The Miller Piano Specialists Podcast is a podcast dedicated to news and events at Miller Piano, music news and events around Nashville, How to learn to play the piano, Music Apps, Piano Lessons, diving deep into the technology behind today's pianos, Yamaha Pianos, Pearl River Pianos and much more.
Ed Bazel - Composer and Pianist
Another episode of the Miller Piano Podcast is here! Host, Jason Skipper sits down with accomplished pianist, composer, and award winner Ed Bazel. If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of becoming a professional musician, you do not want to miss this podcast!
Can Music Truly Heal the Soul?
Ed's Interesting Journey As an Aspiring Artist
How Ed Found His Absolute Favorite Piano
How and Why "The River of Calm" Began
Ed Bazel's Upcoming CD
Jason Skipper 0:12
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast! I'm your host Jason Skipper, and in this episode, we have special guest Ed Bazel here visiting us. Ed has been a longtime friend of Miller Piano Specialists. He is the host of The River of Calm live stream concert series, as well as The River of Calm beyond the music podcast. Ed is an accomplished pianist and composer, and he has won many awards. Just to name a few from Miller Piano Specialists, in 2017, Ed was the recipient of the MPS Hall of Fame Award in the Instrumentalists Category. In 2018, he received the MPS Hall of Fame Award as Entertainer of the Year. In late 2019 late last year, he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Ed, It's an honor to have you on the podcast, welcome!
Ed Bazel 1:00
Jason, thank you so much. You should be my agent, that sounds like that's pretty cool stuff that's happened there!
Jason Skipper 1:08
It's very impressive everything that you've done. You know, I've been watching the MPS Awards show last year, also online with The River of Calm. It's just impressive everything you've done, so it is an honor!
Ed Bazel 1:21
I'm a lucky man. I'll put it that way. So thank you so much for having me here.
Jason Skipper 1:26
All right. Well, as I mentioned that you have been working closely with Miller Piano Specialists for quite a while. I know you've been through them with the events over the years. You have The River of Calm that happens every month there at the store. How did your relationship start with Miller?
Ed Bazel 1:43
Oh, wow, that's a good question. It started because my sister took piano lessons when I was a kid. That's what happened. She was older than me, so my mom would drop her off and she figured, if she drops my sister off for half an hour, she might as well get me lessons too, so she can have an hour of free time. So my mom was really smart. So I started lessons at five. There's an answer to this Miller Piano thing that I'll get to. For 11 years kicking and screaming, and I was on a Yamaha spin at a piano at that time. I hated it until I realized that I was too shy to talk to girls, and maybe I could be good at piano and that would help. I don't know if it did or not, but that's another story. So yeah, I went to school, I have that business degree Computer Programming Degree and I told my mom and dad, "You know what, I'm going to play the piano for a living." I was a professional pianist for about 20 years. Not only here in my hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, but Lexington, Kentucky and then out in Los Angeles for many years. I was the guy like In the tuxedo at the Beverly Hills Country Club, you know, of course, I could play "Misty" (Ella Fitzgerald) and yes, the restroom is that way. I always use that as a joke. It was such a great way to make a living with my hands and my soul. I realized, the more I would go into an agent's office to pick up my paycheck, the more they would call me on the phone to do jobs and was like, "This is interesting." So I said, "Why don't I take that box of index cards you have of your artists?" This is really old school stuff, "And let me create a database for you." So that's how I got into the agency side of things. So I ended up becoming an agent in LA, a lot of work in the Asia Pacific market, and then learned the corporate entertainment market. We're getting to Miller Piano I just want you to know that!
Jason Skipper 3:52
Oh, you're good, you're good.
Podcast Episode #9 – Pianist and Composer Eric Bikales
Episode #9 of the Miller Piano Podcast is finally here! In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks with Eric Bikales, a musician, composer, and amazing pianist. If you are a music lover, this is an episode you do not want to miss out on!
