Last Thursday, I was working with an adult student on a Joplin Rag and a piece by Nazareth. These are pieces that she has returned to several times and they are becoming seasoned. She is charmed by the fact that the pieces have the same form yet one is totally North American and the other South.
. . . → Read More: A Totally Healthy High
I was thumbing through a magazine while waiting for an appointment and came across some wisdom on reversing painful assumptions from Martha Beck. She had asked her client, who was getting divorced, to give her 3 reasons her marriage didn’t fail.
“But it did!”, Dorothy muffled a sob.
“Well, was any part of it good?”
. . . → Read More: Piano Fail
Last Saturday, I had the privilege of adjudicating for a piano competition about a 90 minute drive from here. The format was pretty much what you would expect: four divisions from elementary to advanced repertoire and 1st, 2nd, & 3rd prizes. The competition was open format with the pianists sitting together with the audience. But . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Competition With A Twist
This semester, I have been tutoring a foreign graduate student. He is struggling with English and with his practice skills. I think that his main problem has been this: He knows how to be taught but not how to learn. He knows how to do what he is told but not how to take what . . . → Read More: Not Harder, Just More Complicated
A gonga post by John Terrauds of Musical Toronto made me sit up and take notice last week. In it, he wrote about his experiences taking on a group of students for a teacher on leave. Working with these students caused him to reflect on lessons as toil, duty, and obligation through rigid adherence to . . . → Read More: Duty or Joy?
In this post, Dennise describes her journey to music and teaching. When Dennise came to me at EAC, she told me that there were few teachers in the area of Mexico where she grew up and that she wanted to change that. This young lady is one of the most determined yet humble people I . . . → Read More: Guest Post: Dennise Ontiveros Rivera
Last Wednesday evening, while my class piano students were working on their improvs for the midterm, I suddenly found myself saying, “You don’t need to apologize! Maybe in your world there’s a happy little tree right there.”
The funny thing was that absolutely everybody (from teenagers to 60+) got it. They all knew the late . . . → Read More: Happy Little Trees
Some thoughts for my student as she prepares for a competition…
Welcome to the next step of your personal musical journey. You will meet some colleagues who are musically much more mature and experienced than yourself. You will also meet those who are less experienced and mature. You have to be strong enough to be . . . → Read More: Thoughts On An Upcoming Competition
OK, I admit it, I was streaming Christmas music again during my commute this week. Alright, alright—a few other times too…
Lots of mid-century renditions of classic holiday songs were in the mix. You know the ones—Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, Baby It’s Cold Outside, Silver Bells, Winter Wonderland, Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Sleigh . . . → Read More: Chestnuts: Becoming A Rubato Geek
My daughter and I were texting about important logistical stuff yesterday when I suddenly realized that I had to leave to go teach. “Gotta go teach!”, I typed. “Have fun!”, she replied.
“Hmmm”, I thought. “Will they have practiced?” Then I reminded myself that I do enjoy teaching very much and having fun is a . . . → Read More: Fun Is A Policy
In the beginning of the school year when I was nine, all eighty or so of us in the 4th grade were shepherded into the cafeteria of our Northern California school for three hours of musical evaluation (well OK, maybe it just seemed like 3 hours to a nine year old). Our well meaning teachers . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Then And Now
Remember the old story about the class of young music students who were told by the teacher that they must all comment after each other’s performances, and, they must always say something good first and then give suggestions for improvement? Tommy had not practiced and struggled through his piece with many do-overs and inaccuracies. Suzy . . . → Read More: In Your Face Two
My favorite holiday note ever is written on a piece of binder paper in pencil and goes like this: Thank you for being my piano teacher. I hope to be blessed with your class again next semester. The young person in question had ADD and a host of other developmental issues.
To say the least, . . . → Read More: Presents Under The Piano