“I Just Woke Up Like This”

“I just woke up like this” is the theme of selfies parading around the internet allegedly portraying their subjects in a make-up free moment, just out of bed. Forget about the foundation, the falsies, the hint of lipgloss, or the fact that this is in fact the 322nd photo that has been ‘spontaneously’ taken. It’s a trend on the internet, but it’s not limited to the world of influencers and glamour.

Recently Dimitar laughingly showed me a video of somebody learning an intermediate piece from scratch in ‘one hour’. Aside from some unusual things like putting the score inside the piano -something most pianists only do when they’ve memorized a piece- and the fact that he never wrote anything down – that would be rare when you’re learning a piece from scratch- there was one clear factor that made this video fake. In the first minute, he sounded terrible. And you might say, well yeah, he’s just learning the piece. But that’s just not how it works. In order to understand why, I first have to tell you, there are people that learn pieces at warp speed. Dimitar has a colleague that can sightread entire concertos, with stunning technique. But you see, people that are talented in that area, and have backed up their talent with an insane amount of work, sound amazing from the get-go. If you’re truly watching somebody able to learn a piece in an hour, you will hear amazing sightreading and near flawless technique. There might be struggles in a few areas, and some work to increase tempo, but that’s it. Somebody doesn’t go from “shit to fit” in an hour.

The question that’s on my mind is, why do you want to fake it? Why not just post a beautiful selfie, or post a video of you playing a piece beautifully? Why add the insincerity? Why so desperate to be a ‘genius’? What’s wrong with not being a genius? And moreover, all the geniuses in the music industry I’ve ever met, worked harder than any other people I’ve known. They would be deeply offended by the idea of ‘simply’ being a genius. In the brilliant words of MMA fighter Conor McGregor:

“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent doesn’t exist, we all are equals as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that’s that. I’m not talented, I am obsessed.”

– Conor McGregor.

 The idea of ‘I just woke up like this’, ‘I’m just sightreading’, ‘I don’t use steroids bro’, pops up everywhere. If you don’t know anything about the field, it can be an easy trap to fall into.  Moreover, there’s something magical about giving so much weight to talent. Like magic tricks, we often don’t want to know how something special is created, we want to see the magical illusion. Something which some people immediately take advantage of, to gain praise and adoration.

Unfortunately, this is often followed by people giving up on their own things because they think there must be something wrong with them. My favorite Youtuber learned this piece in one hour, but it took me 100 hours, therefor I’m clearly not cut out for this and should quit.

How many people have given up on piano playing because they thought they were untalented? I shudder to think about it. But I can tell you, after talking to Dimitar about our message on social media, we both immediately said our priority is to give a genuine message. So here it is: If you want to play those beautiful classical pieces that you love like Debussy’s Clair de Lune, Beethoven’s Moonlight or Liszt’s Liebestraum, you’re going to have to put in a lot of hours, weeks, months, years. I’ve been playing piano for 27 years, and it’s never gotten easier for me. Piano playing is laughing and crying, struggle and euphoria. It’s something that goes deeper than ‘I just learned this look at me’. It’s the journey of a lifetime.  


How to come back stronger after Corona

These times are challenging for all of us. But especially for those of us who’s businesses are forced to shut down. Dimitar and I usually tour around the country giving concerts in big and small concert halls. We have between 25-30 concerts a year with our ensemble. And that’s not counting the engagements we have with other ensembles.

So far since the corona times we’ve had 4…

Not only does this have a huge impact financially, it also has a huge mental impact. But if you’re reading this, you probably already know that. You’re probably in the same situation.

During these times I’ve realized that you can’t control life around you. We all thought this would never last as long as it has, and here we are in strict lockdown again (at least here in the Netherlands) What you can control however is you’re reaction. So that’s why I was inspired to write this post for you. If you spend all your time thinking of the things you’ve lost, you’re not open to what you might gain in these times.

So here are a few things you can do to come out of these times stronger and better:

  1. Standing still and evaluating your life

Being forced not to work isn’t fun. Especially if you love what you’re doing. Especially if you’re financially dependent on your work. But it does give you time. And you can use this time to evaluate your life. Ask yourself questions like:

Am I satisfied with my life?

Are there things that would make it better?

Do I enjoy my job?

Am I as healthy as I can be?

Do I spend enough time with my loved ones?

How is my life/work balance?

These questions are actually really important, but we often don’t slow down enough to ask them.

What I came up with after self reflection is that, though I enjoy having concerts, it’s actually essential for me to have another income stream. This realization has been very valuable to me and has inspired me to take my business into a new direction!

After evaluating and self reflection, make sure to plan and act on your realizations. You will come out of these times stronger!

2. Time for new habits/hobbies/interests

Being forced to work less gives you time. And what you do with your time is unbelievably valuable. Since the closing of the gyms, Dimitar and I have been building the habit of running outside. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, but ‘never got round to it’.

I’m sure you have a list of things you’ve ‘never got round to.’ Choose the one that’s the most important and plan it into your week. Make sure you start with little chunks. Dimitar and I didn’t start with running the marathon, we started with a minute of walking and 2 minutes of running. It’s the same for any new thing you add to your schedule. Start modest, and don’t judge. Don’t say ‘it’s not enough’. Add little chunks, be proud of your achievement and watch your new habit/hobby build and thrive.

3. Adding a new income stream/exploring new financial options

I already mentioned this briefly in point one as a new income stream was one of my realizations after my self reflection.

