Mark Polishook’s long bio

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I’m Dr. Mark Polishook. I assume you’ve arrived here because

You might be considering me as your next teacher at the piano and of music.

Hence, you might want to a little about with whom you might be studying. I suggest:

Continue on. I’ll describe my background—in detail!

But, first, I hope this post explains why

I’m not the piano teacher who offers

  • the lowest rates with discounts for beginners
  • a conventional approach for students who aspire only to pass graded exams
  • lessons in your home
  • lessons for small children
  • instruction but, as a teacher, has no formal training or experience.

If you’re still reading after that last paragraph, I hope this post helps you to decide

I am the teacher to contact if you seek

  • a creative approach tailored to your interests and goals
  • an energising, fun learning experience catered first and foremost about your needs at the piano
  • flexibility in the repertoire you practice and the skills you learn
  • a teacher with decades of learning, teaching, and performing experience
  • a guide who sees himself as a life-long learneR
  • to move among styles and genres that can include classical music, free improvisation, jazz, and more.

What comes next, at least in this post, is I’ll explain why I think creativity—or maybe we should call it mental agility—is so important. Creativity is a a skill we can acquire—if we nurture it and give it time to grow and develop.

What is creativity?

How to define creativity—of course that’s difficult. I know the art of playing the piano and making music requires fast realtime decision making. The art, in music making, comes from knowing how to listen and respond in the moment. It comes from knowing how to do those things with confidence and without hesitation or second guessing.

I’m almost certain that being creative—being a creative—is never simply about doing one thing and then following up with other. Doing one thing and following up with another is methodical? Maybe it’s systematic?

But somehow, methods and systems don’t always transform into creativity. Or, maybe methods and systems do translate into creativity.

That is, if we nurture whatever we’re working on and allow time and patience for growth and development.

Maybe and this is a huge perhaps, what we need is context—background knowledge. With context and background knowledge not only do we learn to play the piano by practicing at the instrument, but, in addition, we can grow as musicians simply by thinking about music—by visualising and imagining it. We can learn about music and pianism by watching how other pianists play.

In fact, seeing and hearing how anything’s done—that’s essential if only because it provides the background information we need to create context.We might say

Practicing and playing is a must.

Thinking reflectively about what we practice and play is as valuable as practicing and playing.

Listening to music and, especially, to pianists who play better than we do, that’s essential.

I think so far what I’ve said is creativity—being a creative—requires context which we can acquire in at least several ways.

Breadth and depth or both

My own creative practice has encompassed, more or less:

  • the piano
  • jazz performance
  • classical composition
  • music theory
  • university teaching
  • electronic music
  • multi-media installations
  • robotics
  • martial arts
  • living as an expat in Poland, Denmark, China, and the UK
  • watching movies that capture my attention and help me to build a store of metaphors upon which to draw as needed.

In other words, all things just listed are components, pieces in a larger picture. Maybe what creativity is, or, rather where it comes from, are the sum of experiences from which we can synthesise something new at any given moment.

So, previously, I said acquiring context is essential to creativity. To that, I’ll add that trying out the new, doing things as we haven’t done them before—that too is essential to creativity.

But while context and trying new ways of doing things may be essential, sometimes it enough to just say we’re going to take a creative approach to the thing we want to do. The word itself—creativity—it can inspire in of itself such that we can ask:

How can I do such and such a thing creatively?

If that’s the case then perhaps creativity is a recursive kind of thing in which we might do A, B, C, and then something creative. From there we go to a deeper version of A, B, C, followed by something creative.

I truly don’t have an answer. That’s because sometimes we’re creative without knowing how or why.

Here’s an example in which I try to be creative.

Learning and Harold Danko

Harold Danko, the former head of the jazz department at the Eastman School of Music once told me creativity and learning are linked. Or so that’s how I understand what he said, which, more precisely, was:

We don’t learn to improvise. We improvise to learn.

It’s true, Harold didn’t use the word creativity word in that statement. But I think it’s also true most of us view the process of improvisation as something that has to do with creativity.

