Virtual Matinee December 13

On December 13 I am holding a virtual recital which I am calling a matinee seeing it has to be in the late morning (thanks for the suggestion!).  The event will be from 11-12 am and I invite my students to participate.  It is again being hosted by my amazing daughter from London and because of the 5 hour time difference it has to be a middle of the day event. I realize that not everyone will be free to participate at that time but I hope a good number can.
I will be talking to students this and next week about what they would like to perform and I need those selections fairly solid by Monday 11/30 so Rose can work on the program and schedule rehearsals.  I suggest students perform pieces they have been working on lately not something they learn the week before – well, sometimes that does work!  Parents can you help to let me know whether your student is able and willing to participate please.
There will be more instructions soon about how this will all work.  Some of my students did participate in a piano recital in July and this one will be like that.
This time singers who can accompany themselves on guitar and ukulele are invited to perform so get your songs ready – or your instrumental.
Stay well and safe.

Wonderful Virtual Summer Soirée 1 August, 2020

Today eight of my piano students and two of Chelsea Daniel’s students performed in a virtual Soirée using Zoom.  It was very successful thanks to the wonderful performances and the hosting and management of my daughter Rose and her assistant Debbie.  The students and their pieces are lasted below.  There were 44 people registered as audience and because more than one person was often on the call, Rose estimates between 60-70 people were watching the concert.

It was the first time I have attempted to do a virtual concert and I am very excited about it.  I wish more students had been able to perform but this time was a bit of an experiment to see what is possible. I do have quite a few student performances on this website under the tab Student Performances as an attempt to let students share the pieces they are working on at the time.  However, I think having a special event when everyone performs for each other at a given time has a special feeling to it.

It was very special to share the event with Chelsea who was once my student, and who is now teaching after completing her degree at the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas in Austin.  Chelsea also played in the Soiree and you can listen to three of her performances under my student recital page, including Florence Price’s “Fantasie Negre”.

Wonderful work all performers!  Thank you to parents and supporters and to Rose and Debbie and also Sara who did the striking graphics for the invitation and program:


Iris Emerson   

“March” Jeremiah Clarke 1673-1707; “Clowns” op 39 n0 20 Dmitri Kabalevsky

Oscar McCormick

“Morning” from the Peer Gynt Suite music by Edvard Grieg arranged by Faber

Zoey Prendergast

“My Dog Spike” and her own composition!

Pascale Lodewick

“Gavotte” Telemann 1681-1767

Andrew Hartman

“Gypsy Camp”  Faber

Mateo Blissett-Saavedra


Quinn Barbaza

“Pirates of the Caribbean” Klaus Badelt arranged Jarrod Radnich

Lydia Pollak Coy

“Impertinence” Handel 1685-1759 HWV494:  “Crazy Comics” Christine Donkin b1976

Khaleel Jackson

“Solfeggietto” CPE Bach 1770;  “Für Elise” Beethoven 1770 – 1827

Kavisha Saram

“Atacama Desert” Wynn-Anne Rossi b 1956

Chelsea Daniel

“Fantasie Negre” Florence Price 1887 – 1953

Here are a few screen shots from the Zoom call:

Some of the attendees

Khaleel Jackson

Zoey Prendergast

Chelsea Daniel


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!

November and Soirée 2019 News

The Soirée

Welcome to new students and performers! I call my twice yearly concerts Soirées which is not technically quite correct (afternoon time!) but it is such a nice word!  Here is the definition: an evening party or social gathering, especially one held for a particular purpose, e.g. a musical Soirée.

The Soirée for Fall 2019 will take place on Sunday Dec 8 from 3 -5 pm in the Croasdaile Auditorium, at Croasdaile Village.  The clearest directions are on their website.  Once you get to the main entrance, register at the desk and ask the way to the Auditorium. 

Website for directions:

Welcome new families!  It can be a bit confusing getting to the right place at Croasdaile so leave lots of time.  Enter the campus via the gated guard box and turn left into the large double carriageway. Please make sure you park in the visitor carpark beside the American Flag, not on the divided road leading up to the entrance.  Come in the big covered entrance and register at the desk and ask directions to the Auditorium.

I would like to invite all students and friends and family to come to the Soirée.  It is a lot of work but I arrange it because I think it is the friendliest way to share musical gifts in a supportive atmosphere. 

I invite my new students to come to their first Soirée so they can see what happens and how their colleagues play. I also invite my adult students to come and support the students who are performing. 

Here is some information for performers:

The ukuleles and guitar performances will be first in the program, followed by a selection of piano duets and student compositions. After this the pianists will perform and to finish the singers will have their turn.  I am not planning an intermission but will have very short breaks after each section to reset. Everyone who is performing should try to arrive no later than 2:40 with ukuleles and guitars in tune.  I know a couple of students have other prior engagements and are coming when they can but I would really appreciate it if people could come and stay for the whole event.  

Flourishing Muse Soirée Etiquette

  • Please arrive 20 minutes early in order to get settled. 
  • Please dress nicely. Think Sunday best – jeans are OK if nice jeans, no holes.  Girls please wear long pants or leggings if they are on the stage.
  • Practice stage presence and bows at home. Walk up to the piano, take your seat, make sure the bench height is right for you, take some seconds to orient yourself and then play. When you are finished, get up from the piano, move away from the bench, and bow from the waist to acknowledge the applause.This adds polish to your performance and most importantly, acknowledges the audience appreciation.
  • Please remain seated when you are not playing and plan to stay at least for your half. It is impolite to leave early. 
  • Talking and moving about are distracting to the performer and audience. Please be a polite listener. 
  • If an emergency makes it impossible for you to arrive on time, please wait until an item is finished before taking a seat.
  • Applause should consist of clapping only.
  • Flash photography is PROHIBITED during a performance. If you wish to take a photograph, please wait until the student has finished the performance. Only people who have the permission of the parent should take photographs of students under 18. You can video your student performance but don’t interrupt the view of others in the audience. 
  • Food and beverages are not allowed in the auditorium.
  • Cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices should be turned off during the performance. 


