Why Teach The Piano?

FullSizeRender(2)Teaching the piano is not for the faint of heart. It seems like we have to play every role and endure a lot at times - we encourage, inspire, humor, scream, calm, console. We deal with happiness and joys, but also frustration, stage fright, recalcitrance, laziness.

Sometimes we are inspired and amazed by our students! But we do all of this without any guarantee. Sometimes the students we pour our sweat and tears into - the ones that keep us awake at night - decide that piano is just not for them, … Continue Reading ››

You Don’t Want to Miss This Year’s Austin Piano Festival!

Austin Piano Festival ConcertsMany of you know about  Austin Piano Festival - a great organization I work with here in town. We're kicking off our two weekend piano celebration in only a couple of weeks.

There's so much great stuff to say about APF that I don't know where to begin. I can tell you this though: if you're even remotely close to central Texas, you won't want to miss these concerts.

Here are some highlights of the festival, which runs from May 8th - May … Continue Reading ››

Getting Over the (Practice) Hill

Here's an analogy I used today in a lesson. Use it if you think it's any good!

People tend to underestimate the power of repetition in practice. And sometimes it's that last repetition that makes all the difference. Think of it like this. You're trying to get a ball over a hill. Here's a fancy diagram. (Yes I actually drew this in the lesson):


You keep getting the ball to point 1, point 2, and point 3...but then you stop and it just rolls back down. You come back the next day and … Continue Reading ››

How to Buy a Piano

How to purchase a piano.Since I'm a piano teacher, I get asked quite a bit about how to go about finding a new piano. So here's my quick and easy guide to purchasing your new piano or keyboard.

What you may not know is that the piano is such a specialized and highly technical contraption, that a piano teacher is not necessarily suited to answer the question. If fact, if you really want to know about a particular piano, you're better served by asking a piano technician than a piano teacher.

Still, I've worked … Continue Reading ››

Recording your Piano Practice

Piano Practice Recording
Enrico Caruso Listens to Himself
Something that's come up a couple times today in my teaching is the use of video or audio-recording to help in piano practice.

Not only does recording yourself help you self-teach, it focuses you on the most crucial component of your playing: your sound. Sometimes I see younger students look up at me for approval, or beam their vision on the score in front of them. They are using their eyes, but not their ears! They look for my approval, but need to learn … Continue Reading ››

What is Your Pre-Performance Checklist?

Piano and FlyingWhat do you do before you play? Do you find that you or your students often start a piece only to ask half-way into the first measure what the tempo, dynamics, or character is? If so you may want to make yourself a pre-playing checklist. I use the term "checklist" because it's what a pilot does before takeoff - checking all of the elements of the plane to make sure nothing is out of whack. If you miss a step in your pre-performance checklist, you might not realize until after liftoff. Your … Continue Reading ››

Doing Something for Its Own Sake

Richard-feynmanWhy do we want our children to take piano lessons?

Is it to become world-famous artists? In most cases this is misguided. Only for a very small fraction of a fraction of a percentage of students is this a viable goal. The competition is fierce, the market is over-crowded, and the lifestyle is often far from glamorous, albeit exciting and artistically fulfilling for some.

Is it to have a career in music regardless of fame or fortune? This is a good option for anyone who truly loves music - and far more likely in … Continue Reading ››

Resources for pianists, students, and teachers