Holiday Music at Good Day Sacramento!


I have always loved playing holiday music, and nowadays I enjoy teaching holiday music to my students each year.   Last month I was privileged to visit “Good Day Sacramento,” part of CW31’s TV station in Sacramento, to play holiday music for their morning show.  For me as a teacher, it was a joy to share this with my students.  For me as a person, it was a dream come true.

On an early Sunday morning, my wife and I got in the car to drive to the TV station.  Though we ended up staying there for three hours, my recorded segments were short (30 seconds to 4 minutes).  All in all, we aired six segments, for about twelve minutes of air time!

Me with the Claus… who happened to be visiting the TV station that day! (photo: Charr Crail)

What a blast! I loved getting a glimpse into how a live TV show operates.  And of course, it was great to play music for everyone.  As far as the holiday music played, each segment featured a different song, namely:

  • Let it Snow (the weather truly was “frightful,” the coldest day of the year that I could recall, “but the fire is so delightful…”)
  • Santa Claus is Coming to Town (this worked out perfectly because Santa Claus literally was at the studio!)
  • What Child is This (a favorite of mine for most of my life, one of the inspirations for me to play piano)
  • The Christmas Song/Chestnuts roasting on an open fire (I talked with Santa Claus about him singing this, but that didn’t happen, so I just did a short segment instead.)
  • We Wish you a Merry Christmas
  • Feliz Navidad (Santa sang along!)

At the Good Day piano (photo: Charr Crail)

One of the things I enjoy about teaching music is that I get to explain my process to my students.  For this show, I didn’t use sheet music. Instead, I played from memory and improvised the chords.    Also, because I didn’t know exactly what would happen when I got to the station (this was my first on air TV gig!),  I didn’t decide which songs I was going to do until I got to the TV station and knew what to expect.   I came up with the choices on the fly because they felt right.

The key to pulling this off was preparation.  I have been performing holiday music for years, and many hundreds of piano shows have prepared me for my “big moment” on TV. Therefore I was fully prepared to play on cue with a huge TV camera and many people in the room staring at me.

I have always dreamed of being both a great performer and also of being on TV.  Also, since I came to Sacramento and heard about Good Day Sacramento, I wanted to be on the show.  Last month’s TV visit confirms to me that if you want something badly enough, you can get there!

I use this philosophy in my teaching. As a teacher, I believe strongly in the power of desire and encourage my students to follow their musical interests.  I wouldn’t be doing music if it wasn’t for the love it, and I do everything I can to unleash this in my students.


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In the Good Day studio (photo: Charr Crail)


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