Viewing: the journey - View all posts

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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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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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

Godspell, A Crummy Thanksgiving, and Learning to Accept Help 

It's normally Easter when I think about Godspell. It's been my tradition for a number of years to cuddle up with a blanket and a plate of ham on Easter Sunday and have my annual viewing of the movie version of Godspell. It's quite possibly my favorite musical of all time. It's certainly in my top five (with Pippin, The Music Man, Blood Brothers, and Once On This Island... this list subject to change at any moment). But this year, it was Thanksgiving that brought all those singing and dancing hippies to…Read more

How "Dance Moms" is Making Me a Better Teacher 

Wow... it's been a while since I posted something. I've thought about posting a whole lot, but life got away from me post-songwriting camp, and I simply haven't been back. So here I am to remedy that.

Embarrassing disclosure: I love reality TV. I don't love it all, but I obsess over Project Runway and Celebrity Rehab and Toddlers and Tiaras and... well... all that stuff. If I've got a day when I'm sick and stuck on the couch, I like to put on a season of something new and just watch the catty drama unfold. I…Read more

Networking like an introvert 

I've been an introvert for as long as I can remember. People drain me... which is not to say that I hate people. I don't! I just find that after time spent in a group, particularly a group where I don't know everyone well, that I need alone time to recharge. And so the idea of "networking," quite honestly, scares the crap out of me.

When I think of "networking," the image that immediately comes to mind is a bunch of professionals in work-social situation (a cocktail hour, say), striking up conversations…Read more

On Being a Fearless Musician 

Someday I'd like to be a fearless musician.

I had that thought again recently watching a video singer-songwriter and friend Carey Farrell posted to her YouTube stream:




The coolest thing about this video (beyond the fact that it's just a great song) is that it was made by a bunch of people who were never in the same room together. They recorded their parts, sent them to each other, recorded more parts, combined the sounds, and made a video. And then boom, they posted it. And they did all of this…Read more