Missing External Celebration

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2020-05-05


Although I could be confused about what day it is upon waking even in normal times, I’m pretty aware of what day of the week it is in general. Like everyone else, my driving schedule has little to do with work; it revolves more around grocery shopping and picking up my bread order for our local artisan boulangère. Perhaps I’m lucky that my workdays are similar to before: online instead of in-person piano lessons on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Plus, working at the church on Wednesday; yes, complying with social distancing including a maximum of four people in our fairly large sanctuary!

Continue reading “Missing External Celebration”

Brighten the Corner Where You Are

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2019-07-11


July 3, 2019 just wasn’t my day. I was having trouble getting the things done that I planned. My tendency is to try to do to much right before leaving for a vacation, even one lasting just a couple of days. I needed to complete the list that included doing the dishes, house cleaning, laundry, and mailing a birthday present to a friend in France. As a result, I ran out of time to salvage driving to Kansas City to see the Royals play and enjoy a fireworks show at Kauffman Stadium afterward.

Continue reading “Brighten the Corner Where You Are”

Small Action Big Impact

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-09-10

What small action makes a big impact? A review or a testimonial! Let me explain…

I visited Pryde’s Old Westport, a famous kitchen store in Kansas City. You have to look, but tucked away in a corner of the basement is a pie shop, open only three days a week. I asked at the kitchen store checkout if the pie shop was open. Fortunately, yes. However, it’s been a while since I’ve been there, and now it’s run by a new tenant, Ashleigh.

Continue reading “Small Action Big Impact”

Piano Teaching Philosophy

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-05-29


I have been asked about my piano teaching philosophy, so I created a written response. The caveat is that there’s only so much you can get from someone’s writing or even a conversation. When you’ve narrowed down your candidates, I strongly suggest seeing how a teacher teaches by scheduling a trial lesson. Both teacher and student should be comfortable before beginning what could be years of cooperative learning.

Continue reading “Piano Teaching Philosophy”

Give Yourself Permission To Stink

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-05-21


It’s said that perfectionists never get anything done. Despite that somewhat true saying, the expectation in music is that we aim for perfection. You’ve probably heard the expression for when we slightly miss the mark: “It’s close enough for government work.” Fortunately, there are enough folks who see that lie for what it is. As Sierra Teller Ornelas suggests in this article (h/t Kara Cutruzzula), give yourself permission to stink! Beware, she uses a more salty word for stink.

Continue reading “Give Yourself Permission To Stink”

One Thank-You Note

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-05-12

I recently agreed to take on a block of accompanying for juries at the University of Arkansas. Fourteen to be exact. For each student, there were two half-hour rehearsals, plus playing for the jury itself, about 8 to 10 minutes long. The pay was decent, and really there was no need for a special thank you other than the check I will eventually receive.

Continue reading “One Thank-You Note”

Find the Right Piano Teacher

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-04-18


Your best way to find a teacher is by word of mouth. Even if you’re newly moving into an area, find some friends in real life or network with others through a Facebook group to get some leads. Using a Google search can be helpful, but you’re more likely to find music schools than private teachers. Private teachers are usually better established and prefer to teach on their own versus sharing a cut of pay with a music school.

Continue reading “Find the Right Piano Teacher”

How to Respond

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-04-16

Are you ever at a loss for how to respond to a situation that has happened in your life? One of the most influential books I read, while I was a twenty-something, was The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. It isn’t a career advice book per se, but it has wonderful insights into how to be the best you can be in your work and personal life.

Continue reading “How to Respond”

Energy Giving or Energy Draining?

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2018-04-02

I read this really inspiring advice from a Kara Cutruzzula, a blogger and freelance writer who publishes a simple thought each day via her newsletter. I’ve subscribed for a couple of weeks so far, and so far I’m really impressed. Kara addresses life as either energy giving or energy draining, though she uses a different word for draining!

Continue reading “Energy Giving or Energy Draining?”