Headshots Matter...

I taught a new student today, age 5. It was her very first lesson ever. And she chose me for her teacher by my picture on the studio's website.

Head shots matter, but not always in the way you might think.

When you are a professional performer, you need professional pictures. Now, I'm not the biggest fan of performing, but I do love accompanying, so my picture winds up in programs.

I also teach at two studios. Each has a website with pictures of their teachers and bios. So my picture wound up there as well.

But the picture I've used for these things so far was this one: 

And this is the picture she like so much.

I'm glad she did. I actually didn't originally take that picture for head shot purposes.  It was a gift for my then boyfriend, so that he could carry a picture of my in his wallet. But it's been used since then for a lot of different things.

When I started building my own website, I figured I should get some pictures that weren't blurry and hastily done with a cheap camera, so I hired a photographer friend to take some pictures. Here are my new head shots (that haven't made it onto the studio's website yet):

My friend took some great ones! You can see her stuff at 


 If you were 5 and picking your very first piano teacher, would you still choose me?

Business Cards

It was time to buy new business cards. One of my assignments for my tuning course is to take my business card to a music store. While this feels pretty presumptuous as beginning tuner, scared to advertise myself for the fear that I'll make a mistake and they won't be gracious, it's something I need to do to finish. And in order to do so, I need(ed) business cards that actually say "technician" on them, along with the "Pianist: lessons and accompaniment" that I'm already advertising with my current cards.

I designed the cards a little while ago, but couldn't decided whether or not to spend the money on them. After all, I still have plenty of my last business cards (I'm still really bad at the "hand your business card to everyone" thing). And, as you may have noticed from my lack of blogging for two months and the deadline of July 1 coming and going, I've begun to have second thoughts about tuning for a living. Life also brought funky twists which made me fall behind. But I finally decided to take the leap, get the cards, finish my tuning course, and then see where I go from there. The beauty of correspondence courses, like mine, is that when life happens, you don't have to stay up till 1 am finishing your work. But you do have to finish it sometime. So now I have pretty motivation to carry around with me. 

I designed and bought my cards through Moo (moo.com). They have beautiful products and cool features, like allowing you to have different images on each card. I used pictures from my previous photo shoot with Kristina Hurd, rather than my logo, because I am still working on the logo and because I am trying to promote myself, not a name.  I also bought a funky case from Moo because my cards are always getting beat up in my wallet. What is the use of buying 50 cards, only to constantly throw out the few you carry with you at any one time just because they got beat up in your purse and don't look presentable anymore?  This cool case fans open to show off my designs, although, if I am in a hurry, I can just pull one out of the top. We'll see how long it holds up. 

So, here they are. What do you think? 

Processing Death through Music- Thoughts after a Composition Recital

I went to my friend's composition recital last night. After all those days of seeing him walking around, lost in his own world, or coming to breakfast with a book of poetry instead of homework, eyes red and drinking the cafeteria coffee even though we all knew it tasted terrible, we finally got to hear what he had been creating in his head. And it was beautiful.

We lost a professor, Dr Sam Hsu, my last year of college, a year and a half ago. He was the chair of piano, teaching piano and music history. We all interacted with him, in and out of class, since we all but lived in that tiny music building together, but to some he was also a mentor. He ate lunch with the students almost daily, and many times supper too. He frequently had tea and theological conversations with some of his closer students. He was a man of great wisdom and many metaphors. Everything was about music and everything was connected in his mind, but the core of it all was Christ and love.

The saxophone recital that I accompanied was the last that he heard.

It was a hard a time for all of us. No one expected him to go so suddenly, and we still had to finish our semester and finals and everything that comes at the end. And no one felt like it.  I remember hearing this music coming through the walls during one of my classes. It was very faint, but I knew what it was immediately, and the rest of the class was a blur.  

The weekend after he died I sat down and wrote about my memories of him, as specifically as I could, because I didn't want to forget. It was my way to process and to pay homage to his memory, even though I've never shared that document with anyone.

My friends and those close to him didn't really talk for the rest of the semester. But when I went to this composition recital,  I got to hear a little of my friend's processing in the form of two pieces written in tribute to Dr. Hsu, one shortly after his death, and one a year later. It was beautiful and tragic and very sobering. But Dr Hsu would have been proud.