What to Do Before Leaving Your Friends (and Music Students)

Grace's going away party
I’ve become intrigued about leaving the place called home. At what point does the homesickness kick in?

My piano student, Kayla, has been with me for years. I’ve never been a big-party kind of girl but I wanted to see my friends and everyone that mattered before I left.

“I’ll plan your going away party,” my sister said.

“Really?” I said. “I want it by the beach.”

Thirty-odd people came, and everything I thought mattered did not matter. The weather, for example– we packed tarps and considered moving the party to Sunday because of the weather reports.

“The last time I checked, we don’t melt under rain,” Julie said.

But it turned out to be perfect.

Also, the food. I reminded myself that I was there to enjoy the party, not produce it. My friend brought his tiny bbq and feeding thirty people took 3 hours; we’d just be full by dinner time so we cancelled our dinner reservations.

I thumbed through the playlist and my sister had One Direction, so of course I mixed in my favourites, like Escape (Rupert Holmes  – piano sheet music). We make fun of One Direction but I have a tolerance for Zayn that I can discuss now that he’s gone (that twisted strand of hair on the forehead is a classic). The music was playing from my sister’s phone and she disconnected it to make a call for a while and I forgot to worry about the music.

My friend Mathieu says you can program a Raspberry Pi so your friends can add songs to the Spotify playlist from their phones without getting the app. It’s a tiny computer to tinker with. Maybe music students can record practice clips on their phones and it’ll randomly forward to another music student, like a motivational, musical snapchat.

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Shortcut to reinventing yourself

Grace LamI was about to become homeless in Hong Kong, during my first visit to Asia. My housing agreement didn’t pan out.

But then I lost my passport returning from Seattle (where I saw dead people), and turned my backpack inside out for the next few days.

If I put the passport by the food in my bag, I might’ve noticed it slipping out– but I couldn’t decide which sugary cereal to get at the rest stop before the bus driver marched us back, so I had nothing to put the passport beside anyways, and remained starved and half asleep on the way home.

This morning, my friend David told me to report the missing passport and gave me a government phone number. “Did you file a police report?” he says.

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The fastest way to start a music event

To see people come together for a vision you’ve pieced together in your head is one of the best presents you can give yourself.

Here are some of the highlights to producing my latest event– I had two months to pull this off, in the middle of summer. I didn’t cough blood this time.

Producing a Music Event in 2 Months
Producing a Music Event in 2 Months

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Please Don’t Start

Please don’t tell me I’m strong. I can’t believe it when dishes are cluttering up the sink, clothes are strewn around my room, 30 urgent emails go unanswered, and I’m not talking to one of my best friends.

I can’t help dwelling on that one negative comment even when there are a hundred positive ones on my blog.
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6 Summer Jazz Piano Songs

“Why are you wearing sandals?”

“I’m dressing for what I want the weather to be,” I say. “Not what it is.”

Megs and I inch our umbrellas closer to cross the street.

I’ve collected some lazy summer songs, inspired by a cabaret-style performance I recently attended. These are great for jamming with a friend (or sister, in my case) as there’s piano and vocal, and most are easy to learn.

Oh, I’ve been ready for summer, for weeks.

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Finding Your Next Passion Project

Grace Miles

These days, I only think about attending church when in need of kindness.

Like, if I feel that I’ve let people down; but today, I’d rather hunt for Easter eggs.

Which brings us to passion projects. A passion project gives you a glimpse into how a person manifest interests, takes control in an area they believe in. (Only new mothers are allowed to have “my kid” as a passion project.)

Each musician should pursue a passion project. Here are a few ideas that I’m currently working on.

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