Virtual Summer Soiree

On Saturday August 1 Flourishing Muse is holding its first Zoom concert, the Virtual Summer Soiree.  I hope many of you can be part of the audience.  I hold Soirees to let students see and hear their colleagues play and I always find this inspires students to practice more, share more and often find pieces they would like to learn. I also know that family and friends love to hear not only their student but others playing pieces they have learned and practiced.

I would not be doing this without my daughter Rosemary Ham.  Rose is an event manager based in the UK and she has offered to host my concert and in fact has an intern who will assist on the call and a graphic designer who has designed the program and other communications.  The program is visually a step up from my usual effort!  Rose has had to move her lectures online and even some of her events she manages are now virtual.  I have to say she is amazing!  Here she is:

Rosie Ham 

Rose will be sending out audience invitations to my students and parents and also instructions to the performers.  She would like to do a tech check with performers next Tuesday either 10-11 am or 2-3 pm; there’s 5 hours time difference between here at the UK so I hope performers can accommodate those times.  Let her know if not.

My ex-student and now good friend and colleague, Chelsea Daniel, will be playing in the concert and two of her students will also play.  The pandemic cut short her studies at Butler School of Music and she had to finish online so she started teaching and now has a small studio!  She will play the Florence Price Fantasie Negre which is really beautiful but it is longer than other pieces in the concert so be prepared.  I really want my students to see her play and watch her hand movements and hear how she put passion into the music.

Thanks to everyone who has continued learning music with me.  Sorry this concert is for just piano but I will organize further concerts for other performers, string players and singers.

Be cool and stay healthy!

Summer Semester commences June 2020

The Spring semester has ended without sadly, a soiree to show everyone, families, colleagues and Croasdaile residents, what you have spent the Spring learning in online music classes.  It has been a trying time for everyone and I am especially sorry for young students who have missed their friends; kind of shows what is important doesn’t it?

I have tried to let my students and families know what everyone has been practicing by the Student Performances page on my website and I am very grateful to my partner, Carol, who has enabled me to be able to do this.  I can mostly manage the videos and uploading myself with just occasional cries for help.  If you have not scrolled down the page and looked at the performances, please do and let young students look as well.  Comments and feedback always welcome.

I have contemplated a Zoom concert but the technical side was a bit scary so my youngest daughter, the event manager, has offered to host a zoom concert for some of my piano students on July 10.  Her teaching facility is willing to allow her to use their corporate account to do this, and one of her interns will also help.  This is what you can do with remote learning – my daughter Rose lives and works in the UK!  She has been teaching on Zoom most of this past semester.  If this one works well I will be able to do more concerts in Fall, given that I think remote learning will still be necessary until 2021.  I guess I will have to learn to do Zoom concerts myself – another steep learning curve!  You will be receiving invitations to the concert!

The date for the Zoom concert will be July 10 at 10 am – a morning tea concert.  I will send invitations to about 8 of my piano players – I wish it could be everyone but Rose says 8 would work well for a first time.  Everyone will be able to watch however including relatives who might live a long way away!  You can have your morning tea (snack, morning coffee…) as you watch! And this time just piano until we can solve sound issues for singers and string players.

Some students have finished music lessons until September 8 but a good number are continuing at least for part of the summer and I am glad otherwise I would miss them all too much!  Many of my adults are also continuing.  Which brings me to fees – a few are still owing for June and I would be most grateful if you could catch up what you owe in June; I will send individual emails.  Venmo and Zelle work well and checks now seem to be making it in the mail to my house.  If you mail a check please tell me you have done so, and then I can look out for it.

I will be teaching most of the summer except for the week June 26 – July 6 and the two weeks August 24-September 7.  Fall semester begins September 8.

Be safe and well over the summer and have lost of relaxing outdoor time (when it decides to stop raining).

Spring Semester is almost over! Here comes Summer!

Happy late Memorial Day to everyone, stay healthy and safe.

It seems that first, North Carolina is starting to open up businesses again but secondly, our coronavirus cases seem to be rising. The future is unclear and I am not sure how many summer camps will be operating or whether some schools will start classes partially or with full enrollment. I stay hopeful that we will all continue to help and encourage each other. 

