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 ››

Music Studio Success Is Back!

coversmallA lot of you have been asking WHEN you can get the re-release of my book "Music Studio Success" - my method for starting a highly successful teaching business.

Well that time has arrived! Music Studio Success is now available on Kindle at a very cheap introductory rate. And judging by the readers so far, the new version is even more helpful than the last!

As with the previous version of Music Studio Success, my focus is on getting your teaching studio up and running FAST, and teaching you the methods that work best for me in attracting tons of students. I've … Continue Reading ››

The 2014 Austin Piano Festival

2014posterpreview copyHi Piano Blog readers. I want to sell you on visiting and supporting

If you know me at all, you already know about this organization - Austin Piano Festival - that brings pianists from all over the country to Austin every year. This year we've got an awesome lineup from May 23-June 1. It's been a lot of work and I'm really excited about it. And not only does APF bring in great artists, we create important opportunities for students, such … Continue Reading ››

Don’t Miss Out: Free Tickets to see Katia and Marielle Labèque

Labeque SistersThose of us over at Austin Piano Festival are busy working on a really exciting lineup for this season's piano concerts in late May. (You can read all about it here.)

To celebrate, we're offering a pair of free tickets to hear Katia and Marielle Labèque on April 4, 2014 at the Bass Concert Hall in Austin, TX. To enter the free drawing, just visit and click on the right-hand side link.

You don't want … Continue Reading ››

The Best Learners

Music LearningOne fascinating thing that comes to the fore after lots of teaching-especially concerning adult students- is that some people possess a personality that is optimally suited for learning.

This isn't a matter of intelligence, which is overrated anyway, but rather a collection of personality attributes and habits. In fact, barring unusual circumstances, these aspects of a student seem to be far better indicators of long-term enjoyment and success in piano lessons than native talent or IQ.

So what are these key traits and habits? Here are several that I've noticed over-and-over throughout the … Continue Reading ››

The Metronome

This is not a metronome.
The most obvious benefit of metronome work is, of course, that it emphasizes accurate counting and a regular beat. And more, there is truly something unique about that consistent, even aggravating, click that lends itself so well to woodshedding - it is our musical bread and butter.

But another aspect of metronome work often goes unrecognized:  it helps establish an objective baseline in practice and tracking outside of lessons. It is here that the metronome really shines when it is used correctly.

Learning any piece is a … Continue Reading ››

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