Play around with Harold’s statement. Swap out improvisation in Harold’s statement and replace it with whatever interests you. Try that and see how it works. If nothing else, doing and trying are part of being creative.

Maybe a different path to understanding what Harold said is to ask:

What’s more important? (A). The thing we do? (B.) What we learn from what we do?

But it’s not so simple

Sometimes the best answer—when we’re asked to choose from a few choices—is:

It’s not so simple!

On the other hand, sometimes a best answer to a question is another question. Or even more questions:

The things that we do? What we learn from the thing that we do?

On the other hand, another way forward is to say

Why wait for the muse? Let’s go find it!

Your path at the piano

Speaking of finding creativity:

  • You may be at the beginning of your piano journey.
  • You may want a structured approach to lessons.
  • You may have been playing the piano for a while
  • You may need unstructured help within the parameters of a specific area.
  • Or, a structured approach may not be the best way to learn more about your interests.

However it works, the method I use when teaching is to help you find what works for you—AND to help you rely on what you find that works creatively—for you.

There is no one way

In other words, there’s no one way to learn or to be creative.

Rather, it’s all ongoing process we we may find

We, often, are our own best teachers. If that’s true, the point of lessons may be to work with someone who can smooth the learning path simply through and from their own experiences of learning, doing, and teaching.

Everything I’ve been discussing about creativity and learning comes from reflecting upon my own experiences in music, as a maker and a teacher. And despite everything I’ve said, or perhaps because of it, it can also seem that we don’t find or develop creativity. Rather,

Creativity finds us!

Education

Here comes the bio: I earned a masters’ degree in composition and theory from the University of Pittsburgh and another master’s from the Manhattan School of Music. My bachelor’s degree is in jazz piano from the New England Conservatory.

Teachers I studied with for extended periods of time include Jaki Byard, Charlie Banacos, William Thomas McKinley, Marian McPartland, and Floyd Williams. But there were more.

After all that studying and schooling and with a just little bit more schooling, I became Dr. Mark Polishook. The extra little bit more schooling was the last degree I earned in music composition at the doctoral level at the Hart School of Music.

There, I studied and composed classical music rather than jazz. At the Hartt School of Music, I also began to explore, not just my own interest in using music technology, but. also, the wider field of computer music, that is, music made with computers.

Why Composition?

How I got to composing after years of doing and learning about piano performance was almost random. I say random because in a classroom, a teacher said: While I was composing my sonata …

I remember asking myself:

What does it feel like to compose a sonata?

And that was that. I had the composing bug. Or the composing bug had me. Or, as an advisor said to me not long after that,

So you want to rescrew your head on as a composer?

Technology

Meanwhile, my music technology interests go back to when when Apple was making the Mac Plus, IBM was selling PCs, and computers made by Commodore, Amiga, and Atari were the alternatives. My introduction to personal computers was mundane: I saw someone with a Mac Plus.

Then, the questions:

What does technology allow for in music? Is it a creative asset? Could it be an essential tool?.

Or, as I might now ask,

How does a tool influence the task for which we use it? How does a computer influence the music we make with it?

We could just as well ask how does a piano influence the music which we make with it? What do we all bring to music-making that influences the music we make?

I noticed, meanwhile—computers and pianos both have keyboards.

New York City: in general

After my undergraduate years at the New England Conservatory of Music, but before I went back to graduate school, I pursued what I thought would be a long-term career in New York City as a free-lance jazz pianist. While in NYC, I played, not infrequently, with some of the best young musicians there.

That was in the first half of the 1980s. It’s also the nature of New York City—that the professional musicians there often play with other musicians who are fantastically talented.

Perhaps it explains explains why one night a very well-dressed man walked up onto the bandstand in a small bar in which I was playing in Greenwich Village. He sat down at the empty drum set that next to the piano and began to play. Not all that well.

