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PA Posts by Month & Year

PA Shorts: The Children

This seems to be the week of children in my corner of cyberspace. Several articles and posts really hit home for me and so I decided to share them here. Enjoy!

On Parental Anxiety: from Diane Hidy

The Window

On the many ways of being smart: from Message with a Bottle

The Greatest Letter Ever . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: The Children


Vintage PA: Jocularity! Jocularity!

Stuff happens. Life throws you curveballs just to see if you are paying attention. Music Life Lessons 101. We don’t always have the optimum conditions for practice, rehearsal or performance but we have to tough it out and do the best we can.

Here are some of my favorite stories of musical life lessons from . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Jocularity! Jocularity!


PA Shorts: Onwards & Upwards

Recently, while in the preparation phase of a presentation, I asked what some of our college students wished they had known before coming to study at a more advanced level. Some of these students were still in High School, some were college music majors or non-majors, and others were adults from the community. They were . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Onwards & Upwards


Artist Portrait: Nathan Williamson

Nathan Williamson is a pianist, composer and conductor with ties to both the UK and the US. We chatted via email about his musical growing up, his musical mentors, balancing a varied career, his current projects, and more. Enjoy!

What was growing up in music like for you? Was there a special moment when you . . . → Read More: Artist Portrait: Nathan Williamson


Vintage PA: Piano Fail

I have done a lot of judging this spring. It is inspiring to hear young pianists who are doing their very best to make music and push their skills to the limit of their abilities. Sometimes, they shake so badly they can hardly let the music out. One year, a teenager looked at me at . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Piano Fail


PA Shorts: All People

Think of a typical college/university area recital. Well, that’s not what happened last Wednesday at the Piano & Strings Area Recital. Yes, there was a piano on stage in the hall. Yes, students performed pieces from the standard repertoire. Yes the audience was a mix of family and friends and those required to attend . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: All People


Remix: Earthquakes, Bright and Shiny Objects, One Speed Ponies, & Time Travel

Pieces have been chosen. Dates have been set. Arrangements have been made. Yep, we are working toward spring masterclasses, recitals, and end of the year piano exams all right. In the last few months, nearly everyone who has walked in the studio door has had issues with rhythm. Cosmic unity? Sunspots? The after effects of . . . → Read More: Remix: Earthquakes, Bright and Shiny Objects, One Speed Ponies, & Time Travel


Letting Distraction Go

There are times when all of us are easily distracted by bright and shiny objects—diamonds, texts, emails, the slip of a finger, the person sitting in the front row, your next blog post… Have you ever woken up in the middle of a practice session and found that suddenly you have no idea how the . . . → Read More: Letting Distraction Go


Vintage PA: Amateur Exploration 2

Yesterday”s wonderful post on amateur pianism by Fran Wilson, More Than Hobbyists, deserves some extra airtime.

“…all the amateur pianists I have met and know play the piano because they love the instrument and its literature. Those of us who play at a semi-professional level, intermediate players, beginners, returners, “Sunday pianists” all share this . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: Amateur Exploration 2


Resolutions: Salvage & Recycle

It happens to all of us. We set goals and start out with such good intentions. Then, the world gets in the way and, little by little, we lose our inspiration and our focus. I’ve put together some links to posts and sites that just might help you stick to your musical resolutions—or even inspire . . . → Read More: Resolutions: Salvage & Recycle


The Anti-Masterclass

Antimatter: Any substance that, when combined with an equal amount of matter, results in the complete and direct conversion of all substance to energy. (

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


PA Shorts: Competition With A Twist

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


What’s Up With This Memory Thing?

“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?


Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Night Music

I’ll admit it. I’m a complete nerd for certain kinds of music. A while back, I was listening to a new album by Nils Anders Mortensen (look for more on this in an upcoming review). All the works on the CD are tied together by their connections to the outdoors. And yes, outdoor music would . . . → Read More: Playing With Wolfgang: A Little Night Music


Duo for Harpsichord and Jackhammer

There was a situation during the rehearsal for our EAC keyboard recital last Tuesday.

We were premiering our new harpsichord in its solo capacity and so had both the concert grand and the harpsichord ready to rock and roll. I run open rehearsals so that the students can drop in for 30-45 minutes as their . . . → Read More: Duo for Harpsichord and Jackhammer



Last night on The Next Food Network Star, Alton Brown asked several contestants about the worst thing that could possibly happen during their demo. The answers were predictable- the equipment could fail, the oil might not come to temperature, the mic might not work, there might be a knife incident involving blood, etc. He shook . . . → Read More: Uh…

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