Happy New Year 💥🎉

Hello students and parents and families

I hope and pray and wish that 2022 turns out to be a better year than 2021 and 2020.  It would be great if the pandemic would die down and we could all travel again.  I am probably going to the UK and Australia over the summer – finally!  Maybe!
The Spring semester 2022 begins Monday January 3 and will end at the end of May.  Dates will be in your emails and more information will be coming about a Spring Break.  I have heard back from about 3 people to tell me they are continuing or whether they need time changes.  I am assuming that everyone else is continuing and is happy with their Fall time. The correct schedule is displayed under Schedule.
Fees will be due next week for the month of January, and the fee is the same as Fall, $35 for a 1/2 hour lesson.  Monday people: I will be teaching MLK day but let me know if you are not coming to lessons that day and adjust the month’s fees accordingly.
I am fully vaccinated and boosted as is Carol and we have had minimum contact with groups over the break and are both well.  I was hoping to test myself once I came back from the beach Friday (in a condo with just Carol) but the shortage of fast tests meant I had to schedule a longer test later in the week.  I do not suspect I have covid but was wanting to be ultra cautious.  I will wear a mask unless you are happy for me not to and please tell me either way in the lesson.  Anyone young ones not vaccinated need to wear a mask; others let’s talk about it in lessons. I am wearing Little Lives PPE N95 masks, now – 5 for $15 off their website.
Let me know any problems with the schedule.
My studio windows did not arrive yet so same old windows until the supply chain moves BUT my new piano duet bench IS arriving Monday or Tuesday!  Only took 6 months.
I am so excited that the weather channel says snow Monday morning – probably two flakes but it was great to see that tiny snowflake.  Anyone know a snow dance?
Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

End of the Fall semester 2021

The Fall semester 2021comes to an end this week.  It has been a great semester if short but students have done some really wonderful work.

Last Thursday evening Anna Long and I went to the Celebration of Lights at the nearby Greystone Church. We played Christmas songs and carols outdoors – lucky it was such a lovely mild evening.  What a great event that church puts on!  So many lights, so many programs like the hayride which went rather fast through the large campus!  Thanks to colleague Jan Perry for inviting us.

On Friday evening 4 students and I went to the Yates Baptist Church for a really fun evening with my colleague Nyssa Collings and six of her students.  The church is very lovely and has a very nice Yamaha grand piano – all the students played so well, and most played 2 items. Thank you so much to the parents who brought their students.  Thank you so much to Nyssa for facilitating the fun evening with games and cookies!

  • Louise played Cruella de Ville and Yellow Bird
  • Pascale played Tuxedo Junction and Dill Pickle Stomp
  • Cecilia played Horse Drawn Carriage and sorry Cecilia if you played another one I can’t remember!
  • Andrew played two pieces from memory, Amazing Grace and Minuet in G by Bach

Nyssa’s students also played really well:

  • Sarah played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Prelude in G
  • Owen played Malagueña
  • William played Remember Me
  • Belle played Lean on Me 
  • Malachi played Bicycle Ride and Jump Rope
  • Neev played Firefly and Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Students gave their colleagues positive feedback and now everyone wants to learn Cruella and the very nice arrangement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik so I have to go and find that particular book!

Many of my students have learned some Christmas songs so I hope they play them for the family at Christmas.

Last lessons will be on Thursday 12/9/ and then lessons start again 1/3/22.

Next week I will be working on the 2022 schedule and I have already had requests for moves so as soon as you know whether you are continuing in 2022 and approximately what days and times you are hoping for if they are different to this semester please let me know.  I will put up a tentative Spring schedule next week.

I think Nyssa and I are going to plan a joint soiree after easter in the Spring, maybe late April early May, when the virus will hopefully have died down.

Have a safe and happy holiday season 

With Love from Lorna

The end of year 2021

Perhaps we will all be glad to see 2021 fade into the distance!  It has been a difficult year but I have personally been blessed with mostly good health, friends, family and my wonderful students and their families.  I hope everyone has a peaceful thanksgiving with lots of the traditional turkey (I am having fish) and pie (I am having blueberry crumble) but I am making corn bread and oyster stuffing – is that traditional?