Use this time to research new income streams. We all want to be a little more financially free and I have to say, we cannot have chosen better times to live in! The options are limitless, from Youtube, or online teaching on platforms like Skillshare and Udemy, to selling your lovely products on sites like Etsy, tutoring people through Skype, maybe finally finishing that book and self publishing. There are tons of things you can do to come out of these times a little richer and more financially independent.

4. Time for research

Did you get excited till now? And inspired? I know I did writing this for you! This brings me to my next point. Remember when I told you to start new things in small chunks? That’s because, honestly, new things can be pretty overwhelming. I’ve had tons of time for research in these times and this has made me realize how much time it takes to start something new. You have to not only build knowledge but also learn new skills.

For example: Dimitar and I started a Youtube channel, research involved hours and hours of looking for camera’s, lights, microphones. After that, research for the right editing program, research on how to edit, research on SEO, honestly I think it took us like 6 months at least to get all the research done. And after the research came the skills, skills on speaking in front of the camera, preparing a video, editing etc.

In other words, starting something new and fresh is exciting… and also overwhelming. But right now, you have the time. So settle in, take it slow, reward yourself, be proud of yourself and get started. In one year you’ll be so happy you took these steps!

5. REST.

With capital letters, because WE FORGET TO REST. Kick back, take a nap, read a book, meditate. Peace and quite will help you so much. Especially if you’re a creative person. (Like me and Dimitar) This world, however amazing it is, has so many distractions, impressions, opinions and images thrown at us every day. It’s so important to calm down, unplug, and rest. But we often just don’t give ourselves time for this. Use the time now. You’ll see that this will amp up your creative juices like crazy!

6. Take care of anything that you’ve been avoiding

Is there anything in your life that you’ve been avoiding? Tidying your house? Repairing a relationship with somebody that you’ve fought with? Doing something about your health?

Now is the time!

I hope this post inspired you to come out of these challenging times a stronger and better version of you. Let’s make sure to support each other in these times. Leave a comment below, or check our Instagram or Youtube and leave a comment there 🙂

Xo xo,


3 Tips on how to read notes like a PRO

Now that the new year has started, a lot of people will want to start new things. Has playing an instrument always been your dream? In this article I discuss 3 tips to help you get the hang of note reading.

But first let’s explore, why is note reading important?

Funnily enough, all students try to avoid note reading. Note reading is like reading a new alphabet, it’s pretty challenging. Not because it’s difficult per se, but because it takes a lot of work and effort. Our brains have to digest a lot of information every day, and a lot of the information we absorb, we simply forget rather quickly. That way our system doesn’t overload. Only the things that are really important get stored in our long term memory. In other words, we need to make sure that your brain considers reading notes important.

How do we do that?

Well that brings me to my fist tip:

  1. Repetition over a long period of time

You have to realize that reading notes is a matter of long term repetition. You will notice that if you start practicing your notes for a week, you will start remembering them. If you stop for two weeks, you’ll have forgotten them again. In other words, notes need consistent repetition over a long period of time. When I say long, I mean at least 6 months to a year. A lot of students get impatient with themselves because they can’t remember their notes, but it’s important not to criticize! Try practicing your notes 10 minutes everyday consistently for several months and be patient and understanding. It’s important to not only know your notes on the short term, it’s important we get them stored in your long term memory! So what’s the best way to practice your notes? That brings us to tip number 2:

2. Naming your notes

One of the best ways to learn your notes is to take a new piece, practice separate hands and say the notes you’re playing out loud while you’re playing them. There are tons of music methods using this strategy to learn notes. Even dating far far back, the pianist and composer Carl Czerny, who was the teacher of the great Franz Liszt, describes this method of note reading to one of his students in his letters.

Now that’s a method that has held up over the ages!

3. Use and app

One of my favorite ways for my students to learn notes is through an app. Apps are exceptionally great for repetition. My favorite note reading app is Noteworks (and no, I’m not sponsored) It has many levels in which you can practice more challenging note reading and you can practice with a little keyboard that’s very accurate. It took me a long time to find a good note reading app because a lot of apps don’t have a realistic keyboard, meaning if you see a c that’s very high, they only give you the option to press the central c for example (which is in the middle of the piano). This doesn’t help you learn the note heights properly, which is something that’s crucial in note reading. So Noteworks is definitely an app that I would advise if you decide that you want the help of an app.

If you need any help with your note reading, or you have any other musical question please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact me at : info[@]dimitrovboelee.com. You can also purchase an online piano lesson at the shop page. There’s no commitment there, if you want just one lesson to find the solution to a specific question you can just purchase one lesson.

Are you running low on cash and can’t afford a lesson right now? Why don’t you watch my course on note reading for FREE? This link will give you a 2 week premium membership to Skillshare. Skillshare is an awesome learning platform. I learned about Skillshare from famous Youtubers. I teach there, but I also have a premium membership myself. With a premium membership you have access to ALL courses that are being taught on Skillshare, which means that you can watch my course for free, but also all other classes as well. Skillshare teachers teach a variety of different subjects, from business to art to music of course.

Thanks for joining me in learning something new today,

And as always, don’t forget to practice 🙂


New Course by the DimitrovBoelee Piano Duo

The DimitrovBoelee Piano Duo have launched their first piano course. The course features the famous bagatelle ‘Fur Elise’ by Beethoven. Dimitar and Elvire both share ideas and tips from both their experience as performers as well as their rich experience as teachers. The best thing is, you can try out their 1.5 hour course for free by signing up for skillshare for two months with this link:https://skl.sh/2G2CezC

This link will give you a free premium skillshare membership for two months. In these two months you have access to all our piano courses as well as the thousands of courses that skillshare offers.

Don’t like the idea of a membership but prefer to buy? Playing Fur Elise is also available to buy on udemy.com