MP3 Holly Vanden Berg - Holly from the Heart
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14 MP3 Songs
EASY LISTENING: Mood Music, NEW AGE: New Age
Holly Vanden Berg - Composer/Pianist
How the Music Began....
Before I was a year old, I lost my sight due to detached retinas. I had six eye surgeries. The surgeons hoped to save what little vision I had. It failed and my family was devastated. They mourned my loss as if a death had occurred.
When I was two, my mother found new strength from God, family and friends, which enabled her to come to terms with my situation and accept it. She would tell everyone, âIâm not going to let this beat me down". She would take me wherever she went and had me feel everything. She would verbally put a label on items, such as cups, measuring spoons, socks, door knobs, etc. That was the key to understanding my environment.
I loved anything that made sounds, which was probably why I received a miniature keyboard for my first birthday. I loved it more than anything. I took it with me wherever I went as if it were a favorite blanket or a favorite stuffed animal. Our family was not musically inclined which was the reason that my mother didnât feel that piano lessons were the right thing for me. However, when I was five, at my grandmotherâs insistence, I was enrolled in piano lessons.
So my mother dropped me off at the piano teacherâs house. When she returned to pick me up, we showed her what I had learned. The piano teacher told my mom that I could name every note on the piano, that I had learned two new songs, and had perfect pitch. This meant that when my piano teacher played a song, I could play it back almost exactly as she had done. This also means that I can tell you what key any song is in. For more difficult piano pieces, I can learn them by listening to tapes and over time, I learn the piece by listening to it and playing along with it if I do it over and over again until I have the piece mastered. This could take me anywhere from an hour for simple pieces or a couple of weeks with the more complex pieces. If I hear a song on the radio over and over again, and it is a song meant for playing the piano and singing, I can eventually get to the point where I am able to play the song perfectly without having practiced it. No one knows how I can do this. And the truth is, not even I know the answer to this question.
I ended up taking piano lessons for 16 years, and they continued until I was a junior in college. During this time, I studied a variety of genres of music. I played everything from classical, to jazz, ragtime, soft and sweet piano ballads, to oldies, country, love songs, and even rock. Also, I learned to master the art of composing my own original piano compositions. My first one came to me when I was six-years-old. I was sitting at my Young Chang baby grand piano. My feet barely could reach the pedals. The song is called âIn the Bamboo Forestâ. It is unique, because it is performed using only the black keys. It gives the song an Asian feel, which represents my love for not only the Asian culture, but other cultures as well. Since then, I have composed hundreds of pieces that I have performed in front of many large crowds along with pieces that were covered by other artists. Now I had the tools to learn and compose many great songs. I needed to have a way to share them with others.
Before I began giving public performances of my vast song repertoire, I participated in piano competitions twice each year from when I was in kindergarten until I was in 12th grade. One competition was the Piano Festival. Any student who performed in this festival received a trophy after 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, and 9 years. I earned all of these trophies and I received Highest Honors. I also participated in the Piano Guild. Each student was privately critiqued in a room with a judge on his or her piano pieces. Every year, I received Highest Honors. I performed in the Guild from when I was in Kindergarten until 12th grade. However, when I was in first grade, I had to miss a year. Here lies the story.
When I was in first-grade, two hours before my mother was about to take me to the Piano Guild to perform, I was walking into my house. I placed my hand on the door jam of the hinged side of the door. My brother, Thomas slammed the door as I was about to go through it. I donât think he understood that my finger was in the door. Besides, he was only two-years-old and he probably didnât know any better. I ended up cutting off the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. My mother frantically rushed me to the emergency room. She was worried I would never have feeling in it so I could read Braille. The doctor stitched it back on. I am lucky I have feeling in it! I had to wear a thick bandage on my finger for the whole summer, and soak it in some sort of solution for an hour every day. What was worse, I had 10 stitches and lost my fingernail. Since then, it always grows crooked. I took the remainder of the school year off, because I could not read Braille or do dishes, (not so bad of a deal) and worst of all, I was not able to play the piano that summer. When summer turned to fall, it healed. However, I still have a scar below the tip of my finger on the right side to remind me of the accident.
When I was eight-years-old, I began performing in front of audiences. I started out by playing at churches and nursing homes. This eventually led to larger venues such as the Mall Of America in the Twin Cities, the Hotel Sofitel, the Terry Redlin Art Center, the Minnesota State Capitol, playing on stage with pianist Dino, Ramada Inn Millennium Party, Barnes and Nobles book store, and the Calumet Inn.
My childhood was definitely a busy one. Besides preparing for my piano engagements, I also had to carry the burden of school and homework like any other kid. At times, it was stressful, but I managed just the same.
My dream of creating an album did not come true until the summer after my junior year of college. I was excited, because this was my dream since I was a child to make an album and to become a star.
This summer, I went to a suburb of the Twin Cities called Golden Valley to activate my dream. Thus, the album âFrom the Heartâ was born. This collection of piano originals has elements in its melodies that will leave you wanting more. The pieces are soft, warm, and dramatic at times, and definitely sweet to the musical palate. Now I have the tools to launch my career. I hope to be a star and to share my talent with my fans for years to come.
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