Me & Miss Universe: Top Female Entertainment Industry Professionals!!

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share this fab interview in Shine On Hollywood Magazine. You who inspire me everyday are the reason things like this happen. Thanks so much... xoxo....

PIANIST, COMPOSER, ACTRESS AND “PIANO TEACHER TO THE STARS” MARGIE BALTER NAMED ONE OF 2015’S TOP WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT

April 1, 2015 (LOS ANGLES) – “Shine on Hollywood” Magazine has chosen pianist, composer, actress and “Piano Teacher to the Stars” Margie Balter as one of the “2015 Top Women Entertainment  Industry Professionals,” it was recently announced.  Balter was chosen because of her stellar career and the profound, positive impact her talent, inspiration and drive makes on the people with whom she works, as well as on the entertainment industry as a whole, and beyond.

“As an educator, the motivation I get comes from unlocking the potential of my students, and their growth inspires me every day,” said Balter.  “As an entertainer, the motivation I get comes from the way music or a performance can touch and inspire someone in the audience. I sense this immediately.  To be acknowledged as one of the 2015 Top Women Industry Professionals – at a time when I feel my creativity and all the new projects I’m working on are taking me into the next chapter – is an amazing honor for which I’m very grateful.”

Balter, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, was dubbed “Piano Teacher to the Stars” after teaching Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Jack Black and many others to play the piano for various movie roles.  That part of  her career began when she prepared  Holly Hunter for her Academy Award-winning performance in “The Piano.”  Balter’s own compositions have been featured in hit and iconic movies and television shows, including “Date Night” starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell, “Beauty Shop” with Queen Latifah, and “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington, to name a few.  She also is an Advisory Board member for the international Playing for Change Foundation, which builds and funds music programs for children in third world countries and in the U.S.

To purchase Balter's music and her award-winning CD "Music from My Heart: Solo Piano Pieces by Margie Balter," visit www.itunes.com or www.amazon.com

For more information about Margie Balter and to follow her blog about inspiration, visit www.margiebalter.com.  To read the full article in “Shine On Hollywood” Magazine, visit http://bit.ly/1BJGaZ7.

Balter, a native of Pittsburgh, PA, was dubbed “Piano Teacher to the Stars” after teaching Tom Cruise, Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, Jack Black and many others to play the piano for various movie roles.  That part of  her career began when she prepared  Holly Hunter for her Academy Award-winning performance in “The Piano.”  Balter’s own compositions have been featured in hit and iconic movies and television shows, including “Date Night” starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell, “Beauty Shop” with Queen Latifah, and “Scandal” starring Kerry Washington, to name a few.  She also is an Advisory Board member for the international Playing for Change Foundation, which builds and funds music programs for children in third world countries and in the U.S.

To purchase Balter's music and her award-winning CD "Music from My Heart: Solo Piano Pieces by Margie Balter," visit www.itunes.com or www.amazon.com

For more information about Margie Balter and to follow her blog about inspiration, visit www.margiebalter.com.  To read the full article in “Shine On Hollywood” Magazine, visit http://bit.ly/1BJGaZ7.

Dedication... Reflections on the Oscars

A flood of memories came over me as I was transported back to the 1994 moment when Holly Hunter's name was announced as the Best Actress winner for her role in the movie THE PIANO.  I thought about the hours and hours of truly dedicated work that Holly did so that she would absolutely be the sound of her character, Ava. She wanted the role to be totally authentic…. She knew that the wonderful composer Michael Nyman could play the music and she also knew that I could play it, but she was determined that, she, HOLLY, would play EVERY SINGLE NOTE THAT you hear in the movie THE PIANO… That is quite an extraordinary accomplishment but she was driven to achieve that and she absolutely did…. She put in many hours of work before the filming and went back and re-recorded herself many months later … I am proud to say that all of that work was done with me over the course of more than two years… The Weinstein’s had their big 1994 Oscars party at, I think CHASEN’S and it was so Fun… I took one of my best friends , a wonderful actress named Cheryl Lawyer and we partied very late with the whole Piano Crowd…

