What Grade Are You?

My students often get asked by other people they meet, when talking about piano, what Grade are you?

These people are being very specific about the Royal Conservatory of Music program. There are Grades Primary to Grade 10 and then your A.R.C.T in either piano performance or teachers accreditation. The ARCT is the equivalent of a Bachelors’ of Music.

I often tell my students when asked that tell them it really doesn’t matter. What really matter is how you play!

You can play well, or you can play terribly.

In Europe, people ask, who are you studying with. This is a much  bigger impact on the quality of their piano education.

If you wanted to study at a prestigious music school, one must always audition. They do not ask what Grade you are in or what mark you received. They base your audition on how you perform. Period!!

You decide. Listen to this popular piece Fur Elise by two pianist and which way do you prefer?

Version 1:


Version 2:



How do you know if your musical or not.

When I was a little girl studying piano I thought everyone’s brains thought like mine.

I thought people could here music in their brains. This is simply not the case.

I think that’s why I learned my pieces easily, because my teacher would play the piece, and because I had good note recognition. I copied her!

I never learned how to count, had no idea how to move at all! Did this hurt my musical ability? Absolutely!!

10 years of terrible instruction. Nice and awesome teachers..just terrible direction because what my heart wanted to play was not possible.

One of the best qualities in studying the piano, or any musical instrument, is to hear the melody in your head. You can carry this every where! You’ll often see great pianist mouths are moving. There is a reason for that.

So sing away to a melodic melody and enjoy this special and unique talent you were born with 🙂

Do you have Piano Goals?

Happy New Year everyone!!

It seems that at this time of year everyone seems to have something that they’d like to change.

I really love this quote “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Earl Nightingale

It doesn’t matter what your goal is. What matters is you enjoy the journey along the way.

I have some students who are very goal oriented and they stick with it! Others are wondering around and have so many pieces they’d like to study that their energy is dispersed. I have to bring them back on track to help feel that their energy is moving in the right direction.

Nothing is worse than feeling that your not accomplishing something.

I can’t stress enough of how Slow Practice is the BEST Practice! We want to learn something FAST….SLOW is the only way to go!!

Plus when you move on to study another piece or technique, your brain and body will remember all that you have done! What an amazing feeling!

Happy Practicing and enjoy THE JOURNEY!!



Watching Greatness Emerge :)

It all began 4 or maybe even 3 years ago.

She was a brand new student to the piano!

What she had though was amazing! She went slow, her movement was flawless and she always did her best! What a amazing combination!

She persisted and kept on going even though she didn’t see the greatness within herself. I did!

Then it happened! That day that she saw her confidence within herself. Something that I always did see!

Now she feels that she can do and accomplish whatever she wants!

It’s like planting a seed. She planted the seed and with the love of her parents and the inspiration of her desire, her garden is looking beautiful! What a gift to her, her parents and the world around her 🙂


“Greatness lies within”

Do Fast Pieces Scare You?

I always marveled at how pianist played so fast! I thought to myself, how’d they do that?

Now I know.

First thing is always starting out SLOW. But also how are you moving when you are going slow.

The faster you go the smaller the movements. That’s it!

Stay close to the black keys if you have lots of accidents or it’s in the key signature. Can you imagine if your hand is on the edge of the keys and you had to reach for them. It’s just not going to happen 🙂

Let’s talk about the metronome..that ugly word! I rarely use it when teaching. The only time I do is when you are studying something that demands speed. Bring out the metronome once you know the important elements of the piece. The rhythm, fingering and the sound structure of the composition. If you’re still thinking of that your not ready. Then start with a very comfortable tempo and gradually, the word is gradually, increase. If the tempo your at is uncomfortable, stay there until you do. Don’t move on.

Happy and Slow Practicing 🙂



Why do you Practice?

As I was thinking what my topic should be I decided to practice.

Why do you practice?

There are lots and lots of answers. The biggest concern that comes to mind is BECAUSE I HAVE TO!

Wow! What a answer. If that be the case I’m so sorry for your predicament.

Maybe I can change your perception. Think of the reward you get in studying the piano?

