Happy Birthday to Pianodao …
That’s right – it’s been a massive, erm, two years since the Pianodao site launched. In some ways it seems like only yesterday, while in other ways it seems an age. And already I can look back on a huge amount of work, and be immensely grateful for the loads of support from readers.
In raw statistics, Pianodao has welcomed approaching a quarter of a million visits from more than 90 countries. It has recently been listed as one of the Top 20 piano blogs in the world, and became the first piano blog featured by WordPress in their Discover section, which spotlights the cream of the blogging community.
I literally had no idea it would be possible to gain this sort of reach, so the journey has been an unfolding and sometimes emotional surprise to me. And I would encourage any aspiring writer with some good ideas to commit them to a blog – it’s a great and unfettered way to engage with others!
What better time to say THANK YOU to all who support the site!
And in keeping with the theme of the site, it’s a good time to reflect. I’m going to do that by highlighting just a few of the posts which for me, as a writer, stand out as important in my personal journey as a writer here so far…
Dating from back in October 2015, this was an early addition to the Pianodao vault, and was the first post where I realised that the site could develop into a more permanent and useful resource for music education, informing players and teachers alike.
The post made an immediate impact, and I can see from statistics that it is one people around the world just keep coming back to read.
Fast forward to 2017, and this has been the year’s best received post so far, and has clearly resonated powerfully with pianists and teachers everywhere.
Moreover, this is the post which has given rise to the Active Repertoire project – a focus that is likely to remain prominent here on the Pianodao site and in my own writing and teaching.
When I launched Pianodao I wrote a piece explaining Why I started Pianodao, in which I talked about making connections between my interest in Chinese philosophy, my wife Louise’s professional clinical specialism in mental health, and our journey as pianists.
The Pianist’s Reflections is an ongoing series exploring these themes, and The Pianist’s Emotions is perhaps the most important of these articles so far, examining our potential for emotional imbalance, and offering practical support and advice.
Another reason I started Pianodao was my enthusiasm to share the powerful piano-playing benefits that I have experienced from practising Qigong.
It took a while to get started with this, and there remains a way to go (but over the next few months I hope to complete the resource!). But in this post, I finally laid out what Piano Qigong is all about, and for that reason it is one of my favourites, and something I feel every Pianodao reader should have a read of.
I’m keen for Pianodao to include in-depth playing and teaching advice, based on my experiences as both a performer and music researcher.
This particular post is an example of how this might develop, including my own recording of a piece, supplemented by historical insight and performance tips.
Reviews of sheet music were unintended when I started out two years ago – but they are now a popular feature of Pianodao, and I wanted to include one here.
This particular review was special for me because while writing it I tapped into childhood memory and nostalgia, offering a little of my own piano journey alongside a critical evaluation of the product.
As I write this, I have actually just finished a lesson with the little chap in the photo above – who is now 18 and about to go off to university to study for a degree in music!
What better place to complete this post then! Here’s a gentle reminder that playing (and teaching) the piano is fundamentally meant to be something we enjoy, and it is that satisfaction and wonderment in music that is at the heart of the true inspiration that allows players and students to thrive!
Here’s to the next two years – I hope you come along for the journey!