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Meet Chris Starkey, Our New Partner! 

Meet Chris Starkey, our new partner!

Opportunities! This one word sums up why Amy and I asked Chris to join our team. Opportunities - for our students, our families, our communities, and our team. 

Amy and I have known Chris for over 20 years. Among his many credits, Chris is the “Chief Mojo Maker” and founder/president of Imprint Group, a global entertainment and event production company based in Denver. 

Having Chris on our team provides our students with access to his vast arts and entertainment experience, resources, and network. We foresee opportunities to engage our students in upcoming events and musical and theatrical productions.

Just this month, Pickering Creative has provided soundtracks for a 30 piece Gospel Choir/John Legend tribute artist event at the Gaylord, a 60’s Aquarius flash mob event in Aspen, a Beatles tribute, Top Three Thursday Podcast original music production, and much more in the months ahead.

Meet Anjee! 

Meet Anjee!

It is with absolute delight that I am introducing to you our first Pickering Creative Artists Academy employee - Anjee Wren!

Hi! I'm Anjee! I was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Colorado in 2005. My husband David and I were married in 1999 and we have 2 children, our 17 year old daughter, Jillian and our 9 year old son, Eliott. We also have 2 dogs, Sugar and Zipper, a guinea pig and a handful of fish! My background is in Early Childhood Education and I am currently a Preschool Teacher at Hope Preschool. I love to teach and see kids learn and grow. My family enjoys road trips to California, fire pits in the backyard, music and video games. I love all things that are crafty, Mexican food, and a Coca Cola....and lets not forget the beautiful ocean! I am SO excited to join the team here at Pickering Academy! I can't wait to meet you!

Anjee is my part-time Executive Administrative Assistant and will become a central point of contact for Pickering Academy. I hired Anjee to ensure that as we continue to grow, so will the personal service we provide to our students, families, and community. I invite you to send Anjee a note welcoming her to our ever-expanding tribe. I know you'll fall in love with Anjee as you have the opportunity to connect with her. Anjee's email is

- Michael

Monday Motivation: The Easy Way Down 

The Easy Way Down - Seth Godin

Ski slopes are marked by difficulty. The green circle indicates the easiest slope, the one that will get you to the base of the hill the fastest, with the least amount of risk or drama. 

Why would anyone choose to ski down on the difficult black diamond run instead? 

Most passionate skiers would ask the question differently: why wouldn’t you? 

The point of skiing isn’t to get to the bottom. The point is how it feels on your way there. 

I’m wondering why this insight is so hard for us to embrace when it comes to learning or personal engagement or art or the work we do each day? 

There are speed bumps along the way, opportunities unevenly distributed, and unforeseen problems. But none of them get better when we decide to always seek the easy way to the end.

Lock in Your Lesson Schedule Months in Advance!  

Lock in Your Lesson Schedule Months in Advance! 

I have good news! You now have the option to schedule your weekly lesson days and times months in advance. Your monthly billing will remain the same - payment only one month at a time! 

Most students prefer to attend lessons on a regular weekly basis - same day of the week and same time of day. Previously, only 4-5 lessons could be scheduled in advance. 

Students can now use the “Recurring” option when scheduling lessons to secure dates and times up to 24 weeks in advance! To use this new feature, simply follow the guide below when scheduling your next set of lessons! 

Step 1: When scheduling your lesson, choose your preferred day & time and then select the new “Recurring” option.

Step 2: Choose the number of weeks you want to reserve in advance from the “Times to Repeat” drop down menu then click the “Add Recurring Times” button.

Step 3: Your lesson days & times are displayed. You can delete any of these if needed.

Step 4: Complete your scheduling process. Billing will continue on a monthly basis. No advance payment for additional weeks required!

Questions? Contact Michael at or 720-767-3627. Happy scheduling!!

Monday Motivation: Natural Technique Doesn’t Exist  

Monday Motivation: 

A great insight from Seth Godin: Natural Technique Doesn’t Exist 

It’s amazing how much we can get done simply by trying. Whether it’s writing or singing, playing an instrument or sales, when we show up and do our best, we can make things happen. But then, our internal horsepower becomes insufficient. As we seek to make a bigger impact, we discover that powering our way through obstacles is simply too difficult. 

And so we need to learn technique. 

Technique is the unnatural approach to a problem that, with practice, becomes second-nature. Technique is the non-obvious solution that amateurs and hard-working beginners rarely stumble upon on their own. 

The commitment to a practice opens the door to finding a more useful technique. 

You got this far because your natural approach was helpful. But to get to the next level, you’ll need technique, which, by definition, isn’t something you come by on your own. 

If there are people who are playing at a different level than you who are embracing an approach that feels unnatural to you, you may have found the technique that you’ve been missing.

You Have Brilliance in You 

Midweek Inspiration: Never think that what you have to offer is insignificant.

There will always be someone out there who needs what only you have to give because you have brilliance in you. Your contribution is valuable, and with it, the world you create is precious. This is how we experience life’s most profound joy: true fulfillment; through the power of passionate, sincere, and selfless contribution.


Merry Christmas!  

We Wish You A Merry Christmas!

They say the family that plays together stays together! Enjoy this little jam session I put together with my wife, Amy, and daughters, Arabella and Arianna this morning during Christmas break.


  • Amy Pickering
  • Arabella Pickering
  • Arianna Pickering
  • Michael Pickering


  • Michael Pickering



Twenty One Life-long Benefits of Learning Music (infographic) 

Twenty One Life-long Benefits of Learning Music

For some, music is a hobby. For others, it goes beyond the profession and is a lifestyle. In all cases the theoretical and practical knowledge and experience gathered along the way shapes the way a music-maker sees and interacts with the world.

Learning and making music is also a lot of fun!

The benefits of learning a musical instrument are numerous. These range from improved social interaction skills and increased empathy to refined time, money and people management skills. The causes of these improvements lie in stimulated brain functioning, both in zones associated with emotions and mental capabilities, but also in the interaction with music teachers, instrument sellers, and other musicians. 

If you haven’t picked up an instrument or tried singing yet, you might want to consider starting out, even just as a hobby.

50 Students! 

I am so excited to share that we've just enrolled our 50th student at Pickering Performing Arts & Entertainment! 

Here's a little trivia: 

· My closest students live across the street from my home studio 

· My most distant students live in Anchorage, Alaska 

· I have an equal number of piano vs. voice students, plus a growing number of music production students 

· My youngest student just turned 4 years old 

· My oldest student is a great grandfather 

· I love helping make dreams come true

You should have seen her smile!  

You Should Have Seen Her Smile!

I have a piano student who is on the spectrum. She loves video game music.

All of my students get to choose the songs that they want to learn to play, sing, produce, etc.

This student selected a song on Youtube called "Painting Room" for which there is no sheet music. She has a wonderful ear!

I've spent a number of weeks guiding her in listening to and then transcribing and recording the song.

We finished this project today! You should have seen her smile!

She is amazing and I am so incredibly proud of all she has done! Check out her transcription below and be sure to listen to her recording! Link at the bottom of this post.