Summer … thoughts on practicing


Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer– it’s has been a great summer but busy so not as much time to focus on blog writing but I wanted to finish up my summer practicing struggle series so here’s the blog — podcast will be up by Friday

Soo you’ve decided — i’m not working or going to school as much so I’m going to practice like crazy and get ahead in my music.

I’d like to share a story that Jon Kimura Parker shared in a workshop I attend some years ago. So the summer before he started his music adventures at UBC, he decided to get ahead and get a head start on piano material that he would working on with his teacher. So he got to work, practicing like crazy ….. and suddenly nothing went right – he couldn’t get anything and he started to doubt if he should even continue with music. Luckily, he knew who his teacher was going to be at UBC so he called him telling him his experience and fears. The wise professor said, “take the rest of the summer off and come in September and we’ll figure it out from there – don’t worry” So September rolls around, Jon goes to his lesson and suddenly everything he was struggling with — he could do it!

So what can we learn?

  1. doing extra practice isn’t always productive — instead time yourself regular practice sessions and focused while practicing. I often hear people who say they practice for hours and hours and don’t know why they don’t have progress — they probably were letting their mind wander and not zoning it. If you want more info on this – drop me a line and we can talk 🙂
  2. sometimes your brain needs to rest and absorb what you’ve been learning and so if you’re not seeing results, you will later. Ever notice, if you’ve been practicing a lot – suddenly you’ll have practice dreams and you’ll be able to do so much after them? This is your subconscious working on what you’ve been learning. There are also tricks on how to get this working more — again message me if you wonder how! I do my best practicing in my sleep.
  3. Rest is need! Practice is important but make sure you have time to rest and recover. Probably in Jon’s case – he was so focused on his audition to get into UBC and practicing for that he didn’t have a chance to rest after so his brain and fingers were in overload mode and he didn’t have a chance to recover.
  4. He was becoming frustrated so becoming too hard on himself  (maybe even angry) – he couldn’t see the journey only the music in front of him. I don’t know how many times, I’ve studied a difficult piece and seen no results — gone back to easier stuff (which is suddenly even easier) then went back to the difficult music and it all made sense. Frustration is our enemy in music. Even worse, Anger will kill your music. Think back when you were a kid and when you had that teacher who yelled at you — did you see any progress or did you want to quit and never do music again?

So moral of this story!

1. practice but don’t over practice

2. Enjoy the summer — take a break

3. Don’t allow yourself to become frustrated – as you probably won’t see success

What a wonderful world!




Summer Practicing Struggles – Tips for parents!

Oh summer! How I miss those lazy summer when I was a kid ….

……staying outside till the lamp posts went on, suntanning (ahem freckling), running after the ice cream truck, selling lemonade at the curb, and running through the hose.

It also meant that since I wasn’t in school that my mother felt that it was an opportunity for me to practice the piano more. Being a daughter of a piano teacher meant that I had no choice in the matter. Thinking back though, she was totally on key (yes I made a pun) it meant that I could often do two music grades in one year.

How do you ask, did she motivate me to actually practice? Here’s some great things that she did!

1. We had a set schedule so we knew what was happening, mornings before breakfast was time to practice. She would always wake me up early (and I wasn’t a morning person then either) and would set the timer on stove for the full length of my practice. It was a good way to make sure we got our full practice in without her checking the clock and it was satisfying for us to hear the timer go off. She would also sit in the room with me to make sure I did everything (remember she taught me so I couldn’t make an excuses lol)

2. Rewards were always in place … afternoons were fun trips to 2nd Beach’s pool, or Splash Down Park (Did you hear it’s closing so sad), shopping at Graville Island, or the Zoo (it was cool back then). We always knew that we were doing something in the afternoon. Even if it was raining, we’d go to the pool at the community centre. We wanted to get up to practice cause it meant that we’d get to do something cool.She’s always say,”if you don’t practice – we’re not going anywhere.” And trust me, we didn’t if we didn’t practice.

3. She would find cool free concerts in parks for us to go check out as well as part of the reward system. It was a great way for us to keep us motivated to practice. I especially remember one concert in some park, where there was a singer/pianist who motivated me to want to practice. The lower mainland  is full of free outdoor concerts with awesome musicians.

