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Pathways for Wellbeing

We all have a life outside of our piano playing. It is clearly worthwhile considering the connections between our experience of life and our ongoing musical development. But where do we start?

I have found that the philosophical wisdom of Daoism (“Taoism”) and other Eastern traditions can offer fresh perspectives and an insightful approach: one which celebrates inter-connectedness in all things, rather than isolating disconnected specialisms as so often happens in Western thinking.

Articles here explore this intersection, as well as focusing on our broader lives using a range of perspectives, traditions and contemporary insights.

We pianists know that self-evaluation is crucial to our progress and musical development. Pianodao articles place the process of reflection within the broader context of our journey through life.

Selected Highlights:

The Pianist’s Breathwork

Breathwork has made a significant difference to my quality of life, health and wellbeing, with a beneficial impact on my piano journey. I hope that by trying the simple exercises in this post you will discover similar benefits and be encouraged to explore the practices further…

The Pianist’s Emotions

Emotions are an essential aspect of our basic humanity. But when they are out of balance they can become problematic, with the potential to leave us feeling shipwrecked and adrift…

Making Peace with your Inner Musician

“Those who are motivated only by desire for the fruits of action are miserable, for they are constantly anxious about the results of what they do.” Bhagavad Gita. To what extent do ‘results’ cause anxiety in your life? How do we make peace with our inner musician?

Qigong and Piano Playing

If practised regularly qigong can lead to improved physical health, mental clarity and emotional well-being… and it can also have a surprising impact on your piano playing.

The Pianist’s Silence

These days perhaps more than ever, the world is a pretty rowdy place. And by definition, as pianists we add to that noise. Lest we lose our way, let’s consider how we might bring a little bit more peace and quiet into our lives…

The Pianist’s Overthinking

If we overthink an upcoming performance this can contribute to performance anxiety. And in the same way, if we overthink life in general, this can have a significant and debilitating effect on our whole lives…

The Pianist’s Kindness

How can we encourage the piano community to be a kinder one? As always, the answer must begin with ourselves…

Explore All:

A Streak of Calm

Mindfulness Badges?? It can be motivational, even impressive, to measure our progress in any area (mindfulness, piano playing, or whatever) using over-simplistic stats and compartmentalised criteria. But it is not always helpful, realistic, or even honest to do so…

The Pianist’s Self-Care

In this post I will consider some basic elements of self-care from a Daoist (Taoist) perspective in the hope that readers will find some helpful suggestions, and that each of us can enjoy a piano journey that reflects an easier, more connected and settled experience of life…

The Pianist’s Imperfection

If we could all, as piano players and teachers, have a lighter spirit and be kinder to ourselves and each other, I rather suspect that we would find that our pursuit of excellence and our appreciation of the beauty within “imperfection” actually go very nicely hand in hand…

The Pianist’s Air

Those visiting our studios are trusting us with their health and wellbeing. But how fascinating that, in addition to the health imperatives of clean air, we are now seeing a direct link and impact it has on teaching and learning…

The Pianist’s Resolution

The start of any new year or season is for many a time for making resolutions: for ambition, grit and determination. But what are the ingredients of perseverance which will foster that success?

The Practice Room Sanctuary

I can’t help feeling that, for all our efforts to “sell” music, we yet need to place greater emphasis on music’s transformative and balancing impact on those who truly engage with it…

Are You a Fanatic?

“If something works for me, there’s a good chance it will equally work for others…”

Information Overload

Do you often get to the end of a day feeling exhausted from information overload?

Mindfulness in Music

Mark Tanner’s new book traces vivid connections between mindfulness and music which are not only tangible, but also genuinely thrilling…

Piano Lessons: Dealing with Anxiety

I am sure that most piano teachers will be alert to the fact that some pupils coming to lessons are anxious. This post will look at some reasons for that, and offer some suggestions that might help normalise lessons.

The Pianist’s Anonymity

The Pianist’s Reflections is a new series on Pianodao, written in response to my commitment for the site to relate ideas from Daoism to the Way of Piano. Each The Pianist’s … article will focus on an element of character, attitude or lifestyle.

Finding your unique voice

The advice of teacher Nadia Boulanger set Astor Piazzolla on a course that would allow him to be creative by being himself, and developing his unique personal expression.

Feeling Impatient?

One thing is certain – everything changes. But sometimes things can take longer than we hoped for, in stark contrast to the general pace of our lives today. Is it any wonder that we often feel impatient?


“Humanity grows more and more intelligent, yet there is clearly more trouble and less happiness daily. How can this be so? It is because intelligence is not the same thing as wisdom.”

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