Smart music advice for creative people.

12 Pretty Chinese Piano Solos

12 Pretty Chinese Piano Solos

Asian music was based on the pentatonic scale.

This was true for Chinese music, at least.

I spent hours copying characters in Chinese school, and although the same pen strokes require more effort now, I can look back to that time of utter dedication for filling the square boxes with unending characters. It was like drilling music.

On Chinese New Years’ Eve, I’d booked a string of meetings by mistake and my family waited waited for me, to start dinner at 10pm. Which was kind of sweet, because the family doesn’t believe in “wasting time.”

Here are 12 pretty Chinese piano solos– composed by Chinese musicians, or best interpreted by Chinese performers.

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30 Second Social Hack: How to Be More Interesting

We can all be the life of the party–

But what if it’s no party?

Perhaps you’re in a one-on-one meeting and dressed impeccably, as far as your style allows (camo-style pleated pants are my favourites at the moment).

Whether you’re pitching your skills or company, here’s a quick social hack that makes you more interesting. Even if you’re a music teacher meeting a parent for the first time.

At my last meeting, I had a feeling that I was supposed to be doing something but couldn’t figure out what it was.

In the video below, I discuss the perfect response when someone asks, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Hint: The right answer will never be ‘no.’

As mentioned in the video, my favourite question is, “What’s your passion project?”

Simple Rhythm Hacks for Musicians

Simple Rhythm Hacks for MusiciansRhythm can be frustrating.

Sometimes it will come naturally, or not at all (you’ll know when it doesn’t).

Over the years, I’ve built a sense of rhythm from the ground up.

Here are the biggest activities that helped me master rhythm in music.

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To Practice More Efficiently, Try to Stop Practicing

How to Practice Piano Efficiently

Sometimes, the most simple solutions are the most ingenious.

When I first started a music blog, most people were looking for “practice strategies.” Now, everyone wants a “hack” to fix their life. Case in point: an increasing number of Twitter bios of young-ish entrepreneurs who have track records describe themselves as growth hackers, whom you can hire as a consultant for your own startup.

As a pianist, I believed, for the longest time, that the only way to grow my skills was to sit in the practice room.

That’s not true– upon reading research and experimenting, I found other activities will help us grow, outside the practice room. Here are five ways to practice efficiently, by not practicing.

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The 3 Biggest Mistakes that Beginner Pianists Make

Biggest Beginner Piano MistakesI tend to focus on the psychology of practicing piano efficiently on Artiden.

But it doesn’t matter how many psychology tactics you’re solidifying bad habits and hurting your body in the long run.

Readers often ask about how to play more efficiently, the correct posture, and how to be a better piano teacher.

When I taught piano at public schools, the beginner pianists all made similar mistakes– you can tell how much music experience a student has from these three factors alone.

If you want to play beautiful piano music, remember that professional pianists sound good because they’ve set a solid foundation. If you are a teacher, you’ll see how I might explain the concepts to a student– perhaps this will help your teaching.

Take a look at the video below to see the 3 biggest mistakes that beginner pianists make!

“Don’t let the simple music mistakes hold you back.” (Click here to tweet this.)

Watch out for:

1. Tension in the wrists. If your hand looks like a claw, you probably sound that way, too.

2. Nails. The piano sounds great on its own without the clicking nail rhythm.

3. Distance from piano and posture. My favourite way to measure the correct distance to sit from the piano is to have the pianist hold a fist out in front with a straight arm. In general, that is a natural distance to sit, and allows room for arm movement but not awkward leaning.

What is your biggest weakness in music? How are you working on it? Leave a comment to join the conversation below!

Is your new year’s resolution too wimpy?

Is your new year's resolution too wimpy?We start the year determined to become a better version of ourselves, often slipping back in a few months.

Most resolutions are set in the wrong direction.

For example, people shouldn’t “go on diets”. They should “change their diets”– eating healthy is a lifetime affair.

The following questions will get you thinking about whether resolution is too wimpy.

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Grace’s Best of 2014

Here is my best content from the past year, that had the most readers and that I enjoyed writing the most.

How to Start a Group Music Class

Teaching group classes means understanding that your influencers, the two people brave enough to set trends in a small group of people, will decide the fate of the class.

The key is to identify and appeal to these people early on, so that you can pitch and sell smoothly (which, coincidentally, I figured out how to do).

3 Non-Sketchy Ways to Gain Students Using Your Music Website

A few of my favourite writing and design tweaks that help you gain music students using a website. Some of these tweaks take a few seconds to fix.

How Long Should You Practice Everyday?

While there isn’t a straight-forward number, here is some of the psychology behind practicing the instrument to get the results you want.

What to Charge for (a Bit of) Your Time

How generous should you be, when running a business? I walked into two coffee shops, and learned the answer.

I like that the most successful articles were also my favourites to create. All of them also have to do with using creative strategy and psychology in daily life– I’ve discovered that some of my readers don’t play an instrument at all.

We are seeing a shift in the way the world works. You can start a legit business on the internet and you can get music students from a website. The geekiest industries are becoming cool. Thank goodness I taught myself how to code at age 8.

Exams are starting to weigh less in every field. Who needs an exam to tell you that you can play piano when your concert sells out?

In 2015, I hope to build a larger, more active creative community.

It would help me out a lot if you can take this quick 3 minute survey.

See you real soon!

Grace