Highly experienced Piano Teacher, Composer and Performer
Teacher – Since 1978, for over 35 years, Ed has been teaching piano to children and adults.
Ed teaches students at all musical levels, beginners, intermediate and advanced. He teaches popular, jazz, classical piano or a mixture of any of these styles. Ed is a friendly, understanding, experienced and flexible teacher.
Ed also continues to play both piano and organ every Sunday (since 1981) at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church in Natick, MA. He also directs the choir at the church.
Ed has a large piano performance repertoire built over his 40+ years as a performer, including playing the grandpiano at the Radisson Hotel in Milford, MA for 14 years. He has recorded much of his repertoire, concentrating on the music from the American Songbook, and includes these recordings in his piano blog, Conversations at the Piano.
Ed has assembled a list of frequently asked questions about his piano teaching. When you want to find the best piano teacher to help you (or your child) achieve your musical goals, you may be asking some of the following questions:
How long has Ed been teaching?
Since 1978, I have been teaching in my Natick Piano Studio to children and adult piano students. In addition to this, I taught keyboard in the Music Theory Department at Boston University where I was enrolled in the doctoral program. In my younger years, I taught classroom music in Worcester, Clinton and Franklin.
“Mr. Mascari really understands children – their phases of development and their temperaments. He has a wonderful ability to adapt to the individual needs/desires of a child to make the experience one of loving to learn. We have seen our son both grow as a musician and develop an appreciation for music that is very gratifying as parents.”
Is this piano teacher versatile, flexible and patient?
I am happy to change the direction of one or more lessons when the student becomes inspired or excited about a particular song, style of music or has created his own composition.
What kind of musical training does he have and how will it benefit me?
My two Master of Music degrees from New England Conservatory (Jazz Studies, 1992; Classical Composition, 1993) came long after my graduation from the College of the Holy Cross (1971) where I was the first graduate to become a state certified public school music teacher. I have also studied piano and composition privately with some of the best teachers in the Boston area including: Tom McKinley, Joe Maneri, Charlie Banacos, and Lukas Foss.
Because my musical training has included both classroom and private studies with the experts, I have learned the most effective ways to help you reach your musical goals.
Does Ed have any performing experience and will it help me?
Ed performs every Sunday at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church. He also performs with his own jazz trio.
Because of all of my performing experience, I have been able to explore, expand and experiment with an enormous repertoire of songs (show tunes, standards, poptunes, classical favorites and jazz selections). The solutions that I have discovered for my own piano playing will help you to become the pianist you want to be.
Is he good with children?
Children between the ages of 6 and 17 continue to find me friendly, understanding and willing to listen to them. Many of these young people study with me for five years or more, and several have even come back as adult students. Relationship is important to me musically as well as personally, so I see each child as unique and precious. On a personal note, I raised 3 sons and now have 5 grandsons.
Will he understand my desire to learn to play the piano as an adult?
If you are an adult beginner, you’ll be in good company, I teach people just like you who say, “I always wanted to play the piano, now is the time to start!” Fear not, I understand what you need and have the patience to take you through the process.
What if I already took lessons in the past, then what? Do I have to start as a beginner?
I will meet you where you are. If you need review, I can quickly figure out where and what you need. If you have a desire to play a certain type of music, I have the versatility to help you with that too.
For over 35 years Ed has played both piano and organ as well as directing the choir every Sunday at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church in Natick, MA. Ed has also performed for many area hotels and restaurants. His longest engagement was for 14 years at the Radisson Hotel in Milford, MA.
He has also performed at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Boston Marriott (Long Wharf),Westford Regency Hotel, Finnerty’s (Cochituate), Bergson’s 1790 House (Westboro), Ephraim’s (Sudbury), Colonial Inn (Concord), Indian Meadow Country Club (Westboro)and many other venues.
Ed Current Performance Activities
In addition to continuing to perform every Sunday at the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church, Ed also performs as one third of the Ed Mascari Jazz Trio along with Wayland Public Schools music teacher Rebecca Wellons and bassist Marliese Ballon.
This exciting jazz trio, with Ed playing the piano and arranging, is already gaining an extensive local following after only a short time in existance.
The Ed Mascari Jazz Trio is currently performing Ed’s wonderful jazz arrangements of classic tunes from the American Songbook for appreciative audiences in many venues in the Hudson MA local area.
Ed has composed a wide variety of orchestral, choral and chamber music. He has been the recipient of numerous commissions and awards, including grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Composer Assistance Program of the American Music Center.
Ed Mascari’s compositions have been performed in Europe as well as throughout the United States, including premieres at Carnegie Recital Hall and at Lincoln Center?s Alice Tully Hall. His music is recorded on MMC and BIT and his compositions are published by MMB Music, Inc., Abingdon Press and Zimbel Press.