I usually teach in the summer when I am here and except for 2 of the weeks I will be here and I will put the dates below again.  At the moment I am not altering the lesson schedule until I see how many want to continue summer lessons for some or all of the available weeks I am teaching.  I encourage those who want to keep learning to let me know.  Even if you want a part-time schedule I can accommodate that; the 9 weeks plus of the summer break in traditional terms is very long.  Evidence shows students do tend to go backwards during this time.  Without the motivation of regular lessons practice tends to fall away; “I can do it next week…”

Some people have let me know already about summer lessons, either whether they want to take a break, continue or pick up some weeks of lessons.  I will email people individually but I hope I have not missed anyone.  I have been slack about making notes lately!  Feel free to tell me again and I am now making a list!

About fees:  During the summer you can pay in groups of lessons or for individual lessons, and the fee is the same $32.50 each half hour.  However, I am sad to report that 3 mailed checks were lost in the past 2-3 weeks.  I do not know what happened but I know 2 families mailed checks and they did not arrive. I am in a quandary because I love the postal service and I pay all my bills by post – so far.  If you can use Zelle or Venmo that would be great, or the old drop check in my letterbox for locals, but if you’re posting checks make sure of the correct address and put your return address:

Lorna Collingridge

2119 Sprunt Ave

Durham NC 27705

The summer dates will appear on your June emails in red to distinguish them from Spring and subsequently Fall.  

Almost all May fees have been paid so if you are one of the late ones, can you please pay me this week before May comes to an end.

On Friday 5/15 I adjudicated the Piano Festival for the Durham School of the Arts (DSA).  We usually have this event at the school but this time it had to be on Zoom.  It was fun visiting the students at their homes, and I became acquainted with Zoom. Which brings me to concerts.  I cannot have a Soiree at Croasdaile this year of course, so I am thinking of Zoom, but so far just thinking.  My daughter in London is keen to host it/them for me but I have to consider logistics first.  I have many students so could not have just one event.  Stay tuned!

I am so happy to report that two of my ex-students have graduated with their bachelor’s degrees.  Ashley Cummings, my very first American private piano student graduated from NC State  ‘Summa Cum Laude” with award winning results in Cell and Microbiology and a minor in philosophy.  Chelsea Daniel graduated from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas in Austin but has yet to complete her final piano recital this summer so will know more details after that but she is such a brilliant pianist. There are more students who graduated but I do not have the right details to list them here.

Send a positive thought to Lydia who will complete her level 2 piano exam with the Royal Conservatory on June 2, a member of the first cohort of students who have to do their practical exams remotely on Zoom.  She is very brave!

Please go often to my website and check on new student performances – I hope to have some more intriguing ones up by the end of the week.

I am also happy to report that I finally installed  wifi booster in my studio plus I am now teaching on my laptop so i hope the signal between us all will be stronger – no more glitches!

And finally for piano students especially adult ones, you might enjoy this:

Summer Dates: Summer lessons will be from June 8 through August 21 with the exception of the week from June 29 – July 3  (beach trip, my birthday, 4th of July, relaxing!)  There will be a two week break from August 24 to September 7 and lessons will resume on Tuesday September 8.

Summer Music Lessons 2020

Planning the Summer:

The Spring Semester will end officially on Friday June 6, and I would like all students to be present for lessons online until then. We would have had a Soiree on June 7 but sadly that cannot happen. The Student Performances on my website are the substitute.

 After June 6, I will be teaching a summer schedule yet to be organized but it will run from Monday June 8 – Friday June 26 when i will take a week off for my birthday!  Then I will resume teaching summer lessons from Monday July 6 to Friday August 21 when I will take another 2 weeks vacation to go to the beach (hopefully).  Sadly I will not be going to Australia as planned.

With the current virus situation all summer lessons will be online.  The Fall semester will begin on Tuesday September 8 after labor day.  At this point I really do not know whether Fall lessons will be online or here but I feel they will probably be online until 2021 because the of possibility of spikes in virus activity as the country opens up.  I cannot envisage teaching in a mask or teaching people IN masks or the labor of deep cleaning after every student.  As I read what responsible businesses are doing to safeguard the public it is too time consuming to be able to do it effectively at my home.  Please also let me know if you plan to take music lessons in the Fall.

