After twelve years of lessons, I thought I could play piano

Then I went to Oberlin College.  All of a sudden I was surrounded by musicians who could really play!  I was ashamed and I wanted to give it up forever.

Instead, I started practicing.  A lot harder than I'd ever practiced before.

I learned a lot in the next four years.

I'd always played the piano since I was six, but I never took it seriously.  Now I was trying my hardest and…I still wasn't getting anywhere.

My reading STUNK.  I couldn't get my fingers to move fast.  And I developed such severe stage fright around the piano I couldn't even perform.

But I wasn't about to quit.  I found teachers who were willing to work with me, and at the end of my time at Oberlin, I was ready to try my hand as a professional in my home of Atlanta.

Finding the right teacher is the key to anyone's success.  Teachers see things in us we can't see by ourselves, both our successes and the places we need in order to grow.   

When I came back to Atlanta, I found work.  I also found out I had more work to do on myself!

I landed a job with the Atlanta Ballet as a company pianist, and I started a jazz trio, working around Atlanta.  But I wasn't ready for that level of work.  My hands collapsed on me!

Thankfully I discovered the Feldenkrais Method, a somatic education approach that not only gave me the pathway to healing and overcoming my learning challenges, but the opportunity to tell my story in articles I published for the Feldenkrais Journal, where I am Assistant Editor today.  

My world changed and I began contemplating how I might help other people overcome their learning difficulties.

Now that I could learn, it was time to become a teacher.

I still wasn't ready to become a piano teacher.  In 2006 I completed a degree in Music Education and began an 11-year journey as a public school chorus teacher.  I worked with elementary and middle-school students as a choral director, served on Autism teams, and tutored math and reading students.  I got very good at understanding the practical skills of teaching:  sequencing, scaffolding, patience.  

Finally I left public education to start Willow Music.  Because I had been a classroom teacher, I found it easy to work with pianists with a range of difficulties from ADHD to ASD.  I knew if I could help them, I could help anybody.

The best thing I ever did was to start listening to my own instruction, and do what I told others to do!

When I started taking my own advice, I got more efficient in my own practicing, started performing better, and got more clients.

My new focus was working in my creative professional life.  I started publishing my own books, began a YouTube Channel, and marketed my original approach to teaching.  I became a better marketer, a better businessperson, and a better learner!

I speak in public about my journey, sharing my insights for anyone that needs help.  I also perform, present my music and books, and produce an interview show.  I am the musician I dreamed I could be.

What could you do if someone did that for you?