8 Blogs That Have Made Me a Better Musician (and why I love them)
No pianist in an island. Our practice time may be solitary, but as I wrote about in a recent article, we need community to help us thrive as musicians and people. When I first started blogging a few years ago, I had no idea how many excellent music blogs existed and how meaningful and useful I’d find them. The wisdom these writers share has made me a better writer and pianist. I read many blogs, but these are sites I follow and read regularly. Here, in alphabetical order, are eight of my favorites:
Author: Douglas McLennon is a longtime arts journalist, and the founder and editor of ArtsJournal.com, he's frequent keynoter on arts and digital issues, and works with a number of arts organizations nationally.
Focus: This site is a round-up of articles relating to arts, culture, and ideas. If it’s about the arts, it shows up here.
What I love: I signed up for the newsletter and every day ArtsJournal sends out links to arts articles from all over the world. I’m particularly fond of the “Ideas” section of the newsletter, which includes everything from philosophy to cultural observations.
Author: Chris Foley, a Toronto-based pianist, teacher, vocal coach, blogger, and Senior Examiner for RCM Examinations
Focus: This is a site devoted to all things collaborative piano—studying, skill set, career advice, practicing and musical development, piano pedagogy, and technology. It’s a one-stop shop for anyone seeking information on how to create (or survive) a career as a collaborative pianist.
What I love: Chris strikes a perfect balance between practical advice, encouraging ideas, and clear-eyed truth telling about this difficult profession. He’s a graceful writer who wraps tough advice in humor and encouragement.
Author: Frances Wilson, a UK pianist, writer, music publicist, and teacher
Focus: What doesn’t she cover? From her “Meet the Artist” series to classical reviews, wise opinion pieces, and guest blogs, this site is one of the leading classical music blogs in the UK
What I love: Whether writing about some aspect of the musical life or reviewing a concert or recording, Frances’ commitment to excellence comes through every one of her posts. She writes gracefully and elegantly, in language accessible to musicians and music lovers alike.
Author: Melanie Spanswick, a British pianist, writer, teacher, and composer who has authored best-selling books on the many aspects of piano playing
Focus: down-to-earth advice on piano playing and piano teaching
What I love: Want practice motivation? It’s there. Want advice on some aspect of piano playing? It’s there. Want to research Melanie’s many compositions? You’ll find them there. And the best part? Every article is written in a friendly, direct way that invites readers to be part of a communal piano adventure.
Author/Pianist: Anna Sutyagina
Focus: This is a site that does what I do, only better. Devoted to showcasing the music of living composers, Anna records and promotes videos of contemporary classical piano music, blogs about the musician’s life, and interviews the composers she records.
What I love: Beautiful piano music, elegant videos, and commitment to sharing new music with people who may not have listened to it any other way.
Author: Ellie Palmer, blog editor and lead writer. Other contributors include pianists and teachers from all over the globe.
Focus: Piano playing tips, practice encouragement, music ideas—anything that is of interest to passionate adult learners.
What I love: As a regular contributor to this blog, I appreciate the variety of perspectives, the openness to different opinions, and useful tips from other pianists. This is a go-to spot for any adult student interested in finding a supportive on-line community and learning more about the piano.
Author: Gail Fischler, pianist, teacher, creator of many teaching tools, including Fistful of Notes, and Musical Adjectives, a board game
Focus: Primarily pedagogical, although the site includes interviews, guest columnists, and articles on the business of making a living in music.
What I love: Gail collects all her teaching tools here. This site is excellent for instructors seeking to spice up their studios with engaging games and tools for young learners. Gail’s articles are an engaging balance between advice, creative ideas, and humor.
Author: Andrew Eales is a UK pianist, piano mentor, teacher, writer, composer, and author
Blog focus: Sheet music and book reviews, Piano Qigong, practicing advice, teaching solutions, Daoism, and a deeply-introspective “Fermata” series of posts examining the philosophical aspects of music.
What I love: An excellent writer, Andrew’s advice comes from a life devoted to the art of teaching, and a deep study of Daoism. His reviews are thorough and truthful. I’m most fond of his “Fermata” series where he writes eloquently about all aspects of music and life.