A beginning adult student said to me: "I think the biggest lesson for me is that this is going to take a long time. I like instant gratification, and the ego likes that too, right? But with continued effort, eventually, there will be music." Yes, it might take a long time. It might take a long … Continue reading Instant gratification
Should you trust yourself while you practice? There might be some benefits. But, you will not even know how unless you pay attention to signs that it is not happening. To get you started, here's a list of ten such indications: Playing a wrong note twice, trying to fix it the second time. Trying to make … Continue reading 10 subtle signs you are NOT trusting yourself while practicing
As a musician, how often do you take a stance of acceptance towards yourself? I see in my students and colleagues (and certainly myself) constant battles, efforts at correcting or running away from our faults. What if those faults don't need to be chased away? Could we even embrace them? What exactly are we not accepting? While … Continue reading Can you embrace your faults?
All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself. — J.S. Bach We all know that you're supposed to play classical music right. There are just so many things to get wrong, aren't there? Wrong notes, wrong rhythms, wrong dynamics, wrong phrasing, wrong articulation, wrong … Continue reading What if there were no way to do it wrong?
I am tempted to say that if you don't use a metronome regularly in your practicing You're Doing it Wrong, but I'm sure that would be unfair. Nonetheless, not everyone agrees with me. So here are the top three arguments against using a metronome, and my responses. Argument 1: It is only for beginners who can't … Continue reading Three unconvincing reasons not to use a metronome
Here's a challenge for you: can you just let go of your difficulties? Maybe you say it's not hard enough. You say it's too easy to let go; what you really need is to hold on, to challenge yourself, to get it right, to learn. You're playing the piano, and you feel stress creeping up. … Continue reading Stress is easy
As someone who plays a lot of art songs, I am constantly faced with issues of poetic interpretation. Is there a right or wrong interpretation of a poem? What would it mean for an interpretation to be right or wrong? One could say that an interpretation is right if it accounts for every detail in … Continue reading Interpreting poems
As artists, should we always have opinions? Why do some people have opinions and some don't? Should everyone have an opinion, or should we leave opinions to those who have enough knowledge and evidence to back up those opinions? Are those opinions ever right or wrong? When I was a little kid, I was taught … Continue reading Why musicians should have opinions
It is not an uncommon occurance for a student to wish to cancel their lesson because they didn't practice that week. Apparently, this seems to be a reasonable attitude. After all, if the student hasn't practiced, what is there to do in the lesson, beyond just repeat whatever was done last week? The teacher will … Continue reading Why you should have a lesson even if you didn’t practice
Hearts All Whole PERFORMED BY SOPRANO ALLISON HOLST-GRUBBE AND PIANIST MICHAEL KORMAN Exploring themes of love as found in nature through German and American art songs of the 19th and 20th centuries. Date: July 10, 2011 at 3:00 PM. Location: New Britain Museum of American Art Free with museum admission. This will be an exciting … Continue reading July 10 Recital with Allison Holst-Grubbe