Quote of the Day: The Serenity Prayer, and Variation on the Serenity Prayer for Piano Players

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And, the wisdom to know the difference.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And, the wisdom to know when to just play the piano!

 I saw this on a music site that sells t-shirts and other items for musicians. 


Student playing her lesson via Skype.

Thanks to modern technology, my sister Joy’s influence in teaching via Skype, my own resourcefulness, and my students’ resiliency, we have continued piano lessons in my studio. The initial set up takes a few minutes. Some are using Skype for the first time, for others, it’s been a while. I’m open to other online connecting, like Google Hangouts, or video chat on FB. I don’t have Facetime. These are all good options. My son, who is a Computer Science major at the University of MN – Twin Cities, said that they’re all pretty much the same. The connection depends on your own internet. It’s not perfect. But, we’re doing it.

Students in their home, while I’m there on the stand inside their device.

I am SO PROUD of my students who are learning online with me. Piano is a hands-on experience! Obviously. But, we can learn this way, too. While I’d like to be sitting next to them, showing them the notes, playing the rhythms, and offering up encouragement, I can do it this way, too. It just takes a little more patience, listening skills (on both ends), and words for explaining. As Joy said, “It’s a more relaxed pace,” when you teach online. There are delays and blurry connections. Still, I’m chuckling as my first student online carried her device around saying, “Where am I going to put you?”

It works best to be at their side, like in the photo above, so I can see the student, the music and the keys. Sometimes, we have to move it closer, or they hold the music up for me to see what they’re playing. It’s best if I have the music at home. I have most of their lesson books, but not all the extras. One dad held the device through the whole lesson, bless his heart. He brought it closer when I needed to see the music and/or keys, then back again so I could see his daughter. When the lesson was over, I praised them both, and I could see his arm reach out as he patted his daughter on her back. Such love. Such understanding. What I’m seeing in all this is the students’ willingness to learn. It’s empowering them. They’re trying so hard, asking great questions, and truly listening. This is good ear training for all of us, in music and as communicators!

My sister Joy is open for new voice students in her It’s a Joy Studio. Please visit her website or It’s a Joy Facebook page to connect with her. She is also a great resource in how to do it. She and a few others are also starting a service to help people with transitions. Again, please visit her sites. 

Bradley Sowash is an online (and in person) instructor that I follow. I especially like his classes on jazz improv. I have some of his books and enjoy playing his arrangements. He is offering a course in online learning and teaching. Check it out at Bradley Sowash Music. 

And, for your cute picture of the day (Remember Favorite Photo Fridays? I need to bring them back.)

Charlie and his cat Leo, who is the newest Computer Science Major at the UMN. Although, it looks like he got a little bored with the lecture. #learninginthetimeoftheCoronavirus

We’re doing it, folks! We’re pulling together to help and support one another in amazing and creative ways. We can still connect while keeping a safe distance and not getting each other sick. I’m so grateful for all of the connections I have and the way that people are still reaching out.

I won’t be attending any live performances for a while, but one company sent me info on their online offering.

 Z Puppets is offering their next production of “Through the Narrows” as an on demand, online, performance. Free to tribal members and the Central Minneapolis neighborhood, or minimum donation of $5. I signed up. Looking forward to watching this on Saturday. A nice alternative to driving to the cities! And, staying home and germ free. https://zpuppets.org/through-the-narrows-audio-webcast

Also free to people who live and work in Central Neighborhood in Minneapolis (thanks to a grant from CANDO) Pay-what-you-will general access (starting at $5)No one turned away from access. Available through May 1, 2020. I’ll view and review it this weekend!
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What are some creative ways that you are learning, connecting, and coping during the Time of the Coronavirus and Social Distancing? 
Let me know if there are other online performances to review!