I have decided not to participate in the December DMTA playathon on December 4.  I am nervous about going to the crowded Christmas mall and even more afraid of the parking (only accidents I have ever had were at slow speed in car parks).  I think I will wait for the Spring playathon but I hope the teachers near Southpoint raise some great funds for the scholarships.

However there are some other possibilities for sharing music.

Thursday December 2,3,4,5 from 6:30 – 8:30 each night the Greystone church, where the playathon was held, is having a Celebration of Lights with live music. From 6:30 – 8:30 music students are welcome to come and play Christmas music (but other music also).  Teachers nominate a time to be there with their students.  I have nominated 7:30 – 8:00 on December 2 to meet students there and for us (including me) to play Christmas music.  I will be asking in lessons if there are people who are interested.  This is not raising money for anything just a chance to welcome Christmas and see our colleagues. The events are free although the food trucks are not!

Friday December 3 my young friend and music teaching colleague, Nyssa Collins, is holding an event at the her church, Yates Baptist church in Lakewood.  Here is her description:

“On the 3rd (from 6:30 – 7:30) I am hoping to have a group piano lesson – this is for any student, and it is so the students can play for each other. Parents can stay or drop kids off (as long as some parents stay), and the main audience would be other kids. This is meant to be an extra performance opportunity for students playing in recitals, or students who have never played in a recital and are nervous about it. Not sure yet how much “lesson” will be going on – it could be very fun for students to get tips from other students and teachers!  There can also be games!”

I will be there and I would love some students to come and play and hear other students play.  Again I will be talking to students in lessons.  

Sadly I am not sure we will be returning to Croasdaile Village for our Soirees any time soon for many reasons, the pandemic among some but also the condition of the pianos. It seems churches have good pianos which they keep in tune and both these baptist churches seem very welcoming. Suitable venues for concerts and get togethers was one subject on the agenda at the last DMTA meeting.  

The Fall semester ends on December 8 after which I hope my new studio windows will be put in which will make it so nice to look out on the backyard and check on the birds. Spring semester will begin on January 3. 

Happy Thanksgiving for next week 🦃


Winter Playathon

The Playathon was a great success thanks to the students and families who came and played so well.  The DMTA  (Durham Music Teachers Association) raised $900 on that day which will go towards scholarships for students who otherwise could not afford music lessons so thank you all so much.  I have put some videos up on the student performance section of my website.

The DMTA is going to hold another Playathon on the weekend of December 4-5 indoors at Southpoint Mall.  I have done Playathons there before and it is very festive.  You could combine Xmas shopping with some piano performance!    I have nominated a half hour for my students from 4-4:30 and I really hope some will be interested.  You can play the same pieces as at the last Playathon.  After all, touring musicians and groups don’t perform a new program every concert!  They perform that same numbers and use the occasion to get better at their favorite items!  

December 4-5 will be the last weekend before I break for the Xmas holiday on Friday December 9.  I will be back teaching from January 3 in 2022.  

Here is the announcement from the DMTA:

Winter Playathon – December 4th and 5th

We will be having our Winter Playathon indoors at Southpoint Mall the weekend of Saturday December 4th (3:00pm – 6:00pm) and Sunday December 5th (12:00pm – 5:00pm).Thanks to the folks who came out for our Fall Playathon last week, we were able to raise 900 hundred dollars to fund our Scholarship program, and we hope to raise even more at our next recital. Since this event will be indoors, we will take precautions to observe distancing, hand washing, and masking to keep everyone safe.

As always thanks to everyone for choosing to learn music with my studio, Flourishing Muse.  

October 30 Playathon and news

Hello parents and students, what a wonderful event on Saturday October 30!  13 students came and played and sang to raise money for the Durham Music Teachers Association student scholarships (total raised $900).  It was very special to see the families all sitting watching (albeit cold and some on the ground, most in chairs, some rugs in evidence). I have missed it so much, seeing parents and friends and grandparents and kids all meeting each other and talking together.  Music can be a bit of a solo pastime but playathons and soirees open up a world of others who also play and sing.

