Hi. I am Heather Andrews Miller and the voice behind Facebook’s Prairie Promotions: Everything Music. I am also manager and booking agent for guitarist Ryu Yokoo, and both Ryu and I teach lessons to eager music lovers. Lessons can take place in studio or by Skype or Zoom. Between us, we teach guitar, bass guitar, harmonica, theory, ukulele and piano. Call us at 780-904-6575 or email for more information.

Ryu Yokoo and Heather Andrews Miller, co-hosts of the Saturday Night Open Stage at The Carrot Community Arts Coffee House.

Making music part of our lives

Are you like me? Do you use music to reflect your mood? If I’ve got to be ambitious and give my little condo a tidy-up before company comes, I listen to upbeat rock and roll songs. I find the chores get done quickly and enjoyably.

On the other hand, if I’m feeling blue, saddened by news from around the world, or by an unfortunate personal incident, I listen to soft, relaxing music, and sit and reflect on how I can deal with the news. Or if I want something to soothe me or occupy my mind so I don’t have to think about it, I listen to powerful lyrics, like the music of Leonard Cohen or Eric Clapton or John Denver. Or Ryu’s YouTube channel, as he plays the easy listening melodies that attracted me to his music from the beginning of our friendship some 20 years ago when we taught at a couple of music studios in Edmonton and first became acquaintances. Listen to this very beautiful version of Stairway to Heaven.

How do you feel when you go to a live music event. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Cher at Roger’s Place, Burton Cummings at River Cree, or a local musician appearing at L1 Lounge in Fantasyland Hotel at West Edmonton Mall, you are part of the experience. Do you listen to the words and identify with them? Have you shared the experience of the song writer? I watch the audience when I’m attending Ryu’s performances. At one table the patrons are listening intently and I see a nodding of the heads as they feel the same emotions that Ryu is singing. I see a guest who is an amateur guitarist himself, carefully watching the riffs and solos that Ryu is doing with his unique guitar stylings. And of course, there’s other tables where the patrons are laughing and talking amongst themselves and not really paying any attention to the music, although I am sure they are conscious of it in the background.

Do you have music on in the car? In the shower? In the house? Record or watch any music show on TV? Is music a really big part of your life?

Do you want to play an instrument? Did you play at one time but your skills are now rusty?

Ryu and I are both music teachers and we hear this all the time. “Oh I played guitar (or piano or ukulele) years ago but I forget it all now. I’m probably too old.” Or “I’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument but it’s probably too late now. I wouldn’t know where to start.”

Well, guess what! It’s never too late or you are never too old to play an instrument. We welcome students from 7 to 77+ and they all do well, especially if they are willing to repeat the work we show them between lessons. (You will notice I don’t say “practice.”) It’s more just playing what we did together in the lesson. Rehearsing. Remembering. Experimenting.

Some Strums For My Students

Once our students have a basic knowledge of the basics, we begin to expand their expertise by experimenting with different strums for accompaniment. A co-worker once said “Every song has a soul” and that’s true! Listen carefully to the rhythm and find a beat and a strum that will fit and fully portray its meaning and its beauty.

One of the many retirement homes that Ryu performs at regularly, South Terrace. Another guitar: a National, which is very unique. Ryu has an appropriate repertoire for the seniors that includes some of the songs from their younger years.


On stage at Edmonton’s 124 Street Grand Market summer of 2019. Farmers’ markets have a great atmosphere for a performer!


Ryu enjoyed a four-month engagement, every Thursday night, at the L1 Lounge in Fantasyland Hotel at West Edmonton Mall last fall.

Do watch the video posted below. Ryu and I both love the music of Gordon Lightfoot, specifically Song For a Winter’s Night so we performed it recently at a house concert. Enjoy!