9.26.2023

πŸ™️ Happy Birthday to the Composer of Rhapsody in Blue!

September 26, 2023 0 Comments

September 26th is George Gershwin's Birthday! 

So how can you celebrate?

πŸ™️ Watch George Gershwin play his own compositions. Here's I Got Rhythm

πŸ™️ Sight-play his jazz standards like his first hit, Swanee.  


πŸ™️ Choose a Gershwin piece to start learning as a repertoire piece. 

  • Here are my personal suggestions!
    • S'Wonderful (improvisation transcription)
    • Prelude No. 1
    • Rhapsody in Blue for solo piano


πŸ™️ Listen to Rhapsody in Blue.


πŸ™️ Watch Kim Yuna win the Olympics skating to Concerto in F.




πŸ™️ Watch An American in Paris starring Gene Kelly. 


πŸ™️ Visit The Music House Museum in Traverse City, MI to listen to Gershwin playing Rhapsody In Blue on the 1925 Webber Duo-Art reproducing piano.


πŸ™️ Listen to Alan Berg's Lyric Suite


πŸ™️ Learn to improvise jazz. 


πŸ™️ Play tennis.


πŸ™️ Paint a portrait.


πŸ™️ Read a biography about George Gershwin. 


What are some of your own ideas to celebrate Gershwin's birthday?

9.11.2023

πŸ“š Review: Daring Greatly

September 11, 2023 0 Comments

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by BrenΓ© Brown, Ph.D. LMSW


For piano teachers and students alike, there are many situations that make us vulnerable. Lessons, recitals, auditions, and teaching are a few of the many arenas we may find ourselves in. If you have ever felt afraid and thought that you are not good enough, I highly recommend this book. 


This non-fiction, research-based psychology book teaches assertiveness, taking risks, and having courage. BrenΓ© Brown, Ph.D LMSW presents her extensive original research in shame: an overwhelming emotion with which many of us have suffered at one time or another. It is a subject that we often try to avoid. The purpose of Daring Greatly is to encourage people to take risks, especially in the face of possible failure. 


Dr. Brown points out that many of our critics are not "in the arena" with us, they are on the outside and are often projecting their shortcomings on us. She describes the scarcity mindset, characterized by "never good enough," and contrasts that with the abundance mindset. Her practical recommendations for adopting this new mindset are clear and life-giving. 


I learned that failure is necessary to one day be successful. I learned that what I create is not the same as who I am. I learned that I am not the sum of prizes and accolades I have collected from other people. 


I'm finding joy in playing piano and teaching that I didn't have before.  The love of music and curiosity that drew me to piano in the first place is back and I feel freedom to continue to learn. I have also written new music and entered competitions. Rather than stopping myself because I might not be good enough, I decided it can't hurt to try it out. I've had disappointments and hurtful words from professors in the past that I carried on my shoulders for over a decade. When that happens, why even try to improve? But by not taking their words personally, I have found that I have been able to thrive in ways I never imagined. 


Dr. Brown's tone is humorous and colloquial. Her personal anecdotes are descriptive and realistic. Reading each personal story felt as though I was present in the scenario. (As a note, she does use profanity occasionally, so if you are sensitive to that form of language, please be forewarned!)


Some of my favorite quotes from this book:

"You know that you are far more than a painting, an innovative idea, an effective pitch, a good sermon, or a high Amazon.com ranking." (page 64)


"I have never heard one person attribute their joy, success, or Wholeheartedness to being perfect." (p. 128)


"Daring greatly is not about winning or losing. It's about courage." (page 248) 


I encourage you to read this book and I hope that you find it to be transformative. 


What books have helped you?


-Jenny

9.06.2023

😴 Case Study: The Importance of Rest

September 06, 2023 0 Comments

After a confident and amazing recital presentation, my student suddenly decided she didn't like piano as much anymore. I had assigned her an original piece and a simplified version of Fur Elise over the summer and she felt as though they were too difficult, despite playing them for me with a high level of accuracy and understanding of the music. 


I was worried. Having shown amazing work ethic and commitment to musicality, was this it? Was our time together coming to an end? How could I reengage and help her joy to return? 


Well, I didn't do anything! But after leaving her piano books at home during a vacation, her motivation and drive returned! 


What I learned: it's okay to take extended breaks from the piano. Especially after spending so much concentrated time to get to this level!  Now, we are working on some Faber Popular and Rock 'n Roll books. We're also doing some rote pop chord progressions. I'm super excited for what this year will bring with the renewed energy and excitement! 


Have you experienced any student breakthrough discouragement? What did they need? 




-Jenny