Inspiration and claiming your passion


Piano Gone Missing

A news story about a missing grand piano brings to mind August Wilson's 1990 play The Piano Lesson, about a family's complex relationship with their piano. »


Playing Outside on an Octopus Piano

Sing for Hope Pianos, all over New York in June 2013, gave songwriter Steven Turner the chance to perform his original compositions outside in Central Park. »


How I Learned to Count at 49

An adult flutist has a secret: she never knew how to count music. After skating by in middle school band, she now adds logic and technique to her playing. »


How to Create Good Habits for Piano Practice

To create good habits for piano practice, start with what Charles Duhigg calls keystone habits: mundane, everyday actions that trigger widespread change. »


This Mother’s Day, a Concert Grand Piano

Nancy M. Williams declares rather than flowers or chocolates for Mother's Day, she wants a concert grand piano, in this Sharps and Flats™ humor essay. »


A Vigil for a Beginner Piano Student

Stacy Schwartz, runner and beginner piano student, unexpectedly held her own vigil for the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions at her upright at home. »

Juilliard Students Perform to Save a Life

When Julliard students performed to raise funds for a young Georgian actor with leukemia, the Beethoven sonata seemed to echo his vulnerability and pain. »

Deserting the Piano: A Personal Essay

The author imagines a piano in her home as a sulking, poisonous guest. Although the piano used to be her passion, she has not touched the keys in 25 years. »


Five Reasons to Play Not Just at the Piano

If you are serious about learning to play piano, make time for piano practice but also take time for play away from the piano, advises Emma Seppala, PhD. »

Appoggiaturas and Donating Stem Cells

Emily Sun, mother and pianist, needs stem cell donation from an Asian donor to survive; the author, playing Schubert's appoggiaturas, realizes how to help. »

Amateur Pianist Robin Sloane Seibert on her piano practice.

Piano Practice: The Wonder of Solitude

Beset by an internal clamor, essayist Robin Sloane Seibert tries to drown out her worries with noise, until she discovers the solitude of piano practice. »

The Steinway Factory Tour Leads to Creative Inspiration

The Steinway Factory Tour Leads to Creative Inspiration

Seeing the piano-making process in action during the Steinway factory tour inspires this writer and amateur pianist to push on through creative challenges. »


Chopin Waltz in B Minor Amplified

After her mother died, the pianist Catherine Shefski decided to relearn and record, for reasons she did not quite understand, the Chopin Waltz in B minor. »


Stamping Out Perfectionism in Adult Piano Lessons

Students of adult piano lessons can be paralyzed by the thought of striking a wrong note. Catherine Shefski advises on how to stamp out this perfectionism. »


A Piano Teacher Reclaims the Piano

After a long hiatus from the piano, teacher Catherine Shefski resolved to find her way back by recording classical piano music, one piece a week for a year. »

2013 New Year’s Resolutions pour le Piano

2013 New Year’s Resolutions pour le Piano

For 2013, I am making five important New Year’s resolutions for my piano study. 1) Concentrate on studying with my new piano teacher. During the late autumn of 2012, I embarked on a two-month se... »

A Reckoning of My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

A Reckoning of My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions

One of my top goals for 2012 on the piano was not to forget the rapture.  As the first step in setting my 2013 New Year’s resolutions for the piano, I have examined how well I did meeting this N... »

The Gift of Mercy Mild

The Gift of Mercy Mild

A personal essay by Nancy M. Williams about how the memory of her father teaching her the words to "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" helped her find mercy. »

The Gift of O Holy Night

The Gift of O Holy Night

Barry Alexander sings O Holy Night. The first time I heard Barry Alexander sing was in a master class on performance I took from him and Cosmo Buono, a concert pianist. In the class were five amateur ... »

Giving Back During the Holidays at a Halfway House

Giving Back During the Holidays at a Halfway House

On Christmas, baritone Barry Alexander sings for residents of a halfway house. He finds giving back during the holidays one of the best ways to perform. »

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