Category Archives: Piano


Some people I teach are notation-reading-only-musicians and some have a similar story in their background being at parties where people are jamming and despite playing all their life they can’t play along and feel like an imposter musician.

I love working with those types. I push them overboard. It’s like they just told me they’ve been swimming all their life and we’re on a boat and so I get them in the water we both know they know how to swim.

“Life jacket!!” they scream

“Swim!!” I scream



And then I ask them to pay in advance for the next 4.

Ok not exactly.

But sort of.


Voyager 1 & 2

There was an idea to treat outer space like the ocean it is and in 1977 they launched spaceships Voyager 1 & 2 replete with messages in a bottle ostensibly for aliens to discover and consider. 
No paintings, no sculpture, no architecture and no modern dance. What did they include to impress the aliens if either Voyager was successful?
Glen Gould,
Azerbaijani folk music,
Guan Pinghu,
Blind Willie Johnson,
Chuck Berry,
Valya Balkanska and
recordings of people saying hello in 55 different languages.
Music is our species way of showing off intelligence.

the cn tower ledge

For a certain type of musician whatever they can do isn’t good enough.

New people to piano have difficulty playing hands together. One forgets how real a complication that is in the early days. Their faces look at me like I’m asking them to step onto the ledge of the CN tower.

The interesting thing is when they do get there, when they can play hands together, they already moved on.  I might say hey look you can do it! They don’t care now they’re on fire about what I did in my right hand or my left hand or a record they heard and want to know how it was done.

The brain works like that. It’s as though it always wants to compare where you are with where you wish you were.

Some people realize the great lesson learned from this. They know whatever they set their sights on they can learn, they know to be patient and stay the course and maybe there’s another lesson in there too.