4. Now, the tough part — was I always a good kid and practice? No lol not at all, I’d rather be playing outside. Did I sometimes fight her? Yes o’course! I didn’t like to wake up early, and I liked to find all sorts of excuses not to practice. Probably why my students’ tell me there’s no use to give me excuses cause I always know lol I  was so good at it as a kid. She didn’t give me any choice, and the old saying of, ‘wait till your father gets home’ always terrified me. I remember overhearing her talk to many of her students’ parents advising them that it’s ok to be the bad guy with your kids. “You are not your child’s friend,” I’d remember her saying: “sometimes they won’t like you but it’s ok, cause when they turn 30 – they’ll remember and love you all the more! It’s kinda like brushing teeth, no matter how much they don’t want to do it, you make them because you don’t want the dental bills and you want them to have pretty smiles” Guess what Mom? You were completely right! Many times, I remember thinking (especially as a teen) that my mom was utterly uncool and totally unfair and mean but her forcing me to put in that extra practice in the summer meant that I am where I am today! Thank you Mom! XO So don’t be afraid as a parent to lay down the law with your child and just force them to practice, they’ll understand later. Remember the frontal lob isn’t fully developed till about 25 so kids don’t always see things clearly anyhow, so don’t feel bad.

So good luck to all the parents out there trying to help their children find success!


In Regina at my Aunt’s house with my mom – i’m about five years old here! 

Social Media 

I just did a podcast understand why social media is important! I.e. Using social media as a controlled word of mouth

Here’s a few more tips:

1. Be consistent – create relationships

2. Be creative – find new ways of communicating with your community 

3. Connect with your community – don’t talk at people, talk with friends. Ask questions

Enjoy my podcast!

More on Branding

Listening to my podcasts and starting to think of developing  what your brand is? Here’s some ideas to think about when developing your brand:

1. Go study brands of people/companies that you admire.

2. Create a set of notes of why you are drawn to them.

3. Then ask yourself, what makes you – YOU. Create a plan! 

4. Then go do!!
My next podcast that is part of this series will be posted later on today so be sure to listen and join the subscription 🙂 

If you know anyone who could benifit from this article, please share or just give me a call @ 6047834091 


Branding 101

First of all what is Branding — well according  to

Definition: The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.

So what does that mean for us artists? It means that the public will be able to recognize you from other people, it makes your audience feel part of your platform — not just observing it. Just like when you look at Red and White and think Coke. It’s seeing hearing a song  and knowing that it’s Rhianna from the intro. All of this builds brands and more.

Join me as I share with you my ideas and observations on what is brand, who does it well, what is your brand,and how do you present your brand?

Any questions, just want to chat or want to learn more — give me a call @ 604-783-4091


Branding 101

If you know someone who might benefit from this — please feel free to share! 🙂



Working Musician? Fact or Fable?

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity attend Music BC’s Alternative Funding Sources conference. They had selected a great panel: Benji Rogers, Jennifer Sullivan, and Josh Carr-Hilton. It was great watching and hearing these great professionals who inspire and teach artists that they can actually make a living doing what they love. The also reminded us that only a small % of the world actually get to do what they love. I can’t imagine not being excited about getting up every morn and doing what I love.

The whole conference really resounded with me and reminded me that I’m on the right path but also inspired me. The bottom line is being a working professional musician is possible and not a fable. So if you’re struggling right now, just keep working on and keep hustling – success will come 🙂

Here are some of the great ideas that were discussed.

1. Don’t think about how to market your album after it’s released. Start marketing it during the development stage of albums — check out Pledge Music — a great way to fund your album and get it into your fans before it’s released.

2. When marking your music — think like a fan — what would you like from your favorite artists and even better ask your fans.

3. Let your fans into your story — engage with them. It’s the experience that people want.

4.If you’re looking for branding — first get to know the possible brands and come up with a little video and show them why you’re the rep for them.

5. Remember being a influencer (Influencer marketing, is a form of marketing that has emerged from a variety of recent practices and studies, in which focus is placed on specific key individuals rather than the target market as a whole).is an ecomedy. You can make money on being an influencer in society.

Last but not least Benji Rogers shared an amazing quote that I will share with you

“An artist is in the ocean, head out and toes barely touching the bottom, this is when you’re going to create something amazing.” … David Bowie

March 12th Poster

As I prepare for my last radio show …

Cyber Academy is now in the finals nearing and I’m preparing for the last episode of this season of Pardalis 101

I’ve been so thankful for this opportunity as a music educator and as a performer. It has really helped me articulate my ideas, thoughts, and believes an artist. I have also met some remarkable kindred spirits along the way.

Getting to know the contestants and watching them grow as artists as been a privilege and learning experience for me.

I’m reminded of the musical “King and I” where Anna is reminds us that:

“It’s a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you’ll be taught.”

Being a mentor of Cyber Academy has been a privilege and honour. I hope you have a wonderful journey as performer and as a listener.
Big thank you to Mann for encouraging me to take the plunge into radio.

Signing off for now! xoxo Filakia (kisses)