Promoting A Message of Body Positivity in My Music Studio  

“Look!” said my 4-year- old piano student. “I set up the bench for us!” And he had. He'd set the bench  exactly like I do when we're going to share it. I set it sort of cockeyed to the piano so that he can sit up close where he needs to and I can sit farther away. He said, “I did it this way because you are fat and need to be farther away, and I am thin, and I need to be closer.” His nanny cringed in the background, her little charge having called out something that in polite society we “aren't supposed to…

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Teaching Piano to Preschoolers 

I'm really not an expert on this topic. I have, however, learned a lot through trial and error, and this year and last my studio has gotten a huge infusion of Pre-K children whose parents have asked for private piano instruction. And so, people who know this have asked me for advice on teaching their preschool students. This is meant to be a survey of my thoughts on it and a list of things that have worked for me.  Truthfully, a long time ago, I'd have said that no child should start piano before first…Read more

GirlSongs Summer Songwriting Camp 2016 is Coming! 

I'm so excited to announce this year's dates for my GirlSongs summer songwriting camp. This camp is a girls-only experience where we learn about the process of songwriting -- what makes a good song, how songs are structured, where to get inspiration, how we can write lyrics that make an impact, how we can write about things that are important to us, and how we can tell all kinds of stories through our songwriting. We do group and individual songwriting and at the end of the week, we make a recording of our…Read more

A Different Kind of Allergic Experience 

I belong to an organization that I care about deeply. It's the kind of organization that seeks to take care of both its members and the community at large. I know that any organization is fallible, being made out of fallible people. And, so, any organization is bound to fail its members from time to time. This weekend the member that it failed was me, and in order to move past it, I feel the need to write about it. I also know that what I'm feeling right now is a common but often silently kept experience…

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My birthday concert/webcast, and sneak peek of new song! 

Well, folks, we're 25% of the way there. My new album, "Brave New Year", is funded a quarter of the way. That's a big milestone, and I'm so grateful for everyone's generosity. I've been getting lots of questions along the way, and a little further down the page, I'm going to answer a bunch of them. But first I've got to tell you some big news!

Happy Birthday To Me!

My birthday is coming up, and I'm so excited that this year I get to celebrate with a show! I'm going to be playing at my favorite place, St.Read more

A Brave New Year 

That's what it's going to be -- a brave new year. And that's the title of my brand new project -- "Brave New Year." I'm beside myself with excitement.

You've all been asking for recordings of some of my songs (like "This Time Tomorrow" and "The Harvest" and even "Girlfriend Patrol") for a good long while. And it's finally going to happen. 

It was 2003 when I put out my last album "The Wait-a-While Estates." That's unacceptable! I've had the music for a while... but the problem has been finding the money for…Read more

When I Raise My Rates, I Measure In Lattes 

When I started teaching piano, it was 1993, and I charged $5 per half hour lesson. Why? That's what my first teacher charged. It seemed a reasonable rate. When 1997 rolled around, I decided that I deserved a raise. I raised my rate to $8 per half hour. I still remember it vividly. My stomach was in knots over this. I was sure that all of my students would quit! I was sure that their parents would be mad at me! I questioned whether or not I deserved that raise or whether it was too much! People around me…Read more

How to Quit Piano Lessons 

Well, folks, we've made it. The recital is over. There are only a few more weeks of school left. The end of the year is upon us. It's the time of year when, as activities are winding down, parents start to think about which of those activities their kids will commit to for the upcoming school year. It's one of the times of year when I'm likely, as a private music teacher, to see turnover in my studio.

I've thought about writing this for a long time. Through online teacher communities and attendance at…Read more

My Cabbage Patch Kid Plays Piano 

Every now and then one of my piano students' parents asks me, "We have all these old piano books... what should I do with them?"

That question always torments me. On one hand, I understand that pianists tend to accumulate a whole lot of music and though I seem to consistently fail at decluttering, other people are quite good at it and don't want books hanging around that their kids aren't going to touch ever again. On the other hand, there's a part of me that wants to scream, "Keeeeeeeep themmmm!!!!" 

Some…Read more

Metronomes: Talk About Skills That Are Not Intuitive 

I will make a huge, slightly embarrassing, admission here and say that it's only in the last 3 or 4 years that I've been any good at teaching students to use a metronome. I've always tried, but my success rate has been dismal. I've personally been huge on using my own metronome for years, but teaching others to use it has always been tough for me. I continually set goals for myself as a piano teacher, and one of the goals I've had for the last two years is to encourage more consistent metronome use among…Read more