Archive for the ‘Musings on Life…’ Category


Today I found a dime. It was on the ground during my morning walk.

Earlier this year I attended a Music Conference where a colleague told me a story: A former instructor who had emigrated to the U.S. from Europe many years ago believed that when you saw money on the sidewalk, even if it was a small coin like a penny, you should pick it up. It’s true value lies in an opportunity – you should look at the year printed on the coin and be grateful for something good that happened in that year.

The dime I found this morning was minted in 2015. Well, I do have a standout memory from 2015.

My summer music camp travels had begun and I was in Ottawa, Kansas – which was a new town for me. Though I was watching my step, somehow I ended up on the ground during a morning jog and later on, in the emergency room. I broke my ankle in two places.

Once home in Houston, the doctor recommended surgery, followed by time off and physical therapy. Mixed in was depression due to the sudden inactivity, learning to get around on crutches and braces and missing planned events. All told, it added up to months of time I would have much rather spent doing other things.

So, today when I picked up that dime, it was disappointing to see the year 2015. The first thing I thought of as a memory was my broken leg.

I know we’re supposed to be thankful even for challenges because they often work out for good. But, on the other hand, it would sure be nice to have a happy memory from 2015!!

So I worked to think and to remember one: it was also the year I traveled to Ohio to work with students in a small but vibrant studio with a family who hosted me and with whom I’ve stayed in touch.

I decided that’s a pretty nice memory from 2015 that I can feel grateful for!!

And another memory came – I started a new job as a college professor, which has been great.

And then I remembered something else really special – an Arts organization in Guatemala City endowed a scholarship in my name to allow an underprivileged child to receive music lessons. That has been a standout – and they regularly communicate about her progress and joy in playing. I was even able to meet her in 2015.

And I met all of the nice people – including Emergency Room Staff – in Ottawa, Kansas for the first time.

So – to overcome the bitter memory, it required a bit of digging for one nice one. After that, it seemed as if the walls gave way and many other good thoughts followed.

Here is the dime that inspired it. The coin that taught me – much in the same way the physical therapist did – that the first step is often the hardest one to take.

“Success breeds success.”
Shinichi Suzuki

One thin dime which was found on the sidewalk taught an important lesson..

One thin dime which was found on the sidewalk taught an important lesson.


Remembering Joe Pass

Today from my vacation spot in Destin, Florida I’m listening to the music of  Joe Pass. Joe used to come to Berklee often during my time there. My teacher, Al Defino, had lived a while in LA where he studied with and hung out with Joe. So, when Joe was in Boston for a gig, we often saw him in the halls at school on the 5th Floor where the Guitar Department was. During the days, he didn’t have scheduled time and he said he wanted to see what was up in our guitar dept because “This is where all the good, young players come from.”

And today I thought if there were smart phones back then, I would have a selfie with Joe from one of those times he was hanging with us or doing a clinic in the Performance Center.

This is one thing vacations are good for…time to muse around with ideas like this one. So, included with this post is a composite of Joe and me, how we might have looked if there had been a photo back then….Sort of.

And another picture just of Joe that looks like it might have been taken in the BPC during one of his clinics.

There are not many guitarists who don’t cite Joe as an influence on their playing and the development of their career choice.

Thanks, Joe, for all of the inspiration.



What an honor to receive the exciting news that a scholarship has been created in my name to assist a deserving child’s study of guitar in Guatemala.

On behalf of my colleagues in Central America I am always happy to work very hard because I know their deep desire to support the arts and education in their countries. This is just another example of how wonderful their hearts are to reach out and share what they have.

I am so proud of all of them! I look forward to meeting the recipient and watching her development with music.

The photo below is from a past Festival, just to help put a face to the story. This boy is NOT The child receiving the scholarship – that news has not yet been released – he is a young man from Guatemala City where the school is.

Here is a link to the story and below that, the text in Spanish with English translation.

“El día de hoy en ALARTE & Estudio de Guitarra Paco Godoy se decidió crear la “BECA ANDREA CANNON” en gratitud a la Maestra Andrea Cannon por sus esfuerzos, entrega, corazón y el trabajo que realiza en pos de la enseñanza, aprendizaje y compartimiento de la Guitarra Clásica y la aplicación del Método Suzuki en Guatemala y Centro América. Muchas gracias maestra Andrea Cannon, así como a la Asociación Suzuki de las Américas, Asociación Suzuki de El Salvador y Asociación Costarricense del Método Suzuki. Pronto compartiremos acerca de la niña que recibirá esta beca, la cual procuraremos mantener y renovar de por vida. Gracias de nuevo. Atrévete… Libérate… Elévate… ven Alarte.”


“Today at Alarte & The Guitar Studio of Paco Godoy it was decided to create the “ANDREA CANNON SCHOLARSHIP” in gratitude to Master-Teacher Andrea Cannon for her efforts, dedication, heart and the work done towards teaching, learning and sharing Classical Guitar and implementation of the Suzuki Method in Guatemala and Central America. Many thanks Andrea Cannon and the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Suzuki Association of El Salvador and Costa Rican Suzuki Association. Soon we will share about the girl who will receive this scholarship, which will seek to maintain and renew her throughout her lifetime. Thanks again. Dare Yourself … Free yourself … Rise Above… and come with Alarte.”

Two teachers from Guatemala City with their young student

Two teachers from Guatemala City with their young student


“If I’m writing this to you, it’s because you’re a special person in my life.”

This started out as an email to family to express my love and appreciation to the most special people in my life. As the email took shape, I realized it should be expressed to everyone I know.

My husband and I spent last weekend in DC celebrating with my youngest sister and her new fiancé at an engagement party given for them by some friends. We also visited with my brother and his family – watching TV and having fun.

