Teaching Piano Improv at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

For the 20th July in a row, I’m excited to be teaching and performing in Alaska at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. As I write this, I’m sitting in an Alaska Airlines airplane on my way to a 2-hour layover in Seattle en route to Fairbanks. It’s amazing how the 15-hour door-to-door trip, which back in 1999 seemed like an eternity, now feels like “just another commute to the office!”

As usual, I’ll be teaching classes in piano improv and vocal performance, and performing in a few concerts. I also get to go to Denali National Park again, when I play a short solo piano set at a nearby hotel.

Have you ever been to an arts of music festival? If not, you might consider going to one at some point. I’ve loved festivals and workshops ever since I attended Billy Taylor’s Jazz In July summer programs while I was in college.

Perhaps the best thing about these things is that it’s an immersive environment. Playing piano, teaching, performing, hearing other performers, hanging out, talking “shop” with the participants and fellow Guest Artists – it’s complete fun and inspiration from morning to night. (Although “night” is almost as sunny as daytime in Fairbanks this time of year!)

Here’s the website if you want to check it out:

And here’s a video of me and a trio performing the classic “St. Louis Blues” from a past festival:

St. Louis Blues

I hope you take some time to recharge your musical batteries from time to time. Going to a music festival is a great way to do it.

Enjoy the journey, and “let the music flow!”

Are you one of those pianists who only tries to play music that’s too hard for you?

Of course there’s nothing wrong with practicing hard music. But if that’s all you practice, you’re holding yourself back because you rarely play anything with a good sense of Flow.

So yes, practice anything you like, no matter how challenging. But at the same time, play music you can play with Flow. After all, that’s what all your favorite musicians do.

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