Way to Go, Matthew!

We Teach Boogie Woogie Piano!

In June, Cheri presented at the Minnesota Music Teachers State Convention, “Teach Boogie Woogie Piano,” a curriculum developed at Sykes Piano Studio. The presentation concluded with this boogie woogie mashup from our 2020 Recital by young student Dana. At our studio, Boogie Woogie piano is a winner with students of all ages and levels!
Dana does Boogie Woogie

My new gig with the Emerson Avenue Band!

I’ve just joined the Emerson Avenue Band as keyboardist! A big 12-piece R&B band (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruno Mars).  First outing was last week at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, playing for a huge crowd of dancers.  I think everybody is overjoyed to be out mixing it up again and enjoying live music.  What a blast!  The band does weddings and corporate parties.  Visit

First wedding piano gig in over a year!

Here at the beautiful Lumber Exchange Building on Hennepin Avenue, playing my first wedding in over a year.  Feels good to be back at it!  Their special request for wedding piano is Brandi Carlile’s “I Belong to You.”

Piano makes it easier

Drew just graduated from Piano Pronto Movement 1. He’s progressing nicely! He’s enjoying practicing on his new digital piano (cool!). Drew also began learning trumpet this year. Piano lessons make learning a second instrument so much easier! IMO, a background in piano is essential for ALL musicians, making everything much more understandable.

Lindsey’s MMTA Contest Video

Last weekend, Lindsey filmed and submitted her MMTA Contest piece, “Mashed Potato Clouds,” last weekend. This is her third year of participating! Here’s a link to her performance video:

Good luck, Lindsey!


Recording fun!

Sykes Piano Studio became a recording studio this week, as friend and Klondike Kate Shar Salisbury, with Cheri on piano, recorded and videoed “Swinging’ Away the Blues.”   The video will part of an online fundraiser for the Angel Foundation #notesofhopevirtualangelfoundation, raising funds for adult cancer victims and their families,

Zoom Carol Sing–This is something new!

Well, I’ve never done this before! The Coffee Ladies did not want to miss their annual Christmas Carol Sing, so  I played and sang, while each of them, on mute, sang from their respective living rooms!  Okay then!  It was great to see all their smiling faces.  We’re hoping to do this again in-person in 2021!


Give the Gift of Piano Lessons!

This year give the gift of music! Four 30-minute online piano lessons for $75 (usual rate is $115). All you need is a keyboard and your tablet, phone, or laptop. Learn your favorite song. Chording, note-reading, improvisation. This is a perfect time to learn! Go for it!  Go to Register Now! on this website.

Piano Parenting: Set Your Child Up For Success!

Dear Piano Parent:

Naturally, you want your student to enjoy piano.  You want piano lessons to be a success.   You understand the need for daily, consistent practice in order to develop skills, and your role in making that happen.

However, you worry that, by enforcing the expectation of daily practice, your child will chafe, rebel, and come to hate piano.

My thought is:  Only with consistent practice can your student experience the satisfaction and fun of playing music!  The better you play, the more fun it is.  If your student does not experience success, frustration and discouragement are the result.

Much can be said about effective practice, setting incentives, and such, but the first object is to set a daily, consistent practice routine.  This is your job as piano parent.  Don’t be afraid to take the mantle!

Let’s set your student up for success!