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Monday Motivation: The Easy Way Down 

The Easy Way Down - Seth Godin

Ski slopes are marked by difficulty. The green circle indicates the easiest slope, the one that will get you to the base of the hill the fastest, with the least amount of risk or drama. 

Why would anyone choose to ski down on the difficult black diamond run instead? 

Most passionate skiers would ask the question differently: why wouldn’t you? 

The point of skiing isn’t to get to the bottom. The point is how it feels on your way there. 

I’m wondering why this insight is so hard for us to embrace when it comes to learning or personal engagement or art or the work we do each day? 

There are speed bumps along the way, opportunities unevenly distributed, and unforeseen problems. But none of them get better when we decide to always seek the easy way to the end.

Lock in Your Lesson Schedule Months in Advance!  

Lock in Your Lesson Schedule Months in Advance! 

I have good news! You now have the option to schedule your weekly lesson days and times months in advance. Your monthly billing will remain the same - payment only one month at a time! 

Most students prefer to attend lessons on a regular weekly basis - same day of the week and same time of day. Previously, only 4-5 lessons could be scheduled in advance. 

Students can now use the “Recurring” option when scheduling lessons to secure dates and times up to 24 weeks in advance! To use this new feature, simply follow the guide below when scheduling your next set of lessons! 

Step 1: When scheduling your lesson, choose your preferred day & time and then select the new “Recurring” option.

Step 2: Choose the number of weeks you want to reserve in advance from the “Times to Repeat” drop down menu then click the “Add Recurring Times” button.

Step 3: Your lesson days & times are displayed. You can delete any of these if needed.

Step 4: Complete your scheduling process. Billing will continue on a monthly basis. No advance payment for additional weeks required!

Questions? Contact Michael at michael@pickeringarts.com or 720-767-3627. Happy scheduling!!

Monday Motivation: Natural Technique Doesn’t Exist  

Monday Motivation: 

A great insight from Seth Godin: Natural Technique Doesn’t Exist 

It’s amazing how much we can get done simply by trying. Whether it’s writing or singing, playing an instrument or sales, when we show up and do our best, we can make things happen. But then, our internal horsepower becomes insufficient. As we seek to make a bigger impact, we discover that powering our way through obstacles is simply too difficult. 

And so we need to learn technique. 

Technique is the unnatural approach to a problem that, with practice, becomes second-nature. Technique is the non-obvious solution that amateurs and hard-working beginners rarely stumble upon on their own. 

The commitment to a practice opens the door to finding a more useful technique. 

You got this far because your natural approach was helpful. But to get to the next level, you’ll need technique, which, by definition, isn’t something you come by on your own. 

If there are people who are playing at a different level than you who are embracing an approach that feels unnatural to you, you may have found the technique that you’ve been missing.

You Have Brilliance in You 

Midweek Inspiration: Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant.

There will always be someone out there who needs what only you have to give because you have brilliance in you. Your contribution is valuable, and with it, the world you create is precious. This is how we experience life’s most profound joy: true fulfillment; through the power of passionate, sincere, and selfless contribution.

 

Merry Christmas!  

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

They say the family that plays together stays together! Enjoy this little jam session I put together with my wife, Amy, and daughters, Arabella and Arianna this morning during Christmas break.

Vocals:

  • Amy Pickering
  • Arabella Pickering
  • Arianna Pickering
  • Michael Pickering

Piano/Keys/Horns/Strings/Bass/Percussion:

  • Michael Pickering

 

 

Twenty One Life-long Benefits of Learning Music (infographic) 

Twenty One Life-long Benefits of Learning Music

For some, music is a hobby. For others, it goes beyond the profession and is a lifestyle. In all cases the theoretical and practical knowledge and experience gathered along the way shapes the way a music-maker sees and interacts with the world.

Learning and making music is also a lot of fun!

The benefits of learning a musical instrument are numerous. These range from improved social interaction skills and increased empathy to refined time, money and people management skills. The causes of these improvements lie in stimulated brain functioning, both in zones associated with emotions and mental capabilities, but also in the interaction with music teachers, instrument sellers, and other musicians. 

If you haven’t picked up an instrument or tried singing yet, you might want to consider starting out, even just as a hobby.

50 Students! 

I am so excited to share that we've just enrolled our 50th student at Pickering Performing Arts & Entertainment! 


Here's a little trivia: 


· My closest students live across the street from my home studio 


· My most distant students live in Anchorage, Alaska 


· I have an equal number of piano vs. voice students, plus a growing number of music production students 


· My youngest student just turned 4 years old 


· My oldest student is a great grandfather 


· I love helping make dreams come true

You should have seen her smile!  

