Poems and Lyrics

Occasionally we ask participants in The Well-Balanced Pianist programs to write poems or song lyrics about their experience at the program.  We enjoy these poems, which are always good and sometimes brilliant, but the real goal is for them to have a fun and playful way to reflect on the most life-changing concepts they learned that week.

The following poems and lyrics were written by participants of 2008, 2010, and 2012 summer programs.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Summer’s here, the grass is burnt;
It’s high time that you get learnt.
Here’s an idea, here’s a clue,
The WBP is good for you.
Learn a bunch of really good stuff;
Terry and Sue would never bluff.
Lots of practice, lots of play;
It goes on the entire day!
Nite time comes around; best
Get some rest for another round.
Pay attention, work real hard;
You’ll get better by at least a yard.


Two Haikus

Turning frustration
Into curiosity
Takes all my courage

Empty your ego
Open your mind and heart
Then you can begin


Oh thumb, you must learn
Absolute power corrupts
You shall not be king!


Do you know that you are enough?
No need for perfection or prescribed direction
Even if some roads get rough.

Your small imperfections and fun quirks and qualities
Are what make you whole and complete.

Your connections to others stem from these qualities-
That’s why we feel them so deep.

So step out of your box and walk down a new path
I know you’re scared or alone.
For in stretching your limits and struggling within them
You’re sure to affirm you are whole.


Balance a piano on your nose,
Come to WBP and wiggle your toes.


“Ouch” can be a tool
It tells me when I go wrong
Pain can be my friend.


A mindset……
Where does one finds it?
Inside with a choice
Hear a kind soothing voice
And like the little train that could
Don’t worry about ‘should,’
Start where you are
And you’ll be a star.


Ode to a New Body

Oh mighty, muscled thumb of mine,
Without you, I’m no conscious man
But you must abdicate your shrine
And join the free phalangeal clan.

Oh Darling, dormant palm of mine,
For years you’ve rested, nonchalant,
Awake! Awake! Do rise and shine
And lift the lumbricals, gallant!


Music, I left you
Waiting, patient, hovering
You were never gone.


Susan and Terry set the stage
So we can make connections.

We pursue, in bold full view
Vul-ner’bly with derring do
All our demons, old and new;
Taming them, through and through!

Thus we share and re-engage
Our previous defections.
In community we stage


Palm, palm, most wonderful palm.
I found my palms!!!
Thanks Susan
Thanks Terry


There’s nothing in the world
I’d rather do than spend the summer
With Terry and Sue.
Plink on the keys
Plunk on the cover
They say the WBP will even
Make you a better lover.
You have some fun and
Learn a bunch then the
Day pauses for an interesting lunch.
Lots of practice as the day goes by
Exhaustion in the evening-you know why
Tomorrow you’ll be back
So don’t you cry.


Playing cantabile with my thumb was one of my goals.
But when I first had to play, my thumb fell in a “hole”
The notes sounded harsh, each one played with a thud;
The melody was dull and came out clear as mud.
Susan taught me to play my thumb with my arm,
Now the melody rings out with a fine singer’s charm.


A Neophyte Balanced Pianist
– A work in progress

My head is spinning
My brain will explode
All this knowledge
Is too much to hold.

I make it so hard
I get all out of breath
My body has drama
But my music lacks depth.

Where is my head?
Are my shoulders relaxed?
Am I sitting securely
On the bones of my ass?

And so I back up
I swallow my pride
Preconceived notions
I must put aside.

Not to mention my bench —
Is it at the right height?
Because if it’s too low
It will never sound right.

I step back and give up
The goal of perfection
And live in the moment
of quiet reflection.

“Right” — there’s a word
I can no longer use
Now “better is better” —
No more self abuse!

I let go and listen
To the music I make
My shoulders are easy
My knees do not quake.

And slowly the piano
and I become one
For the first time in a long time,
I’m having fun.


The thumb is a powerful tool.
In fact it always wants to rule.
But just play it long
Throughout your whole song
And your hand will say, “This feels cool.”


Let’s go,


“Staccato goes down!”
Cries the whole Taubman town
These three words together are gold.
Don’t try to pull up,
or you’ll drown in swamp muck,
for ever stuck in the cold.


One Hand
Two Hands
Curled Hand
Bad Hand
Claw Hand
Limp Hand
Natural Hand
Good Hand
This hand likes to clutch and grab
This hand likes to look quite sad
Say, what a lot of hands there are
The toned ones are the best by far


One day as I paddled
through the swamp
Terry said to me,
“Stop thinking so much —
you’re forcing and fussing,
just try to let it be.”

“No need to judge,
just open your mind,
and you will slowly see
that playing the piano
really can feel easy, fun, and free!”


Yes, we can
Yes, we can
We can make changes
Yes, we can.
Balance on seat
Feet on floor
Elbows down
With Terry and Susan
We can make changes
Yes, we can!

Somewhere in between
the aligned
and the misaligned…
and body
slip into
one piece,
resting gently
in surrender
to a better place.


