This is a less formal post. I’ve been struggling to find ways to help people as much as possible with the world as it is now; it’s made me feel incredibly helpless. Talking with some friends made me realize that it’s impossible and maybe even not healthy to stay all super positive, ignoring what’s really going on, but while acknowledging the truth, we can still choose to persevere, and that’s why I named this post so.
- Piano Lessons/Courses
- Music I’ve Been Listening to
- Other Music Youtube Channels I’ve Enjoyed Recently
- Books for Helping with Mindset During the Pandemic
- Final Thoughts
We’ve all found our own ways of coping: reading books with messages of hope, listening to new music, watching our favorite Youtubers, taking up a new instrument. I’ve gotten emails from a few of you taking up piano, and I’m really excited for you folks!
This post includes everything I could think of that’s helped me and others cope with the pandemic: piano courses, music, Youtube channels, books. I hope you find some of it helpful! And if you have any contributions, definitely please share! The least we can do is share good things with others!
Josh Wright’s Courses/Youtube
I’ve followed him on Youtube for a long time (one of his videos helped me get over tendinitis) and joined his ProPractice Course last year. Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with grad school since August, so social isolation gave me a reason to get back into this course!
If you’re interested, he has a free ProPractice Video Pack available now, if you’d like to see what his courses are like.
Included in this pack are the first 3 lesson modules of the Early Beginner Course (you need no prior piano playing experience to start these lessons), and a repertoire piece from the Mid-Late Beginner Course, Intermediate Course, and Advanced Course. All sheet music is included so you do not need to go to your local music store to pick up any of the scores.
I purposely chose less famous repertoire pieces from the Mid-Late Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced courses, since many of you may not have played these and they will provide a fresh new piece to work on during this challenging time.
The rest of his full tutorials are worth checking out as well, seems like he’s doing a spring sale too “SPRING2020” is the code people have been using, but I’m not sure how long that sale will go on for. Worth a try if you’re interested!
Josh Wright also has a Youtube channel with a ton of free videos as well, so if you’re unsure of joining any courses, be sure to check out his channel!
Allysia from PianoTV’s Youtube Channel
Allysia is very bubbly and obviously dedicated to piano, and this comes through in her teaching style. She honestly reminds me of my first couple of piano teachers before I went off to undergrad, so if you want the basics in bite-sized, fun chunks, definitely check out her Youtube as well as her online courses.
Here’s a video for brand new pianists if you’d like a taste!
Post for New Adult Beginners
My post for adult beginners has resources for self-learners and other web resources, but the Youtube videos I most recommend. Josh and Alyssia are more classically geared (if you have any non-classical recommendations, especially jazz, please send my way either in the comments or email me at [email protected])
Music I’ve Been Listening to
This one is a given, but Chopin’s music is my comfort food of listening. Did a nice listen through of all of his Etudes and Nocturnes that was much needed!
One of my colleagues is challenging the Western canon of Classical music, especially in regards to the inclusion of women, and she introduced me to Amy Beach’s music a few months ago. She also lived in the Romantic era, like Chopin, so I’ve been really enjoying having more new pieces to listen from this era! Just listen to this!
Soundcloud is a really awesome place for finding little-known artists, and I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made, one of which is echosonica, whose music I keep coming back to.
If you have any recommendations for some inspiring music, please share either in the comments or in an email. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d love to discover some new music!
Other Music Youtube Channels I’ve Enjoyed Recently
Nahre Sol’s Youtube Channel
Nahre Sol is a composer/classical pianist whose Youtube channel explores music theory from a compositional and performative perspective. Some of my favorites include her series on <insert genre> as digested by a Classical pianist. She also has some really innovative warmups and improvisation exercises that make you feel like you’re really making music.
Adam Neely’s Youtube Channel
I’ve followed this guy for a long time now. It’s not all bass or theory, but I find all of it interesting. From gig vlogs, to video essays on music history, philosophy, theory, and anything else relating to music, there’s something for every music lover.
Because he has two degrees in jazz composition as well, jazzers will certainly find something to enjoy in his videos. Above all, I appreciate his humor and well-timed meme placement as a way of lightening the mood of some of these serious topics!
Books for Helping with Mindset During the Pandemic
Presence by Amy Cuddy
In Presence, Dr. Amy Cuddy draws from her experience as a social psychologist as well as her own story. The idea of “presence” is living fully in the moment, not worrying too much about the future or the past, and this is a very difficult thing to deal with in the middle of a pandemic. I’ve come back to the ideas in this book as a way of coping, and I’m sharing because maybe it can help you too. You can check out my review here.
The Art of Practicing by Madeline Bruser
Piggybacking off of Presence, The Art of Practicing by Dr. Madeline Bruser takes a mindfulness approach to practice, which is something that’s been a requirement for me since the start of this pandemic. I ended up taking this term off from piano lessons because it was all just too much, so having a mindfulness approach to my practice sessions has helped me stay accountable to them while still being patient and compassionate with myself. You can check out my review here.
Books by Brené Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection and Rising Strong are the two most influential books I read in the pandemic. They helped me through this period of chaos that, for me, was punctuated by a huge breakup and career struggles. The Gifts of Imperfection showed me how to start the journey to loving myself, to come from a place of worthiness, and this ultimately has helped me deal with anxiety of all kinds (performance-related, general, and social). Rising Strong helped me understand and re-shape my definitions of success. Dr. Brown explains that sometimes, just continuing to show up and do things is the hardest, especially in a pandemic! While these aren’t specifically music-related, they’ve shaped me as a musician; they’ve transformed the story I tell when I perform, so I recommend these to everyone.
Humanity has experienced global crises before — we got through it before, and we’ll get through it now. Take one day at a time and, as my therapist says, “do things that fill your soul.” Focus on the things that give you hope, that motivate you, and that help you be the best you possible.
Peace and safety to all of you!
About the Author
Amy King is a music theory and piano instructor currently residing in the Chicago area.
- Master of Music in Music Theory and Cognition from Northwestern University (June 2020)
- Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance and English Literature from High Point University (May 2016)
- where she received the Outstanding Senior Music Major Award, which is awarded to one single graduating music student per year
Amy has been teaching private piano lessons for 12+ years, taught classroom music theory for 5 years, directed choirs spanning ages 4–25, led and arranged for a university a capella group, and composed and arranged music for various soloists and ensembles.