But, I somehow knew enough to say nothing, except hello—in a very friendly way, at that. That individual turned out to be Jon Hendricks, one of the most influential vocalists in jazz. In New York City, musicians know that sort of thing as a New York moment—it’s not something that commonly happens elsewhere. In fact, it doesn’t commonly happen in New York but it does happen!

That’s because New York City, or, simply, the city as those live in it or close by call it, has long been where musicians go when they’re looking to find the best of the best and to play, work, and learn from them. So, I never did play or even meet Jon Hendricks again.

He definitely wasn’t among the better drummers wit whom I played. Yet, there he was on the bandstand, probably doing the best he could do at that drum set. And having fun at that.

But, there was another gig where Steve McCall, a fabulous drummer from Chicago walked up onto the bandstand and began to play. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a drummer play so softly with so much intensity. And there was another time when Ray Barretto, well-known as a conga drummer, walked up onto the bandstand.

Those things happen in New York City. And there was definitely a common lesson to all such experiences, which was:

Being amongst fabulous musicians is a great way to learn. Playing with talented musicians often means you just have to raise the level at which you play—however, you do it.

Sometimes raising the level at which you plays comes from practicing. Sometimes, it comes from thinking through a particular situation and doing it better next time. Sometimes it just happens on the spot.

Raising the level at which one plays definitely requires creativity.

New York City: in particular

Among places in New York City where I learned, so to speak, was a late-night jam session at the Blue Note. For a period, I played there every Thursday night with Ted Carson, one of the great trumpet players in jazz, who led the jam session.

In other words, Ted said who could and couldn’t come up onto the stage to play. But he was very permissive and really, just a good guy about it. Basically, if someone wanted to play in Ted’s jam session, they could.

Ted had played with everyone—from Cecil Taylor to Charles Mingus to Eric Dolphins to and so on. He had stories to tell about those experiences—and he did tell them. Whether or not they were true stories, to borrow a phrase from Cormac McCarthy, I can’t say.

I met Ted at a small jazz club in Hoboken, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from NYC. That we met at all was through a saxophonist I played with while I was a student in Boston.

I learned much from that particular gentleman, the saxophonist. He too had a million stories because he toured for years with Ray Robinson, the pianist and vocalist who’s known more commonly as Ray Charles.

Ray Charles or not, so-called road experience usually generates experience for those who are touring. Many musicians will tell you that being on the road, playing night after night—that’s where experience accumulates and comes together into lessons that lead to knowledge.

That particular saxophonist used to stand behind me when I soloed. When he heard something he liked he’d scream:

Do it again! Do it again!

That was on-the-job training, an experience one can’t get in school while working towards a degree. In an instution of higher education who screams Do it again! right into your ear?

Experience and lessons

Over time, I recognised a pattern. I’ve already mentioned it in general. But, as regards my own experience, the pattern was I was transforming experience acquired into lessons learned.

What I also saw was when experience comes first so also does the possibility of failure. Perhaps that’s why it’s often said that failure is the best teacher?

Meanwhile, notwithstanding failure as the best teacher, there’s another simple truth:

We learn at our own pace and no faster than that.

If that true, then the only way forward is to acquire more experience all the while reflecting on and drawing from lessons learned along the way. Perhaps that’s also why we often hear it said that so-and-so, referring to someone, whoever it may be, needs more experience. Or, so-and-s0 has a lot of experience.

Beyond graduate school

After graduate school, which came time spent in New York City, I REALLY entered into the professional world of music—even though I thought my New York City experience was a pinnacle.

Well, NYC was a pinnacle. It was a pinnacle for me to that point as far as performing experience went. But my time in NYC had nothing, really, to do with acquiring teaching experience or experimenting with music technology. Both of those things really began for me once I started studying composition in graduate school.

Then, my last graduate degree from the Hartt School of Music, I became a different sort of professional: I  taught jazz piano and composition and bunch of other subjects  at the University of Maine at Augusta. There, my first real office in my first real day job was formerly a broom closet.