You Should Have Seen Her Smile!

I have a piano student who is on the spectrum. She loves video game music.

All of my students get to choose the songs that they want to learn to play, sing, produce, etc.

This student selected a song on Youtube called "Painting Room" for which there is no sheet music. She has a wonderful ear!

I've spent a number of weeks guiding her in listening to and then transcribing and recording the song.

We finished this project today! You should have seen her smile!

She is amazing and I am so incredibly proud of all she has done! Check out her transcription below and be sure to listen to her recording! Link at the bottom of this post.

 

 

 

Great Music & Great Friends 

Great Music & Great Friends

As I think about the many souls I am blessed to call acquaintance and friend, I realize that almost all of us have connected with one another through music, either directly or indirectly. Through music, we relate and become community. With music, our broken hearts are soothed, and our hopes and dreams celebrated. How thankful I am to have music, AND YOU, in my life.

Take a breath...   

Feeling exhausted? Overwhelmed? Over it?  

Take a breath...  

We have to make time to recharge ourselves and our souls. Recharging yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally is as important as any work you will ever do.  

Music soothes the soul.

The Amazing Life-Long Benefits of Learning Music 

The Amazing Life-Long Benefits of Learning Music

One of my favorite undergraduate courses at Berklee College of Music was “Music Cognition.” My Professor, Dr. Susan Rogers, studied and worked with Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin, author of the groundbreaking book, “This is Your Brain on Music,” among others. Before becoming a scientist, Dr. Rogers worked as a record producer, studio engineer, and mixer, most notably for the artist, Prince from 1983-1988. We’re talking “Purple Rain,” my friends! 

While I, like so many, have always loved music, I discovered a new appreciation and respect for the process of learning music. Doing so can literally change a person. 

Music enhances the process of learning by simultaneous engagement of senses, muscles, and intellect. Music cognition is a branch of cognitive psychology—the scientific study of thinking and information processing. Cognitive psychologists investigate mental processes such as: 

  • learning 
  • memory 
  • attention 
  • language acquisition and use 
  • decision-making 
  • categorization 
  • action planning 
  • consciousness 

Music cognition is the study of mental activities that lead to musical behaviors. Musical behaviors include the following: 

  • sensing—the physical sensation of sound 
  • listening—perceiving and attending to sound 
  • learning—internalizing (i.e., to acquire knowledge of) musical norms from exposure to music in our culture 
  • remembering—learning new songs and recalling or recognizing them later 
  • feeling—recognizing and being affected by emotion in music 
  • performing—expressing emotion, ideas, rhythm using a musical instrument or voice 

Humans do not need musical training to express musical behaviors. This has led music cognition researchers to conclude that music may be an innate property of the human nervous system, meaning that we are born with a capacity to understand and make music, just as we are born with an inescapable drive to acquire and use language. 

In his excellent book, “This Is Your Brain on Music,” McGill University neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin notes science has shown that when children learn to play music, their brains begin to hear and process sounds that they couldn’t otherwise hear. This helps them develop “neurophysiological distinction” between certain sounds that can aid in literacy, which can translate into improved academic results for kids. A 2014 study from Northwestern University revealed that in order to fully reap the cognitive benefits of a music class, kids can’t just sit there and let the sound of music wash over them. They have to be actively engaged in the music and participants of it. 

School-age students of music and the arts have higher grades, better standardized test scores on the verbal and math portions of the SAT, better attendance in school, and are more active in community affairs as documented by multiple studies performed at higher-level institutions. 

Music cultivates skills that are useful throughout life for both children and adults. These include concentration, coordination, perseverance, self-confidence, and esteem as well as relaxation. Music provides benefits that can counterbalance highly competitive activities. 

Many employers and colleges view participation in arts and music as a way of broadening the understanding and appreciation of the world. 

Music provides all kinds of physical and mental benefits for both children and adults. Study of a musical instrument strengthens cognitive skills as well as auditory memory and the ability to hear speech in noisy environments. Music relaxes the mind and reduces anxiety and depression. Further, the adjustment decisions involved in the performance of a musical instrument for tempo, tone, style, rhythm, and phrasing train the brain to be good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. 

Music is a language that brings people together. It is a bridge to connect with others. Music uses communication, creativity, and cooperation to enrich lives. It's also a lot of fun. 

I would love to share your creative journey. You can sign up for a FREE LESSON right here.

- Michael Pickering