The Holiday Soirée December 8, 2023

It was such a wonderful evening with 22 performers (Ida could not play as she was not well) who all played remarkably well.  There were students aged from 6 to 16 – the 6 year olds could see what could be achieved by ages 15-20 so I hope they all keep working on piano.  It is a slow process but so worthwhile.  Many adults ask to come back to piano having played as students because they really miss having music they make themselves in their lives.

I will tell students my feedback in lessons and I have treats for everyone.

There are two weeks of lessons this week and next.  If you are not coming to any of these lessons please let me know because I can use the time for other students or for my own practice.  Fees are also due this week if you have not already settled up for December.  Lessons start next year Monday January 8 with a new fee structure of $38 for a 1/2 hour lesson.

Thank you again everyone who came to the Soirée – it is a really important part of my studio practice.  It motivates everyone to just do that extra work to polish pieces.  Some play from memory which is wonderful but I have seen experienced concert pianists play from music and in my latest Music Teachers National magazine there was an article about playing from memory or from the music.  The opinion was that either was fine depending on the pianist.  In my personal experience you are either a great memorizer or a great sight reader – I fall in the last category myself.  Some say that is because I did not do enough piano practice so I had to sight read in the lesson – I did my 6 hours a day so not sure if that is true!  I can memorize if I really work on it but it does not come naturally!



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!!

Spring Soirée 2023

First Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers and I hope you kids are spoiling them today!
The Soirée on Friday evening was just wonderful as always.  I don’t want to single out individuals but there were so many great performances by students who were so focussed, so creative, so expressive, so brilliant, so technically secure that I was amazed!  Well done everyone!  Thank you so much to all the families who came with grandparents and family friends – I love that!.  I will talk to students at lessons and I want to ask them what they thought of their colleagues’ playing and the pieces they played.  It is so important that students see their colleagues and the progress they have all made.  I was impressed by how many played from memory!
At the Soirée I had some small gifts for students and many did not pick up their gifts so if you did not I will have one for you at lessons this week.
I love my granddaughter’s art work for the Soiree Program.  I told her I loved owls and flowers!
Thank you so much to those who contributed to the hiring fee at the Soirée.  It has so helped me and I have ended up I think only paying $10 of the $340, thank you thank you!  Trip to Germany looming.  This is a long awaited trip to the home of my PhD subject, Hildegard of Bingen.  Bingen is a town on the Rhine river.  I finished my PhD and graduated in 2004 so I really have to take this trip and visit the Hildegard Abbey in Bingen while still able to do so.  But don’t worry I am not planning to stop being active just yet!
I need some indication of who might take some summer lessons or who is taking all summer off till Labor day.  Longer this year because I am away most of June.  Knowing this I can plan music for the summer.
Thank you all so much for learning music with my studio, Flourishing Muse!
Here is a link to the program:

The Spring Soirée

I am so happy to say that my dental and other health sagas seem to be coming to an end and I am feeling so much better that I am almost dangerous – like back to my old energy levels.  Hope this continues.
The Soirée is coming together well and there will be 23 performers, aged from 5 years to 77 years (me playing duets).  The venue is the lovely ERUUF with the good piano and tiered sanctuary.  The date is May 12 Friday at 5:30 – 6:15 (lots of young performances don’t last long).  I am going to open up at 5 and there are some more advanced players who should come early to warm up on the specific piano. A program will be coming next week but most students know what they are playing.  The last one was so wonderful I really hope everyone can come even if you are not performing.
The venue charge is $340.  It is a lot more than other venues but it is the one I want for the students and families and I will pay it.  However if there are families who can afford to make a small contribution I would be most grateful – you could add that to the May fees.  But you don’t have to – I am very fortunate in my life being able to work into my elder years.  The Soirées are really important so that students have a goal to work towards and they get to see and hear each other and socialize with their peers.  It is a critical part of my practice.
Sadly I cannot do the DSA playathon this time and had to cancel that on May 6.  I just have too much going on to manage and in addition the DSA wants me to be an adjudicator for their piano festival and that is on May 6 – cannot manage two events on the one day.  Let’s focus now on the Soirée.
May will be the last month of lessons for the Spring Semester.  I leave for Germany June 2.  I will be back teaching July and August and will send more details about summer lessons.
Practice well and am including myself in that – more than one duet!!  I am so excited about the Soirée program!