Eric's Relationship with Miller Piano
How Eric Became the Musician He Is Today
Advice to an Aspiring Musician
The Music Business and LA Living
Eric's Music and New Album
Jason Skipper 0:12
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast! I'm your host, Jason Skipper, and in this episode, we have special guest, Eric Bikales connected with us. Eric has been a longtime friend of Miller piano specialist and is a musician. Specifically a wonderful pianist, composer, also a flute player and many other things. Eric has played for 37 years, I believe, with Neil Sedaka. He has composed music and played for many different artists, TV shows, and much more. I'm really looking forward to having Eric share so many of his stories. Eric, welcome to the podcast!
Eric Bikales 0:47
Hey, Jason, great to be here. I'm really happy to speak with you. The first thing I want to say is thank you to Miller Piano for being such a great home to me. All the people over there so nice, and they have treated me so well. For years now they just really make me feel like I have a place here in Franklin, Tennessee. You know, they also sell the best pianos too!
Jason Skipper 1:18
That is for sure! I know you've been with their events, "The River of Calm" and other events that they've done over the years at Miller Piano Specialists. I heard your music there and heard it online many times. Your music is amazing. Talking about Miller since we started there, how did your relationship start with Miller Piano Specialists?
Eric Bikales 1:37
Well, it was kind of funny. I had just moved to Franklin from a little bit north of Nashville. I lived there for a number of years. When I moved to Franklin, I decided that I want to start teaching piano out of my home. So I designed some posters and I just looked up what music stores were in the area and the first one on the list happened to be Miller. I went over there and I met Sherry Carlisle Smith, who was their general manager and a saleswoman, and she and I just really hit it off.
Jason Skipper 2:16
It's hard not to with Sherry in it?
Eric Bikales 2:19
She's got that bubbly personality! We sat down and talked for I think what amounted to like a couple of hours. I was only going to ask her if I could hang up an ad for teaching in her music store and it wound up that we knew all kinds of people in common. Then I found out that she had been in the business herself as one of the Jordanaires, which is a very famous singing group who used to backup Elvis and a lot of other artists. One of the guys in the Jordanaires and the name escapes me now (Charlie McCoy), who actually devised the Nashville Number System that we still use today. Sherry was there on the ground level when all that was happening, she was touring as a singer and she didn't become a piano salesperson until later on in life. Anyway, we had a great conversation and became really good friends. I just wound up starting to go there weekly to check up on how things were going, and then I got involved in their Writers Night, and she let me play original material. I developed a little audience and following at Miller, and then one thing developed into another and we've just been going strong for years.
Jason Skipper 3:43
How long has that been?
Eric Bikales 3:45
Well, I've been here for about six years, something like that. I think that she was one of the first people I met when I got here.
Jason Skipper 3:52
Okay. I know you've been connected through "Writers Night," you've been involved in that activity. Also "The River of Calm." How often are you in these events? And how often are these events held?
Eric Bikales 4:03
Miller Piano has events going every month. The
Podcast Episode #8 – Sylvia Miller and the Miller Piano Music Academy
Another episode of the Miller Piano Podcast is here! In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks with Sylvia Miller, Owner, and Director of the Miller Piano Music Academy. This is a great episode that you DO NOT want to miss! Enjoy!
Sylvia's Background and Beginnings in the Piano Business
The Miller Piano Music Academy and All of the Training Options That Are Offered at the Store.
The Amazing Benefits of Learning How to Play the Piano.
Jason Skipper 0:12
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast where in each episode we explore the world of music, and pianos, how technology has changed over the years in music and the latest happenings at Miller Piano Specialists. I'm your host, Jason Skipper, and I'm here with Sylvia Miller, who is the owner of Miller Piano Specialists along with her husband Ross. She is also the director of the Miller Piano Music Academy. Hi Sylvia, welcome to the podcast.
Sylvia Miller 0:39
Hi, Jason. Glad to be here.
Jason Skipper 0:41
It's great to have you. It's so good to have you here on the podcast. We've been wanting to get both you and Ross on here to do an episode talking about the history of Miller Piano. We haven't done it yet. But to all of our listeners, that's coming very, very soon, so stay tuned! Really looking forward to that. In any case, before we get into our topic, let's get to know you a little bit better since this is your first time on the podcast. I saw on the website that between you and Ross, you have over 80 years of experience in the piano business. Is that right?
Sylvia Miller 1:15
That's right. It's approaching 90 years.
