Chris Foley

April 10, 2022

Creative pursuits can be delicate at the best of times

Many of us found our creative routines disrupted by the avalanche of news and daily horrors arising from Russia's invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. I kept on plowing along with my teaching and administrative work, but with my writing it took me around a month to readjust to this new reality and figure out a way to continue. C...
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February 13, 2022

Exhausting in Large Quantities

As a Canadian, the last week has been challenging for me. With the continuing occupations in Ottawa and Windsor, I've found myself going down a rabbit hole of Reddit megathreads, Twitter feeds, and news updates. I didn't initially notice the anxiety, but the stress of following the news for an extended period of time really caught up w...
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January 30, 2022

Please Take a Look at the Settings

This last week was the second of two January online examining weeks for me, and it was a pleasure hearing so many fine young musicians. One of the biggest challenges for me this week was helping candidates get set up with their video and audio at the start of the exam. This was the first online performing experience for many of them, a...
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January 23, 2022

The Messy Backstage

Over the last week I've been examining remotely for The Royal Conservatory. At the beginning of each session my studio is relatively organized, but over the course of an examining week descends into chaos, with volumes of piano books arrayed on top of my grand piano, on chairs, or thrown on the floor. It's fortunate that the candidates...
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January 16, 2022

They're Forcing Us To Go Back

This week has been the coldest of the season here in southern Ontario. Although I'm fine going for walks when the temperature is hovering around freezing, when it dips to -19C like it did yesterday (around -2F), I don't want to go anywhere. In the last few days I've been asking my students if they were excited to be returning to in-per...
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January 9, 2022

Here We Go Again

The current Omicron wave is at least the third time in Ontario that music teachers have had to switch to full online teaching. This time around I was prepared for full days of working with students on devices all day, and made sure that I was standing and pacing at regular intervals, helping both my focus and my back. Doing at least so...
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January 2, 2022

Reflections and Resolutions

The first weekend of the new year is traditionally a time of reflecting on the previous year and planning for the next. Although many in the arts have found their work interrupted, this was not the case for me. After starting off the year teaching 100% online, I gradually moved towards a hybrid model of teaching both in-person and onli...
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July 2, 2021

Early Registration and other June Activities

Over the last few years, we’ve had a sizeable increase in the number of students from our area interested in piano lessons. In order to streamline the process, we decided to institute an early registration deadline for current families to submit the first month’s (or first semester’s) payment before we can accept any new students. Alth...
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June 18, 2021

A Slightly Slower Pace

The last few weeks have been some of the busiest of the year, with a combination of preparing my students for their RCM remote exams, uploading dozens of videos for my year-end online studio recital on YouTube, organizing the watch party for it, organizing pre-registration for the coming year, and getting materials ready for a full sum...
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May 21, 2021

Until That Time, Everything is Sales

Earlier this week, Wendy and I finalized our studio policy for the coming year. This is an important document, as it outlines policies and procedures for all current and prospective students, including rates. Last year I wrote a two-partseries on writing studio policies during Covid, and the difference from then to now is that things a...
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May 14, 2021

Rose-coloured Enthusiasm

Last week I adjudicated for the North Fraser Music Festival. The advanced-level pianists I heard played very well on the whole, and the adjudication was asynchronous - pre-recorded performances rather than live. The festival organizers allotted lots of time, so I never felt rushed when hearing the 80-odd performances, and was able to w...
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April 30, 2021

Stay in Shape

Back in early December, Margo Garrett asked me to write something for her Collab Corner in the NATS Journal of Singing. An idea simmering on the back burner for a while was finding a correlation between the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815 with the sudden emergence of the first significant lieder repertoire in the months following, mo...
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April 23, 2021

A Conversational Style

Reading is important to me, and I've always found value from following independent blogs since their inception around 20 years ago. A conversational style, wide-ranging commentary, and lack of structure in relation to more established forms of writing helped blogs to resonate with me, and in the early days there was something charming ...
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April 16, 2021

April is the Cruelest Month

Things had been going pretty smoothly for much of the year. I've been cutting down on the number of projects I've been doing in order to focus on teaching, writing articles, and personal time. The last few months have been relatively medium-paced, and I had been managing to keep the number of things I'm working on at any given time und...
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April 9, 2021

That Line of Inquiry is Strongly Discouraged

At such a time of uncertainty for so many people, this spring is turning out to be a time of stability and comforting routine for me. Weekdays start with a double espresso and an hour of writing in the mornings, followed by breakfast, email, and errands. I've got several writing projects on deck, including articles for the NATS Journal...
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April 2, 2021

An Unexpected Malady of Online Teaching

Hi everyone, Just when I was starting to get comfortable with a hybrid setup of teaching my piano students both online and distanced in-person throughout the day, the rise of variants in Ontario has precipitated a return to lockdown conditions starting this weekend. When I teach in person, I like to pace the room, sit, stand, and move ...
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March 26, 2021

Overcoming Sameness

Last week I spent four days remote examining for The Royal Conservatory. These were my first examining days since January, and were a welcome break from my usual full schedule of online and distanced in-person teaching. Through the week I heard young pianists from all over North America via Zoom, and a typical day might find me startin...
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March 19, 2021

The Creative Mind in Quarantine

For many of us, this week marks the one-year anniversary of the start of lockdown. Those of us in the piano teaching field who were able to swiftly make the change to online instruction largely weathered the storm with very little interruption. This last year has been the busiest on record for me, and one of the biggest challenges has ...
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March 12, 2021

Constantly Reinventing Ourselves

Hi everyone, Welcome to my newly reinvented newsletter! This week's articles are all around one central theme: how we're fighting to create a new conception of ourselves that includes what we consume, participate in, how we structure our activities, and where it is that we intend to go, professionally and personally. Amidst all the tur...
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March 10, 2021

Welcome to my newsletter!

Subscribe here for weekly updates about the cool stuff I'm up to, as well as articles from the Collaborative Piano Blog, Foley Music and Arts, and curated links from around the web. This will be a weekly newsletter for the most part, although at times I get really busy, so updates might be more sporadic. But I promise it won't be borin...
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