The Soirée 2019 program will be ready before thanksgiving and I will send out for corrections and changes.  Some people are playing the same pieces but I like students to choose their performance piece and if they choose the same, we will have a wonderful variety of interpretations.

Warming up:

All students should warm up their pieces, their fingers, and/or their voices before arriving at the Soirée.


Music practice is sometimes a fraught subject! Of course any skill is greatly enhanced by practice but the right kind of practice is critical.  The brain needs to be engaged. With the piano and the strings, you need to focus on a practice plan.  Everyone is different but for me, I must do exercises first to warm up and work on technical issues, then I will work on the piece(s) i next need to perform.  Some people have a warm-up piece they like to play to get in the groove.  If I have time I will play things I want to learn or things I just enjoy playing.  But the important practice needs to happen before the pleasure, because your focus is sharper at the beginning of your practice, and it declines gradually as your practice time extends.  You can’t do worthwhile practice just sitting at the piano or ukulele or guitar and twiddling away.

However practice is a subject which needs to be age specific.  Young people need less time than older, but the most important thing I think for young people is practice has to come from self-motivation.  You cannot force practice.  It must be something they either want to do or are willing to do without being forced.  Often you want to demand that someone practice but it only sets up resistance.  

Motivation is the key.  It is the teacher’s job to set up motivation but the parents to encourage and show interest (sorry parents, your eyelids might be drooping but hang in there with the “I love that piece”.  It works).  I don’t always succeed with the motivation and I have various strategies but the twice yearly Soirées are part of it.  Yes, I have students who feel they cannot perform in front of people, but I have many more who look forward to the Soirees as a goal they have reached to mark their improvement.  


Singers are in a special category.  Singing is so embodied that you need to at least use your singing voice every day, and you need to be much more specific about warming up.  Lip trills are crucial on a daily basis.  Then you need to practice your pieces as often as you can.  Mostly I teach older singers and high school age singers. The little ones need to sing too but I like piano players to sing as they play. Ukulele and guitar players have to do double practice!

Finally, playing music is about enjoying your playing and/or singing.  Please enjoy the weeks leading up to the Soirée – I am going to!


PS. One of my students gave me a very old music magazine and I thought you might like to see the cover.  The date is May 1918.  Even I was not alive then and in fact my mother was only 11 years old.  Note what is says about music “A Present National Necessity”.  

Lorna Collingridge PhD

Lessons in Piano, Ukulele, Voice and Composition

Flourishing Muse LLC

Summer News

Summer is finally here and the Spring semester is about the end on June 7.

The Soiree was wonderful as always, and I think it was probably number 23 as I have been holding student recitals at Croasdaile twice a year for over 10 years.  I did miss one Christmas and that was a bit sad so not doing that again.  I love going to Croasdaile and I am so grateful I am able to use their lovely facilities and share our music with the residents.  Many teachers find it hard to find a good place for recitals and often have to pay fees and ask students to pay fees for concerts.  We are lucky!

There were too many great performances to single out any one person – I have been congratulating students and parents individually.  I hope all the students enjoyed seeing what others are working on.

Adult students have their work-in-progress night tomorrow, Friday 6/7/19, where six of my 13 adult students will be performing.

Some students are continuing over summer and I think I have sorted out who that is and when they are coming but I will send out reminders.  Later today or tomorrow I will have the Fall Schedule up on my blog.  Please check on it to make sure whether you are continuing and at what time.  The schedule is very tight.  I am still waiting on confirmation for some people so if it looks like there is a space that may not be the case.  I am so sorry for the many people I simply cannot fit in.  I do not teach on weekends or after 7 at night.

A few people still owe fees from the Spring Semester and if they could post a check to me that would be wonderful.  I just want to remind people that fees are paid a month in advance at the beginning of the month.  Over summer you could pay June and July together or June and then July.  Remember I am not teaching August 6 to end of August and Fall semester starts 9/3/19. 

(Address: Lorna Collingridge, 2119 Sprunt Ave, Durham NC 27705)

Last friday I went to a performance at the Pinhook in Durham downtown.  I rarely go to concerts but this I had to see – Alley Seventeen, a band of 4 high school girls playing electric guitars, electric bass and drums.  They were performing songs members of the band had written, so all original music.  The two guitar players (Sophie Lowry and Sophie Feierman) once took guitar lessons with me, and Sophie Feierman wrote her first song when taking lessons  with me; she performed it at one of the early Soirees. 

Sophie Lowry  and Kaitlyn Pedde are both rising 12th graders at the DSA and the drummer, Casey Cheetham, went to Immaculata Catholic School but now is a rising 11th grader at Cardinal Gibbons.  Sophie Feierman is going to college in Fall. The girls have been studying with Russell Lacey Music and the band was formed there initially during his Friday afternoon “form a band” sessions, and he and his teachers have nurtured the song writing.   I thought the girls were amazing and I bought the CD of their songs. 

Congratulations to Russell and the girls who have all worked very hard over a number of years to get to this standard.  Forming and performing in a band is never easy but the girls have proved they can work together both playing and song writing.  Russell says “for a long time Sophie F wrote most of the songs for the band but now she is composing with Kaitlyn — usually SF comes with the melody and lyrics and then Kaitlyn comes with the chords, forms and back ground melodies/vocals etc….  They write a lot of music!” Well done all of you!

Have a wonderful, fun, safe summer everyone!