But I didn’t feel all that badly about it. Roswell Rudd, one of the very interesting trombonists in jazz, taught in that room for years. If a broom closet worked for Roswell, it could work for me.

In fact, it did work. I’m still in touch, decades later, with some of the students whom I taught in that broom closet. Who knows, maybe Roswell had the same experience.

The University of Maine at Augusta and the expression of Eddie Gomez

The music department at UMA was one of the first in the United States to have a department that focused on jazz. In that department, along with my status as an assistant professor, I also was it’s very informal director of concerts and workshops. That meant I had a budget to bring musicians like Johny Griffin, Eddie Gomez, Richard Davis, Marvin Stamm, and others to campus.

Actually, we brought in any number of guest artists. It was just a question of stretching a small budget. Sometimes that stretch involved going to departments outside of the music department and explaining why so-and-so would be a great guest for the university in general.

Whether or not Eddie Gomez remembers much if anything about those years over which he spent a day or two coming to UMA, I don’t know. But I do know getting to play with him, really only a few times a year over several years, was a wonderful learning experience.

Eddie had played for years with Bill Evans, a musician who was so talented he changed how jazz pianists approached the instrument. One might go so far as to say in jazz there was pre-Bill-Evans and post-Bill-Evans.

Playing those few times I did with Eddie brought me as close to that transition point, pre- and post-Bill-Evans, as I was every going to get. Although years later, I played with a drummer who had also been an influential member of one of Bill Evans’ bands. I also heard and saw Bill Evans play in concerts and clubs more times than I can count.

But, the thing was, Eddie Gomez had such a strong musical persona, a style that was so recognisable, and he was one of my hero’s in music—long before I had the opportunity to play with him I listened to him on a million or so recordings. So, performing with Eddie was was more than energising.

The thing is, when listening to Eddie play, then and now, I didn’t and don’t hear notes or rhythms. I only hear self-expression.

Of course, playing with and listening to Eddie Gomez play made hearing expression not all that difficult. Last night, last night being the night before I wrote this sentence, I heard Eddie Gomez on the radio with Chick Corea.

And there it was again: Pure expression. Maybe it’s obvious, but perhaps expression is the key in music? As in, we make music to express something?

Then if we play expressively enough others pick up on the sea that we’re expressing something? Listening, last night to Eddie Gomez and Chick Corea left the distinct impression that everything they played on that particular recording was inevitable and preordained.

Whatever we may be expressing when we play music, I’m sure that great music making—great music making meaning music made by those at the highest levels of skill, technique, accomplishment, and creativity—their music projects a something that pulls us into it’s midst. Irresistible centripetal force.

For sure, it’s a we-know-it-when-we-hear-it sort of thing. Although there are plenty of examples I can think of where I didn’t know it until much later. However it works, Eddie Gomez had and has that special something: we know it when we hear it.

Seed of Sarah

Meanwhile, while I was teaching at UMA, my experiences in jazz, my studies in composition, my interest in music technology, and a commission from an interesting vocalist in Maine came together in that I was offered an opportunity to write an electronic chamber opera. An electronic what?

I called the project Seed of Sarah. I based it on a memoir of the same name by a Hungarian Holocaust survivor residing in Maine not far from where I was living at the time.

It might seem like a far turn to be a jazz pianist, on the one hand while, on the other hand, writing opera as a composer. However it worked, I found the strength of the project and my special interest in it—not the genre of opera itself—was what was counted.

But just for general context and listening in general, I’m very definitely not the first one who’s gone down the jazz-piano-leads-to-opera road. Anthony Davis, for example, is a accomplished example of a musician who began in jazz but has written  several operas among many other interesting projects.

Actually, saying he began in jazz but has written several operas may not be the best way to explain what Anthony Davis has accomplished. Or a different way to say that is why does anyone have to be limited to any one musical genre? That why-does-anyone-have- to-be-limited-to-any-one-musical-genre question was answered as well as I’ve ever seen it answered when I saw Yo-Yo-Ma in a video in which he brought James Taylor onto the stage for his an encore—after playing and evening of pieces for solo cello composed by J.S. Bach.