I am not sure how many student camps are going to happen – for the kids’ sakes I hope they are going to be on with suitable precautions,  But if not music lessons might fill a time slot and I can make the lessons as enjoyable as possible with some different fun projects. I hope music has helped some students to get through these difficult months.

If you have any plans or ideas please let me know – no summer lessons, some summer lessons, lessons at a different time, lessons continuing all summer?  It will help me to make a summer schedule.  It is a very long time from June 5 to September 8 to let your music progress slip away so i do hope you will take advantage of some summer lessons.

As always thank you for learning music with me and my Flourishing Muse studio.  I am so grateful that I can earn my living this way and especially this year to be able to keep earning my living now online.  I hope all parents and students are doing as well as they can and hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

My very best wishes for your continuing good health.


Lorna Collingridge PhD
Lessons in Piano, Ukulele, Voice and Composition

Flourishing Muse LLC

Online Music Lessons in Funny Hats, May 2020

This past week I asked the students to wear funny hats during their online lessons.  Some are very mysterious but very creative – love the toilet paper hat! Ida did explain hers and it had something to do with the Coronavius too.  Oscar’s has a pokemon character Gyarados on it!  It was very fun.  I have chosen 5 winning hats and each of the winners will receive a $10 voucher for Locopops, but all the other wonderful hat wearers will also receive a $3 Locopops voucher too.  The photos are not in order! Pretty amazing bunch don’t you think?

Winning hats: Louise, Stella, Oscar, Louisa, and Leo

Runner up hats: Iris, Jikai, Lucas, Mai, Madeline, Cecilia, Ava, Mia, Pascale, Ida

Thanks to Carol for all the technical expertise!

The Merry Month of May

It is a bit sad to see May arriving because it is usually the time when schools have lots of field trips and performances and graduations but none of that will be happening and I understand schools will mostly not be in session until September.  Durham has 3 weeks to go with the official shut in time but even after that social distancing and masks are going to be the order of the day.  I am not making definite plans for my studio but I will not be opening up for students and families to come here until at least June 1.  I will be following the news and the city guidelines and making decisions later in the month.  I would almost prefer continuing to teach online if having students here means wearing masks and constantly disinfecting surfaces.  I also have to consider Carol, my partner, and how she feels about me opening the studio and waiting room in our home.

In the mean time…

Next week I would like to ask all school age students to appear at lessons in their choice of a funny hat.  I will give 5 prizes of $10 gift certificates to Locopops for the funniest, most creative, prettiest, most handsome hats.  I will ask parents to send me a photograph of the prize winning hats which I will feature on my blog page.  I will also include in “hat” things like crowns and tiaras.  Lorna will also wear a hat but I am not creative with crafts so it will be one I already own, something to do with ancient PhD bonnet!  Let the hat parade start!

There will not be a Spring Soiree in 2020 sadly.  Instead I am putting up student performances on my website and if you have not looked at the Student Performances’ page please go and have a look and a listen.  There are quite a few up there but lots of students have yet to send me their videos!  I love all the videos up there!  Some may not be perfect but I can’t expect perfection when I can’t deliver that myself when I perform (can’t focus intently enough!).  Just go for it I say!  In terms of getting it to me, if the video is short either email or text will work but if too big you can send to it to me in drop box, or save it to a thumb drive and drop it in my mailbox and I will return the drive.

Ukuleles!  I need those videos of your parts in Spring and Era Una Vez.  So far I have two videos from Leo, and one from Huyen so am awaiting Lucas, Camille and Ave and one more form Huyen. I am not sure if this is going to work but I think it will.  It may not be perfect (see paragraph above).  Carol is going to put it all together for me in exchange for piano lessons!!

I should mention that on Friday May 15 I will be adjudicating all day for the Durham School of the Arts only this time it will be live on Zoom!  I have not yet worked on Zoom so it will be a first for me.  Lucky my resident Zoom expert is here for rescues if needed! There will not be lessons in that Friday but will try to move students to other days in that week.

Next week May fees will be due either check on the mail or mailbox or Zelle.  Monday through Thursday people will owe 4 weeks and Friday people 5 weeks.  Please check your email this week in case you under or over paid in April.  Always let me know if I have made a mistake!

Everyone be well and hopeful that you will see your friends soon!

Lorna Collingridge