Obligation is a Killer

Dramatic, yes?  Perhaps a little bit, at least in the way I've expressed it.  But true?  Definitely. As soon as there is a whiff of obligation about pretty much any relationship, what happens? The death of freedom, excitement, engagement, and JOY. Think of friendships, family relationships, and work relationships.  As soon as one person [...]

By | February 17th, 2017|Artistry, Creativity, Love, Spirit|2 Comments

Bach, Practice, and a 300-year-old Love Letter

Mornings in The Bardic Academy begin with practice - this ancient love affair that never flags. For the last five or six weeks, Bach has been at the heart of the practice. I find myself visiting the piano three, four, five times a day to play through a sequence of fourteen of his short, [...]

By | February 10th, 2017|Artistry, Creativity, Love, Music, Spirit, The Bardic Life|0 Comments

A Charming Beginner Mistake – and why it’s good to make

I am a baby knitter. No, I'm not knitting babies (though one day - who knows?). I'm a beginner, at the wax-on, wax-off stage of learning. So far, in the space between Christmas and Epiphany, I have knitted three hats.  This, in itself, is something of a Christmas miracle.  Knitting patterns look a little bit [...]

By | January 8th, 2017|Artistry, Creativity, The Bardic Life|0 Comments

Why I Must Shape and Tone my Arms: An Imaginary Conversation with My Mother

The first part of this conversation actually happened, so I'll reconstruct it here. Mama:  Do you still have that stretchy thing I got you from QVC - the thing to tone your arms? Me:  Yes, I do.  It's down cellar by the treadmill. Mama:  You ever use it? Me:  Not for a long, long [...]

By | November 27th, 2016|Love, Spirit|2 Comments

How to Save Yourself from a Performance Freak-Out

It happens to everyone - and seriously, I mean everyone:  the famous and the not-famous, the seasoned and the fledgling, the confident and the wobbly-kneed.  All of us at some time or other freak out IN a performance or ABOUT a performance. It's debilitating.  The self-talk tends to be vicious and crippling.  Hands shake, voices [...]

By | November 16th, 2016|Artistry, Creativity, The Bardic Life|2 Comments

I Don’t Come From a Musical Family

I don’t come from a musical family. Sure, they liked music.  My mother kept a stack of 45’s, including old hits like “Tom Dooley” and “Davey Crockett.”  We had a hi-fi with LPs that included the soundtrack to “Black Beauty” and a wonderful, dark recording of “Peter and the Wolf.” There was a Chickering spinet [...]

By | October 6th, 2016|Artistry, Creativity, Love, Spirit, The Bardic Life|0 Comments

No Consensus – about anything, ever. And why this is really OK.

Once upon a time, I - and perhaps the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived - thought if people could just see things my way, the world would be a lot better. I'm a tree-kissing liberal, pantheist (as in, it's all holy), well-wishing, pro-education, art-loving person.  To me, my views are so [...]

By | July 15th, 2016|Uncategorized|9 Comments

Kate the Fortune Teller

I’ve got pretty good all-around intuition, but in one area my spidey-sense is just about 100% accurate. Specifically, I can read your future as a musician.  Within about 60 seconds of talking with you, I can predict whether or not music is going to play a joyful and expansive role in your life over the [...]

By | June 12th, 2016|Artistry, Creativity, The Bardic Life|6 Comments

My “Method”: Performance advice in brief

After a recent performance of poetry and song, a man approached me and told me that he wanted to learn my "method" so he could replicate it in an upcoming performance of his own. "What method do you mean?" I asked, thinking that what I do could scarcely be called something as systematic as that. [...]

By | April 6th, 2016|Poetry, Spirit, The Bardic Life|4 Comments

Show Up & Be Nice

I've often joked that if I ever made bumper-stickers, this is what they'd say:  Show up & be nice. Simple, isn't it? When musicians ask me how to get booked and re-booked for paying gigs, this is my advice.  Show up and be nice.  Help with the chairs.  Be glad to be there.  Appreciate the [...]

By | November 23rd, 2015|Creativity, Love, Spirit|2 Comments