We had the good fortune of connecting with Howard Richman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Howard, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Since I was a child, I’ve always loved the feeling of being a helper. I loved helping my dad, when he would say “Howard, go in the den and get the phillips screwdriver for me.” Since 1975, I’ve been teaching piano and that is a form of helping and empowering. I notice this common thread in all of my many ventures since then…. “How can I help to make someone’s life better?” Another aspect of my motivation is if I find a solution to help me in my own life, I want to share my discovery with others. My piano teaching has blossomed into a whole school with teachers of all instruments teaching in-person and online: https://www.richmanmusicschool.com In the past ten years, toothbrush manufacturers (for some unknown reason) have been phasing out the traditional flat-style bristles in favor of multi-level design. In my experience, these variable-height bristles are irritating to my gums. in 2015, I sought out a seller of the old-fashioned toothbrush but I had to purchase a box of 144. So I thought… “Wow, maybe there are others who want this?” I created a test product on Amazon and people started buying! I found a manufacturer in the USA who makes my designs to my specifications. I now offer extra-soft, soft, medium, hard, extra-hard and kids versions: https://www.plain-toothbrush.com For many years, aside from teaching piano, I’ve been an “empowerment coach” to help people reach their goals. My expertise is a combination of first-hand experience, research and trusting my own inner guidance. My approach is a unique combination of teaching an effective way of doing affirmations, along with creating a customized routine to help someone release the cellular imprint of old trauma. The pairing of these two processes has been helpful to so many people who are dealing with emotional, physical, relationship and financial issues: https://www.make-dreams-reality.com About three years ago, I started working on an invention to help people to reach their goals even faster. It is a nice satin pouch, with a magnet and affirmational cards that you literally wear on your body. The intention of the affirmations is amplified by the magnet and merged by the wearer’s etheric field. This help someone to manifest their dreams: https://www.thought-catapulter.com When my son was about 7, I wanted to share my joy of the 1960s Spirograph drawing toy. I have my original set but the pens were dried out. I thought.. “no problem, I’ll just get some refills.” THAT was not an easy task! I’ve learned that the scaling of the standard ballpoint pen tip changed in the 1980s and the modern refills do not fit into the Spirograph gear holes. I actually obsessed with this and after a year or so, I did find a brand that had something similar but it was made in Germany. I imported those for a while and started selling them. Recently, I was able to find a USA refill manufacturer who can make the exact vintage refills that would fit in the Spirograph, or even any other click pen from the 1960s. One thing let to another and now I have two additional websites that cater to Spirograph replacement parts and vintage pens: https://www.spirograph-parts.com https://www.ballpoint-pen-springs.com
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was going for my masters degree in piano performance at CalArts. I was practicing piano eight hours a day. Six months before I was to give my final recital (comparable to one’s thesis.) I realized that I didn’t really want to be a concert pianist. (Ugh!) I still wanted to complete my degree so I went through the motions and it was not easy because my heart was not completely in it. However, I did a great job on the recital and I’m super proud of my performance: https://www.richmanmusicschool.com/about/faculty/howard-b-richman/performances/audio As I was making this transition away from concertizing, I was drawn to commit to teaching and composing. The type of music that I prefer to compose is romantic and melodic: https://www.howardbrichman.com Another thing that I do that is very unique is that I compose “Sound Portraits” of people. Through combining my concert piano training, along with my spiritual intuition, I am able to “tune in” to a person and channel music for them. Some people call me the “psychic pianist.” http://www.soundfeelings.com/products/alternative_medicine/music_therapy/personalized.htm
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m mostly a homebody and really love hanging out at home and getting into deep conversations. However, Huntington Gardens, in San Marino is one of my favorite spots. I am always astonished at how large the property is. Also, it is fun to go to The Commons at Calabasas and sit outside and have lunch and people-watch.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am blessed with parents who always supported me in my goals. They had high standards but encouraged me to follow my own dreams. My many teachers in this life have also shaped who I am and I am so grateful to them. A few stand out… Sylvia Milberg, my 6th grade teacher at Collier Street Elementary School in Tarzana, CA. She found me on Facebook about 10 years ago and we reconnected. I performed at her 100 yr birthday celebration. She just passed at the age of 105. She was like a second mom to so many of her students and had this magical balance between being silly and strict. There are organizational and studying tools that I learned from her that I use to this day. My piano teacher, Aube Tzerko, who was head of the piano department at UCLA in the 1980s completely changed my piano technique and I’m forever grateful. Anyone who knows him, knows that he was not a simple person. He taught through “negative reinforcement,” which is the traditional Eastern European method of never giving compliments… EVER! Just pointing out what is bad, and doing this in an insulting manner. Wow. We do have our badge of honor, those of us who worked with him. But I was able to discern the content of what he taught from the manner in which it was taught, and I gleaned so much from him. I would be remiss if I didn’t also address my inner connection to the power of God. I grew up in a non-religious Jewish home. My parents had been searching for something for years that would allow you to feel the vibration of the great life force directly, without relying on an intermediary (priest/rabbi/imam, etc.). In 1959, they found Subud, which is a non-denominational spiritual association, open to people of all faiths. I joined Subud officially myself in 1972 and I would say that the inner guidance that I receive from this connection is priceless.