Reality Check Your Goals: Mindset and New Experiences

Last time, I focused on why being specific and relevant in your piano journey is helpful and how to implement that practice in your own goal-setting. In this post, I’m focusing in on the “MART” of smart goals and what it means to “reality check expectations,” as this is where new pianists especially struggle with …

Anatomy of a Christmas Carol: Deck the Hall

Deck the Hall is a classic Welsh Christmas carol from the 16th century. From its long-lasting popularity, we can learn how looking at the harmony, melody, and overall structure of a piece contributes to our ability as performers to control more fully how we express emotion and narrative (if there is a story) in a …

How Curiosity Keeps Us Happy and Motivated While Practicing an Instrument

This post is part 2 in the Chart Your Quest series, for people wanting to start learning piano (or any instrument!) but don't know where to start! You can read the first part here. Last week, we talked about finding our motivation: what is it we actually want to learn to do in piano and …

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 …

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 …

Playing Piano in the Style of Mozart

Since the 18th century, Mozart’s music has inspired deep analysis and discussion for both performers and music analysts. I won’t go into too much detail, but if you found this post, you’re interested in how to “correctly” play Mozart’s music on the piano. In this post, I first provide a brief description of the long-discussed …