Oh Where, Oh Where Has My LIttle Blog Gone?

Johnny Costa is one of the best known and least known jazz pianists of the 20th century.  Have you heard of him?  His albums are hardly jazz essentials.  And yet he was one of the most facile, brilliant pianists who…


Act Your Age

Because I’ve been thinking a lot about getting older and the choices you make along the way, I finally listened to Stephen Sondheim’s musical Merrily We Roll Along.  It tells the story of three friends, but it goes backwards in…


If You Can Listen, You Will Be Heard

Mornings Monday through Thursday I do music with children ages 3 months to 5 years.  The school where I work is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach.  Reggio Emilia acts on the assumption that even very young children have ideas…


A Jazz Thank-You Note

I’d like to tell you a story.  It’s about who I was and who I am and who I want to be.  It’s also about jazz.

I play jazz every Thursday night with a friend of mine who lives up…


The Eye

One of my favorite observations about life comes from Moshe Feldenkrais.  He points out that at birth, the origin of seeing is in the eye, so if you destroy the eye you destroy seeing.  But later in life you don’t…


Solving a Problem With My Writing

According to marketing experts, in order to make money, you have to solve someone’s problem.  This is easy for a plumber, but hard for a writer.  In my life I’ve written a great deal without thinking about who it’s for…


Babies, Moms and Performers

One of my many roles is Music Teacher for the Willow School.  As part of that job I get to read articles on early childhood education.  One in particular, by a man named Trevarthen, has me thinking a lot about…


It's Better To Be Ordinary

If you’re a creative person, you might hope that you’re extraordinary.  You might even believe it already.  But it’s actually not a good idea to think of yourself that way.

An extraordinary person doesn’t have to do anything to be…


The World Needs Me To Get Better At Being

Yesterday I read a book of poems from one of my favorite poets, e. e. cummings.  I was inspired to write poems like his.  But that’s not really what I should be doing.

Thursday I had a conversation with my…


You've Gotten Through Every Crisis You've Ever Faced

I have some experience with crises.  There’s something really important to keep in mind when you’re in one.

You’ve gotten through every crisis you’ve ever faced.

Think about it.  There are only two ways to get through a crisis:  pull…


I Talked To My Kids About Global Climate Change

I talked to my kids about global climate change this week.  It was hard to broach the subject.  I was embarrassed.


I was afraid they think I don’t want to admit it’s happening, or that I don’t care about it…


What Happens When You Fail Enough?

Two of my books that have been in the works for years came out today.  The first is a free book full of advice for teachers.  The second is a collection of my songs for elementary and middle school chorus.