Jason Skipper 1:20
Oh, wow. Yeah, that that's amazing. That's amazing. So where are you from Sylvia?
Sylvia Miller 1:26
Well, you know, I grew up in Upper East Tennessee, in Kingsport and lived there until I went to college.
Jason Skipper 1:37
Okay, where'd you go to college?
Sylvia Miller 1:38
I went to college it East Tennessee State, which is in Johnson City. Johnson City is just a few short miles from Kingsport.
Jason Skipper 1:47
And so how did it happen? How did you get into the piano business? Did you do it before you met Ross? Or did you meet him and then get into it then? How did you get in?
Sylvia Miller 1:56
I actually did. I was going to College, and Hammond Organ Company opened a manufacturing facility in Johnson City. And I was approached by somebody that worked in HR there, they were looking for three people who played piano who could work in their final inspection area. And I took that job and that's what really got me into the music business. I had played piano since I was in about second grade. And I played the organ, also. But from there, I worked there about a year and a half, I guess, and was not in school and decided I really wanted to go back to school and get my degree. And so I took a little part-time job at the local piano store there in Johnson City. And that's where I met my husband.
Jason Skipper 3:00
Wow. So you guys met at the piano store?
Sylvia Miller 3:02
We did? Yes. And at that time, I was selling sheet music. And he was doing part-time delivery at Christmas. He was in college also.
Jason Skipper 3:14
Okay, gotcha. Well, I won't spoil everything for our meeting whenever we talk with Ross as well. So I'll let you get deeper into that. But how did you guys end up in Nashville?
Sylvia Miller 3:26
Oh, goodness. Let me think we were working for a piano company in Indiana. And they had two stores in the Nashville area and asked us to move to this area to manage those two stores and that's what we did back in, goodness, 1996 I believe it was. And from there, we left there and opened our own business.
Jason Skipper 4:03
Wow. Okay, so you've been in Nashville for close to 25 years.
Sylvia Miller 4:10
Close to it.
Jason Skipper 4:11
Okay. 25 years. Wow.
Sylvia Miller 4:13
This is home for us.
Jason Skipper 4
Podcast Episode #7 – Miller Piano News and the “C’Ya On The Flipside II” Benefit Concert
It's a new year, and with that comes a new podcast episode! In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks with Miller Piano Specialists General Manager Sherry Smith about the latest news and events happening at Miller Piano.
Ted Yoder at the River of Calm Concert in January
Miller Piano Specialists Music Academy Recitals
February Writer's Night (First Thursday of Month - Russ Roberts and Friends)
February River of Calm Concert (Third Thursday Ed Bazel)
C’Ya On The Flipside II" Benefit Concert at the Grand Ole Opry on Feb 5
The Yamaha Lunar New Year Promotion
Jason Skipper 0:11
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast where in each episode we explore the world of music and pianos, how technology has changed over the years in music and the latest happenings at Miller Piano Specialists. I'm your host, Jason Skipper. And I'm here with Sherry Smith, the general manager at Miller Piano Specialists in Cool Springs. Sherry, how's it going?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 0:33
It's going wonderful. Jason, how's it going with you?
Jason Skipper 0:36
Doing good, doing good. It's been a while since we've talked here, at least on the podcast. How was your holiday?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 0:43
The holiday was wonderful, extremely busy. some wonderful new Yamaha friends and clients and it's just been a great Christmas season. And I hope everybody enjoyed theirs like I did mine...
Jason Skipper 0:57
Awesome I know that you're talking about several new clients and things that are happening. I'd like to talk about that in a moment. But I know that you've been traveling a good bit Are you back for good now?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 1:08
I'm back for good for a while, I never know I do travel quite a bit. And I traveled to Southern Indiana quite a bit where my family is located and I do a radio program up there. The bread of life ministries on Sunday's, and if I'm not there, and I'm traveling, thanks to the wonderful edge of technology, I can actually do a streaming live radio show from anywhere.
Jason Skipper 1:33
Isn't that great I love it.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 1:35
Jason Skipper 1:36
It really is. It really is. I know. You said it's been busy. I know there have been several events on the calendar over this past month. I saw on Facebook that we had Ted Yoder at the River of Calm Concert a few weeks ago. Is that right?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 1:51
Ted is awesome. He is from Indiana and plays a hammer dulcimer and has a fantastic wonderful following He has a new project that just came out. And we always love to have Ted here because he is just a remarkable entertainer and performer and musician.
