Energy Giving or Energy Draining?

Last Updated on 2024-02-04 | 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?”

Ballet Pianist

Last Updated on 2024-02-04 | Originally Posted on 2018-03-19

Ballet pianist. Those are two words that I thought I would never say again! Between 1987 and 1994, I had two separate jobs as a ballet pianist. The first was at Rockland (NY) Community College during a gap year after my bachelor’s degree. Then, after I got my master’s degree from The Juilliard School, I worked for several years at the Connecticut Conservatory of Dance and Music in New Milford, Connecticut. This school anchored an old industrial building, built with solid brick that was perfectly re-purposed as a performing arts school and apartments.

Continue reading “Ballet Pianist”

Piano Teaching Resources

Last Updated on 2024-02-04 | Originally Posted on 2018-03-12


I often find piano teaching to be difficult. Each student comes to you as an individual learner, with different needs from the next child. What motivates one student doesn’t motivate the next. What’s hard for one kid is simple for the next, and vice versa. Fortunately, there is an amazing community of teachers who offer lots of piano teaching resources, much of it free.

Continue reading “Piano Teaching Resources”

Chicago Weekend Getaway in February 2018

Last Updated on 2024-02-04 | Originally Posted on 2018-03-05

Today’s blog post is something different, a travel report on a Chicago weekend getaway I took in February 2018. As an organist, my weekend trips often are from Thursday to Saturday, since I don’t get paid if I’m not on the organ bench on Sunday morning! The reason for scheduling the trip was due to an expiring free Hyatt night that I wanted to spend in a large city. Since Chicago turned out to be the best deal for my frequent flier miles, off I went!

Continue reading “Chicago Weekend Getaway in February 2018”

Artwork Gift

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2018-02-28

It’s not every day that you receive an artwork gift from one of your piano students. I was really flattered when I received this drawing from a six-year-old piano student. I had the pleasure to teach her for several weeks while a fellow teacher was on medical leave.

Continue reading “Artwork Gift”

Bitten by the Bach Bug

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2018-02-02

This winter, I have not suffered any type of cold or flu that is going around. However, I have been bitten by another bug, that of the long-dead composer, J.S. Bach. I was reading an article on the New York Times website about András Schiff, the Hungarian/British pianist whom I first saw perform at Tanglewood when I was a teenager. The article mentioned how Schiff had recently played the entire Bach Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One, a set of 24 preludes and fugues written in every major and minor key.

Continue reading “Bitten by the Bach Bug”

Same As Last Week

Last Updated on 2024-02-04 | Originally Posted on 2018-01-15

Every teacher has written “same as last week” in a student’s assignment book many times. It happens when your student hasn’t practiced a bit – or very little.

You give the lesson, and maybe you touch on some different topics that you didn’t get to last week – like technique, scales, or theory. But when it comes to writing in her assignment book, you cross out the old date, write in the current date, and write same as last week. But what happens when you find yourself doing this a second or third time? How do you help the student get unstuck?

Continue reading “Same As Last Week”

Sonatina Festival Success

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2017-12-17

Two of my students participated in the Sonatina Celebration 2017 held at NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) on November 11, 2017. The group sponsoring this, the NW Arkansas Music Teachers Association, is a local affiliate of the Arkansas State and National Music Teachers Association.

Continue reading “Sonatina Festival Success”

Beethoven Bagatelle Strikes Gold

Last Updated on 2024-02-17 | Originally Posted on 2017-11-07

As part of my job as a church organist, I occasionally program a series of piano pieces.  Frequently they will be a series of compositions by the same composer, such as the Impromptus of Schubert or Songs without Words by Mendelssohn.  For the month of November, I planned a number of unrelated pieces that I wanted to play.

Continue reading “Beethoven Bagatelle Strikes Gold”