Antimatter: Any substance that, when combined with an equal amount of matter, results in the complete and direct conversion of all substance to energy. (WhatIs.com)
Anti-Masterclass: Any masterclass that, when combined with an equal part of input from all participants, results in the complete and direct conversion of all playing to energy and artistry.
I . . . → Read More: The Anti-Masterclass
It started with a performance of a method book piece with the word Yodel in the title. “It sounds weird,” said my young student, “and I don’t understand why that B is there.” “Do you know what yodeling is?”, I asked. She shook her head sideways, “uhuh.” I certainly can’t yodel, so demonstration was out . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Yodeling Puff The Magic Dragon
My students have been full of questions about how to best help their beginning readers- especially those who look at the score as though it had lobsters crawling out of it. I myself recall answering, “Fly spot?” when my teacher asked me the name of a particularly pesky ledger line.
My problem was that I . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Not Exactly Pre-Reading
It’s the start of the school year and with it has come much discussion among colleagues, questions from new students, and personal observations about transfer student readiness. I have read several posts and even a rant or two against piano methods in general. I find this very disturbing. Everyone who knows me knows that I . . . → Read More: Creativity & Method: Redux
Do you judge yourself as you practice? Those negative inner thoughts are human nature. Sometimes voices from the past echo in our heads. Sometimes, the thoughts have nothing to do with the task at hand at all. Every good book, that I have ever found, on practicing anything—from tennis, to a musical . . . → Read More: Smart Choices
Will 10,000 Hours really get you to elite status? This article in The Wilson Quarterly, on the research of Michigan State University psychology professor David Z. Hambrick and five other psychologists, says maybe not.
Ten thousand hours of toil may not put you on par with the masters. But if people assess their prospects and abilities . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Six Onions & 10,000 Hours
Everyone who teaches should try to learn a completely new skill every few years. It keeps you humble. It keeps you patient and kind to both yourself and to your students.
I heard our local Taiko group play at a wedding reception a few months back. I was entranced by the sound and the dance . . . → Read More: Learning Ogi Matsuri
“Whoa! Not many people could pull that dress off,” I thought as I gazed at the pictures on Pinterest. The dress was low cut and red, with the bodice made entirely of roses. Next to it, was a short dress of ivy and pink roses. As I scrolled down I saw many variations . . . → Read More: Rocking Piano Down The Runway
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
I had the great pleasure of doing this latest Artist Portrait interview with pianist Matthew Odell—and face to face too! He is an energetic and down to earth person who inspired our students and teachers during his workshop, masterclass, and performance at EAC a couple of weeks ago.
He’s also a busy person. He has . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Matthew Odell
“What’s up with this memory thing?”, asked one of my new transfer students. We talked about different levels of knowing and understanding and the fact that committing something to memory allows us to interact with it on a deeper level. “You don’t necessarily have to perform it from memory”, I said, “but you need the . . . → Read More: What’s Up With This Memory Thing?
“I’ve played piano for over 30 years and nobody has ever told me to start in the middle of a measure,” said one of my adult students last week.
She had been attempting to practice a Brahms passage where the motives echoed across the bar-lines by starting at the beginning of each multi measure section. . . . → Read More: Middle Parts & Orphans
Do you remember the instant you knew you were a pianist? Perhaps for you it was a gradual realization? The father of a former student of mine sent me this essay on his daughter’s journey to becoming a pianist, which she wrote for her English class.
It is always wonderful to learn that a student . . . → Read More: Becoming A Pianist: A Worthwhile Journey, Gloria Fast
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
My husband sent me a link to an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates entitled, Learning a Foreign Language is Like Learning a Sport: The long road to not sucking at French.
It immediately resonated with me. After all, music is a language without words.
…I think people should be encouraged to continue their “Physical Education” throughout . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Substitute… Musical Education
Often when I am teaching and practicing, I say or do something successful and think, “How did I know that?” Sometimes, I can mentally thank the person who blessed me with a particular tidbit. Other times I just throw a blanket thank you out to the universe. So, I collected some sage tidbits to share. . . . → Read More: Some Sage Advice