Repeat success

Today is All-Ireland hurling final day. Tipperary v Kilkenny. Which is why these tickets are so easily come by. You see if either of the less traditionally successful counties beaten in the semi-finals had won, tickets would be scarce today. Because Wexford and Limerick don’t get to finals very often. And so the people of those counties would have turned out in greater numbers than the folks from Tipperary and Kilkenny, who are used to getting to finals. What’s rare is wonderful. And what’s new is exciting. It’s why a politician running for election for the the first time creates far more good will and excitement than when they run again. Or why a newly-done up pub gets all the Saturday night crowd in town for the next six months. But to be repeatedly successful – to win multiple All-Ireland’s or elections, or to run a business that lasts the test of time – is not always as glamorous or

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Vienna waits for you…

So many good lines in this song. “You know, when the truth is told, that you can get what you want or you can just get old”. “Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know you can’t always see when you’re right. You’re right!” “Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time”. “If you’re so smart, tell me why are you still so afraid?” “Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s alright – you can afford to lose a day or two”. And while the meaning in many of them is clear, the refrain “When will you realize, Vienna waits for you” – is a bit more mysterious. Vienna waits for you. And while I have never been to Vienna, I have taken it to mean that your dream, whatever it is that you really want, is there ready for you. And maybe you’re so busy

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0 album sales…

A friend of mine told me before I released my first album to budget for no sales. He said not to put any money into producing it that I couldn’t afford to lose, and that I needed to be comfortable with selling no copies and recouping none of the money spent before committing to making the album. I heard what he said, but expected to at least get my money back and so didn’t really heed him. It wasn’t until I went through the experience of it selling way less copies than I had hoped for, that I realised how right he was, and actually took the lesson on board. We believe what happens to us ahead of what we hear happening to others, and our own experience profoundly shapes our view of what will happen in the future. In fact according to Morgan Housel, each of our personal experiences make up perhaps about 0.0000000001% of everything that has happened

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Learning piano…

When you learn how to play the piano, it should be… Fun. Challenging. Relevant to the type of music you want to play. Interesting. Aiming to bring you to a place of musical self-sufficiency. Sociable. Moving with the times. Part of a wider musical picture that you are taught to understand. If you agree with any, most, or all of the above, you might want to check out the brand new adult classes I’m rolling out this September. A few spots still available also for after-school lessons (9-18 yr-olds).

Get out of my class!

A great teacher wants to get rid of her students as quickly as possible. Not because she doesn’t like them, but because if she is doing her job well, her students will learn enough and in the appropriate way to eventually have the knowledge and skills to become independent of her. And the quicker and more efficiently she can do this, the better she is doing her job. It doesn’t always make sense financially, but if great teachers were motivated by money., they’d probably be in a different job Whereas a less skilled teacher will take longer to impart inferior knowledge in a less effective way. So – with the ultimate aim of getting rid of as many of you as quickly as possible, I have places available on two brand new adult courses in learning how to play piano starting next month. Full details in tomorrow’s blog.

Leaving Cert Results Day

So today the class of 2019 got their results. Hopefully many have a really good feeling about them. And lots of adults who got their own results many years ago will write about it on the internet, like I am doing now. The predominant message is usually something along the lines of ‘these results don’t define you’, or ‘what’s for you won’t pass you by’, or ‘I got x results and now look what I’m doing’. All good positive messages in my book, but what about the adults writing them, or adults in general – do we live by the same rules? Because it’s not always easy to remember that success or failure in whatever we’re trying to achieve at a particular time (and that’s what the Leaving Cert is for anyone – no more, no less) doesn’t define us. If you know what it is that’s for you, well figure out how not to let it pass you by.

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New album, new show…

I wrote a blog recently about the perils of announcing something before the optimal time. The flip side of that is when you are ready, when you’re sure something is going to happen, when you have all your ducks in a row, it’s a great feeling when you’re ready to tell everyone. So I’m excited this morning to announce my the release of my fourth album (third solo) later this year. It will be just me and the piano this time, playing lots of new compositions and a handful of interpretations. There will be at least one launch party – it will take place in the Hawk’s Well Theatre on Fri Nov 22. Tickets are on sale as of this morning so don’t delay. You can find them, as well as a few more details here.

Standards in time

Imagine the following situation… You are someone who likes to be punctual. You’re meeting someone who you know (from experience) is habitually late. Do you still show up on time?

Spring cleaning in summer…

Doing the work is one thing. Recording albums, producing shows, writing blogs. But it’s also nice to document the work – to have a library of past work that anyone can access. So I’m delighted to say that with the help of the talented James McManus, we have done a full spring clean on my website to make it easier for you all to find your favourite blog posts, theme night and other performances and of course upcoming gig listings. To be more precise, there are video playlists from 10 theme nights from over the last 5 years. Also from the last 2 big teenage theme showcases. Some still to be completed as the sheer number of videos to upload is huge but I’ll be tipping away at it over the next few days and weeks. Once again a big thanks to Kris and Dominika Manulak who have documented beautifully so many performances from over the years. There are brand

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Effective rehearsing.

So last night we had a blast on stage playing over 30 hit songs from the 1990s. It was one of the few outdoor gigs I play each year, which brings its own challenges in terms of keeping the audience engaged and entertained. My approach on these gigs has been to generally keep the chat to a minimum and let the music do the talking. But that means the music has to be great…tight, right and hard-hitting. Gaps between songs kept as short as possible which means that every single member of the band not only has to play/sing the current song to the best of their ability but also to think ahead to the next song and be ready for whatever challenges it entails. And when you have 30+ new songs and only one chance to play them, there’s not much room for mistakes. And in fairness to the band last night, they were on it. Cues, entrances, delivery,

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