Jason Skipper 2:10
Ted's amazing. I know, I remember years ago, when I still... I lived in Bolivia for a long time. And when I was still in Bolivia, I remember seeing him on the Internet. I don't know if it was on Facebook or on YouTube, but one of those viral videos, it's like, wow, you know, just amazing.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:27
He started on YouTube. So that was probably it.
Jason Skipper 2:29
Yeah, exactly. And I did see that the Music Academy, Miller Piano Music Academy had an event just maybe a week ago. Is that right?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:38
They did. We had three of our recitals and we have recitals about two to three times a year. And they had them back to back last week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I believe.
Jason Skipper 2:48
Is that right? Okay. Well, very soon we're going to do a podcast talking about the Music Academy because it is definitely something that I know that we're proud of, that Miller Piano is proud of and so, definitely want to talk more about that here soon.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 3:04
I want you to because musical education is the future.
Jason Skipper 3:09
It really is. I was looking, you know, I was kind of looking around about it and I saw something that really caught my attention. The philosopher Plato
Sherry Carlisle Smith on Used Pianos
Are you buying a used piano? Give this Miller Piano Podcast episode a listen. In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks to Sherry Carlisle Smith, the General Sales Manager of Miller Piano Specialists, an authorized dealer of Yamaha Pianos in Nashville, Tennessee. Sherry discusses buying used pianos and other topics including:
Catching up With Sherry (Click Here for Episode 1 and Episode 2)
Great Deals at Miller Piano Specialists for Christmas and New Year's
How Sherry Started With Miller Piano Specialists
Miller Piano Specialist Youtube Channel
Why People Tend to Search More for Used Pianos Than For New Pianos
How to Buy a Used Piano the Right Way
Why Buy a Used Piano From a Dealer?
Why Buy Used Pianos Local?
Why Miller Names Theirs Used Pianos With Actual Names?
Jason Skipper 0:13
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast. I'm your host Jason Skipper. And in this episode, we have Sherry Carlisle Smith back with us to talk about the ins and outs of how to buy a used piano. Sherry is the General Sales Manager at Miller Pianos Specialists in Cool Springs. Sherry, welcome back to the podcast.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 0:33
Oh, it's so good to be back. Hello. How are you doing?
Jason Skipper 0:36
I'm doing great. It's good to have you here, Sherry. I know you're busy. I know everyone's busy with the end of the year here but we wanted to get you back on the podcast to talk about everything that's going on there at Miller Piano Specialists and I appreciate you taking the time.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 0:51
Well, I'll tell you what, it has been very busy between Christmas and spreading the Christmas musical love and end-of-the-year closeout. It's been one chaotic fun place.
Jason Skipper 1:04
I bet! You're gonna have to tell us about some of those things here while we're talking. But before we get into everything, I know that for those who are listening, if you don't know Sherry, well, you need to go back and listen to episodes one and two of the podcast, Sherry...
Sherry Carlisle Smith 1:20
Maybe they don't! Ha!
Jason Skipper 1:21
Maybe they - yeah, exactly! But if you don't know Sherry, come and listen to episodes one and two of the podcast and, you'll get to know her a lot better. If I remember right, going back, you were born in Kentucky, you grew up in Indiana. You moved to Nashville in your 20s after graduating from college, you've been in the music business pretty well, ever since. You've toured with several different groups and musicians, including Johnny Paycheck. The Jordanaires, is that right?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 1:50
Yes, yes. And then my dad, we actually started recording in Nashville when I was 14. We did gospel and I did like, my first single when I was 17, here in Nashville. So, I've been back and forth with Nashville for a long time.
Jason Skipper 2:05
Yes, I can tell! And how long have you been, I can't remember, how long have you been here at Miller?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:13
I started at Miller in 2010. And I was so blessed to find Ross and Sylvia and just a wonderful place and environment to work and so proud that we've got a great staff. And my daughter's in here working with us, too. So it's a family thing.
