too vulnerable. This went on for almost ten years. The struggle to feel safe with my music, and yet feeling a pull, a drive to share what was inside. At age 28, I went to massage school, yearning to touch others lives in a positive way. Music kept knocking at my heart’s door. In the middle of the program, I entered a harrowing time: personal relationship issues, a painful flare up of Crohn’s (an autoimmune condition), full time work, and finals. So I returned to music. And found healing. By the time I graduated massage school, I had moved four times, Crohn’s was gone, I had met David Lanz (a legendary solo piano composer), and found my recording studio, (referred to me by David Lanz) Piano Haven in Seattle. I embarked on my secret dream I’d had for years: record my own piano CD..........READ MORE