Soirée Friday December 8, 2023

One day to the Soirée!  I think everyone is ready.  Some important things before tomorrow:

  1. Dress is casual but nice – no torn jeans please or revealing clothes ( too cold anyway)
  2. Behaviour – please respect all the performers and let them play without interruption.  Clapping at the end is of course great!  Please definitely no running around in the sanctuary – it is a sanctuary.  There is a small room that overlooks the sanctuary (called the Chapel Room) access from the hallway where people can go to look at the sanctuary but not be heard – great for babies if crying.
  3. No food or drinks in the Sanctuary except water in a water bottle.
  4. Performers please remember your MUSIC!  I will not be bringing extra.
  5. I will be the page turner unless you don’t need one or have another person to do it.
  6. Warm up your piece before you come and do not let your hands get cold – it is hard to play with cold hands.  Wear gloves.
  7. Acknowledge the applause.  Bowing or nodding if you like, but at least smile and look at the people applauding.  Don’t immediately rush to your seat.
  8. Below is the program.  Please double check because I am prone to errors:


Mary-Russell Roberson and Lorna Collingridge: Flower Duet (from Lakmé by Delibes) arr. Nancy Lau;

Fingal’s Cave Overture (Mendelssohn) Arr. Carol Klose

Nate Seed: Curious Rhumba (Wynn-Anne Rossi)

Elijah Berenbaum: Minuet in G minor (Christian Petzold)

Cecilia Triche-Rowe: Night of the Tarantella (Faber)

Zelda McCormick: Good King Wenceslas (Trad.); Shadows (Dennis Alexander and Martha Meir)

Miles Seed: Eency Weency Spider (trad.)

Mac Jones: Gliding Goldfish (Faber); Spiderman Story (Original Composition)

Adam Hartman: Ode to Joy (Beethoven 9th symphony)

Louis Brown: Dinosaur Music (Faber)

Emily El-Tanay: Remember Me (from Coco by Lopez) arr. Faber

Oscar McCormick: The Stormy Sea (Ann Crosby Gaudet)

Marten Sipe: March of the Terrible Trolls (LInda Niamath); The Entertainer (Scott Joplin)

Ida Levy: Cossack Ride (Faber); Morning (Edvard Grieg)

Tyler Nordgren: Forest Drums (Faber)

Tessa Nayo: Sonatina in G (Beethoven anh.5 no.1) Movements 1 and 2

Andrew Hartman: Star Wars (main theme) John Williams

Louise Downs: River Flows in You (Yiruma)

Mai Dunn: Liebstraum (Liszt) arr. Faber

Lucas Bartosik: Bohemian Rhapsody (Freddie Mercury) arr. Phillip Keveren

Lydia Pollak Coy: In un’altra vida (In Another Life) Ludovico Einaudi

Jikai Sipkins-Chenn:; Allegro in E minor (José António Carlos de Seixas); Leafy Sea Dragon (Ina Dikstra)

Sam Sipe: To Zanakand (Final Fantasy X) Uematsu arr. Ben Topham; L’Orage (The Storm) Burgmüller;


  • Soirée is Friday December 8, 2023
  • The venue is ERUUF, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham NC 27707, the Sanctuary (there is signs)
  • The Soirée will start promptly at 5:30 pm.  I will be there at 5 pm and more advanced students can warm up on the grand piano.  I have a lot of younger students this time so the concert will probably finish between 6:30 or 6:45 pm
  • There is plenty of parking.
  • There is a turning lane to enter the campus not far from the intersection of Garrett Road and 15/501.  Directions are clear on the website:

The Soirée is getting close!

Just a reminder:  The Soirée is on Friday December 8 starting at 5:30 and going to 6:30-6:45 at most.  The venue is ERUUF Sanctuary, the same as the last two Soirées.  The best directions are on their website:

For anyone who has not played at the soirée before, it is very informal  and I stay with the younger students as they perform.  Mistakes are excused and stopping and starting often happens.  It’s not a competition and no-one is judging the performances.  Parents can video their own student(s) discreetly.  No food is allowed in the Sanctuary, and no drinks other than water in a sealed bottle.  No little ones running around.  There is a glass front withdrawal room so anyone with toddlers or babies can sit in there and still see the concert.

