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March 28, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009


If you didn't have a chance yet to listen to the interview with Pamela Enders, Ph.D. coach and psychologist at Harvard Medical School, you've just got to find the time. It's an audio interview that I sent out to you on Thursday, March 19th. Lots of tips and strategies for living up to our potential by calming our anxious inner voice. Very useful for performing in any situation - musical or otherwise.

Before I go any further with this week's lesson, I want to tell you about a program that I have been listening to in the car for the past week. A student (thanks Susan!) gave me a set of 8 CD's all about the history of jazz. It is from the company called The Teaching Company and I have included a link here. The teacher is from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and is an amazing pianist and great storyteller. You will learn so much about the ragime, swing, blues, Dixie, while you are stuck in traffic. Really entertaining and the entire program is marked down from $54.95 to $19.95 plus shipping. That's for 8 CD's!! Here's the link (I am not a salesman or affiliate for their program, by the way. I just highly recommend it).

The Teaching Company

Stories for Performing

Today, I want to talk to you about story-telling in performance (of any kind really). I was fortunate last week to go to two concerts. One was a classical chamber recital of french songs from the Romantic era (voice, flute, cello, and piano). The other was a folk singer/songwriter duo with guitar, banjo, mandolin (they were multi-talented!)and harmonica.

I truly did enjoy both concerts and as I was sitting there appreciating the shows, I realized something that I hadn't thought much about before. That is, the importance of telling stories during a show. I really wanted to get to know the performer and hear about their connection to the song on a personal level. I cared as much about their stories as the songs themselves.

Well, with my a cappella jazz singing group, The Wicked Pitches, we have been told before that we need to work on our performances from an entertaining perspective and not just work on making pretty sounds or singing interesting arrangements. We've never really paid much attention to this feedback but now a lightbulb has gone off.

The show/concert is not only about the music, it is about the connection to people and touching their hearts. This is not done through the music alone but through our reaching out personally with our stories and thoughts.

So tell a story the next time you are making a presentation, add a touch of humor, and you'll have people eating out of the palm of your hand!

It's time to teach the Playing by Ear class!

Be well and I'll talk with you next week. Lots of classes coming up at Assabet Valley Regional Technical School in April. Check out the website!


P.S. If you live near Boston and need to jump-start your piano playing (did you take Instant Piano class but never quite got around to playing yet?!). For $80, you can have the Private Lesson Special. It includes a private 1 and 1/2 hour lesson AND a fake book/CD of your choosing.

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