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Perform fearlessly

6 Piano Solos to Brighten Your Day

6 piano solos to brighten your day.

There’s so much fun music out there and I love when people send me good music. So, for a change, I asked my friend Molly to share 6 piano solos that brighten her day, and here’s what she says about them.

The sun may be shining and the summer months are quickly approaching, but sometimes we all need a little bit of extra day-brightening. Stress doesn’t take a summer vacation, and where I’m from, May means it’s still raining often.

Music can be a cure for a lot of things. More specifically, upbeat music. Empowering music.

Even if you’re already feeling good, these solo piano covers are worth checking out because they exude good vibes to put a smile on my face every single time!


Happy – Pharrell Williams

Sheet Music

What could make someone more happy than a piano solo that is literally titled ‘Happy’? 

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How Travel Changes a Musician’s Life

How Travel Changes Your Life
Right before my flight to Mexico, I played beach volleyball because I couldn’t resist: Vancouver’s first non-rainy day in ages.

I come home unable to bend my foot, like it’s a giant lego foot. I am becoming sort of an eccentric travel figure suffocating under the weight of everyone’s opinion. Everyone thinks I should’ve gone to a resort in Cancun.

But there is something magical about experiencing a way of life that is so different from mine from a vastly different corner of the world. If I incorporate some good into my life from each of my travels, then I’d get a bit wiser by the end of it all. 

That’s how I found myself at my first dinner in Tulum, sitting on a stump of wood, eating the best veggie burger I’ve had in my life while barefoot reggae musicians in hip-length dreads set up their drums and guitar and mic and start singing lilting Spanish tunes.

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How Skiing Helped Me Become a Better (Music) Learner

How Skiing Helped Me Become a Better LearnerLast month my friend and I said we’d go skiing this winter. We live beside beautiful mountains and we don’t even ski once a year–it’s ridiculous.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that I follow through on decisions, regardless of how questionable.

That’s how I found myself getting up at 4:30am on a Saturday for the opening day of a huge mountain that I planned to tumble down. Alright, I was a little cocky. Everyone told me that, being “athletic,” downhill skiing would be fairly simple to pick up.

Here is how a risky sport like skiing helps you pick up skills quickly, in music and other areas.

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Dear musicians, please don’t cram an important performance

Ways to recover from a memory slipMusic students raved about my personal techniques on cramming for a music performance, which I shared a while ago, and decorated it with the most fitting gifs.

I’m a great crammer but I’m here to tell you it’s not worth it. Cramming is for emergencies only.

When under pressure and stress (i.e. performance conditions) you will rely on muscle memory and it will take 100% of your focus to not mess up. If you’ve crammed, you will have little muscle memory to draw from, which unfortunately makes your mind more likely to blank.

My cramming techniques worked for my performance, but it wasn’t failproof.

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The Only Thing Left

The Only Thing Left
“We are no longer looking for a cure.”

I’ve been quiet for a long time about one of the strongest people I know — my dad.

In Hong Kong, my sister texts me that my dad is in the hospital. I didn’t get the details but instead counted down to the days when I’d see him next. The first evening of my return, I visit the hospital and he stands to hug me. His cheeks are hollow, eyes huge.

We talk about the sights I’ve seen, how he’s been counting down and knows the date today: December 19th, the day I fly home. “I lit a lantern for you in Taipei,” I say. “It turned out to be a four-hour round trip. We wanted to go hiking but it was raining, so we came right back.”

“It was worth it,” he says. “I felt better the next day.”

We walk into the TV room without a TV, and I hear from the resident doctor for the first time, about the cancer. It is in his heart. They are no longer concerned about the strokes; the cancer is travelling to his stomach, blood, and brain.

“We want to give you end-of-life care,” the resident doctor says. “To make sure you’re as comfortable as possible.”

“If at all possible,” he says. “I want to continue chemo.”

“The chemo wasn’t working,” she says. “And you’re too weak.”

“I don’t want to give up,” he says.

“Can I see the scans?” I say.

He is adamant and energetic and so much of the person he was, the man his coworkers called the King, the man who solved my problems. I was gone for little more than three months — you cannot tell me that he is now approaching the end of him life, when he is gesturing in front of me.

How is this the image of someone who will soon pass on? Motioning with my balled-up tissues towards the door, I rise. “If it happens,” my mother says, “we’re okay if you watch over us from another world.”

I ask myself whether I should’ve stayed in Vancouver, or flown home early without knowing the entire story. But then my dad would’ve hated that I didn’t finish what I started.

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How to (Easily) Record High Quality Music at Home

How to (Easily) Record High Quality Music at HomeMath’s music recordings have great sound quality despite zero post-processing.

In comparison, I’ve been recording music on an iPhone mic and processing with Adobe Audition. The results aren’t out of this world, but it gets the point across, as the iPhone + Adobe Suite workflow tends to do (Have I told you about my photography in Asia? iPhone photos + Photoshop).

Back home in Montreal, he shows me his supposedly simple (and ghetto) recording process: a microphone plugged into a USB audio interface, and recording the music twice (DI & MIC). On the first take, DI is plugged into the right input with the mic into the left; on the second take, switch inputs. Then he combines the two takes using Reaper.

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