I have one video to share on my website but would love more if you have them and also pictures of the students – Grimly in chain mail, Hamilton all suited up, the grim reaper, Cruella, a tiger, a dragon, a kitten-dragon and more.
Fees:  There are 6 weeks to the end of the Fall semester, and if possible could you pay all 6 weeks and then we are done for Fall.  Please take out days around thanksgiving if you are going to be away or busy.  I am not teaching Thursday 11/25 but will be teaching all other days.
Thank you always for learning music with me in my Flourishing Muse studio – when you come back in January there will be lovely new pictures windows that I can actually open in good weather.

It’s the Halloween Month!  🎃 🕸🐈‍⬛🧟‍♀️🦇

Perhaps this year we can dress up and trick or treat and have fun!  The week before Halloween would love any students to arrive in their halloween costumes.

AND the DMTA is having an outdoor Playathon on October 30 at the Greystone Church (2601 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705) like we did last year.  It is a fundraiser for DMTA scholarships.  Greystone is well equipped with electronic and acoustic pianos and is very happy to host this fundraiser safely outdoors (it is not going to rain…)  I am making a list of students and I would LOVE to have a big group play at the fund raiser (last year Mai and Louise were stars!).  AND the DMTA would love you all to come in costume for halloween or even wear something Halloween like a hat.  Please consider participating. I am working soon a holiday event but it is still in the planning stage and this might be your main opportunity to play for friends and family and raise money for an excellent cause.  The Durham Music Teachers Association awards scholarships to students who otherwise would not be able to afford music lessons.

People have asked me who was my piano teacher at the NSW Conservatorium of Music in the early 1960s.  Her name was Marjorie Hesse, and she was an accomplished performer and composer, although like many Australian composers, her compositions have been neglected and not published.

Marjorie was a brilliant pianist and interpreter of new compositions.  Once she came to visit me in Brisbane and she played for my class.  I had to apologize for the slightly out of tune old upright but she said it’s not the piano, it’s the player.  She played a piece called “Stars” by Peter Skulthorpe (1971) and cannot believe what she did with that old piano.  One of my previous students played this difficult piece (Elijah Rogan-Kelly). She was a demanding teacher and I was a nervous 17 year old from the country, convent taught.  I don’t think I ever lived up to her concert pianist proposed future career for me!

If interested here is her bio:  https://www.australiancomposers.com.au/pages/marjorie-hesse

Last week Venia asked me “Am I a pianist?”  I said yes because you satisfy my definition of a pianist: playing with both hands, creatively interpreting pieces with an appropriate style, and really enjoying your playing and having other people enjoy your playing.  When you play you are telling someone a story.  What about you?  

On the subject of repertoire, I really like students who still play a piece they learned a while ago and which they have memorized and often play as a warm up for their practice.  Andrew has a piece he has memorized and plays beautifully – Amazing Grace.  Do you have one you still like to play and have memorized?

Don’t forget to look at the student performance videos on my website.  I have some new ones up there.


Just a reminder that October fees are due and also the new fee is $35 1/2 hour lesson.  I think most people are on board with this so thank you.  Hour lessons are $70 and remember that above the schedule in the weekly emails it says what the monthly fees are and whether you have paid or not.  That is my form of invoice.


I know you love Venmo and so do I but Venmo is getting more insistent that it is for payments between friends and family not for business which includes services.  I am going to give it til Xmas when I talk to my accountant.  I don’t want the IRS to think they need to audit me!  So in the meantime use Venmo but can you do 2 things:

  1. Make your payments private.
  2. Don’t say it’s for music lessons – say nothing or something like fun night or contribution.

There’s Zelle if you bank has this facility, and checks and cash but I have had some glitches with checks in the mail.  The letter box is great!

Thanks everyone – sorry this was so long.

Happy Fall – hurray it’s a bit cooler!