Pianist Rants

A pianist's take on music, life, and other things.

Are you in love with a musician? Perhaps even considering moving in together and sharing a life? Congratulations! You have made an excellent choice. Before you commit, however, there's a couple of things you should know:

Succeeding as a musician requires two things: first, you need to be taken seriously, and then people need to remember who you are. I've received plenty of advice on how to succeed, and all of it comes down to these two essentials. Most of this advice I've got completely free of charge from colleagues who want to help a...

On Saying Yes


It's great when people ask you to a gig, recording, rehearsal, anything. It's nice to be asked. It becomes a problem when you already have quite a lot of work, but you think you can manage just this one thing more. And that other thing. And surely you have time for the third if you skip lunch.

There are so many emails. Imagine you're trying to arrange concerts, for example. First you have to email the possible venues to ask if they want you. Most don't. Staring at the negative answers you curse the day people stopped appreciating music and wallow in self-pity - and then send more emails. The venues that do want you require a...

Name, age, phone number, email, etc.
...and all the other communication channels I'll be checking five times a day while waiting to hear from you.

On Fear


Dear reader, I'm scared. Worried, stressed, and anxious about The Career Of A Freelance Musician. I live with a man who has a Nice Normal Job, and while he sleeps peacefully, I lie awake thinking about how nobody will ever hire me again.

On Audiences


They are your cheerleaders sans pompoms. Filled with pride, armed with flowers they sit and listen to you doing whatever it is you're doing. Afterwards they'll tell you you were wonderful, you looked terrific, well done you. They're the all-important support network you need to stay sane, so appreciate all the compliments, do a twirl in...

How it seems in the Sibelius Academy (and probably any other school of extremely high and super awesome musical ecudation) is that there is one true career path for a pianist, and that is the solitary road to greatness. When I was young and had my bright future still ahead of me, I thought the options were to be a...

It's easy to pay attention when singers are singing. They usually wear bright colours, stand in the middle of the stage and make a lot of noise with words - they tell stories. And the pianist? They're further back, wearing colors that perfectly blend into the grand piano, there are no easily recognizable stories and certainly no words. If...

On Clothes


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a pianist must wear clothes to each and every performance. I have this image of myself playing something amazing in a bright green silk dress that floats around me in a magnificient wave, designer jewellery to match, and very shiny silver pumps. In reality I'm dressed in black stuff, always. Except when...