Yesterday morning when our plane landed back in Houston and we turned our phones on, there was an email saying that one of my musician colleagues had passed away suddenly, just a few hours prior, of cardiac arrest.

It is shocking news. He was not old (’50’s), he was busy and active, and appeared to be healthy.

Events like this shine a light on what is really important.

We are all busy. As a self-employed musician, it’s natural to want to work as hard as possible while the opportunity is there.  The busy work schedule makes it difficult to take time to get check-ups and routine tests just to be on top of things.  Especially if you feel fine!

If this busy, healthy, middle-aged guy could be suddenly struck down without warning, then it could happen to others, too. I guess it could happen to anyone.

It’s always hard to lose family members. Or friends. When they are old or sick, at least you have some time to make the adjustment and say the things you need to say – whether to make wrong things right or just so they know how you feel.

When things like this happen so suddenly and there isn’t any advance warning – well, that makes it very difficult for the loved ones left behind.

Do what you need to (go for walks. Change your diet.) and stay on top of things health-wise.

There is one more thing to add – another colleague passed away earlier this year, a beautiful guitarist who was only 42 years old. She had battled cancer for years, so in her case, she just finally lost her struggle.  A friend of mine who works with her told me had regrets that he never told her how much he admired her as a teacher. So, he wrote me a note to tell me how much he appreciated and respected my work and our friendship.


I want to tell everyone I love that they’re important in my life. That I am looking forward to many, many more years together. Mr. Rogers used to say – and it’s true – There’s Nobody else like you. Everyone has their place and their calling.

Say it to those who need to hear it – “I appreciate and love you!!”
I guess there’s never enough time to say those things as often as they *should* be said.

My colleagues’ passing has given me food for thought.

In their memory and as a tribute, Let us all say it now, to those we love, while we are able.

Pianist, Educator

John Hendrickson at CCMTA Luncheon

John Hendrickson and Dorothy Kirkpatrick – CCMTA Presidents

John H on Harley!

John Hendrickson – on a Harley!
(from John’s website)





















Guitarist, Instructor


Sabine Madriguera



The best time, if you can be someplace quiet and outdoors, is the last few minutes just before the sun rises, when ALL those birds get so excited in their anticipation of those first rays of light …

It’s a treat, isn’t it? Like they know something we don’t- or maybe it’s that we’ve just forgotten.
Dr. Michael Montgomery, Univ of Arkansas Music Faculty

Reading this quote by Dr. Montgomery this morning reminded me of a precious time I had with my 5 year-old granddaughter recently.  She visited for Christmas, and one night she and I shared the sleeper sofa in the den.

She woke up while it was still dark and was cuddly in the early morning. I asked her if she had ever seen the sun rise. She said she had not.  So, we sat together in the big, overstuffed chair by the patio door to watch the changes outside the door and inside the room.

The first thing we noticed is the sky got a little lighter.  Then more…then we heard the birds begin to sing. More of them joined in as the sky got lighter.

Finally, the street light turned off and we noticed we wouldn’t need to turn on the light any more to be able to walk safely around the room.  That’s when we knew the sun was up and the day had begun.

It was such a sweet time..she talked later of the sky getting lighter and the birds singing. And the street light going out…one of my friends said she will eventually forget the gifts she got for Christmas, but never that first experience of the new morning we watched and shared together.

I know I won’t.

Reconnecting and Replaying

It’s about time this Blog got back on track accomplishing it’s purpose in life.

Today I introduce former student Mark Mueller. He took some lessons here in junior high. A few months ago I met his parents at a wedding and they told me he’s still happily playing his guitar and using it in his job working with youth ministry. He’s graduated from college, married and living in Idaho.

And a few weeks ago he uploaded a video to YouTube to earn a spot opening a concert for Tyrone Wells – a singer-songwriter hero of his.

Helping former student with view counts in YouTube contest

He actually moved to the forefront of the view count early on and stayed there quite a while.Then as the deadline grew closer, some apparent heavy-hitters found out about this contest and uploaded videos garnering views in the tens of thousands very quickly. All he has to do is be one of the top ten. That gets him into the next phase of the competition.

So, here I am still watching and hoping Mark stays in the count. I was proud of him for the good showing in the opening stages of the contest. He’s not a touring singer-songwriter (yet, anyway!) but he was on top for a while…

Now, here is the point. Mark doesn’t know this, but he left something behind when he moved on from his guitar lessons here. We were working on playing fingerstyle. He’d never had any problems with it before, but one day couldn’t seem to get it right. It was out of the blue…as he got up to leave, I noticed he was chewing gum.

Hence, the Andrea Cannon Research Department on Gum-Chewing and Finger Alternation now had all the evidence necessary to ban the stuff at guitar lessons.

So, there it is – that’s where the rule came from. I have certainly told this story – over and over again. Never mentioned the particular student – but now that he’s famous, I thought it might be nice to put the facts together.

Well, good luck in the Contest, Mark!!

Here’s the YouTube link for his cover of Tyron’s Tune:


Each day during my visit to Alexandria, I’ve spent the first half hour sitting in the back yard enjoying the coolest and quietest part of the day. Yesterday the crows were cawing loudly in conversation back and forth.This morning there is no sign of them, but I have a quiet robin for a companion as well as a variety chirping birds and insects.

Perhaps later, I may post some thoughts on Concert Preparation in the aftermath of my solo performance yesterday. Always thinking about better ways to do that. On that front, it seemed to go particularly well this time.

Alexandria Concert 2011

My niece got some short videos to share with her mom who could not attend because of work. Here’s a very brief and fuzzy excerpt from the Brouwer Etudes.

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