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How I Got To Lincoln Center

Updated on April 30, 2014

Somebody Pinch Me

"Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming". That's exactly what I thought when I sat down at the piano on the stage at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. It was such a surreal moment, something I never imagined would happen to me. Yet there I was, seated at a 9 foot long, perfectly tuned Steinway concert grand piano, about to play for nearly 3,000 people. This truly was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Music for Life Benefit program cover, Lincoln Center. Photo of actual program (and all photos on this lens) by yours truly.

©2013 SusanT. All Rights Reserved.

Hold Onto Your Seats

Avery Fisher Hall
Avery Fisher Hall

Music for Life Benefit Rehearsal. Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center.

©2013 SusanT. All Rights Reserved.

When I was asked to play at Lincoln Center (by a friend I was working with in a band at the time), I was such a skeptic about anything anyone promised me in the music business. I had been in numerous bands since I was 13, and heard so many promises of opportunities: record deals, tours, fame and fortune. An opportunity to play at Lincoln Center? Yeah, right. I thought I would believe it when I was actually there, at rehearsal.

As you can see from the above photo, it really was happening! I was so excited at rehearsal, that I began shooting photos of the stage, just to prove that it was actually happening. Later that evening, all of those seats were full!

The Beginnings - & Lots of Practice, Practice, Practice

My First Piano Book
My First Piano Book

My First Piano Book
(I began piano lessons at age 6, which is why this music book looks the way it does!)

Would I say that it was "practice, practice, practice" or just luck that got me to the stage at Lincoln Center?

Sure, practice did contribute to the formula that helped get me there, but it was also perseverance and being open to great opportunities. This incredible experience was proof of the phrase: Luck Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity.

Summary of Piano Study and Experience (The "Preparation" Part of the Formula):

  • Began piano lessons at the age of 6. (Mostly Classical music. I studied with the same teacher until I was 17.)

  • Began learning pop & rock songs by ear, and joined my first band at the age of 13.

  • Participated in the National Piano Player Auditions for 12 years.

  • Performed and recorded with various bands and songwriters.

Studying Classical music gave me great technique and timing, but it was learning different songs by ear, collaborating with different artists and performing live that brought amazing, rewarding opportunities to me: from recording with singer/songwriters to performing at large venues.

Preparation: Material to Learn - You've Got To Start Somewhere

Here are a few of my suggestions for piano practice, for the very young beginner, adult beginner and advanced/intermediate. I started playing with the same books, many years ago. With time, patience, dedication and perseverance, you too can become a skilled musician.

John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course - Complete: 4-Book/Audio Boxed Set
John Thompson's Easiest Piano Course - Complete: 4-Book/Audio Boxed Set

This is the updated version of the very same piano course I started with (above photo), at age 6!

John Thompson's Adult Piano Course: Book 1 (Preparatory)
John Thompson's Adult Piano Course: Book 1 (Preparatory)

If you're an adult beginner, this is a good book to start studying piano.

Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises, Complete (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 925)
Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises, Complete (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics, Vol. 925)

These Hanon exercises are the best way to improve your technique and improve finger strength. This book is a must for those who are serious about studying piano.

First Lessons in Bach, Complete: For the Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics)
First Lessons in Bach, Complete: For the Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics)

Who doesn't love Bach and the challenge of playing Bach pieces? This book is great for late elementary to early intermediate students.

Complete Preludes, Nocturnes & Waltzes: 26 Preludes, 21 Nocturnes, 19 Waltzes for Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics)
Complete Preludes, Nocturnes & Waltzes: 26 Preludes, 21 Nocturnes, 19 Waltzes for Piano (Schirmer's Library of Musical Classics)

Chopin is my favorite composer. If you love Chopin's deeply emotional pieces, this book is for you. (This book is for intermediate/advanced players.)


Inspirational Quote: Be Daring!

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

The Practice, Practice, Practice Poll

Are you a Musician? If so, what is your favorite way to practice?

See results

The Results of Preparation and Perseverance - Attracting Luck and Great Opportunities


A Dramatic Shot from a Show at CAMI Hall, NYC.

©2013 SusanT. All Rights Reserved.

After many years of practicing and student recitals, I branched out on my own and started to play with bands at the age of 13. Through networking, learning different music styles and playing live with numerous bands, a number of terrific, memorable opportunities presented themselves to me. Like the (lucky) opportunity of performing at CAMI Hall, directly across the street from Carnegie Hall; a smaller venue, but just as memorable as my experience at Lincoln Center.

Opportunity: More Material, for Music and Life - Skills and Tips for the Growing Musician

Practice alone won't help you to achieve your musical goals. It helps to be flexible in your skills in order to be a well-rounded musician. Here, are some recommended books for inspiration and to help you grow as an artist.

The Jazz Piano Book
The Jazz Piano Book

The Bible of Jazz studies, for advanced players interested in Jazz.

Anything You Want
Anything You Want

This book is by Derek Sivers, the founder of CD Baby. I find Derek's writing to be inspirational to anyone with the desire to follow their dreams.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Last but not least, this book is a twelve week program to help artists remove blocks, increase productivity and confidence. I frequently turn to it to stay on track with projects that are important to me.


Inspirational Quote: Opportunities

"Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities." - William Bridges

A Great Resource: Keyboard Magazine - Read It Monthly for Great Tips


Keyboard Magazine is a great resource for pianists/keyboardists. Each month they feature informative articles and tips for playing different styles. I've been reading this for years, and have picked up some great tips along the way.


Conclusion and Advice

for Aspiring Musicians

Since I began studying and playing piano at such a young age, music is such a huge part of my life. It's something I would never give up and is such an outlet for me to express how I feel.

My advice for any artist or musician? Do what you love, express your deepest emotions through your art and/or instrument, and let the challenge of improving your abilities and range of expression be your goal. There's nothing more rewarding than sharing with your audience and having touched them in some way. (Similar to what writers do here, on Squidoo, isn't it?) With time, effort, practicing and being open to opportunities, you're sure to have some amazing (and lucky) musical experiences.

Keep practicing, keep creating and expressing yourself and good luck to you in your artistic pursuits!

Are you an artist or musician? - What inspires you?

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    • SusanSuggests profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @Charito1962: Hello Charito, Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting. You could listen to some of my recordings by visiting my websites. (In the bio on this lens, there's a link to my facebook page, which lists my websites and where to listen to samples. I also have a piano sinle for sale on cd baby.) Have a great day!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I've always envied women who were good at any musical instrument. Wish I could hear you play.

    • SusanSuggests profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @yourselfempowered: Thank you, and thanks for visiting and reading! Have a great weekend!

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 

      4 years ago from Gloucester

      What an interesting and inspiring lens.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Though I am not a musician,still I like Piano and Violin very much,surely One day I will learn to play violin for sure!!

      Thank you for your great lense maam,very nice,keep it up!!

    • SusanSuggests profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @WeaselPuppy: Thanks! Yes, it was a memorable event. Thanks for visiting and reading. Have a great weekend!

    • WeaselPuppy profile image


      5 years ago

      That is so wonderful that you got to do that!

    • SusanSuggests profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @LisaDH: Thanks lisa! Thanks for visiting, reading and commenting! I hope you're having a great weekend.

    • LisaDH profile image


      5 years ago

      Amazing accomplishment. Congrats!

    • SusanSuggests profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @goldenrulecomics: Thank you! Sounds like you and your younger half are also talented!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image


      5 years ago from New Jersey

      Congratulations on your accomplishment! My only talent is writing, while the younger half of goldenrulecomics likes to draw.,..

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Nice lens! Very impressive work!


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