My Teacher is Nicer with Coffee (Coffee Mug)

My teacher is nicer with coffee mugHi Everyone! Here's a short post on something you might get a kick out of.

We're in the process of creating an exciting new store with music related products, gifts, artwork and the like. Our first introduction is the "My Teacher is Nicer With Coffee" mug. Which at least holds true for me.

There's a lot more coming soon, including some really beautiful works of art. So stay tuned! But for now, you can check out this new mug:

Oh, and if you're … 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 ››

How to Practice Every Day

"Play the Grand Piano."
Pardon me while I play the Grand Piano.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the role that habits play in our day-to-day lives. Developing skill at the piano, like so much else, is largely a matter of consistency over time - something I discussed in my post Practice Like a Personal Trainer.

Today I was thinking about this: things that we might enjoy can still be tough to get started on.

Last January I began the habit of going to … Continue Reading ››

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