Track Your Practice Time

Last Updated on 2024-06-11 | Originally Posted on 2022-01-05

Introduction

You’ve decided to learn piano, but do you have a practice goal? I talk about how to Set a Practice Goal in a separate blog post. Once you set a practice goal, it can be helpful to see if you’re meeting that goal. I can guarantee that you won’t be able to meet your goal without sufficient practice. I’ll start by showing you how I track my practice time.

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Good Enough

Last Updated on 2024-06-11 | Originally Posted on 2021-11-22

Introduction

“Never good enough” was the original title I proposed for this post. That along with “How to discourage and demoralize a piano student” as the short description. I hope it’s obvious I don’t endorse any of this “never good enough” stuff. However, I experienced it first hand during my first two years of piano study at music school. I noticed a lot of this, across many students and teachers, during the six years I spent earning my BFA and MM degrees.

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Going the Second Mile

Last Updated on 2024-06-11 | Originally Posted on 2021-09-19

Introduction

I remember seeing this expression on a motivational poster decades ago, where a runner is shown in full stride with no one else in sight. The others gave up before going the second mile. I’ve known both mid- to long-distance runners, and most of them wouldn’t bother to lace up just to do a mile. But what the expression originally refers to has nothing about recreational runnning.

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Find the Best Christmas Sheet Music

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2020-11-21

This post has no affiliate links. In other words, I don’t get any compensation as a result of purchases made using these links.

Introduction

Christmas songbooks that are sold in the mass market, like at Sam’s Club, on Amazon.com, or at your local bookstore, are not thoughtfully compiled with piano students in mind. You’ll get a lot of songs at a reasonable price, but the arrangements will vary in difficulty from page to page. They’re often too complicated for beginners, but too easy and boring for advanced students.

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Sharpen Your Pencil

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2020-07-25

Introduction

One of my memories of public school is whether the teacher required a pen or pencil for class. Once you got past early elementary school, pretty much every class except for math required a pen. So it’s always been a surprise to find that kids don’t bring either to lessons. In case your kids missed the onboarding notice, here’s the announcement once again: Sharpen your pencil!

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How to Succeed in the Recording Process

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2020-05-01

Introduction

This article was originally intended to help my students prepare for their first recorded recital in May 2020, two months after lessons went online due to Covid-19 confinement. I’m repurposing it to preparing for any recording because it’s a different preparation process from live playing. You might say, yeah, it’s actually easier because you can record yourself as much as you want, and then just choose the best take. However, that flexibility can actually make the recording process much more difficult!

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Set a Practice Goal

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2019-10-01

Introduction

When I sit down to practice, I usually set a practice goal. The practice goal is pretty clear and not needing a lot of thought when I have to have a piece ready to go for the next day. Practice goals become more important when I have a bunch of pieces that are in different states of readiness. At any one time, I have a number of pieces that I’m working on that are scheduled to be performed at different times.

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Te Deum – Psalms to Charlemagne

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2019-07-18
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Introduction

I was asked much earlier in my career if I’d ever taught a continuing education class for church, or whether I’d consider doing so. Up to that point, I’d never done it, but I was open to the idea. The possibility has since then intrigued me, but until recently I hadn’t put together a plan. Now that a date is on the calendar, October 16th, it’s becoming real. I’m teaching a class in sacred music at church!

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Brighten the Corner Where You Are

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

Introduction

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.

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I bought a piano!

Last Updated on 2024-06-07 | Originally Posted on 2019-04-17

I wasn’t looking to buy a piano.  Really! But I bought a piano anyway. The interest was sparked by a piano parent who was searching for an acoustic piano. But I was surprised when she emailed me an advertisement for a 48-inch Yamaha U1 upright, built in 1977. This is a top-of-the-line upright, which Yamaha continues to make in Japan, along with their tallest model, the 52-inch U3. They offshored production of all of their shorter uprights decades ago.

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