I am pretty sure everyone has their pieces almost ready for December 8.  At the moment there will be 23 performers!  Hope everyone can come and stay warm and well.

I have sent a few invitations to friends and I include the wording on the invitation below in case you also want to invite friends and family.

Even if you are not performing please try to come and support your colleagues.  The Soirées are a lovely informal time when students see each other playing for the first time, and families can meet each other.

You are Invited!

To the Flourishing Muse Studio Holiday Soirée.

Come and hear my students play pieces they have learned this year, all the way from Eency Weency Spider to a Beethoven Sonatina.

When?  December 8, 5:30 – 6:30 pm

Where?  ERUUF Sanctuary 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Contact? Lorna Collingridge 919 599 9372

No Charge

The Sanctuary at the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is a lovely airy space with a grand piano and tiered seating, a perfect venue for a concert.  ERUUF is a non-denominational organization where all people are welcome.  It is situated on a well treed campus off Garrett Road.  The best way to find directions is on their website:

Please Join us on December 8!

November and December already! 🍁

Hello students and parents, There are a few items so I will be short and use headings.

Soirée December 8 2023

It is 4 weeks to the Soirée so all students who are going to play should be into final practice of their musical offering.  For new families, and especially the under 9 year olds (of which there are 9), this is a very relaxed occasion.  I will sit with the youngest ones if they want me to, and will help where needed.  We have a beautiful venue in the Sanctuary at ERUUF (more directions nearer the date) with a grand piano and tiered seating and big airy space.  Students under 9 years need not pick their item perhaps until  2 weeks before but I am talking to them this week about what they would like to play. Students aged 10 and above need to pick their items this week.  Most students will play one piece but there are some I will invite to play 2.  I have to pay a hire fee for the Sanctuary and I choose to do that because I want all students to play on a grand piano (as I do not have room for one here) and I want the tiered seating and the airy space and the great acoustics.  The fee is $390 this year.  If any parents feel they could and would like to contribute that would be wonderful, but it is not necessary.  I feel I am very fortunate with my modest income from my studio, and my partner’s support.
Thanksgiving 2023
It is almost upon us!  I will be teaching Wednesday 11/22 but not on Thursday 11/23.  If anyone is going to be away other days in that week please let me know this week so I can use the times for makeups or extra work for advanced students.
Christmas 2023
I am working on all students having a holiday item to play if they want that.  I will be teaching right up to Christmas ie last teaching day will be Thursday 12/21/23.  If anyone is going away before that week also please let me know. I am also going to take 2 weeks off at Christmas so the Spring semester in 2024 will begin on Monday 1/8/23 (and then Martin Luther King day will be Monday 1/15/24, and I will teach that day if you are able to come to lessons.  Monday holidays do interrupt Mondays but some families like to go away for the 3 day weekend and I understand that).
Thank you to all who enable me to earn my living from my nice warm home – love it!  Love seeing all my students and miss you when I have to go away! I am going to have to put my fees up in 2024 with the rising costs of utilities and just living!  However I will of course give a 10% discount for families with 2 or more learning.  The new fee will be $38 a 1/2 hour lesson and $76 for the hour lesson.  I have considered 45 minute lessons but that leaves me with scheduling problems unless I can dovetail 2 people (may be possible).  The hours between 3-7 pm every day are so full.  I am still adhering to no teaching on Fridays.  I need that time for my own practice and other artistic pursuits and sometimes just catching up!  I am sorry if this is a burden to some.  I am also a member of the Durham Music Teachers Association and they offer scholarships but you do have to supply evidence of your income. I have had a number of students in the past who have benefited from these scholarships.
Again thank you all for your support ever since 2008!!

Fall Semester off to a great start!

