Archives for November 2011

What’s Your Game-Changer?

game changer hat

Even though I dislike shopping, I’m remembering Black Friday 2008 with fondness and a huge smile.  That day was a game-changing day for me. I bought new kitchen appliances that day (saved $2000!) because I was putting my condo on the market the following month, leaving a secure, full-time university teaching job for a part-time one, and moving where I wanted to live even though the cost of living was triple.  For two years, my income would be cut in half and I was losing health and retirement benefits.  I took a sabbatical from the professional chamber music group I was in.  I reduced my public performances by over 90%.  Little did I know the depth of discovery, richness and clarity that would come from those choices. Read More

Going Public with Process vs. Product

going public

We go public with our product or service all the time.  Musicians perform concerts and record albums.  Composers publish music.  Writers publish articles or books or blog posts.  New buildings have ribbon cuttings when they open.  People in sales ring bells when they make their quotas.  Painters exhibit their paintings. Chefs and mixologists make available their creations via menus.  Corporations post their earnings.  Website designers make websites for clients who seek to go public with their products.   Producers make documentaries and movies. Read More

Your Relationship With Your Art


Relationships take work.  They also take time, commitment, honesty and trust.  They cause some of life’s highest and lowest experiences, and create questions and subsequent struggles to find answers to those questions.  They require proactive attention and give-and-take, that is if those in the relationship desire it to strengthen and grow.  Sometimes the work feels organic, sometimes it feels forced.   Sometimes they need space.  Relationships cause us to look inward.  They teach us about ourselves and what we seek from life.

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Mirrors in the Mirror


My students at the U. of Georgia recently had a pass/fail cumulative scale test.  Many desired to know how many notes they were allowed to miss before failing; some were afraid they would blank out and not remember the patterns, asking how many restarts they were allowed.  When their nerves got the best of them during the practice tests, nobody thought to ask for permission to turn off the metronome, diagnose the exact problem, reconnect to the key signature, spell the scale in note names, play the scale at least five times in a row slowly with different rhythms at the point of the mistake, and then work their way back to the assigned tempo with the metronome.   Perplexing considering we use these steps consistently in weekly lessons, always with productive results that boost their control and confidence. Read More