As for the chamber opera aspect of Seed of Sarah, that meant it was a composition to be performed in smaller, rather than large spaces. The electronic part of the project had to do with how to compose for one vocalist and an orchestra of synthesisers and such?

The orchestra of synthesizers,in the end, was rendered to CD and the vocalist sang along with it. But, the complexities of the chamber opera piece, and the fact that the synthesisers weren’t just playing notes, often they were just textures—sound—without pitch, were such that the phrase singing-along-with-an-accompanying-CD: It doesn’t capture the difficulty of what the vocalist for whom I wrote the opera took on when she sang that particular piece.

Seed of Sarah was performed many times in Maine. It was later was transformed into a film by an Emmy-award winning director. It, the film, has been shown around the world to international audiences.

Here’s a short preview.

 

You can stream it  from Amazon if you’d like to see it. It’s also  available there as a DVD.

Distance in the distance

Meanwhile, while I was composing  Seed of Sarah and teaching at UMA, there was another future brewing. Maybe I should say there was another way of doing things. But, in those days I was oblivious to it.

That other way of doing things which these days isn’t uncommon at all is distance education. When I teach now, on Skype, that’s an example of distance education.

I can’t attribute my interest in it entirely to the University of Maine at Augusta. But, it’s true that UMA was one of the first universities in the US, if not in the world, to try what’ss now known as distance education.

That DI happened at all at UMA wasn’t because one someone said

Let there be distance education.

Rather Maine was a large state with a diverse population spread all across it. The problem, or rather the question that distance education answered, was

How do you make higher education accessible to the greatest number of people if you can’t build university campuses all over some particular geographical location where distances from one population centre to another might well be measured in hundreds of miles?

So there was that interesting coincidence. UMA innovated by having a jazz program when that was unheard of. It innovated with distance education program when no one thought such a thing could work, much less thrive in he future.

The reason so many thought DI was an unworkable endeavour was

How could a student and teacher even begin to work together if they weren’t in the same location? Don’t a student and teacher need to be in the same room, face to face, if there’s going to be teaching and learning?

But there’s an assumption that underlies a common answer to those sorts of questions which is:

A shared location between student and teacher is a required.

From first hand experience, I’ve found that:

 Location is overrated.

Or, one could say

Better to connect with the best teacher with whom you want to study rather than the best teacher who happens to be close by.

I’ve long since found what counts is the connection and commitment a student and teacher acquire while collaborating on a common goal. I’ve since had students in Europe, North American, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. I’m still working to get South America, Antarctica, and the international space station into the list.

Here’s the article I wrote about teaching through Skype.

Teaching in another university and more distance

After my years at UMA I moved on to Central Washington University where I directed their music composition and theory programs. That’s where my doctoral degree really came in handy.

That’s because my role at CWU was to direct and teach the classical composition and theory programs in their music department. Little did I know at the Hart School of Music when I literally dug with my forehead in the style of Kafka through Arnold Schoenberg’s dense, recondite Theory of Harmony that that book and Schoenberg’s approach to harmony would become at the centre of many things I teach.

It wasn’t just the approach to harmony Schoenberg took that captured my attention. Rather, what interested me about Schoenberg’s book was how he stayed with that topic, exploring it and then exploring it more. To me, that exploration it seemed like pure expression.

In any case, I didn’t know then at CWU or years before in graduate school that years ago that years later I’d run, an online course on Skype based on Schoenberg’s Theory of Harmony. The students in the course were spread across the UK and America. Their reason for joining in was simple:

They were interested in Schoenberg’s Theory of Harmony.

For me, teaching at a distance had gone from a niche solution to a practical, proven, and time-tested tool. What the Schoenberg course demonstrated was interest in a subject wins out over location of where the subject or a topic might be taught. So that’s just a variant, of course, on where’s the student and where’s the teacher?—Do they have to be in the same location?

But, then again, long before internet-based technologies there were books. They’re a form of distance education? Yes?

