Shine those pearly whites

Hey friends!

Here is a long overdue update about how my life has been going. Teaching piano has still been my number one focus over the past few years but I’ve also been taking an active stance on getting in shape. Many know that sitting around all day on my piano hasn’t been great for my back, so I’ve been hitting the gym and overall trying to get healthier.

I’ve recently hit a stumbling block in my love life so trying out some new tunes on the piano, focusing on romance, finding love and being a healthier and happier person.

One of my favorite songs to play on the piano is by Faith Hill: This Kiss.

This song always keeps me feeling inspired and upbeat about meaning someone I love. And who doesn’t love a good kiss? The other day I went on a date with a guy who had the worst teeth though, so I wasn’t as keen about it, lol. It’s so important to have a beautiful white smile and great breath. Otherwise who wants that beautiful kiss Faith Hill talks about in her love song!

My family dentist in my parent’s hometown always treats me to a good cleaning every six months and I wish I could have recommended him to my date but I am not that forward! Actually, in my dream world I’d be dating one of the dental assistants from the office. He is so cute!

What songs do you listen to that keep you inspired and motivated to be a healthier, stronger person? I love anything by the Dixie Chicks, Pink or Avril Lavigne! Keep smiling, keep your mouth healthy, keep your heart healthy too. Over the last year, I have learned to keep going, to get regular check ups at my doctor and dentist office, even some good old therapy!

Do what you love and love what you do. Keep writing and practicing piano, girls! You’ll get it soon!

What goals do you have for the new year? Mine is to love myself, play with my heart, love with my soul and never stop dreaming!

Getting Back on the Nutrition Track

When Sedentary Piano Lifestyle!you have a job that focuses on sitting in a chair and playing piano, sometimes I am hardly getting in any exercise on a daily basis. Between teaching piano lessons to my students, practicing piano for my own benefit, doing recitals, and any paperwork I need to do on the computer… Working out can be a challenge.

For this reason, it is more important than ever that I have a healthy diet and do not eat too much. Because if I am working out a lot, I can eat more and maintain my weight. But when I am leaving us eventually lifestyle and not exercising, I still find myself eating a lot of high calorie foods that are high in carbs and sugar. For this reason, I decided to dive into a nutrition plan using portion control containers found at this source. There have been many different workout program that I enjoy the recommend using this type of system to learn about proper portion sizes and not overdo it. I ordered myself a kid of seven different color-coded containers that you are supposed to use each day to track your caloric intake. Every color represents a different food group. You can have four different read containers a day as red stands for protein.

You can fill these containers with things like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, or other types of lean meats. You can also have four servings of vegetables each day and two servings of fruits. You will have small amounts of healthy fats such as hummus or almonds and olive oil in small quantities. But you can only have between 2 to 3 small portions of carbohydrates each day. One portion size of holy past that is only half a cup. Most people have up to 2 cups of past that when they are having dinner. That is actually for portions of carbs and might be the reason people aren’t losing weight. Anyways, I hope that using these containers is going to give me a new outlook on nutrition and healthy eating while I am not living and active lifestyle.

Continuing my Country Music Piano Journey..

In recent posts, I’ve discussed how much I’ve enjoyed doing the new Country Heat dance workout program to try to lose weight after being inspired to learn new tunes on the piano. I’ve started playing a few of Taylor Swift’s old songs like “Red” and it has been a blast to play those songs while belting out the songs myself.  Music is healing and it has allowed me to feel more free, energetic and happy.  When I am not stressed, I eat less and don’t binge eat comfort foods like I do when I am sad or depressed.

Doing the Country Heat program has been challenging. Not the dancing part which I find to be a total blast, but sticking to the nutrition part and following the diet.  I’ve been using the Country heat containers and following the 1400 calorie plan which is right for my body size and my target weight.  But since I think I am used to eating around 2500 calories or more a day, the struggle has been real as I’m eating a lot less than I am used to.  But I have been doing the workouts and am currently on my third week.  I guess if I were to make a Country Heat workout review about my results, I would say that this program has helped me lose around 10 pounds in just three weeks which is pretty remarkable for someone who has stayed the same weight for over 5 years.  I have a lot more to go but it certainly is a start for me.  Using the containers provided in the program has also been helpful as I am not overeating and am making sure to get in all of my vegetables.

The hardest part about the program is making myself stick to it and doing the workouts each morning. I have a tendency to procrastinate and that just won’t work.  One of the ways I keep myself motivated is to put a picture of my target body and goal weight on my fridge. That way, I always have an image ready to look at when I get distracted and I won’t eat badly or be tempted to order a pizza for dinner.  I really do like the Country Heat program, I just need to be consistent and I know I’ll get my dream results soon enough.


How Dancing and Music Improved My Health

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a classical girl through and through. I dress in classical pieces, I play classic music and I like to behave as close as I can to Audrey Hepburn. But then my friends know another side of me. That being my country bumpkin, Taylor Swift loving and cowboy boots wearing self. I sometimes like to throw on a plaid shirt and jeans and bust out my guitar and play some good old fashioned country music.

