Sometimes, pianists get so caught up in technique that we forget that the music can be fun and light and something to dance to, if your heart so desires.
My friends often send me music, and I’ve just gotten these piano solos from Molly. Most of them are pop piano songs and I’ve just been reminded of how tired I am. (These videos are recordings of other people playing, and sheet music is linked.)
After Tofino and a stressful week, I’m ready for some easy dancing…
1. Wake Me Up – Avicii
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If you blindfold someone who can see, and give them a cane to walk to a new room, they always overreact when the cane brushes something.
It turns out, giving a sighted person a cane is asking them to use a muscle they haven’t developed yet. It takes practice and patience.
My dad had always given me guidance on how to deal with obstacles. He was a quiet kind of person who made people feel assured when they were next to him. Slow down, he always said. Do what you enjoy. Mind your own business and stop comparing to others.
He would peek his head into my piano practice room every once in a while to ask if the music was coming from me, so I felt like he was always listening to my playing.
In the past while, I’ve had to figure out how to navigate the world without my dad.
Calm music is a great way to transition from the hustle of the day to bedtime.
I’ve been known to roll around in bed into the depths of the night, so over the years, I’ve experimented with many ways to fall asleep. Playing an instrument is a great one, next to reading. You tend to concentrate just enough to get the notes right and you’re literally playing your troubles away!
To avoid printing 5 papers for something I’m only ever playing once, I’m learning more by ear these days. (Yes I have a tablet, no I don’t like reading music off it.) But my friend Molly and I put together some great dreamy piano melodies to play before bedtime, with sheet music!
Love Me – Yiruma
When I first started playing Yiruma’s music, it would take a few hours to decipher one of his pieces. Now, I play his music for a different type of satisfaction.
Two months ago I was in Tulum. This was my first time travelling with a close friend, and I’ve learned a few things about myself and leadership. Here are a few tips that might help you.
On the way to Tulum, I am silent.
“Do you like this place? Are you glad we didn’t go to Cuba? Do you like the hotel?” Megz asks.
“Yes,” I say.
“What’s wrong?” She says.
“I’m just tired,” I say. It’s 3am and I could’ve been playing beach volleyball back home. Somewhere in my body there is excitement about Mexico, but overall I’m craving a shower and bed.
The next day, she says: “I thought you were angry.”
“Because you were quiet.”
For better or worse, each of us is setting performance benchmarks for people around us and we can create a lot of stress for someone.
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I wasn’t always a pescatarian. I’ve stopped eating meat for probably seven years now, for a slew of reasons. This is something I’m not very vocal about, but people catch on and ask the following questions, without fail:
“How long have you been vegetari–er–pescatarian?”
“Do you eat eggs?”
In the past year or so, I’ve noticed that people are less surprised at my alternative diet.
If you are trying to make a social change, here are a few things I’ve noticed.
There’s something intriguing about creating an idea quick and dirty from scratch. That’s why I’m a fan of hackathons: you get 24 hours to create a project about anything.
The most boring hackathon I have ever attended was when a bunch of doctors sat around and ate finger biscuits while they chatted about their patients’ problems — for goodness sakes, if no one is stressed, then it’s not a true hackathon.
I’ve heard from about fifty different doctors now that if you create a ‘physical activity tracking app’, you will “solve diabetes” or “decrease obesity” or some other sort of magic trick. Hi, can you google “fitbit”?
Doctors tell you about the flaws in their patients’ treatments and conditions though, which are good for working with. For example, after a while, breast cancer survivors become too lazy to get screened again. Or, for some tests, the length of time between getting screened and getting results is ridiculous. We put health science people together with engineers, designers, and entrepreneurs, at our hackathon, and got some great projects.
So, a hackathon is about getting the right people in the same room together and giving them the right tools to achieve a goal the dirty way. In music terms, this is like jamming in someone’s garage and coming up with a great song just because you were in the right place at the right time.
I put together a FAQ about organizing a hackathon, focused on logistics, which will give you a peek into the effort that goes towards a large-scale hackathon!
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One evening after work, I wander into the new Tom Lee store that I see from my office everyday and slip into the fancy glass room that’s filled with acoustic pianos. No one pays attention to me in my t-shirt and jeans.
I play cadences on pianos that I pass by, until I stop at one to play for a short while.
“Can I help you find something?”
“No, I’m just looking,” I say, gesturing with my chin. “Baby grands.”
“You are obviously pretty good,” he says. “That was, you know, Liszt.”
I nod. I didn’t know that was Liszt. I thought I got lucky pressing the keys.
He gestures to another piano nearby — which happens to be a cheaper Steinway brand. I play it for a little bit and realize the keys are too light.
“Want to play a Steinway?”
He walks over towards one and pulls out the bench, like at a restaurant. How do I get rid of him?