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Songbook Review: Breathing in the Moment
Michele McLaughlin
Cover image of the songbook Breathing in the Moment by Michele McLaughlin
Breathing in the Moment
Michele McLaughlin
2012 / Michele McLaughlin
15 songs
Review by Kathy Parsons
Breathing in the Moment is a note-for-note transcription of all fifteen piano solos from Michele McLaughlin’s CD by the same name. The music was transcribed by John Zechiel and proofed/edited by yours truly. It’s interesting to note that this was the first time I’ve used Facetime or Skype with a composer to verify how he or she plays a passage, and it worked really well! I really love Michele’s Out of the Darkness CD and songbook, but this one is even more fun to play because of the variety in the pieces. Some are joyful and fast while others are slower and more melancholy. The theme of the album is living in the present and appreciating the moment we are in to the fullest extent, and the music reflects an inner peace coupled with an enjoyment of the beauty within as well as all around us.

Most of these pieces are not difficult to play although a few reach very lively tempos and a couple of have trickier key signatures. Most pianists of an upper-intermediate to early advanced playing level will have no problem mastering this music. Below, I have given a playing level for each piece, but please be aware that these levels are on a scale of 1-5 based on Michele’s music only, so a level 5 piece is difficult in comparison to Michele’s other pieces. I gave “Nostalgia” a 5 because there is a 15-bar passage that uses tremolo, and it takes a rather strong right wrist to play tremolo evenly for that long. To simplify that section a bit, you can play the tremolo passage as all eighth notes on the right hand, matching to the left. It won’t sound as nice, but it would make that section much easier to play. I also gave “Rejoice” a 5 because it is relatively long and very fast. My own favorites to play are “Finding Balance,” “Breaking Free,” “The Life Cycle,” and “The Lunar Effect.”

Breathing in the Moment - Level 4 - G major & D minor (1 sharp / 1 flat) - 6 pages
The Beauty Within - Level 4 - G# minor (5 sharps) - 6 pages
Stargazing - Level 4 - D minor (1 flat) - 5 pages
Cheryl's Hope - Level 3 - F (1 flat) - 4 pages
Sisters - Level 4 - C (0) - 5 pages
Into the Sunset - Level 3 - D minor (1 flat) - 4 pages
The Life Cycle - Level 4 - C - 6 pages
Finding Balance - Level 4 - C minor (3 flats) - 6 pages
The Joy of Childhood - Level 2 - C - 3 pages
Trilogy - Level 4 - A minor - 8 pages
Breaking Free - Level 4 - F minor & Bb minor (4/5 flats) - 5 pages
Nostalgia - Level 5 - D minor (1 flat) - 5 pages
Wonderment - Level 2.5 - G & C (1 sharp/0) - 4 pages
The Lunar Effect - Level 3.5 - A minor (0) - 4 pages - 4 pages
Rejoice (Reprise) - Level 5 - C (0) - 7 pages

Breathing in the Moment is available from michelemclaughlin.com and I highly recommend it!
February 6, 2012
More reviews of Michele McLaughlin songbooks
Cover image of the songbook Beginnings by Breathing in the Moment
2011
Cover image of the songbook Dedication by Breathing in the Moment
2008
Cover image of the songbook Life by Breathing in the Moment
2017