“The Cactus Pose”

I can do it on the wall
I can do it standing tall
I can do it in the air
I can do it everywhere!
I can do it while I eat
I can do it on the street
Oh! The cactus pose,
The cactus pose!
You are indeed my favorite pose.
If your shoulders feel small,
Just line up against the wall!


Negriclaviphobia is the disease
that makes fingers curl away from black keys
But if you’ll just change the angle,
and the fulcrum of dangle
you’ll find that they fit in with ease.


Oh the pieces you’ll play
if you only do it our way;
Raise your wrist,
uncurl your fingers,
Relax your shoulders
and avoid the dingers;
We’ll help you make the most of your talents
By teaching you to play in balance!


“Oh, yes!” said my partner
“Oh, yes!” said my teacher
You’re really getting there!
You don’t need to hover way up in the air!

Just rest down your arm
And now you agree
Your forearm is held
Right up by the key!

“Oh, yes!” said my partner
“Oh, yes said my teacher
You’re really getting it!
You don’t need to push
Not one little itty bit!

Just rest down that forearm
And now you agree
You magically land
At the bottom of the key!


The piano beckons,
” Play down!” one reckons,
When I start to approach,
” Rotate more!”
I hear someone reproach.

The piano Cajoles,
“Go in!” , it entices all souls,
Then I begin to play,
” Stay out!” I hear someone say.

The piano allures,
“Tap on the keys,” it quietly purrs,
And after I finish the song,
“Thank you for playing”I hear someone
amidst the admiring throng.


Dr. Greene
Sports psychologist on the music scene
It’s the greatest game in town.
Do your best when pressure’s high,
Easy to do, Give it a try!

You can center anywhere
Best to start off in a chair.
Find your focus, set an intention
Breathe in, breathe out, release all your tension.

Find your center, find your core,
Visualize your BEST, nothing less, nothing more.
Open your eyes, find your point of focus,
Now you’re centered, and that’s not Hocus Pocus!

I can center on a yacht,
I can center on the spot.
I can center in a rage,
I can center on the stage!
I’ve got to go, ’cause now I’m on,
Thank you, thank you, Dr. Don!


A nocturne by Chopin is nice,
As long as you heed this advice,
Remember to feel
How light is the heel
Of your hand
and you’ll always entice.


A lady whose thumb liked to wipe
The keys with a definite swipe
Now lands nice and long
And plays the whole song
Without having reason to gripe.


White key, black key
Open hand
Be a little playful
Thumb can stand

Lunches, dinners,
room keys, phone-
Put it all aside,
and Center down.

Find my best route
to the key
Be direct and
let it be!


There once was a man from Nantucket
Who played while sitting on a bucket
He would hang from the keys
with no sense of ease
Until he met Terry from Setauket


Less is more, more is less
No big movements in excess
Just go down in a singe place,
Find the ‘no big deal’ spot when in haste.
Invite your elbow to be in front of you.
This all seems so easy to do.
When in the key be alert,
In that way you won’t get hurt.
Resting is like a cat ready to pounce
And in that way you find your balance.

Follow through with your arm to the point of sound,
Keep your feet and pelvis towards the ground,
Ride the keys, break the resistance
And in that way, you go the distance.


For a long time I thought
That my future was set.
Certain songs shouldn’t be bought
Or so I thought in my head.
But then I discovered my potential was great.
Susan said, “Why limit yourself?”
And I soon took the bait.
Rhapsody in Blue could be played with some help.
And now that I’m learning my favorite piece
I’m happy and balanced
To say the least. 🙂


Have the wit,
Dig yourself out of the pit!
Make the putt and you’ll be real smooth
“Out of the rut, into the groove”
Release the tension
Like you made pension
Watch your alignment
Or you’ll reach confinement
Relax your muscles
Will make you bustle
Keep your head up
So you’ll get the Cup
When a musician plays a scale on
a newly cleaned piano,
He goes from C to shining C!
If you get the pun
You’ve had some real fun!


Roses are red
Drywall is spackled
Come to Balanced Pianist
To refresh your Block and Tackle

Bottom to Bottom to Bottom I go
As the music begins to flow
If at first intimidated
Mindsets soon are abated.


And finally, two poems from our eager German-practicers:

Alles muss das Gleich sein
besonders mit dem Klavier.
Als ob man zu fuss geht
Aber mit den Arm und Fingern.

(Every thing must be balanced
especially with the piano
as if one is walking
but with the arm and fingers.)


Und hier bin ich, die letzte,
die etwas schreiben muss
Und das werde ich jetzte sagen,
dem Klavier mit dem Handen spielen,
und nicht mit dem Fuss!

(I am assured a Real Translation is coming. In the meantime, I’ll just tell you this goes something like:

And here I am, last
And have to write Something,
And that is that the piano is played with the hand
And not with the foot!)

Sung to the tune of “Edelweiss”

Lumbricals, lumbricals
We’re so happy to meet you.
Organized, fingers rise
Tapping down so completely.

Lumbricals gracefully lift and drop,
Lift and drop forever.