If you can think of even 1 positive answer, I think that is just awesome! I think that is probably more than most 🙂

There was a story of a woman, who survived a war, and was a star performer during that time. She was doing something against her will. But she was so grateful for meeting amazing people during this time and for the joy this provided. I watched her documentary and what I found so amazing is that she practiced every day because she “felt she was getting better”. Her words and she was in her 90’s at the time of the documentary. Those were her reasons.

Find yours and you’ll feel so much better and just like planting a seed you will watch that seed grow and become something amazing.

“Greatness lies within You”

My experience with a Master Piano Teacher.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote” The master will appear when you are ready.”

That’s exactly what happened to me.

I was on my fantastic journey of preparing for my A.R.C.T in Piano Performance, studying with an amazing teacher. She was warm, positive and caring and challenged me with studying difficult composers.

Then that day arrived and it came completely out of the blue.

I was attending a Piano Summer Camp at the University of Victoria and I met this gentleman who was a guest artist from Switzerland. The first time I sat down with him, I cried, because he took something that I was studying and struggling with, and made it simple! I was hooked!

It wasn’t for a couple of years, but my journey began with him and what a journey!

He was back in Switzerland and we did lessons by Skype. I am not even close to being the pianist I was as to who I am today. It changed me and it changes my teaching experience with my students and for this I am grateful!


It all started with a phone call and a Grade 8 Piano Exam!

This is a story about a young lady, who is preparing for her grade 8 piano exam and me.

I received a phone call from a very quiet mom who’s whole purpose was her daughters goal of passing her Grade 8 Royal Conservatory Exam. The mom told her that her daughters teacher had a family emergency and wasn’t able to help with the last few weeks before the exam.

The phone call and our first meeting was on June 30th and her exam was scheduled for August 16th. This means we had 6 weeks to prepare!!

Away we went!! 2 days a week and sooo many changes to help this amazing young lady to get her to pass!

She was seriously struggling with many many of her pieces and I must admit how in the world are we going to do this! But she was persistent and positive and always gave her best! Always!!!

Miracles happened! She has grown sooo much as a young lady and the music that is coming from her soul is awe inspiring! She applied the way’s I told her to practice and guess what…it worked!!

It has truly been an inspirational 6 weeks and I know that she is going to do very very well on her exam, which is tomorrow!

I reminded her about her mental preparation of her exam.  Greatness lies with a pause! A moment of silence! When one allows this process to flood your thoughts music is inevitable!



A story about a woman, and her first lesson on the Streets of Vancouver!

I began my 2017 Free Lessons on the Streets of Vancouver 2 days ago and have met people from all over the world.

One particular person, who happened to be my first of the day, is a PhD of Statistics at UBC, but she also has a creative side to her, she loves photography. Here we are under the Cambie Street Bridge with a view of the city line and the ocean. I asked her what she sees. She described to me the geometric shape of the buildings and the ripple of the waves of the ocean. Music is the same thing. We are learning to take our arm and hands and create something. In this case..music! She was so grateful, as was I, and now we have connected outside our experience. It doesn’t get much better than that!



Check out our link about this campaign: https://simplypianostudio.com/free-piano-lessons


How to choose the perfect piano teacher for a beginner!

When choosing a piano teacher the most important thing is the teachers connection with you! Do they inspire, do they love what they do. This has a direct connection to you. The degree is somewhat important but not really important. Inspiration is far more valuable. The teacher see’s the value of what studying piano can do in the student’s life.

Ask the teacher to play for you. If the teacher plays with ease and makes it look easy, that is the one you want! They will give you the skills from the ground up which is incredibly important. If the foundation is strong, nothing is impossible as the years go by. I was not so fortunate. 10 years of bad instruction and then another 10ish years to fix it! YUK!

Does this teacher only teach the same pieces to everyone. Very important question. We’re not all the same so the approach shouldn’t be. Just like we don’t like all the same food, why should we play the same thing.

If the teacher talks about the fingers first, this is not a good sign. One should understand it starts with understanding the arm. The entire arm, from the collarbone down. If the teacher talks about the notes a lot..this is also not a good sign. This is not rocket science….ABCDEFG..that’s it!

Foundation is KEY! Find someone who sees where you are going..not where you are.