Monday, January 11, 2021


I've been collecting inspirational quotes for years.  I've included a few here.  Perhaps one day I will expound on them.  For the present, I hope they provide just that: inspiration to approach the piano with confidence and to play with satisfaction.  

At the piano I am a teacher, a coach, a cheerleader.  No, I don't have pom-poms, although now that I think of it...  These various quotes and others have instilled confidence in me to encourage my students to strive for more.  I think it's working!


Gabriel Faure, in a letter to his son Philippe in 1908: "For me, art, and especially music, exist to elevate us as far as possible above everyday existence."  

"The first mistake of art is to assume that it's serious."  Lester Bangs

Ella Fitzgerald: "I know I'm no glamour girl, and it's not easy for me to get up in front of a crowd of people. It used to bother me a lot, but now I've got it figured out that God gave me this talent to use, so I just stand there and sing."

"Talent is only a starting point."  Irving Berlin

Gilbert Kalish, a longtime professor of piano performance at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, said he finds the necessity of adjusting to quite different pianos an "interesting challenge."  He emphasizes to his students: "You don't play by feel; you don't play by habit; you play by sound, by listening to what's being produced.  You have to learn to trust yourself, not to depend on someone out there listening."

"Every skill you have today was once unknown to you."  --James Clear

Maya Angelou: "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."

Friday, January 1, 2021

Welcome 2021!

 A new year.  Yay!  Say "Good riddance" to 2020!  Greet the new year with open arms and good intentions.  My list of good intentions includes updating this page more frequently.  Shall I start today?

The past 9 months have been... well, claustrophobic, to say the least.  I just want to open my doors, greet my piano students in person, invite my neighbors in for tea, go shopping.  To say I have become inured to social isolation is perhaps taking it too far; yet I fear the backlash when the OK is finally sounded.  What, go outside?  Remove my mask?  But the potential germs!  Toni, get a grip!  Get the vaccine!  Go outside!

My piano lessons have continued, somewhat unabated, even through the pandemic.  I moved everything to Zoom in March, and much to my delight, most students have stuck with me!  I developed a Facebook page for my students' eyes and ears only.  They performed a successful Spring Recital, a Halloween Recital, and a Beethoven Birthday Bash all on Facebook, and I was quite pleased.  It's not the venue we want, but it's what is available in this time of quarantine.  I am proud of what all my students, young and old alike, have been able to accomplish over these months of internet lessons.  But I do look forward to the day we can return to in-person lessons.

In the meantime, we persevere.  We continue to meet weekly for lessons, and we continue to practice between lessons.  We learn to read notes, count beats, and maintain steady tempo.  We find our place on the page, we circle trouble spots, and we review, review, review.  In that regard, the pandemic has not changed things.  In fact, we have learned a lot of independence as a result of social distancing.  We have learned confidence in our own ability to carry on, to move through a piece of music, and to perform, even if only for our immediate family.  

May 2021 open many doors for creative expression.  The concert hall awaits...