7 Steps to Practice Joy While Practicing an Instrument

Introduction In his 2019 literature review on the study of joy in positive psychology, Matthew Kuan Johnson explains there are four types of joy. Joy can be an emotion, mood, a disposition or trait, or what religious or spiritual practices consider a “spiritual fruit.” As an emotion, joy comes from an external situation; it’s an …

Piano Course Review: ProPractice by Dr. Josh Wright

Introduction In this post, I’ll be reviewing the full “ProPractice Lifetime Access Course” that currently includes 4 levels divided into 2 parts each, technique and repertoire. If you’re only interested in the repertoire section of one level, you can purchase just that section alone here. This post will cover the full course, so hopefully I’ll …

Twinkling Possibilities: Performance Tips and Theory Tidbits for Mozart’s 12 Variations on ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,’ Part 2

Part 1 Last week we looked at the theme and first six variations of this famous piano piece by Mozart. This week, we’ll pick up right where we left off with brief analyses of what Mozart does to make each variation unique as well as the physical piano techniques required to successfully play each variation. …

Twinkling Possibilities: Performance Tips and Theory Tidbits for Mozart’s 12 Variations on ‘Ah vous dirai-je, Maman,’ Part 1

Mozart's "Twinkle Twinkle Variations" rank among his more popular piano pieces, probably because of the humorous nature of concert pianists sitting down to play a child's tune. (I love the laughter in this performance): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUSDpxZgy0I By the first variation, the true difficulty of this piece shines through. Because of this plot twist and the sentimental …

The Selection: How to Pick Piano Repertoire to Increase Momentum and Avoid Frustration

Teachers are one of the best resources for picking music that challenges you but is within your current abilities to achieve. I could go on for days about how goal-setting (maybe just in America — that's my only experience, so maybe it's different elsewhere) has become an activity that burns us out. We choose all …

Chopin’s Architecture: Phrase Structure in Chopin’s Waltz in B Minor, Op. 69 No. 2 for Composers, Performers, and Listeners

One of the toughest parts of creating anything is figuring out how to start. The biggest issue for me is that there is just so much I want to write about, say, or do in a project that I get overwhelmed and many times end up pushing it off. There’s our answer: limit the scope of …

Book Recommendation: Light the Dark by Joe Fassler

Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process is a collection of super-short, inspiring essays from acclaimed authors that comes originally from Joe Fassler's online series "By Heart" featured in The Atlantic. In this series of interviews, he asked authors which pieces of writing changed their lives as well as how these …