Yesterday all my students started arriving and I am so happy to see them all. ❤️

I want to welcome two new students, Louis age 6 and Marley age 7.  I hope you both love learning piano.  I started learning piano in Australia age 5.  My mother played the piano and sang, and I used to sit on the piano stool and watch and listen.  I have been playing the piano for 73 years and teaching music in various forms for much of that time!  Being able to play piano is a wonderful skill and if you stick with it when young it does not leave you, even if you don’t touch a piano for years.

My studio is now full (30 students and I cannot take any more!) I have 9 students between the ages of 6 and 9; 8 students between the ages of 10 and 12;  8 teenagers;  and 5 adults.  My schedule is now set at last (I hope) and you can see it on my website under “Schedule” (

First thing I am working on is what music everyone is playing.  I am really keen for most older students (and some younger!) to partly work on the RCM curriculum.  The Royal Conservatory of Music based in Toronto has an excellent curriculum and their repertoire books have exciting newly composed pieces, often by women and including living composers, plus Jazz influenced pieces. I am not limiting repertoire to those books but they are a great starting point for older students.  In fact, I am a product of a related agency, The Australian Music Examinations Board whose exams I completed over my high school and college years.  It was modeled on Trinity College of Music, London (established 1872), just like the RCM.


Next I am working on what students will play at the Holiday Soirée December 8 at 56:30 pm (make sure the date is in your diaries please!).  I will be making suggestions but of course students have a say in this.  Very excited about this year’s Soirée!

Please remember that I am going to be away 10/2/23 to 10/12/23 while my daughter is visiting from Australia.

Stay Cool! 🔥

Thank you always for learning music with me at Flourishing Muse Studio.

School is Starting and music lessons next week

Hello everyone, I really need to know who is continuing and who might not be and who needs a different time.  The Fall schedule is up to date  so please check your name there.  I have 3 families waiting for times so it is urgent that I sort the schedule this week. Thanks.  I know it is hard with school just starting for most people.  If I hear nothing I will assume you are continuing at the same time.

Reminder: no lessons Monday 9/4 labor day – I was going to teach some lessons but I am now going to be away that day.  Fall lessons start on Tuesday 9/5.  Monday students will start Fall on 9/11.
About Fall semester:
My eldest daughter Meredith, her husband Mark and my two granddaughters Lakota (15) and Myla (11) are coming to visit this Fall.  My daughter has visited before but my granddaughters have never been here or seen where I live so I have to take the two weeks off teaching from 10/2 to 10/12.  We are meeting them in NYC for the first week and then they will be here for such a short time 🙁 but better than nothing!  So I am sorry to miss students for two weeks in this short semester but I will give everyone plenty to go on with.
Holiday Soirée:  now on December 8 at ERUUF from 5:30 – 6:45 pm.  PLEASE put this in your calendars now!  thanks.  Want everyone to have the opportunity to play in this lovely venue!
I am loving the cooler weather and the clouds and the rain – hope you are too.

August Already!

Hard to believe it is August 2023!  I had a great trip overseas and a beach week coming up and a visit from my eldest daughter and family so the end of summer and beginning of winter will be busy!  To this end I have some information and dates you need to know.
Fall Schedule:  As of now it will be sort of the same as Spring and you can see that on my website under Schedule, where the Fall is in black and the current summer in red.  Please let me know if you are not continuing (I have a waiting list) or if you already know you will need a different time.
Teaching dates:  I will be teaching up to and including August 17 (Thursday).  Then I will be at the beach and taking another week ‘s vacation and the first Fall lesson will be Tuesday September 5.  I am not teaching on labor day 9/4.
I will also not be teaching for two weeks in early October because my daughter, her husband and my two granddaughters will be visiting from Australia.  No teaching from October 2 to October 12.
Holiday Soiree: I had set the date for the Soirée as December 2 but I am now talking to ERUUF about moving to a later date.  Will let you know as soon as I can negotiate a later date.
Fees:  August fees are due if you have not already paid. thanks to all.  September will be a full month except for labor day and October will be two weeks for most. Fall will be a short semester so am keen for students to pick soon what they might play at the holiday soirée
Thanks to everyone for learning music with my studio!