Why All Pianists Should Learn the Basics of Piano Tuning

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. Any issues regarding the tuning and function of a piano should be addressed first and foremost by a professional piano tuner or technician.

It was the dress rehearsal on the eve of my cousin’s wedding. We all gathered in the chapel to go over the ceremony. As the professional musician in the family I am sometimes the go-to person for these sorts of things. Happy to help out, all I asked was that there was a working piano there. I was assured there was…

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Before You Bang Your Head Against the Wall…Try These

You know that feeling when you’re practicing a piece of music and no matter how many times you go over a passage it never seems to improve? I can hear you nodding.

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So You Didn’t Practice…

Every so often a student will email me the day of their lesson and admit that they haven’t practiced since I last saw them. Perhaps they were sick or just too busy; whatever their reason they sometimes ask not to have a lesson because it would simply be a waste of time. Here you’ll discover that this couldn’t be further from the truth!

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Bus Shelter Ballade

Here’s a Thursday morning improvisation on one of our public pianos here in Guelph, Ontario. Every September, 12 pianos are placed outside various establishments throughout the downtown core. The project is called Happy Making and it invites residents to indulge their creativity in a public space.

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What Does a Musical Score Mean? Third Movement

Welcome to the third instalment of this series. Here we are demystifying, decoding, and deconstructing just what those crazy-looking musical scores mean. If you’ve always wondered how musicians can make sense of all those hieroglyphics then you’ve come to the right place. If you’re just coming aboard then please check out the first two articles: Movement 1 and Movement 2.

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What Does a Musical Score Mean? Second Movement

Onwards to the second installment of What Does a Musical Score Mean? If you are here for the first time and wish to view the first article which starts at the very beginning you can check it out here. For everyone else we are going to build on what you’ve learned. If you need a quick review, go to What Does a Musical Score Mean? First Movement and scroll to the bottom for a summary.

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Frozen Tears

Introducing a new and haunting piece for piano. Frozen Tears has been compared to the music of Chopin mixed with Danny Elfman, the composer of soundtracks to movies including Edward Scissorhands and Corpse Bride. I can’t help but mention there is a bit of my favourite composer, Sergei Rachmaninoff, in there too.

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Nordic Fantasy

If you love exploring the fantasy realm, be it through art, music or literature, then check out this new work for solo piano. Come and be whisked away into lands of ice and snow, where horn calls echo in the valleys as battle draws near!

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Healthy Hand Quiz

Here’s a short quiz for anyone who uses their hands at a keyboard regularly. Be it the musical kind or one attached to a monitor, how you move has a big influence on your physical health over the long term. These basic concepts are a great way to start taking better care of your hands!

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Music in Turbulent Times

Unless you live on a deserted island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean you will be well aware of recent developments in American politics. I’ve been struggling to figure out what to make of it all. As a left-leaning, liberal artist it’s obvious how I’m reacting. Indeed, most of the people in my circle feel the same way. We share a collective anxiety about the future. A downside of being creative is that my imagination is on steroids most of the time. All that said, that’s not what I’m writing about today. The past 48 hours have reaffirmed for me why I do what I do.

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Playing with Presence 3: Biofeedback Therapy

In the third and final installment of Playing with Presence, a blog series that explores current techniques that can help stressed-out musical folk get back in tune, I’ll discuss a technique called Biofeedback Therapy.

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Playing with Presence 2: Alexander Technique

Playing with Presence is a three part series geared towards pianists and those with sedentary jobs. Its aim is to cultivate awareness of the body, establishing a calmer and healthier approach to playing and working. Today’s entry will examine the Alexander Technique.

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What Does a Musical Score Mean? First Movement

For a summary of this lesson skim to the bottom

This is a new blog series meant to educate anyone who has ever marvelled at how some people can read music. What does it mean? Why is it organized the way it is? What do pianists see when they look at their scores? My goal is to make sheet music more understandable and less intimidating. I’m confident you will find it’s as easy as ‘do, re, mi!’

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Playing with Presence 1: Body Mapping

Playing with Presence is a series of three short blog articles presenting techniques that can help people bring their awareness back to the present moment. They’re based on my work with some amazing teachers who helped me recover from performance injury. Whether you are a stressed-out pianist or simply someone who works at the computer a lot, these exercises are effective tools for slowing down the rushing mind and fostering a calmer work ethic.

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3 Piano Improvisations ~Anyone~ Can Do!

What is Improvising?

To improvise means to make music up on the spot and can be intimidating for beginner musician and seasoned professional alike. While all the great composers were known for their abilities as skilled improvisers, the tradition of classical music really doesn’t give us the space to explore it today.

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10 Ways to Improve Your Sight Reading

Who hasn’t been impressed by someone who can sit down, open up a book of music at any spot, and start playing as if they’d been practising it for weeks?

Sight reading is the ability to read music at first sight. That’s right, music you’ve never seen or heard before.

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