Chart Your Quest: How to Plan Your Piano Journey

Taking up piano is very much like embarking on an epic quest. You have a general idea of where you need to go, but there's a lot of terrain between here and there that you don't know about yet. If you're not careful, you could end up trapped in a dark forest of no return! But don't worry, these posts will be your guide to finding the perfect guide for you. It will help you create the path for your journey, starting with where you're going and why.

Minuscule: Tips for Pianists With Small Hands

I am a pianist with small hands. That presents a challenge when many composers (cough, cough Rachmaninoff) write lovely pieces with large chords. Over the years, I’ve learned strategies for facing these challenges. Below are four tips on playing large intervals as a small-handed pianist that promotes healthy technique and ease of tension. But first …

Musical Memory: The Many Pieces of the Memorization Process

“The demands placed on memory during a piano performance are remarkable, sometimes requiring the production of over 1000 notes a minute for periods of up to 50 minutes,”Chaffin and Imreh wrote in their 1997 article about musical memory (315). Their work, as well as the work of many other scholars studying the elements of memory …

Mindfulness for Musicians

Part 1: Research on Mindfulness (and Music) Review of the Basic Research on Mindfulness Mindfulness is defined as a mental practice that focuses one’s attention on the present moment with non-judgmental awareness. It originally stems from Buddhist traditions but has found its way into popular media in the past couple of decades, especially with the …

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. I purchased the full course, so this post will cover …

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 …