I went to San Diego last weekend to visit family. A friend of my daughter’s, who also happens to be a world class photographer, saw that I was wearing a turquoise heart and immediately took his own necklace off and put it around my neck. He told me that the stone is sacred to the . . . → Read More: Pa Shorts: A Lesson in Perfection
Last Thursday, film critic Roger Ebert lost his long battle with cancer. I was listening to a Fresh Air interview by Terry Gross and was struck by the following:
I went to see “La Dolce Vita” by Fellini, and that movie has been a touchstone for me, because when I saw it in 1960, there . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: As Time Goes By
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 week, I was given the gift of seeing myself and my teaching from without on two different occasions. Firstly, Matthew Odell was at the college to do a workshop and masterclass and to accompany soprano Cindee Sanner’s recital. He gave us a wonderful session on technique and then expertly applied the principles he had discussed . . . → Read More: Looking in the Mirror
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
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
Over the summer, I had to make some fundamental decisions about what and how much I do professionally. In order to make the changes needed, I was forced to ponder both where I could best use my talents and where I felt the most personal satisfaction. The process was painful but in the end the . . . → Read More: Success = Yard Maintenance
Remember my story wherein Teacher 42 became so uncomfortable with musical choices that she finally said, “You mean there’s no right way?” I concluded that I had given that teacher more doubt and uncertainty than she could handle. (PA Shorts: 42)
Well, I read an article, Helping Students Deal With Uncertainty In The Classroom, on Edutopia . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: The Uncertainty Principle
Since I have been convalescing and forbidden to do anything particularly physical, I have had a lot of time to read. Two tidbits struck my fancy this week. The first concerns the ignition of talent and the second the fact that we never know where or when our influence will actually come to bear.
. . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Ignition – Blast Off!
“Wow !” I said, “You are like a different pianist!” And she was. Before, there had been surges and awkward accents in the opening to her Intermezzo, impossible to remove despite hard work on both of our parts. Now, after one week on meds for ADHD, there was a beautiful calm flow and elegance about . . . → Read More: Vintage PA: What’s On The Inside
“You’re a romantic!” said my teacher in a surprised voice, as though this explained everything he found perplexing about me. I had never been accused of being anything but a pianist—romantic or no. I can’t remember what I was playing and it wasn’t necessarily meant as a compliment, though for some reason I felt a . . . → Read More: Vintage Post: A Romantic Accusation
One of my Facebook friends recently shared a few words of advice to aspiring musicians by pianist, singer, songwriter, and producer, Ben Folds. This earthy collection of thoughts struck a chord with me. Also, I find it entertaining and awesome that he wrote it while on a flight to Boston.
The advice applies to . . . → Read More: PA Shorts: Opportunity Knocks
Saturday January 8, 2011 was a sad day in Tucson and for the country. The massacre took place at the Safeway where my family shopped for many years. One of my fellow piano teachers and her husband were there when the shots rang out. Our Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and despite . . . → Read More: One Year Later: What’s Your 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
For years there has been discussion ad-nauseam about the aging of classical audiences and what the best ways are to engage and connect with younger audiences. Don’t get me wrong or send poison letters quite yet. It is a serious issue. We who teach know this first hand. Not only are our students from . . . → Read More: Aging Audiences, Elitism, Strong Bass, & Dumbed Down Ears: A Kind of Rant