Category Archives: Piano

How to Practice Singing During a Pandemic: 5 Singer/Teachers Share Their Top Three Tips

I was super excited when singer, voice teacher and podcaster Valerie Day asked me to contribute to her most recent blog post.  In it, you’ll hear my top three tips that I share with all my students.

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

Random Songs I Like #6 – Steel Rail Blues

Anyone who grew up in Canada was inevitably steeped in the music of Gordon Lightfoot.  His music was a staple of my CBC listening as a child and even though I might have rolled my eyes at it as a teen, it is something that I have grown to love as an adult.  In my version, I try to reproduce his lauded finger-picking guitar style on the piano.  Enjoy!

 

Article published in Classical Singer Magazine’s blog!

I was super excited to be published in Classical Singer Magazine‘s blog this week!  They reached out to me to see if I would share how my work for Piano Skills for Singers would translate to the classical world.  YES – faking is for EVERYONE!!

In my experience as a professional pianist, vocalist and educator, I have found that one of the weakest links in the vocalist community is a lack of functional keyboard skills.  This deficiency creates a huge handicap for singers and educators, keeping them from positions as section leaders, music directors and teachers.  In the post-pandemic world, singers are going to need as many tools as possible in their toolkit to carve out a livelihood. Continue reading here

3 Steps to Perfect Piano Posture…with a MIC!

A follow up to my last video “Three Steps to Perfect Piano Posture”, this one shows you how to have perfect posture while you are singing into a microphone.  Your back thanks you in advance!

Make sure to “Like” this video and SUBSCRIBE to my channel!  It helps me to keep making awesome resources like this for you.

Pandemic Practice: 3 Tips to Inspire You

 

  1.  Treat daily music practice as self-care:  With all the stress and uncertainty of pandemic life, we all need to be practicing more self care.  Yes, this includes drinking enough water and getting enough sleep, but why not treat your daily practice as a form of self care too?  Spending time every day singing, playing piano and just making music is a great way to invite structure and creativity into you day and will help to feed your mind, body and soul.

Good lighting is EVERYTHING.

Make sure your practice space is cozy and inviting.  Nice lighting adds a comfortable feel (get a decent lamp with a soft white lightbulb!), get a good quality chair or stool and fill your space with candles and inspirational quotes.  While you’re at it, make sure you give yourself some private and distraction free time.  Log out of your social media accounts, turn off your phone and hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door.  (Time to let your kids have some screen time!). This is YOUR TIME to center yourself into creativity, even if it’s only for a short time.

 3.  Get organized:  How many of us have desks and studios that are in rough shape?  Messes, piles of paper and a lack of proper materials will derail your practicing.  Take an hour or two and get your space in shape!  Put all of your music in a folder or binder, putting the most recent material up front.  Make sure you have your recording device, speakers, metronome, notebook and several pencils and pens handy so that when you sit down to work, you have everything you need.

Everything I need to be productive.

  • Put all of your music in a folder or binder so it’s all in one place when you need it.
  • Make sure you have your recording device, speakers/headphones, metronome, notebook and pencils handy so that when you sit down you’re ready to go!
  • Declutter anything from your practice space that you don’t need – household items like bills and paperwork and anything else that will distract you from practicing (Whose socks are these???)
  • Get rid of anything that is visually busy or otherwise distracting to your creative flow.  If there are small repairs that you need to make, or loose ends that need to be tied, take a couple of hours and just DO IT (We both know that your metronome has needed batteries for a while, so…)

3.  Create projects and goals to work toward.  It can be really hard to practice efficiently when we no longer have rehearsals, auditions and performances to be working towards.  Now is a great time to find creative solutions to those external goals.  Create new goals to help you stay on track and get motivated.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Do a deep dive of the work of a favorite singer or composer.  This is a great time to choose repertoire that differs from your usual work or “type”
  • Film yourself practicing once a week on social media to let your friends and fans know what you’re up to
  • Host a Zoom concert for your family or friends
  • Get together (over Zoom) with fellow musicians to share your work and do a feedback circle
  • Take an online course to help you build new skills
  • Create playlists of your “desert island” songs and learn them one by one (This is what I’m doing as part of my #RandomSongsILike project!)

 

 

How to Walk a Bass Line

Calling all jazzers (or aspiring jazzers)!  This awesome video is going to teach you how to walk a bass line on any jazz standard.  It is super easy and straight ahead and I will take you step-by-step into how to walk and authentic jazz bass line.

**Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and leave a Like!**

 

Want to learn jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment, which teaches you everything I list in this blog post.

There’s More Than One Way to Split the Octave

If you are working on scales, chords, technical drills or chord progressions, you should be practicing them in 12 keys! This video will give you some great ideas on how to practice in different ways, to achieve mastery quicker and without relying only on muscle memory!

**Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and leave a Like!**

 

Want to learn jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment, which teaches you everything I list in this blog post.

Vocal Jazz Introductions

Every singer and instrumentalist should have an arsenal of great introductions at the ready. In this video, I will show you how to play 9 of the best introductions, which are perfect for instrumental or vocal jazz!

**Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and leave a Like!**

 

Want to learn jazz piano?  Check out my online course Jazz Piano Accompaniment, which teaches you everything I list in this blog post.