2015 Austin Piano Festival Is Fast Approaching!

Music in AustinWhile it may still be cold and windy in much of the country, I want to let Piano Blog readers in on plans for the fast approaching Austin Piano Festival this May.

Our Festival Piano Competition will be held on March 14th, drawing students from all across the state. Many of these students will have the opportunity to participate in festival master classes, perform in concerts, and appear on Austin's KMFA 89.5 as guest artists!

The festival itself will be held May 8-17, and as usual … Continue Reading ››

Focused Listening to Develop your Color Palette

chopinPeople who tend to err on the "big picture" side of things often find it difficult to develop a refined sound. They may splash around, missing notes, feeling a bit out of control and like everything is "tough" . . . they may especially notice that their sound quality suffers - they would except they are probably too busy trying to get to the end of the piece!

Yes, there is a problem with some musicians of getting bogged down in detail - losing touch with the musicality and life of a piece … Continue Reading ››

Practice Like a Personal Trainer

how to practice pianoHave you ever wondered why it is that personal trainers usually have great physiques? Probably you haven't, because the answer seems obvious: trainers have great physiques because they work out a lot.

But I think there's a deeper answer: personal trainers are in great shape because they have to be. In other words, most everything in their environment is geared towards keeping them fit and trim.

Personal trainers lose clients and money if they aren't fit, and they lose face in front of other trainers and gym-goers. On top of that, … Continue Reading ››

Getting Started with Your Studio Website

Build Your Website Today
Build Your Website Today
Over the last few years, especially since coming out with Music Studio Success, a lot of readers have asked me how they can go about getting a website of their own on line. Nowadays it isn't tough to have a quality website of your own, but many people don't know how to get started.

While delve into some particulars of online marketing in my book, I wanted to create a resource for those of you who are interested in getting online. This is the … Continue Reading ››

Simplicity

simple piano practice
Keep it simple.
"Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler" said Einstein, and I tend to agree - at least when it comes to playing the piano.

This morning I was teaching a very gifted student who was working on some harmonization. She was (quite impressively) playing some complex chords with her left hand, but rather slowly and with some apparent trouble. The piece she was playing was a jazz standard, so it was tough not to see her having more fun.

So we simplified. What is the … Continue Reading ››

The Practice of Piano Practice

Piano Practice
How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
I was talking with some students at a local University today and one girl asked "How much did you practice when you were in school?" adding "I don't know how you piano majors practice so much!"

I thought, "Wow! You know, I really did practice a lot in school. Many hours a day usually. I wish I still had that kind of time now."

One thing my teachers would always tell me, and I never believed them until later, is how little time you have to … Continue Reading ››

How Do I Find a Piano Teacher?

Piano Lesson SuccessAfter teaching hundreds of students, and answering many hundreds (or thousands?) of e-mails from prospective piano students - it becomes pretty clear that a lot of people are in the dark when it comes to taking piano lessons! Especially when it comes to finding the right piano teacher and integrating lessons into their lives. When you start out learning a complex skill - especially one that needs step-by-step instruction - it's just tough to know where to turn.

If this sounds like you, I think you'll enjoy my new e-book Continue Reading ››

How to Cultivate Your Music Studio

Music TeacherWhen I first began teaching, I had no idea that my piano studio would take on a sort of life of its own. Some students go on to other things in life, some seem to come and go, and a few pursue music as their own life's work. Your studio becomes an in intricate web of various personalities.

But how do you cultivate the type of studio that you want?

In Music Studio Success, I give a sort of "nuts and bolts" approach to a studio's life-cycle. In essence:  Understanding and cultivating … Continue Reading ››

Who Is Your Best Student?

Piano StudentWho is Your Best Student?

This question can change a child's life.

Too often we respond by asking "Who has won the most competitions?" Or "Who plays the most difficult music?"

This method is both wrong and damaging.

In truth, sometimes what makes a student his or her best is not what is best for you the teacher. And in fact, all of your students are the best. Sometimes they are best in ways you like, and sometimes they are best in ways that drive you up the wall, but … Continue Reading ››

Resources for pianists, students, and teachers