Smart music advice for creative people.

Dealing With a Student Who Hasn’t Paid (But is Training for an Important Performance)

Dealing With a Student Who Hasn't Paid (But is Training for an Important Performance)

Take a look at this scenario…

You are a piano teacher.

There is a student you like a lot, whom you’ve been teaching for two months. You first heard her playing at her performance recital– and you were impressed.

The mother is well-connected, and kind, but tough, a lady who knows what she wants and will ask for her change when it’s due.

You’ve agreed on an exchange of services. In fact, when it comes to her child, the mother’s goal is to proceed through life getting things sponsored and keeping the wallet shut when possible, on account of her volatile investments.

But mainly, you said yes because it’s a new experience. You’ve never been compensated this way before, and you think it’ll bring your career forward.

Feel free to use your imagination on how the mother offered to compensate you.

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19 Jazzy Christmas Piano Solos

19 Jazzy Christmas Piano SolosThis year, I’m feeling the big-band! I can’t wait to unveil what I’ve been working on.

In the mean time, I’ve collected 19 jazz-inspired Christmas piano solos. I wish I had time to play all these. Sheet music is linked below (ranging from late intermediate to advanced). Enjoy!

The first pieces are loud and boisterous…

New York, New York

A trombone player should jam with me. (Sheet Music)


Sleigh Ride – arr. A. Gentile

Love this arrangement. If you happen to find the sheet music, it would be awesome if you can let me know. Here’s the mp3 from the Steinway album.

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4 Ways to Move Forward (October Ideas)

4 Ways to Move Forward in Music

My new piano student is quite low-maintenance and I spend virtually no time prepping– which was why I took her in the first place.

My friend Kat says I am entrepreneurial, which I think is a good way to describe about my life right now.

Each month, I will be sharing different ideas from what I am involved in. It won’t be a complete account of everything I am working on, but I hope it’ll be interesting to come on this journey with me and perhaps you can learn from my challenges.

1. Be proud of your brand

I revamped my portfolio because my brand didn’t represent what I was about anymore. I’m happy with it now– I’m convinced that this is the only way a person should feel about their brand. It reflects my values and how I present myself to the world.

If you need to further understand your brand, ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing, and start from there.

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How I Re-Started Teaching Piano in One Week

Starting with students is different for everyone, and I’m not about to sugarcoat. I’m going to tell you how I jumpstarted my teaching again.

A former student’s mother convinced me to teach piano to her daughter again. I don’t let people into my piano studio anymore, so I agreed to walk to their house each week.

At home, I flip through my piano teaching binder, from back when businesses couldn’t run paperless and I couldn’t manage people without stressing.

These are a few lessons I’ve learned from my last round of piano teaching.

Lesson 1: Have a Fair Studio Policy

Most people don’t intend to take advantage of you. They don’t know that they’re taking advantage if the rules aren’t clear.

When I taught Design Lab, the main policy was, if you weren’t happy with the online course in 30 days, I’d give you 100% of your money back, no questions asked. Only one person has ever asked for a refund, and ironically, the red flag was that she didn’t sign the policy document. I gave her the money anyways.

What a policy does is set the ground rules and lets people trust you. It says that you know what you’re doing enough to set it in stone.

I printed a piano studio policy and arrived 15 minutes early to the first lesson to go over it with the parent. It took 2 minutes for the deal to be signed, and we got our lesson started early. Parents love the extra value.

This is my piano studio policy.

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9 upbeat pop songs I had on repeat

9 upbeat pop songs I had on repeat

Many Classical pianists don’t “learn” pop music, but let’s face it: playing pop music can be motivating and catchy. Let’s add some pop into the mix.

I picked out some favourite songs from my playlist for you. Then I paired these with video clips from the summer, that were swimming on my computer.

The piano sheet music solos are listed below.

P.S. Everyone calls these pop songs, but they’re more like rock. Just saying.

Sheet music:

1. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne

2. It’s Time – Imagine Dragons

3. Marry the Night – Lady Gaga

4. Material Girl – Madonna

5. Karen – Mika

6. Heroes – Mika

7. Tah Dah – Mika

8. Escape – Enrique Iglesias

9. Waking Up in Vegas – Katy Perry

How to start a concert tour across the country

How to start a concert tour across the country

If you’re a performer, concert tours might be special for you.

Even if you’re not a performer, you’ll benefit from meeting people who love what you do.

My friend the metal guitarist, Andrew Baena, is home from touring across Canada so of course we had to sit down. He first started playing guitar in his bedroom, and made some smart choices that grew his solo act into Galactic Pegasus and their concert tour across the country. (Today, we’ll reveal these smart choices!)

Andrew just signed on with The Collective, that manages channels like Linkin Park, Slash, and Godsmack on Youtube.

I’m excited to introduce Andrew as our guest– I picked his brain for you, and pieced together a recipe to starting a concert tour across the country, into 5 steps.

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How to Ignite a Passion That You Thought Was Dead (Plus a Giveaway!)

How to Ignite a Passion That You Thought Was Dead

There are many reasons we phase out of doing something we love, and often we don’t notice how far we’ve strayed until we’re long gone.

I was in the garden, watering, when my neighbour’s piano-playing filtered through like the ghost of an old friend. This neighbour and I had never met, but we’d shared the same taste in piano music and I’d come to imagine a nice girl with long black hair behind the keys. Un Sospiro, La voix de l’instrument, only she’d continued her daily practice.

I had the urge to march through their lawn and ring that doorbell, and compliment the perseverance of this brave and interesting (hypothetical) girl I’ve been connecting with. Of course, confrontation isn’t my style, so what I did was march past my own lawn and into my own piano studio, to practice the Italian Polka that I haven’t touched in ages.

I’m sharing this story because I’d thought my Chopin Nocturnes wanted to stay off the stage for good. That is, until I’d come across Trisha Miltimore’s work on igniting passion and heard my neighbour’s impassioned drilling on ten right-hand notes, that I used to do so long ago as well.

The first lesson here is that those ‘boring’ scales you play or listen to might be the very thing you miss in five years’ time, so enjoy the moment. Musicians and piano teachers burn out– that’s cool. Take a break and get back on your game.

The second lesson, is that you can make anything happen, if you wanted to. So I’m thinking that I can create a different kind of stage to share music on, with the Artiden community.

Trisha has great energy for igniting passions (like a no-nonsense personal cheerleader!), so I asked her for her top three tips on igniting a passion, in case you need that kick as much as I do. Here’s what she says.

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