Expat

During my first year at CWU, I took a semester off to teach as a Senior Fulbright Lecturer in Poland at the Cracow Academy of Music. Actually, I didn’t take the semester off from CWU so much as I received a Fulbright to teach abroad in Poland. Which is to say moving to Poland for almost half of a year was an exciting work experience but it was by no means a vacation.

Of course, living as an expat during that time provided a whole bunch of new experiences from which to acquire new lessons. What I didn’t foresee was living abroad was going to become something of a habit.

I say that now because not that long after my experience in Poland, my family and I moved to Denmark for 13 months. There I was artist-in-residence in the computer science department at Aarhus University. Not all that long after that, about six years later, my family and I moved to the UK.

During our time in the UK, my wife and I moved to Shanghai for six months. That’s a whole other story. I wrote many posts for my blog about out stay in China. They’re all there on my there if you care to look them up.

The really interesting thing about living in a country other than the one that issues your passport is every day brings some thing or another that’s transformative. Basically: Every day abroad has a way of bringing at least one unforeseen experience into the mix.

And then the experience accumulates in unforeseen ways. If music expresses life experiences, then living abroad definitely is one way to acquire fuel for music making. Or, at least that’s how I see it given my own circumstances.

Sound art

While I was in Poland through my Fulbright, I become close friends with a colleague, Marek Choloniewski, who had begun in music as an organist but had turned to making music with electronic gizmos of one sort or another. His gizmos that included photo-electronic cells, an old Russian television, and unknown things that were just, well, cobbled together with wires and more wires.

The outcome of Marek’s iconoclastic approach—he was and is a boundary pusher and a very, very creative individual—is what’s often known as sound art. Marek’s DIY approach to electronics was my introduction to sound art.

But, we also shared many common interests and performed together in concerts. From those experiences, we set up a student exchange program between the Cracow Academy of Music and CWU.

Through that exchange program, I sent many American students to study with Marek in Poland. And he did the same—many of his students came from Poland to study with me at CWU.

Of course, this all had ripple effects on the larger student cohorts whom we both taught. How could it not? It was another case of experience acquired leads to lessons learned.

More technology, teaching, and robots

Some years later, during a sabbatical year from CWU I spent in Denmark—I hadn’t lost my interest in sound art, rather it had only grown after my experiences in Poland—I built an interactive installation with Lego robots.

That project featured music composed by software I wrote. The software read and interpreted emails sent to it from a world-wide audience of humans and, in turn, it composed music from the rhythms it detected in the emails it received.

Those rhythms then set the robots into motion. That, in turn meant they, the robots, danced.

It may sound a little, how to say it, recondite? Abstract?

Robots receiving email from an audience which in turn danced to music that was triggered by incoming email who, in turn, watched the robots in the performance space or live, on the internet through streaming video?

But, uniquely, the computer science department at Aarhus university collaborates with Lego, the company that invented and sells Lego kits. Yes, all thing Lego comes from Denmark.

Practically speaking, the affiliation between Lego and the AU computer science department meant there was an unlimited supply of Lego parts, including small computers made for Lego MindStorm kits.

Those computers were completely lacking in computational power in 2003 and 2004. But, they would have been extremely powerful and capable in the 1960s when astronauts were visiting the moon.

They had enough computing power to give simple instructions to robots and that’s really all that was needed. And that’s in part why the computer science department at AU collaborates with Lego—because Lego is a perfectly inexpensive medium in which to prototype all things robotic.

Martial arts

After playing jazz professionally in New York City, earning advanced degrees in music, experimenting with music technology, teaching in a few universities, and living abroad for extended periods, well, what next?

I put away the piano and music and trained intensively in a bunch of martial arts. When I explain how and why to anyone who knows me, the usual reply is martial what? Why did you put the piano down?

Tangible outcomes that came from my martial artist training include a black belt in karate, a brown belt in judo, a broken ankle (from sparring in Sambo, a Russian martial art) and another injury oftentimes known as cauliflower ear.