Lumbricals, lumbricals
Bless those muscles forever.


Sung to the tune of “Whistle A Happy Tune”

Whenever I play my thumb,
It’s neutral, sleek and long.
I prep with an active palm,
that makes my hand feel strong–
and aligned.

Whenever I play my thumb,
my hand cooperates.
My wrist and my arm aligned,
the feeling it creates,
it feels great.

The result of this execution
is very strange to tell.
For when I play
my thumb this way,
my tone is clear as well.

Whenever I play my thumb,
It’s neutral, sleek and long.
I prep with an active palm,
that makes my hand feel strong–
and aligned.

Thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb
Thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb.
Thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb
Thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb, thumb.
You can be as brave,
If you make your thumb be-have!


Sung to the tune of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair”

I’m gonna fix that thumb whatever I do.
I’m gonna fix that thumb whatever I do.
I’m gonna fix that thumb whatever I do
And send it on its way.

I’m gonna keep that thumb out of trouble today.
I’m gonna play that thumb in an elegant way.
If the thumb and the hand together will stay.
Then we’ll be on our way.

Don’t try to pull it back.
Terry says that won’t go.
Just try to keep it light.
Susan says “like a pro.”
Now sit down and tone your hand and do it.



If the thumb is just a problem and you cringe each time it plays.
Waste no time,
Make a change,
Yes at first it will be strange!
Just keep lifting that drumstick then play down to the key.



Sung to the tune of “Camptown Races”

On my way to Piano camp, doo da,doo da
I learned some things to hone my skills
Oh doo da day.
Come to play all day, come to play all night
I bet next year, I’ll do this again
Oh doo da day.


Sung to the tune of “Love Me Do”

In, in and out
Walking hand and arm
Arm and finger drop
Terry and Susan…they’re the best!

(Thank you! So are you!)


Sung to the tune of “I Feel Pretty”

I feel open, oh so open.
I feel open and balanced and toned.
And my thumb no longer has a mind of its own!

I am centered, oh so centered.
I am centered and focused and down-in my falm
And I’m listening so my mindset is peaceful and calm!

I’m so happy, oh so happy
That I found Well-Balanced Pianist
And I adore my teachers for they are the finest!


Sung to the tune of “Oops I did it again”

Oops I did it again
My fingers forgot
They forgot to drop
Oh baby baby

Oops I did it again
Please stay in your best alignment
My thumb’s not all on its own.


Sung to the tune of “Poker Face”

I wanna hold my hands like when they’re down at my knees
Soft and toned they move with ease as I travel to the keys
Scales and chords arpeggios have never felt so free
When my hands fingers and arms move in synchronicity.

Oh, oh oh oh oh
Ease up your thumb or you will go numb.
Oh, oh oh oh oh oh
Ride up the key so your body will be pleased.

Can’t drop my, can’t drop my, can’t drop my…
… wrist or knuckle bridge. Lift only enough to drop Can’t drop my, can’t drop my, can’t drop my…
… wrist or knuckle bridge.
Lift only enough to drop.

Pu Pu Pu
Pu Pu Prep Pu Pu Prep in Place.

Sung to the tune of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

Oh I tell you somethin’ so listen what I say.

When I say at WBP — they want to help you play.
They want to heal your ha—and. they want to heal your hand.

And when you get there you feel happy inside.
It’s such a feelin’ that your music, you can’t hide…you can’t hide…you can’t hide!

Oh yeah you should do somethin’ then you’ll see what I say. When you go to WBP and they will help you play.

They want to heal your ha–and, they want to heal your hand. They want to heal your ha—a—and!


Sung to the tune of “I’m as Corny as Kansas in August”

The key is as flat as a sidewalk in Kansas,
So said Terry to Sam by and by,
No need to feel,
It will tilt to the heel
of your hand or fall down to your thigh.

Think of your wrist as you move left and then right,
Don’t let it lead you to the next part,
Stay in the mid-range,
Oh, don’t let that ever change
and you will play great Mozart.

Mary Ellen was playing with passion,
Suddenly Terry took her aside,
Here’s a story
To keep you from worry
When ever you play thumb to 5:

“As the plane flies over the plateau,
Down go the care parcels one at a time,
But, the wing tips
Never, ever slip
Out of their horizontal line.”

Now I need to finish the story,
As we prepare to go our own ways,
Susan and Terry
You’ve made us so merry,
And given us so much each day!


Sung to the tune of “Summertime”

And the learnin’ is easy
Ideas are jumpin’ and
Solutions are high.
Your technique is rich
And your hands are Good-Lookin’
with Terry and Susan and Judy all

One a these mornin’s
you gonna wake up swimmin’
In the SWAMP you’ll be gettin’ all WET.
If that should happen…
you’ll go right to your toolbox
For one of those great
ideas you came so far to get!

Well one a’ these mornin’s
We’re gonna rise up playin’
We’ll say “THAT’S IT”
And ’til that mornin’ we’ll
keep on gently walkin’ with
SUSAN & TERRY & JUDY all standin’ by…..