Drive – what it is and how to have more of it.

Lately, I’ve been riveted by Daniel Pink’s book, “Drive”, and have been stimulated to new ways of thinking about teaching and coaching. I’ve just written an article here about how to begin to apply Pink’s principles to music – or any kind of teaching.


Creative Discipline, Creative Freedom

As a teen, I remember being woken daily before dawn, so that I would be able to fit in part of my piano practice before school. I would slouch downstairs in my robe, dress shivering before the gas fire, eat a quick breakfast and set to work.

Up to the age of fourteen or so I had been an early riser anyway, always waking full of energy, ready for anything. But when puberty struck, something catastrophic must have happened to my biorhythms, as almost from one day to the next, I seemed to need a lot more sleep and felt horribly jet-lagged and grumpy when woken.

I was thinking about this earlier today. Despite how wretched I felt, my mother obliged me to practice. How I felt simply was irrelevant (unless I was actually ill). And so I learned a huge amount of discipline, first imposed on me, but later self-engendered. I know how to ‘carry on regardless’.
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What It Means To Be Free To Create

A professor from one of London’s top music colleges contacted me the other day. This person had been considerably affected by Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and was wondering how to get in touch with other musicians similarly affected. I often receive emails from musicians with RSI as I wrote a dissertation on the subject. What this person was experiencing was such an atmosphere of secrecy that she felt isolated. And this really resonated with me.
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Fabulous music of a non-classical nature

Rufus Wainwright’s Want One is the non-classical album I’ve played most over the last year, and I’m STILL not tired of it. The son of talented and famous folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, Rufus was drenched in all kinds of music from an early age. By his teens, he was closeted away listening to French opera, when he wasn’t on tour singing with his mother. At 24, he made his first album (Rufus Wainwright), which was followed a couple of years later by his second (Poses), both receiving acclaim. Want One, his third, surpasses them in terms of inspiration, sophistication and sheer consistent quality. At first, I was slightly put off by his pouting, rather pretty-boy publicity shots, but having seen him perform live recently, I can vouch for the fact that his intelligent and self-deprecating wit more than compensates!
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