When I recently went through a bad break-up, I turned to food as a comfort and put on 20 pounds in 6 weeks. I felt miserable and was not even playing piano or guitar anymore. But I then decided I needed to turn my comfort from food into music and dance.  I started going country dancing at my local community center and found it chalk full of senior citizens and other singles just wanting to let loose and have fun.  I regularly dance with Harold and he always saves the last dance for me. I started losing weight steadily and was reaching for the cookie jar less and less.

I was then overwhelmed when I found out about a new country workout dance program called Country Heat.  Designed by popular celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese, this is a high-intensity but low impact workout series with 6 different dance videos that helps you burn calories while listening to amazing and popular country music tunes.  There is something about this type of music that soothes a broken heart and it has certainly worked for me.  I recommend turning to music to help you heal whatever you need to heal from and put down the chocolate bar. Help yourself shape a new body you can be proud of and feel good about, rather than filling your body with sugar and junk that will just make you feel lethargic.

If you invest in a program like Country Heat or any other dance workout video, you won’t even feel like you are exercising. Rather, it will feel like a treat and doing something special just for you. The rhythm and beat are fantastic and will get your whole body moving, helping you learn to love yourself and your body as you get in the best shape of your life.  It also includes a nutrition and eating plan so you won’t feel lost while both dieting and exercising.  Following a proven formula will make weight loss painless and even simple.

Other Hobbies I Have: Fitness and Working Out

While I LOVE teaching piano and that has been my passion for my entire life, I have also pursued other hobbies in my adult life, the biggest one being working out and keeping in shape.  Some people say that these hobbies couldn’t be more different (playing piano but also loving fitness) and I disagree.  When I started wanting to be a better piano player, I had to train my hands and upper body to be able to play as quickly as I wanted.

This lead to me learning how to train other parts of my body. I used to be quite overweight as a kid and this made it difficult for me to even sing the way I wanted to because I would get so tired.  I started losing weight through a combination of strength-training exercises and also educating about fiber benefits called skinny fiber that really helped me slim down and lose weight.

After losing a lot of weight, I felt much more capable of belting out sounds and songs, I didn’t get out of breath after an hour long performance singing and playing the piano like previously I would.  I definitely do think that being in excellent physical shape can help you be a great piano player and singer. Singing and fitness may go hand in hand. But of course, there have been many famous singers who are famous for being plump or overweight, Adele for one is a full-figured woman with one of the most beautiful voices in the world.

Many opera singers throughout time were thought to only be good at their job if they were overweight.  Now it has become more recognized that you do not need to be very large in order to be a good singer. Many vocal trainers actually suggest it is better and more beneficial to be in better physical shape so that your body can tolerate singing for long periods and you are not out of shape.

Particularly, singers who like to perform dance routines at the same time definitely benefit from being in shape. I always admired women who never “lypsynced” but who had fit toned slim bodies and were able to dance around the stage like crazy all the while carrying a beautiful tone without skipping a beat and not ending totally out of breath. THOSE are my goals and my inspiration for continuing!

If you are wanting a routine to follow to start getting in shape not only for playing piano but for vocal training, you should watch the following video on vocal coach training.  It has helped me tremendously.

Playing piano while Singing – An Interview with Alyson Eckmann

There are many talents which I admire. When someone has the gift of a beautiful voice. When someone TRAINS and works hard to develop a talent not necessarily born with – years of dedication and work, perfecting and learning.

Singing is one of those talents I wish I had. I have been playing piano for over 15 years but have never sung while playing. I worked hard to become an excellent piano player and teacher. And I am proud of those efforts. But I have never been able to sing. It is a craft I have not mastered or pursued, and certainly I was not born with a talent for singing.  I always wished that I could sing though. I always want to burst into song while I play, there is something spiritual about it.  I sat down with a friend, Alyson Eckmann, who is talented both as a guitar player, piano player AND singer. Truly a triple threat, this young American girl who now lives in Madrid, Spain is an inspiration for all young girls wanting to “become something”.  I interviewed Alyson Rae Eckmann last week and asked her some questions about her experience.

Me: Aly, how long have you been playing piano for?
Aly: I have been playing piano since I was a kid. I think my first toy was a small piano for babies and my parents said that I wouldn’t play anything else.Me: Have you always been a gifted singer?Aly: Hardly! I used to sing a lot as a kid because my mom loved singing in our church. I always wished I could sing like she did. I asked my parents to put me into singing lessons to try to perfect my voice and they did just that. I sang for years and never was any good at it, but as I became an adult, I learned the vocal exercises and really practiced until I was able to hit all the notes. I still have a lot of improvement to make.Me: Do you play any other instruments?Aly: Yes! I started learning to play the guitar as a kid. I always liked to sit around the campfire and pluck away on my dad’s guitar. I was raised in a very musical family so music has always been ingrained in me since I was just a kid.  Singing and playing instruments makes me feel at peace. I think music is something very spiritual and I always want to be closer and feel closer to that.  Aly is so talented and recently released a new music video with a new hit single which you should check out on youtube. We look forward to seeing Alyson’s career flourish as the years go by.