Minimalist, frugal living, and the path to zero waste management

The one-way airmile ticket to Amsterdam in mid-June led me to the Dutch lock-keeper’s house in Utrecht, a place I had called home  for a decade. Void of furniture and furnishings, it felt small. In fact, everything looked smaller than I had remembered it.

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All things Dutch and wonderful

When I first visited a local supermarket in the Netherlands, I complained that the only soy sauce was the wrong kind. The bottle was too small, and the soya sauce was Indonesian. I honestly thought I would starve.

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Moving out, moving over, and moving on

During the pressure-cooker months of May and June,  I often wanted to wave a magic wand and make everything disappear. My tendency to collect, accept what others give me, organize, make good, and keep meant that I didn’t like throwing things away.  Yet at the same time, I was reluctant to pay for shipping and extra baggage fees to transport all my belongings from Maui. Continue reading

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Like-minded souls and their passion to collect sheet music

“If Bart were still here, he would never let me go through his sheet music and take what I want,” I said to his widow after spending hours looking through the densely packed shelves downstairs and upstairs. Continue reading

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A rolling stone gathers no moss but eventually will meet others

I can count the number of friends who visited me during  my five-and-a-half years on Maui. The first to visit was a couple who flew from California and stayed for a long weekend in my first apartment while attending a wedding in Wailea. I invited my long-time friend from Denver for Christmas, and she stayed in my cottage while we house sat my colleague’s home nearby in Wailuku. My friend from Taipei and another from Honolulu also visited and stayed with me. The last visit culminated in a concert in an autoshop. Continue reading

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The monument house: piano room

I didn’t get to say goodbye to my Steinway A, for I didn’t know when I would return to see it. Continue reading

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Planning travel: Maui to Boston, Utrecht to London

Nearly six years after flying to Maui and getting a job there, I booked a one-way ticket to Boston and started planning my exit from paradise.

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What you’re also learning when you take a piano class

Rough draft for a future article or blog post

  • Time management
  • Multi-tasking
  • Planning
  • Listening
  • Public speaking
  • Presenting
  • Overcoming stage fright
  • Timing, rhythm
  • Body coordination
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Real time crisis management
  • Problem solving
  • Interpretation
  • Individual self expression
  • Accompanying
  • Improvising
  • Collaboration
  • New vocabulary
  • Italian
  • Motivation
  • Music theory
  • Pattern recognition
  • Sight reading
  • Audience engagement
  • Self management and regulation
  • Stress management
  • Discipline
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Most commonly used chords for ʻukulele

The common chord progression assignment I gave to my beginning music theory class caused an uproar. It was the secret formula that explained the Pareto Rule of Pop Music: 80% of pop music used only 20% of the chords.

“You mean, I only need to know a handful of chords and I can play what I want?” one student cried.

This revelation also gives confidence to the beginning ʻukulele player. No longer do you have to memorize chord charts. Just master the most common chords and you’re good to go.

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Chord shape thinking from guitar to ukulele

In my forthcoming paper on teaching yourself to play the ʻukulele, I venture into similarities between guitar and ʻukulele chords. If you already play the guitar, thinking in intervals and chord shapes will give you a head start to playing the ʻukulele. Continue reading

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