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I really wanted Michael Keaton to win Best Actor for his Role in BIRDMAN…. I absolutely loved the movie and thought his performance was brilliant…. I liked Eddie Redmayne’s performance but not nearly as much… Michael was my piano student for awhile and I also played piano for his Christmas Eve party two years in a row. I found him very humble and dedicated to his family as well as his job as an actor… I cried during his speech this year at the Golden Globes… Michael is from my hometown, Pittsburgh and somehow I always feel that realness from him…

My favorite movie of the year was WHIPLASH… and I was thrilled that it won three Oscars…. For me this was the most interesting film of 2015 as it deals with how to get people to achieve excellence and uses very different methods than my own… It even challenged me to re-think the way that I teach and made me wonder if I am pushing people hard enough… I do know that I used to be much more hard core. I should probably start throwing things at my lazy ones… Usually I love people into learning and that is quite the opposite of this film’s idea….But dedication indeed was achieved in WHIPLASH.

Around Academy Award time I always feel so proud because two members of my own family were nominated: for Best Supporting Actress in 1944 (Aline MacMahon) and Best Picture 1950 (S.Sylvan Simon). 

I know first hand that it takes huge dedication and sacrifice to accomplish an Oscar…. Not to mention a wee bit of luck….

xoxo…

Margie B

Music From My Heart

Music From My Heart… My first album … is clearly that… a labor of love and a life work….  

My Grandfather had this saying on his desk which my Mother liked so much that she had copies made for each of her children… 

“Happiness has a habit of pursuing the person who feels grateful to his God, comfortable with his conscience, in favor with his friends, in love with his labors, and in balance with his banker…”

One of the luckiest parts of my life is that  I’m in love with all that I do.  I have to set an alarm to force myself to stop teaching each and every lesson, and every, single time that alarm goes off, I am amazed at how quickly the time went and always wish there was more … The same with practicing piano or working on various other aspects of my artistic pursuits…. I have to force myself to stop doing them… to absolutely LOVE what you are doing… To totally immerse yourself in what you are doing… That is definitely a key to happiness.

I always think of MUSIC FROM MY HEART around Valentines Day because of the heart of course… and because I played at the Grove’s Valentine Celebration the first year my cd was out…  The last part of the book and CD has a thank you list to all my friends, family and fans. I am so grateful to all the people that supported it in every way and all the love you have showed me. I love you for helping me with this project, which still means so much to me….

xoxo... 

Margie B

 

Striving For Excellence

Here it is…. the beginning of January and a New Year… ahhh …2015

Award show season… the time when things and people are rewarded for being extraordinary. Which means it’s time to think about resolutions and how to do better in life, career and truly re-ignite all thoughts on ... STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE

With the award shows I always feel a complete duplicity: both incredibly inspired and uplifted by all the amazing work and accomplishment, and then … bad … as if I haven’t reached my goals at all and I could be doing so much more.

So what makes for a great artist? Recently while I was preparing one of my best students for her music school college audition/interview we discussed qualities of a great artist and we both agreed that it is that someone who is constantly  striving to do better, someone who is always trying to create more, someone who doesn’t give up, someone who is resourceful in their approach, someone who believes in themselves enough to keep moving ahead daily step by step… someone who is brave and positive…

People see artists and they just think it’s so easy. But… It’s not. Striving for excellence is a total push and requires so much.

People have absolutely no idea of how hard it is to even find those 10,000 hours that it takes …let alone to actually put in the blood, sweat and tears that are part of being a great artist….

It is not just working all day every day but adding gusto, passion, perseverance and lots of sacrifice that moves us up that mountain towards excellence... Even our own families and friends don’t understand how hard it is to constantly be
creating the next show.. and next idea and next pursuit …and still be on top of the game.

So look out 2015…. Here we go… Somehow all that pushing is really satisfying, and with each little inch forward, it keeps us young, energized and hungry as we commit again to that all so important STRIVING FOR EXCELLENCE….

Are you with me? #renewedvigorandcommitment

Happy New Year…. xoxo

Joy To The World!

Hi Dear Friends and Family:

The holiday season is here, and it's a time when we wish people Joy, Peace, Love, Happiness and Goodwill toward one another.  It is a time when these sentiments appear on holiday cards and in the music we hear in stores, the music we play when we host parties, and listen to while we open presents.  As one who values finding joy in every day moments, this season is the Joy Holy Grail!  

