She Tweets Again!

I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, and enjoy following all sorts of lovely, hilarious, brilliant people and various illustrious organizations. However, as with many forms of social media, it feels so diffuse. I have non-musician followers, who likely don’t care about which Bach Sinfonia I am practicing. And then the music folk who likely don’t care about what I am cooking and/or knitting. I’m all for a healthy mix of everything in my own Twitter feed, but I rarely ever tweet myself since it seems that the great internet void is hardly interested in the disparate minutiae of my life. So, in an attempt to create order out of chaos, I’ve decided to start a separate twitter account that will just be music related.


Come follow me! No knitting or food photos. Really. (I’ll be keeping all of those fun tidbits over at @MissLuba). Just tweets about what I’m practicing, what I’m listening to, and the really funny things my students say!

Posted in logistics | Leave a comment

A little pre-exam cheer…

It is that time of year…I keep reminding my students as they go into recitals and exams to trust their preparation and to remember that playing the piano is something that they love to do! (See this great post on the subject)

And here’s a little something that made me smile…Anne Crosby Gaudet made this a few years ago, but I just came across it now and it makes me happy. Watch how he bops his foot along to the beat!


Posted in musings | Leave a comment

Studio News: Congratulations!

A big round of applause for Jason, Diana, Picabo, Jack and Rebecca!

These young pianists received top scores in California on the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program exams in 2012 and have been invited to perform at the CAPMT Conference in Glendale later this month. All of these students received scores above 90 and were among the top three scores in California for the their grade level. What a fantastic achievement! Bravo!

Posted in studio news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Jeremy Denk on NPR’s Fresh Air


Ok, internet. Fess up. Am I the last person in the world to discover Jeremy Denk’s blog? How have you kept this from me? Even in this amazing age of technology I still manage to find out everything on NPR.

So, in the car the other day, I happened to catch part of Terry Gross’ interview with pianist Jeremy Denk. Luckily, the internet and good ol’ fashioned radio do team up, and it is possible to hear the entire interview here. Denk’s latest album pairs the Ligeti etudes and Beethoven’s final sonata. He discusses the four week, 7-hour-a-day process of learning the Ligeti etudes (dear piano students, go back and re-read those numbers!), the vagaries of the recording process, and the commonalities of late Beethoven’s “vast infinity, and Ligeti’s bite-sized bits of infinity.” Oh, and he throws around charming phrases like “circling down the drain of tonality.”

Then it slips out in this interview that Denk has a blog- Think Denk. Just a few posts in, I adore his somewhat hyperactive writing, and now intend to waste lots and lots of time going back and reading through the archives. Thanks radio, and yeah, you too internet…

Posted in pianists | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Steinway Factory Tour (Who needs Willy Wonka?)

With so much to reflect upon after the MTNA conference, I think my best bet is just to go backwards! In this case, it is kind of like starting a meal with dessert…The Steinway Factory Tour!

I am really excited!

I had been looking forward to this part of the trip with barely contained excitement, and after some delayed-subway drama that resulted in me attempting to run 6 blocks and just barely making the bus, the day did not disappoint. The early morning group was small, and our “guide” was John Marek, Manager in Charge of Fabrication. Saying that this was an “inside look” barely begins to describe it.  John spent over 90 minutes taking us through the factory, in and amongst the workers going about their daily production. I came away with a head full of facts and statistics, but even more so, a sense of awe at the time, care, detail and craftsmanship that goes into the creation of a Steinway piano. The factory currently produces about 5 grands and 1 upright a day. Not unlike a baby, the process of building a single piano takes about 9 months.  Here are a few snapshots!

the newly bent rims, ready to cure

matching wood for the soundboard

Steinway has very strict specifications for the soundboard: the grain of the wood should run at 90 degrees, with a 15 degree deviation acceptable in each direction. There must also be no fewer than 10 tree rings per inch. About 50% of the wood for soundboards is rejected because it does not meet those standards. (Did I mention all the statistics?)

carving the bridge by hand (by hand!)

stringing by hand

our guide was not as interested in this part, but we sure were!

In light of all the economic doom and gloom of the last several years, it made me feel rather warm and fuzzy to see the very blue-collar inner workings of the Steinway company (an American company through and through– this was mentioned many times during the tour!) Most of the materials are sourced within the US (wood mostly from the Northwest, wool for the felts from New Hampshire sheep, strings made by a company in Kentucky) and many of the highly skilled workers come from several generations of Steinway builders (and are members of United Piano Workers Local 102).

So, I highly recommend that all piano geeks (and manufacturing geeks, at that…) take a bit of a detour on your next New York trip and head over to Astoria, across the Queensborough Bridge. The Steinway factory does tours on Tuesday mornings, but you must schedule in advance by contacting

If New York is not on your upcoming itinerary, the marvels of the Steinway factory can be experienced through the 2007 documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037. I saw the movie back when it came out, and the DVD was one of the several souvenirs I came away with from New York. I’m excited to finally own a copy so that I can lend it to all my piano students!

Posted in pianos | Tagged , , | Leave a comment