Music therapy


Veteran Plays Piano Despite Suicide Bomber Attack

This Army veteran survived a suicide bomber attack in Iraq. Upon his return, despite severe injuries and hearing loss, all he wanted was to play the piano. »


Your Brain on Adult Music Lessons

Studies show that music lessons are good for your brain as a child or an adult. An adult student wants to see if studying the flute will improve her memory. »


Fantasy Impromptu, a Poem

In her poem Fantasy Impromptu, Mary Jo Balistreri writes of playing Chopin on the piano as temporary relief from the pain of loneliness, envy, and longing. »


The Beethoven Pathetique as Companion through Illness

Relearning the Beethoven Pathetique helps Emily Sun live a full life while battling cancer. In this open letter, she vows to keep learning new piano pieces. »


What Happened When I Forgot My Music

Frazzled after forgetting her sheet music for a planned session at a Sing for Hope Piano in Central Park, Nancy M. Williams switches tacks and finds calm. »


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. »

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. »

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. »


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. »

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. »


Classical Piano Music in a Brownstone

Spending New Year's Eve in Manhattan brings the author's thoughts back to classical piano music and the true reasons why she had deserted it in her youth. »


How a Varsity Football Player Turned to Classical Piano Music

Classical piano music, in the form of a Chopin Nocturne, helped this varsity football player persevere through poor health after suffering a serious injury. »


Fighting Cancer with Classical Piano Music

Playing classical piano music, especially Beethoven, is another form of therapy for Emily Sun, who is undergoing an intensive radiotherapy cancer treatment. »

Lowered Shoulders: When Piano Technique Spreads Out to Life

After Nancy M. Williams' piano teacher urged her to relax her shoulders while playing, her quest for this piano technique led to understanding of her past. »

Levitating with Scales in Adult Piano Lessons

After my parents had burdened the piano with so many antagonistic representations, the Russian playing the scales with such pure concentration was a relief. »

Osama and Adult Piano Lessons

Photo by Frank Schramm. This past Sunday night, while a group of Navy Seals broke into a compound in a nothern Pakistani city and cornered Osama Bin Laden, I packed for a trip to Washington DC, unawar... »


Feeling Is First in the Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp Minor

Playing pieces like the Chopin Nocturne in C-sharp Minor has allowed Nancy M. Williams to express those feelings that were prohibited during her childhood. »

To Buy a Piano: A Cherry Steinway’s Soul

To Buy a Piano: A Cherry Steinway’s Soul

I stepped into the foyer of an SoHo apartment in Manhattan. On the opposite wall hung an abstract oil painting of a nude, her body contorted and sectioned. At the smell of alcohol lingering in the air... »

Why this Student of Adult Piano Lessons Wished for a Chinese Father but Became a Western Mother

Why this Student of Adult Piano Lessons Wished for a Chinese Father but Became a Western Mother

Somewhat eerily timed with the Chinese mother debate, my daughter, Mena, and I had a piano recital this past Saturday.  Rather than performing at Carnegie Hall, where Chua’s daughter Sophia play... »

Red Light in Adult Piano Lessons

Red Light in Adult Piano Lessons

For Nancy M. Williams, adult piano lessons bring back insecurities linked to a childhood spent with an alcoholic parent, but ultimately help her move on. »

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