 But what I don't like is how these same words can be seen as corny when out of the seasonal context.  There seems to be a certain fear of being joyful and a downplaying of experiencing joy during the rest of the year…  But I believe in Joy and wish that people didn't spend so much time on the Negative… I believe that it's ok to live in the now, and see and acknowledge joy when it's not wrapped up in a pretty bow… There is an abundance of joy available all year and I love being around people that find that joy. There is no Joy Quota… It will not run out….

 So as I give you my top 16 joyful holiday songs playlist, my wish for everyone is to remember the Joy this music brings. Then throughout the year, if you are having a hard time seeing the joy in everyday life, you can come back to this playlist...hum a little holiday tune in June. What's wrong with that, and what’s so wrong with corny anyway?!  

Happy Holidays!  Xoxo

Margie B

 1. Christmas Time Is Here- Vince Guaraldi
      This is one of my all time favorites and immediately makes me feel happy and joyous

 2. What Can I Do- Taj Mahal and the Blin Boys of Alabama
     On Taj Mahal & the Blind Boys of Alabama’s brand new record, “Talking Christmas” which I had      the pleasure of hearing in its entirety a few nights ago.. I can literally feel the Humanity in Taj’s voice

3. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Diana Krall
     She is so sexy, sensual and I love the piano

4. Christmas is Almost Here- Moqui Lund, Shea Welsh, Margie Balter, Bernie Dressel, Rick Shaw
    One of my favorite songs that I have ever written and produced with Shea  Welsh, and sung by     the divine Moqui Lund

5 Christmas Song- Bobby Lyle
     Love Bobby’s beautiful piano playing

6 . All I Want For Christmas- Mariah Carey 
     All time favorite get in the mood and Holiday Partaaaaayyy!

7. Secret Santa – Margie Balter & Shea Welsh 
    La Mers vocals are darling and really brought this to life!

8. First Noel- Vinx
    Vinx is such a unique artist and it is evident in this track

9.  All My Bells Are Ringing – Lenka
    This song is a rare find and super fun!!

10. Winter Song – Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson 
    This song gives me goose bumps

11. Baby It’s Cold Outside- Ella  Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan 
   Have loved this forever

12. Winter Wonderland – Kenny G
   This is ultra smooth and makes me feel super good

13. Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairies – Pentatonix 
    Super interesting way of doing this wonderful music

14 Breathe of Heaven- Amy Grant
        The arrangement is haunting.

15.   This Christmas- Donny Hathaway
      So glad to be reminded of this song that always feels so darned good

16. Holly Jolly XMAS- Michael Buble

 Happy Holidays abound!!!!

Welcome to the MargieB Blog!! xoxo

I absolutely LOVE what I do…  L - O - V - E !!!

"Enthusiasm is one of the keys to life"- This was an important lesson I learned from my darling dad. 

But today,
 "enthusiasm" can almost have a negative connotation to it, and that's just wrong. I know, if channeled the right way, enthusiasm allows us to take risks we wouldn't otherwise take and, therefore, it allows us to go places we never thought we could. 

My dad wasn't alone in his belief in the power of enthusiasm.  Some of the most respected scholars and theologians have been believers in enthusiasm for generations -- 

Margie at LA Music Awards 2014

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Enthusiasm is the most important thing in life." -Tennessee Williams

"To waken interest and kindle enthusiasm is the sure way to teach easily and successfully." -Tryon Edwards, Teacher 

"It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes the life worth living." -Oliver Wendell Holmes

So today I present my new website and… drumroll... I'm starting a blog! Why a blog now?  In a world that seems to be leaning toward apathy and cynicism, I continue to have faith in the untapped potential of human beings and continue to be enthusiastic about teaching, learning, creating, performing and sharing music.  I constantly feel inspired by a myriad of things. 

So this is a place where enthusiasm is a really great and powerful thing.  It's a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Hollywood and the human spirit.  It's a personal invitation to hang out where limits are limitless and inspiration is contagious.  I hope you'll join me!

Enthusiastically Yours, 

xoxo MargieB 

Back to School....

Now that Summer is in full swing, my students are off on various vacations and we’re in the thick of planning for Playing for Change Day on September 20, 2014. At the midway point of 2014, I know whether or not what I’m teaching each student is sinking in, of course. But do my students know how much they’ve taught the “Piano Teacher to The Stars”? They should know…