Jason Skipper 2:30
It is a family thing. Ross and Sylvia are amazing. I hope to get them on the podcast very very soon. Wow, you're going on 10 years now.
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:39
Jason Skipper 2:40
10 years. 2010. That's what you said, right?
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:43
Jason Skipper 2:44
Wow. We're almost in 2020, so...
Sherry Carlisle Smith 2:47
Yeah, so September will be my 10th anniversary. We'll have to have a party, invite everybody.
Jason Skipper 2:52
Well, that sounds good. I want to be there. I hope I get an invitation! Ha! That sounds awesome. Well, anything new going on other than, you know, you shared quite a bit there at what's going on in Miller. One thing I wanted to ask before we g
Shana Kirk on Yamaha Disklavier
Welcome to Miller Piano podcast episode number 5! It's Christmas time, and we have a special Christmas treat for you piano lovers out there. In this episode, host Jason Skipper talks with Shana Kirk, a Yamaha Corporation of America consultant and product specialist as well as many many other things, which we learn about in this episode. Shana talks in detail about new piano technology, and how that technology can be used to address common 21st-century learning challenges. Topics discussed:
Shana's Personal and Education Background
Life in Colorado
Yamaha Disklavier's Piano Technology in the past 30 Years
How Shana Became Interested in Piano Technology
Common Piano Learning Challenges of Today and How the Yamaha Disklavier has Fixed These
Examples on How Teachers Take Advantage of Yamaha Disklavier's Tech Features
How Yamaha's Acoustic Pianos' Headphone Technology Works
Distance Learning Tools
The Future of Piano Technology
How You Can Reach Out to Shana
Jason Skipper 0:14
Welcome to the Miller Piano Podcast. I'm your host Jason Skipper. And in this episode, we have a talk with special guest, Shana Kirk. Shana is a consultant and product specialist with the Yamaha Corporation of America. She is frequently featured on event programs for organizations throughout the US and Canada. She writes music and music technology-based reviews and articles for blogs, websites and print publications, including Piano Magazine, and American Music Teacher where she co-authors the Tech Connect column. And it was just announced yesterday, I believe, that she is now the Director of Digital operations for the Francis Clark Center, among many, many other things. Shana, it's an honor to have you with us today. Welcome to the podcast.
Shana Kirk 0:58
Thank you so much, Jason. It's great to be here.
Jason Skipper 1:00
Did I get all that right?
Shana Kirk 1:02
You did, I think so. It sounds like a lot now that you've read it out loud.
Jason Skipper 1:07
Yeah. Well, I tell you, I missed a lot of it. Because honestly, reading from your bio, there's so much there. I know just looking at your education, it's incredible. Honestly, I've seen there you have a BA in Piano Performance and German from Lipscomb University, Master of music and Piano Pedagogy from the University of Denver and quite a few others that I honestly would just make a fool of myself trying to pronounce.
Shana Kirk 1:34
That German stuff is pretty tough.
Jason Skipper 1:36
Yeah, I was trying, I was looking it up trying to figure out exactly how to pronounce those in German, and I said nope. Maybe you can help us with that. Where else have you studied? What else have you done?
Shana Kirk 1:47
So I spent some time in Germany actually, while I was a student in Lipscomb, and I studied at the Goethe Institute, which is a language school. And I went to the Musikschule, which is a music school in Mannheim. And I spent a little time also at the University of Mannheim. And so I have always enjoyed dipping my toes in a lot of water, I guess. And I just am so fortunate to have a really multi-faceted career and a lot of interest that just keeps me engaged in busy and curious in every possible direction.
Jason Skipper 2:26
That's awesome. I think to sum it up, I read this on your LinkedIn profile, and it's really simple and to the point. I love it... it says, "I'm a pianist and a geek. And I combine those two qualities as often as possible". Is that right?
Shana Kirk 2:40
Exactly, that's exactly, exactly it.
Jason Skipper 2:42
I love it. I grew up playing the piano. I grew up playing music all my life, but I also consider myself a geek. I do a lot of those type of things. And I love playing with all the possibilities in technology with music, with MIDI and just, you know, working all these different things. So I love it.
Shana Kirk 3:01
There's never been a more exciting time to just dive into both piano music a