Author Archives: mrskeys

What is Micropracticing?

Chances are, every time you sit down to play piano you are making mistakes at some point. Have you ever taken a moment to identify what those things are?

Try this: the next time you are teaching a voice lesson, running a choral rehearsal or just practicing, keep a pen and paper handy and jot down where you are making mistakes. Continue reading

On Confronting Hairy Monsters

Everybody has hairy monsters in the life. You know them. The list of difficult tasks that you’ve been meaning to get to and have been avoiding for months or maybe even years. You know you need to do them. You know they are high value. But they are just complicated and frustrating enough that you have just stuffed them under the bed and hoped that they won’t come out again. Perhaps you prioritize other tasks or get busy with other chores, but the monsters keep lurking until you one day take them on.

Tasks that pull at us often do so because they are actually really important and may even hold the key to massive growth in your personal or professional life. These are high value and high impact Continue reading

How to get the most out of your private lessons

 

As a longtime teacher of music, and even longer student of music, I have had the opportunity to learn via trial and error many methods that have served me and my students. Since we’re getting ready for back to school, and I’m getting ready to welcome a bunch of new students into my studio, I thought I’d share a list of tips on how to get the most out of your private lessons.  Continue reading

How to get ready for your fall piano/voice lessons

Now that summer is winding down and our minds are on the back to school crunch, I have been getting several questions on how to prepare to start up piano/voice lessons again after summer holidays, or really any holidays when you’ve been away from your music routine for longer than a few days.

Around here (NYC), most children of school age attend camp – either sleep away or day camp, Continue reading

How I confronted my limiting beliefs (and how you can too!)

I have been thinking and reading a lot about limiting beliefs and how our brains can be programmed to think something is impossible even if it isn’t.  These limiting beliefs hold us back from moving forward in our lives, our relationships and our businesses and keep us “stuck”.

Back in May, I listened to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier by Gretchen Rubin, which addressed exactly this topic.  (Here is the episode to check out!). It got me thinking about what was holding me back. Continue reading

The Paperless Studio – How Getting Rid of the paper saved my sanity and saved me a ton of money!

The Paperless Studio – How Getting Rid of the paper saved my sanity and saved me a ton of money!

So. Much. Paper.

Paper is an often complained about component of adult life.  We are inundated with junk mail, catalogues and papers that pile up on all available flat surfaces at home and work.  Nobody knows more about those dreaded papers than the music teacher.

I run a private studio for voice and piano lessons in our home in New York City.  My studio is our former dining room that has soundproof walls and a door.  The entire area of the studio is 7’x12’ – smaller than the guest bathrooms of my friends in the suburbs!  In a small room like mine, space is at a major premium and as a business owner, performing musician and mom I need to be organized to stay sane. Continue reading

I Had Nodules and This Is What I Learned

By: Brenda Earle Stokes, BFA, M.Mus

In 2016, after a bad bout of reflux, I noticed that my voice was getting hoarse.  Assuming that it was some combination of my allergies and fatigue from life in general, I did a little voice rest and drank extra water.  One week, two weeks, three weeks went by and it wasn’t getting better.  That’s when I panicked.  What if something was really wrong?? Continue reading

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About SLPs (but were afraid to ask)

An Interview with SLP Leanne Goldberg MS, CCC-SLP

By Brenda Earle Stokes, BFA, M.Mus.

Leanne Goldberg is a Speech and Language Pathologist at the Grabscheid Voice and Swallowing Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Back in 2016, I was diagnosed as having vocal fold nodules.  My laryngologist recommended speech therapy, but at the time his SLP on staff was on maternity leave.  When I asked around, Leanne Goldberg’s name came up, and it turns out I already knew her socially.  She provided me with excellent care, provided me with six weeks of highly effective treatment and helped me to recover and improve my speech habits.  She was so caring towards me during this highly upsetting time in my career and was quick to answer me when I reached out for additional support. Continue reading

Allergies be gone! An Interview with my allergist Dr. Michael Lewin

Required listening…Allergies by Barenaked Ladies

It’s that time of year again!

It’s April in NYC and just we’re getting excited to finally put away our heavy coats and observe the buds on the trees and the blooming of flowers, a great many of us allergy sufferers knows what this means.  It’s time for the sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes nightmare that is spring.  And if you’re a singer, this may be a worse time of year for you than even cold and flu season. Continue reading