So I had a slightly unexpected gig this afternoon…

Rosie, the mother of Ruby (one of my young pupils) sent me an email a few days ago to see if, on the offchance that I was about, I would be free to come and sing a few songs for their middle daughter’s birthday. Her name is Anila, she is autistic, with learning difficulties, and she is 5 today. Apparently while Ruby was trawling online to see if she had a mildly famous piano teacher, they came across some of my YouTube footage, and, unlikely though it may seem, Anila became a massive fan of mine. It’s not the sort of gig which I usually do, and it would have been so easy to turn down, after all, I have no intention of becoming a children’s entertainer. However, I thought it would be a nice thing to do, and I accepted. I’m so glad I did.

Anila is just delightful. Tall for her age, she has eyes which stare into your soul, and she kept looking at me with a slight smile, occasionally breaking into a big grin and running back and forth across the kitchen. She had to adjust to the fact that I wasn’t inside her mum’s iPhone, and kept looking at it, then back at me, to check I was still there. She came and played the piano with me as I sang Michael Buble, Elton John, Queen, Billy Joel and Labi Siffre to her. She danced a bit, and when I stopped for a break she simply came over, took my hand and placed it back on the piano with a little smile. She, and her adorable family, have been the most appreciative audience I have had for a long time, perhaps ever. I quite simply found myself welling up at several points, and actually struggled to get certain song lines out without dissolving into a heap.

This lovely little girl completely made my day through allowing me to make hers. It also made me realise that we can so easily miss out on experiences that could be quite special – sometimes it’s worth taking a moment to look at what we can give to someone else, rather than what they can give to us. My BNI colleagues will be familiar with the concept of Giver’s Gain – I have to say that today’s experience was a case in point. Anyone who has read Danny Wallace’s “Join Me” will remember that eventually the joinees decided to make Friday the day for doing random good deeds for people. And the concept of “Pay It Forward” has been around since around 300BC (“Dyskolos” by Menander – go on, Google it!), and not, as some think, since the novel and film of the same title in 2000. So go on, have a think… Can you impact on someone else’s day and make it special? Will you? Go on, I dare you to do so…!

We did some Gospel for a change. There’s no religious affiliation in the choir, but there’s such a rich tradition within Gospel music, I thought we’d have a go. This is the result… Not bad for a first rehearsal, all done within an hour and a half, without written music. I love directing this lot!

More Than Anything

Piano lessons in London

December 2, 2011

If you’re looking for piano lessons in London, have a look at my dedicated piano teaching website. It gives more details about my methodology and philosophy, prices and location. It will soon be an online resource for piano teaching as well, where you will be able to subscribe for a very low fee and have [...]

Read the full article →

Piano lessons – London residents take note!

October 21, 2011

If you are looking for piano lessons in London, take a wander over to the Piano Coach website and check out the testimonials that I have had from happy students/parents of students. I live 10 minutes out of London Bridge station and make very rapid progress with my students. Book in a free trial lesson [...]

Read the full article →

London City Voices

September 28, 2011

Just launched the new website for my Community Choir based in the City – check out www.londoncityvoices.co.uk and sign up to receive our newsletter. We are launching in January but we have a taster session on 9 November at St Mary-at-Hill, Lovat Lane (just off Eastcheap).

Read the full article →

Jam Circus

July 4, 2011

Open Mic at Jam Circus was rockin’ last night! Once again, 20 acts, mostly pulled from the local area, but some from a bit further away, including the lovely Coco Belle, all the way from near Salisbury! I have been working with Coco, mentoring her and working on her songwriting skills. She is a fabulous [...]

Read the full article →

“Somebody to Love”

June 16, 2011

After the madness of the last few days gigging with Cornucopia, I finally have a day to do some more work on my arrangement of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” which I’m doing with the Nunhead Community Choir. It’s being delivered in instalments – I’ve already taught them the intro and the first verse. We are [...]

Read the full article →

New Rockeoke venue – Jam Circus

June 11, 2011

Jam Circus in Brockley Road have decided to try out my Rockeoke on Sunday 19 June, 8pm – 11pm. If you fancy having a go at being a rockstar and singing with an excellent band behind you, you absolutely have to be there. We have an extensive songlist here, so come prepared. All lyrics provided.

Read the full article →

BNI choir

June 11, 2011

I am currently investigating venues in which to host a BNI choir in London. I’m planning to have a regular weekday evening session after work (probably 6-7.30pm) followed by optional networking till 9.30pm. Probably fortnightly would work. I’d be interested in hearing suggestions for the venue. Ideally it would be somewhere above a pub or [...]

Read the full article →

Can’t sing? Talk to me…

June 10, 2011

So today I taught someone to sing. In about 20 minutes, actually. This was a gentleman who I met during the Big Lunch last Sunday in Nunhead, who was genuinely impressed with the choir, and with whom I got on really well. He asked me “So can you teach someone to sing who can’t at [...]

Read the full article →