So how about this climate crisis and what’s it got to do with music?

I’ve asked this question of myself many times over.

Last summer, my partner, Matthew Lie-Paehlke, thought to provide ideas for decreasing our individual and collective carbon footprint. We founded Climate Pledge Collective to help people choose actions that lead to a sustainable lifestyle.

Then, the IPCC Report (short version: Office of Climate Education – for teachers) broke the news on the dire state of our climate. The authors of the report, which was released in 2018, stated that we must keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in order for future generations to have anything resembling a habitable planet.


March down University Ave. Canada-wide Fridays for Future Student Strike for Climate,  May 3, 2019


At Toronto City Hall – Canada-wide Fridays for Future Student Strike for Climate – May 3, 2019

Our patterns of consumption, a complex tangle of global interdependencies that have relied on yet another entanglement of human oppressions, must be drastically changed — arguably, overturned — to ensure the survival of species beyond our lifetime. This includes our own human survival.

To date, carbon emissions are still rising, and regions around the world are reporting the hottest temperatures recorded. In Ontario, wild fires are still burning, as they are in Alberta and have been in BC. Communities have been evacuated by floods.

9 million people have run out of water in Chennai, India.

Recently, we were surprised to hear that our friends, academics among them, had not heard these facts.

This is part of why I’ve cooked up a Climate Crisis Facts Campaign (we’re deciding on July 15 if we’ve raised enough) to put this information on TTC subway cars. Matt and I have been working hard all year and see a need for information to reach more people.

BUT WHAT DOES MUSIC HAVE TO DO WITH IT? Music has always been a way for me to reach people. I personally don’t know right now how my music-making can help fix this, or even make it better.

What I do know is that through music, I have learned to empathize deeply with people through joy, pain, and everything in between. And music still provides a means for communicating or gesturing beyond words.

Through music, I have learned about cultures, and the colonialist forces that thread through the ways I (we in the “Western world”) have been able to thrive (sure, my family had to immigrate for that to happen — a story for another time).

Those sounds that met my ears, those beats that replaced my heartbeat, called me to listen for life. It’s time for us to save life.

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Another break! So check out the breaks…!

No lessons on Good Friday (March 30) and Easter Monday (April 2). See you after that!

Here’s this post’s musical treat, one of my favourite dancers, B-girl Ayumi. The second video is a short interview with her.

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March Break No Lessons Week of March 12 to 16

It’s time for another lesson break next week. Lessons resume the week of March 19. If you’re ever curious about our lesson calendar, go to

Hope you like this post’s musical highlight! I heard it on the CBC last night and remembered how much I enjoyed it when I first heard it almost a year ago.

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Reading Week Break Next Week

As in previous years, there won’t be lessons over my Reading Week “break” (February 19 to 23). Enjoy practice and listening time. Maybe explore a new genre of music you’ve never paid attention to before!

Peep this one, for example, featuring Han Han, DATU, and HATAW, with their fusion of sound and dance influences, highlighting Philippine traditional instruments and attire:

See you the week of February 26!

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2018 Lessons Begin Next Week

Happy New Year to all!

Music lessons will begin next week for all my students. It will be great to see you. The full lesson calendar is available at

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Raw Classical

We were moved today by the unexpected rawness of Ezra Azmon’s viola-playing on the corner of Walmer and Bloor, just outside the gray brick of the Shopper’s Drug Mart. I had read about him in a Star article and I’m glad to have finally heard him live.

Something about the sound of the bow urgently clinging to the strings with each gesture made every phrase more palpable. Azmon’s music was a salve for the heavy tiredness of the last few weeks.

More on Azmon here: //

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New Year, Old Tracks

I meant to post some Student Salon highlights before the new school year, but time does seem to fly…

Here’s the playlist featuring my students’ commitment, work, and musicality:

Don’t forget, lessons begin September 11, 2017. Looking forward to seeing my students again!

If you haven’t already done so, do check out the Student Compositions page.

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Last week of lessons!

Lessons end this Friday, June 23!

It has been another fulfilling year teaching my small group of students. They just keep on growing both in height and musical expression. I look forward to seeing you all in September. I’ll be posting highlights from the Student Salon over the summer, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, enjoy this classic tune:

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March Break!

There will be no regularly scheduled lessons this week, but if I have arranged a make-up lesson with you, I’ll see you then!

Have a wonderful week.

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Lessons Resume

I’m looking forward to the new year!

A quick reminder that piano lessons resume the week of January 9th. In the meantime, here’s a tune I’ve been feelin’ since I heard it on The Get Down, that textured dramatization of hip-hop’s early days (available on Netflix, if you’re interested.) See you soon!


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