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January 17, 2020

I use essential oils to support physical and mental function for myself as well as to enhance my student’s experience in lessons. The oils that I diffuse or that I might apply topically to myself or ingest depend entirely on the situation and needs. If I have a student who struggles with anxiety or is generally stressed when they arrive, I will diffuse blends such as “Stress Away”, “Peace & Calming”, and/or ind...

November 28, 2019

I have used the following approach in my practice over the years and have seen many students get quick results the same way. There seems to be a reluctance and aversion to all 3 of these methods. Maybe it is intrinsic in human nature to want to struggle and to speed. I don’t want to delay any longer because you are probably at least a little curious. 

1) Slow down! 

Like the other 2 ways below, this wou...

November 20, 2019

There is an explosion of information and interesting content on the internet today including articles, instructional videos, all kinds of recordings and video footage from some of our finest performers and thinkers. I find a lot of it inspiring and I am amazed at the quantity and much of the quality of what is easily available and free. I am interested in and have produced some content myself, so I definitely t...

November 20, 2019

In a recent conversation with a couple of friends, who are educators, the topic of motivation came up.

There were a variety of factors discussed including parental involvement and changing expectations in regard to behavior, attention, productivity and discipline. Although I empathize completely with the educator who is on the front lines, teaching everyday in a classroom setting and I understand the fatigue tha...

June 20, 2019

I just finished mowing the lawn!  I perform this ritual about once a week during the growing season.  Years ago, one of my students asked me as I was building the raised beds for our vegetable garden; “when you are gardening or doing yard work, do you wish that you were playing music instead”?  He asked this question at a time when there was no internet, cell phones, Facebook, incessant robo-calls, twitter and...

December 6, 2018

As we prepare for performances, interviews, speeches or any other “event” in life, it is important to replicate, as accurately as you can, the circumstances, logistics or conditions under which you will be operating. In a conversation with a good friend recently, we were discussing his recent recital. There was one point in the recital in which he had to change instruments in order to play a different piece. Th...

November 25, 2018

Polyrhythms have been used by composers, improvisers and within various cultures since we expressed ourselves through music. They are the result of one or more people experiencing time in different ways simultaneously and often occur organically. At other times composers create polyrhythms between different instruments or for one player.

Polyrhythms can be challenging for some individuals, but there are ways tha...

September 25, 2018

No matter what instrument you play or whatever you do, in order to be successful, enjoy what you do and have some longevity, you have to take care of and consider your body. Aches, pains, injuries and strains can conspire to make activities unpleasant and uncomfortable.

Although, there is no guarantee that you won’t ever have to face any physical challenges in your life, there are certain measures 

that you can t...

July 6, 2018

Sight reading is a specific skill which can be developed by anyone who has an interest. It enhances your adaptability, reflexes and preparedness.  It gets better with daily, incremental and focused effort. Reading every day will improve your reading!  So, what are some of the essentials ingredients for developing your sight reading? 

Ease into your sight reading practice by starting with music that you...

January 17, 2018

Last week a student emerged from a Piano practice room claiming that he was bored with nothing to practice.

“Well, let’s go into the practice room and talk about this”, I said.  Once inside, I asked him to play some major arpeggios in 3 octaves. He obliged but struggled at a very slow tempo. When I asked him about playing uncomfortable major keys, minor, diminished and augmented arpeggios, he shrugged and said “...

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