Ed shares some of his thoughts on Composition and Teaching
Whether you’re thinking of Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder or the Beatles, you remember the music they composed as well as their performances. The same is true for Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Chick Corea or Wynton Marsalis.As a result, it may not surprise you to know that Bach, Mozart, Beethoven or Chopin were known more for their playing than for their compositions during their lives.
Although I wrote many jazz pieces in my younger years, my career as a composer of concert music (i.e. written classical music) has not only helped me to improve my overall musicianship, but it has also revolutionized and advanced the level and method of my piano teaching.
When you compose music, two important things begin to happen:
1. The very act of putting the notes on the staff (music paper or computer software) forces you to clarify and crystallize your musical ideas. This is similar to what happens when you write a report, essay, poem or short story.
2. Many questions come up in the process of writing that lead you to start searching for everything you can find to inspire and guide you.
How will my composing experience benefit you as a piano student?Since I have spent so much effort and energy studying what was necessary to sort out and solidify my musical ideas, I now am able to bring a unique perspective and overview to your learning process.
As you are learning, I can help you with:
- Musical Form and Structure
- Chord progressions, key and harmonic patterns
- Articulation, phrasing, dynamics, expression marks and tempo
- Shape and direction of the melodic line, construction of motives as well as voice leading in the secondary parts
- Timbre, character and mood
In the process of learning each song, you’ll discover how to unlock the door to effective piano playing. You’ll be able to do this because you’ll become aware of the many musical details built into every piece. And you’ll start thinking differently about music in general.
Canzone for Flute and Piano
“Canzone for Flute and Piano” is a short instrumental piece with a song-like character. It was inspired and influenced by Samuel Barber’s composition of the same title. This work is in ABA form with the contrasting middle section marked “Grave,” i.e., solemn to create an elegiac mood. The piece features imitative writing and the language is tonal with some jazz-influenced harmonies. In addition, the flute part enhances the mood of the piece by including trills as well as the colorful effect of the flutter-tounge technique.
Five Short Pieces for Clarinet and Marimba
Commissioned by Liz Leehey (clarinet) and Sarah Tenney (marimba), this composition is designed to exhibit the individual characteristics of each instrument. At the same time, by employing the similarities as well as the differences between the clarinet and the marimba, the goal of the work is to explore the possibilities inherent in this unique instrumental combination.
Capriccio for Solo Flute
This composition, commissioned by flutist Laura Vincent, is in ABA form. The A section features a motive which is expanded and varied in several different ways. The central B section is characterized by a jazzy swing melodic line which is interspersed with an um-pah type of accompaniment (reminiscent of the stride piano style). The technique of singing the notes while playing (at pitch or an octave lower) is employed to emphasize the jazzy nature of this section of the piece. The musical language is tonal and the mood is upbeat.
Meet the Orchestra
Revised in 1997 Commissioned by New England Philharmonic Winter 1995. Moravian Philharmonic. Vit Micka, conductor. Ruth Ray, narrator.Meet the Orchestra is a composition designed to introduce children (and the child in all of us) to the instruments of the orchestra. The text is drawn from a book of the same title by Ann Hayes. Having read this story many times to my grandson, and calling to mind his enjoyment of the “March” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, I decided to combine both of these sources into a set of variations for orchestra and narrator.
St. Peter’s Suite for Solo Cello
Commissioned by cellist Myron Schwager, the goals were to create a piece which emphasized the lyrical qualities as well as the rhythmic potential so characteristic of the cello.
Three Sacred Songs
Commissioned by the Essex Chamber Music Players under the direction of Michael Finegold. All three hymn texts are found in most Protestant hymnals. The verses of these hymns, however, have been edited and adapted to fit into this context of a song cycle for vocal soloist and chamber ensemble. For many years in my work as a church organist, I have enjoyed accompanying my congregation in the singing of the familiar hymn tunes often associated with these texts.
The first section of Meet the Orchestra, from this CD, introduces the four families of instruments: percussion, strings, brass and woodwinds. Each family offers a variation of the theme. What follows are nine variations starting with the double bass and finishing with the piccolo.
The finale begins with the composition’s only literal presentation of the theme. At first, French horns and oboes share a melancholy statement. Almost immediately, a solo trumpet bursts in brightly setting the familiar march tempo. The intensity builds as the brass section, enhanced by the percussion, creates the solid foundation upon which the remainder of the work is built.
MMC New Composer SeriesThis short composition for full orchestra builds an imposing brass statement out of the hymn, This Is My Father’s World. It is an image-evocative tone poem which could comfortably serve as a film score.Ed’s use of a unifying rhythmic motive reveals the influence of Beethoven while jazz based harmonies are expressedthrough colorful orchestral textures.
MMC New Century, Vol. 5
A fourteen-minute symphonic poem in one movement (inspired by a hike up the New Hampshire mountain), Mount Washington contrasts granitic and propulsive energy with pastoral calm in a tonal language and sumptuous orchestral dress that shows an affinity to such twentieth-century masterpieces as Gustav Holst’s The Planets and Arthur Honegger’s Symphonie Liturgique.