Support teen journalism.


If you're going to shop at, please click through The Tattoo's website first. It will bring us a share of amazon's profits and won't cost you a thing! Just click on the red link below to reach THANK YOU!

Making a permanent impression since 1994.



Home Page

Read The Tattoo's blog

All issues

Who we are


High School Guide

Shop at

Support Youth Journalism International's efforts to  connect teen writers, artists and photographers with peers around the globe, teach journalism, foster cross-cultural understanding, and promote and defend a free youth press.

X Trials | Katrina journals |Teen suicideTeen pregnancy |  School violence | Travel | Journals | Daily Sketch | Awards | Contact us


November 16, 2009


Playing the keys off the piano


By Yelena Samofalova

Junior reporter, Youth Journalism International


Click Here

Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and pianist Alma Macbride at the Lincoln Center in New York City.

Photo provided

WEST HARTFORD, Connecticut, U.S.A. – Fourteen-year-old Alma Macbride probably never imagined that she would someday perform with famous trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center.


But Macbride did play with Marsalis in New York City earlier this month after winning a nationwide piano competition.


She and 13-year-old Yasiel Sanchez of New York City, were selected as the top two young female jazz pianists in a contest celebrating the late jazz musician and composer Mary Lou Williams.

As the winners, both of the girls performed twice at Lincoln Center with Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.


Macbride, a freshman at Hall High School in West Hartford, is a normal teenage girl.


Click Here

Alma Macbride

Photo provided.

In her free time, she likes to play tennis, watch movies and see shows on Broadway, where she recently saw “In the Heights.”


Macbride also likes to listen to The Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix.


She could possibly have a job in music someday.


“I’m considering it,” she said. “I’m only a freshman, so I’ve got time. My dream job is being a film critic.”


She doesn’t want to be known as “piano girl,” though. She wants to be like everybody else.


But she’s into music a lot. She plays the piano, flute, saxophone and clarinet. She started playing piano at age four and jazz piano at age eight.


The Lincoln Center contest, which was open to girls 14 and under living in the continental United States, was a celebration of the 100th anniversary of William’s birthday.


To audition, Macbride had to send in a video tape of her playing Williams’ piece, “Close to Five.”


“It’s fun to play,” she said, describing it as a medium-fast song. She said it’s pretty hard because it has stride piano, which means she has to stretch her hands to reach huge intervals on the keyboard.

She never heard of Williams until this contest, Macbride said, but now she likes her music. One of her favorite of Williams’ songs is, “The Land of Oo-Bla-Dee.”


Macbride said that in the past, she didn’t really even like jazz very much, maybe because everyone else in her family did.


But, she said, “I gained respect for it.”


Now, she likes jazz, she said. “Recently, I learned new stuff and it sounds cool.”


Her piano teacher, Earl MacDonald, the director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut, was the one who first told her about the Lincoln Center contest.

Also see Alma Macbride's own account:

 Experiencing Mary Lou Williams


On his blog, Ever Up and Onward, MacDonald wrote that Macbride is good at “comping,” or accompanying, sight reading and more.


“Alma is an interesting character. I am convinced that she could do pretty much anything she wants in life, with the exception of playing professional basketball.  (I think she's still well under 5 feet tall.),” MacDonald wrote on his blog. “For me, it’s refreshing to work with a student who has talent, but is also a normal kid, with many different interests.” 


A day before the performance, Macbride rehearsed with Marsalis and the orchestra.


Before that, she prepared a lot at home, using her metronome and sometimes playing with the recording. Still, she was a little nervous about playing with Marsalis.


“He’s very good,” said Macbride about a week before the performance. “It’s a little nerve-wracking.”


Her whole family and some friends went to the show and she picked out two nice dresses, one for each concert.


At her November 7 performance, Marsalis told the audience that Macbride was “here to play the keys off the piano.”


Macbride “plays from the heart,” Marsalis said, and “embodies” Williams’ spirit.


When MacDonald first suggested she enter the contest, Macbride said she wasn’t that interested. But her teacher gave her “a guilt trip,” she said, so she agreed to give it a try.

Now, she’s happy she did.


Help The Tattoo thrive! Your donation can help us continue to provide the world's premier teen journalism.

Add us to your online bookmark site:
Add to your blinklist account Add to your delicious account Add to your digg account Add to your fark account Add to your furl account Add to your magnolia account Add to your newsvine account Add to your reddit account Add to your simpy account Add to your spurl account Add to your myyahoo account Add to your shadows account Add to your sync2it account Monitor with Blogarithm Meneame


© 2009 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Who we are  |  Join us  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

WebSTAT - Free Web Statistics