Time and Place

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2022-03-10

Introduction

Time and place can often greatly influence practice. It depends. For some, they are tightly linked, but for others, they may not be. If you’ve been finding it difficult to get a practice routine established, or your old routine doesn’t work any longer, make this powerful combination your best friend.

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Track Your Practice Time

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | 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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Two Tough Conversations with Prospective Piano Parents

Last Updated on 2022-11-27 | Originally Posted on 2021-01-29

Introduction

As a piano teacher, I find myself doing lots of things besides teaching lessons. For instance, I’ve added sanitizing skills to my arsenal! That includes supplying hydrogen peroxide and clean clothes to make sure the piano keys stay Covid-free! One of the more normal side activities is to speak to parents about teaching their kids. This happens a lot at the beginning of each semester. Turnover is part of the business due to the number of families that move into and out of our area each year.

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Video Recording Guide

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-04-13

Introduction

This article is specifically intended to help piano parents in my studio to make online recordings for recitals and festivals. As so much of music-making has been in 2020, these events have been online-only since March. We might as well get used to doing it well!

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Feel That Beat

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-03-01

Introduction

I was tempted to call this post Hear the Beat, not Feel That Beat. See the pullout quote below if you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics of the title song of the musical 42nd Street. However, there’s a big difference between hearing and feeling. When you hear good musicians, you can feel that beat because they do, too.

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Music as a Focusing Tool

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-02-19

Introduction

We live in a distracted age, where focus can be as fleeting as the obedient dog who loses it when he sees a squirrel in his peripheral vision. Music is a place where multitasking just doesn’t work, so it makes sense that it might be a good focusing tool for children. Music activates brain cells on both sides of the brain. Parents have to love that fact, but the child just wants to have fun. Is it possible to have fun while giving the brain a healthy workout? In my experience, the answer is a resound yes!

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Sight Reading Is a Priority

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-02-04

Introduction

When I write my practice corner articles, I typically think about my students’ struggles in their learning. In many cases, I struggled with the same issues when I was a piano student. However, not in this case, since sight reading always came easy to me. Rest assured I struggled in other areas of playing like technique, sound projection, and memorization.

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Law of the Farm

Last Updated on 2022-11-16 | Originally Posted on 2020-01-01

Introduction

Sometimes it pays to relate the complex world that we create for ourselves to simple principles. Stephen Covey did this when he discussed the Law of the Farm in his manual on life, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Learning a piece of music is not much different than planting a tomato. You have to be attentive from the beginning to the end of the process. I’m sure you’ve seen the difference between a tomato that is scrawny and one that is a spectacular celebration.

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Memory Magic

Last Updated on 2022-11-23 | Originally Posted on 2019-12-01

Introduction

Gotcha! There is no such thing as memory magic. Yet, some students often treat memory as something that’s just going to happen because it always has before. As pieces get longer, they also get more complex, which naturally means they’re harder to memorize.

Students typically rely on tactile (muscle) memory, and to a secondary degree on aural memory. It helps fill in the gaps when tactile memory fails. The best approach is to sharpen both of those skills, plus introduce visual and conceptual memory for extra support.

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Halloween Piano Party 2019

Last Updated on 2022-10-30 | Originally Posted on 2019-11-01

It’s said that you can’t officially call something an annual event until you do it at least twice. With that, let me present a summary of our Second Annual Halloween Piano Party. We always seem to have some type of drama before starting. Last year, we couldn’t get into the building because the door code didn’t work. This year, the code worked perfectly!

However, I left my footprints behind – literally – in the floor wax as a contractor was working off hours. I didn’t have another way to get in the building, but that didn’t make the contractor any happier with me. Oh well!

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