But, much more important than those outcomes was that while I was an experienced musician and a teacher of music with a lot of professional experience, in the overall world of martial arts, I was a complete, inexperienced beginner. I knew nothing.

That leap from music to martial arts helped me to know exactly what it feels like to be an adult learner at the very beginning of a  journey that could be as long, difficult and consuming as anyone might want it to be.

In other words, there I was, finding once and again that there’s nothing fast about learning. In particular, there’s nothing fast about learning especially when we work on new skill sets and try to string them together, one after another according to whatever might be happening in some particular moment.

That’s definitely a martial artist scenario. It’s also a scenario that comes up all the time in music.

When we play the piano. we respond to what we’re playing and make changes as needed.

Patience

I also learned much about patience from most of my martial arts instructors. When I began teaching I never would have associated the word patience with learning.

But now I know better, in particular, because of lessons that transferred directly from martial arts to music. For example, when we’re throwing someone in judo or playing a waltz at the piano we want all things to happen with minimal necessary effort, meaning economy of motion should lead to a maximal outcome.

The big lesson

Another huge lesson from my studies in the martial arts—maybe the most important of all, was:

We can’t fight an opponent if we’re also fighting internally with ourselves.

In other words, self-criticism where we doubt our own ability in the first place isn’t helpful. But that is something I and many others have experienced in many scenarios.

I see it among many students as well. It’s so common, in fact, that it has a name, which is,  simply, performance anxiety.

What I’ve found over time is acknowledging—right in the moment—that we’re better off doing whatever we’re doing right in that moment without thinking too much, can make a lot of things much easier.

Another technique that’s helped me a lot with performance anxiety, and I mean A LOT, is to listen, really listen, to the music I’m playing as I play it. My thought about that is:

If we’re really listening to ourselves play then we have no extra brain cycles for self-criticism or pondering what an audience might be hearing or thinking about anything, for that matter, except for the music we’re hearing and playing..

A third-party opinion

I asked a close friend what should be in my bio. She kindly answered my question with a short essay. Of course, I’m grateful for her complementary words.

I Include them here with all due modesty.

Mark Polishook is the kind of mentor and tutor who will help you breathe life and passion into any ambition you have to become or evolve as a pianist. Whether you are looking to fulfil a lifelong ambition to learn, or find entirely new inspiration in a skill you have honed for years, Mark is the finest guide to employ.

For those who are truly looking for a master of his craft, his many accomplishments and achievements are listed here and yet, for all of this, you will find Mark to be a funny, warm, empathetic man who will be your mentor in the most effective way for you. Surely this quality, is paramount in you succeeding at and loving the piano.

The short version

I could have just written out a very short version of all above in which case I would say

If you study with me, whether in-person or on Skype, we’ll work together to creat a customised curriculum specifically for you. Your lessons will be about what what you think you need to know. If you prefer to study from a formal curriculum where metrics are already laid out we can do that.

Interested?

If you’re interested in lessons contact me and we can discuss. If you simply want to know what I charge, or if you want to book a lesson or lessons, click on the pricing link.

If you want to know more about the music I make, there’s a link at the top of page for that. I also have a blog where I write about things in music that interest me and which I think might be helpful for others. If there’s something you’d like me to blog about, just let me know.

What’s next?

Do feel free if you contact me about lessons to talk about your previous experience in music. If you’d like, ask how I can help you to move forward with your musical goals. Or tell me what you’re looking for in a teacher.

I make those suggestions because dialogue, understanding, partnership, and collaboration are crucial in the learning process. But, still, there’s one thing I should mention if you’re considering the possibility of lessons—with me or with any teacher, for that matter.

The piano: Stick with it. Stay with it. Learning accumulates. Over time the results of your effort combined with your enthusiasm for wanting to learn will accumulate into something larger.

That’s the point where your results, your ability to play the piano, will speak for themselves. You’ll know yourself that the results are there.

Still, someone may ask:

How did you learn to do that?

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