Recital Comment Cards

Preparing for a recital is a lot of hard work. Performing can be downright scary. Hearing an audience respond to a performance with smiles and applause is incredibly important and reassuring…and fleeting. For many students (and sometimes professionals, too!) the moments following a performance, no matter how successful, are not about basking in the glory…

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

How are you doing? I’m better now, thank you. I was having a really rotten day following a really rough weekend within a really horrible month during a year I never want to repeat…you get the idea. While I was waiting for my first second <sigh> third cup of coffee to brew, I looked out…

Lombard Pianos

Before the Civil War, most of the pianos in America were imported. In the years after the Civil War until the Great Depression, the American piano industry grew to manufacture about half of the pianos in the world. A piano in the home suggested that this was a refined, educated household. [Related: September 18, 1899:…

September 18, 1899: Scott Joplin

Setting the Scene: 1899 The Spanish-American war ended. Aspirin was patented. Carnation made its first can of evaporated milk. The first motor-driven vacuum cleaner (gasoline powered!) was invented by J.S. Thurman. A United States patent is issued to Ferdinand von Zeppelin for his “Navigable Balloon.” The first known use of the word “automobile” appeared in…

Scott Joplin

You may not recognize his name but I bet you will recognize his music! Some years ago, I lived in northeast Texas in a small community called Hughes Springs. I absolutely love that part of Texas and if life had unfolded differently for me, I would have been totally content to finish out my days…

How Do Organ Pipes Work?

Discover how simple air is tranformed into music as it travels through the pipes of the organ. Learn how the materials used to construct the pipes, as well as the size of the pipes, all contribute to the sound they make. These videos are intersting on their own, but are used to illustrate and demonstrate…

The Story of the Pipe Organ

This is the story of one of the oldest instruments and, until relatively recently, the mankind’s most complex machine. These videos are intersting on their own, but are used to illustrate and demonstrate topics found in the printable, The Story of the Pipe Organ. It is available for purchase here and in the Maestro Heights…

Mary Allen West

First, the backstory. For five years, I was the Director of Music/Organist for Central Congregational Church in Galesburg, Illinois. This magnificent building is on the National Register of Historic Places and tours of church are frequent. I hosted many of those tours and learned much about the people who are memorialized by the stained glass…

Walk with Me

I am glad our paths have crossed. Let’s reminisce. How did we meet?  School? Band? Church, youth group, handbells or choir?  Did we meet at a conference? Were you a subscriber to a publication or did you come to one of my concerts? Maybe you have one of my books.  Are you (were you) one…

8 Steps to Great Lessons

Whether you are just about to embark on the wonderful journey of learning music, or are continuing your studies, there are some things you can do to help make sure you will be getting the very most out of your lessons. 1.  Find the right teacher.  Sounds easy, right?  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. …

How It Began

I’ve been blessed.  Seriously.  Not everybody gets to love what they do as much as I do.  I’ve taught private music lessons (piano, organ, voice and theory) since 1972.  There have been many years — and I do mean many years — I’ve also served as a church musician.  I’ve been the organist, the pianist,…