Christmas is coming!


Thank you to everyone who performed and participated in the Virtual Holiday Matinee on Sunday 12/13/2020.  I was so happy with everyone’s performances and loved seeing all the family and friends watching.  I will try to give everyone individual feedback during lessons but really, everyone was fantastic!  I mean that very sincerely!

25 students played and sang in the recital, and 8 were not able to participate for various reasons.  We think upwards of 85 people participated in the recital as performers or viewers which is wonderful.  Flourishing Muse is flourishing!  Thank you again to my amazing daughter Rose and to her equally wonderful assistant event manager Debbie, and to Sarah for the great holiday invitation and program – love her design work. These are up on my blog and I will see if I can put the video up – not sure how big it is yet.  Thank you also to my talented partner Carol, who tries to teach my how to do technology, often having to rescue me from technology mess.  She is the one who built my website and continues to make it work well, and again rescues things when i get it wrong.

This is the last week of music lessons for 2020.  I will be back teaching on Monday January 4, 2021.  If anyone is not continuing please let me know as soon as you can, or if anyone needs a different time.  Currently I have 33 students and I am not planning to take more students unless there are very particular circumstances.  33 lessons a week is a lot of preparation when the lessons are on-line.

Almost everyone has paid the December fees and those who have not I will text today.  There is so much going on at Christmas it’s hard to keep up!

I had some rather nice news this morning.  In 2008 I wrote a bilingual song for Our Lady of Guadalupe.  It used to be performed at my school masses.  The Music Director at Yale’s Catholic Chapel contacted me and asked could I arrange it for choir and small orchestra, which I did and I uploaded the written score to his choral music website.  He performs it every December 12, Guadalupe’s feast day, and it was performed virtually from the Chapel this past Saturday. He told me a group from Madrid loved the service and my piece, and that the full score had been downloaded 7,000 times in the past 2 years! You can see the written score on my website but sadly no recording yet! I love that people are using the piece I wrote.  I wish I had more time to compose!  But I have students composing instead.

It has been a tough year, 2020, but I have enjoyed “seeing” my students and I think I am getting used to virtual lessons and on a day like today maybe everyone appreciates not having to go out in the cold rain!

Have a wonderful warm Christmas and holiday season and stay healthy everyone.


Matinee Sunday 12/13/2020

I am so excited now the Virtual Matinee is getting close.  I think everyone is ready and Rose has been amazing as always, coaching performers about how to do this virtual event.  I am pretty sure she has talked to everyone who did not participate in the July concert, with one exception and I will talk to that family this week.  Thank you so much to all the parents and students who have scrambled time to do the tech check with Rose.  I felt bad because she had to do so many, but she says she loves seeing the students and getting to know them a little.  She also insists that she do them; like mother, like daughter!

I have heard all the students play their pieces and everyone is ready, although one or two need to do some last minute work on their pieces.  But everyone is going to be terrific.  Please don’t let nervousness interrupt your playing.  Focus on the music and where your fingers need to go, and you will be fine.

This brings me to why I do these concerts and have done twice a year for the past 12 years.  It really gives students a goal to work towards, and I see huge improvements when this goal is in sight, as it is this Sunday.  At a deeper level it is about sharing your music with others.  I know I personally just like to play for myself, but I have always been conscious that that is a somewhat selfish attitude and so I make an effort to play for people when I have the opportunity. So be aware that you are sharing and delighting your family, friends and colleagues with your playing. If you make mistakes, or have to start again, do not worry – I have had to do that many times!  Just relax and start again!  

I really want the Virtual Matinee to be a happy and informal occasion so let’s all smile and do our best!  I would like everyone to be in the Zoom meeting from 11 am to the end so you can support your colleagues.  Anyway, you have to stay to hear the final performance, Quinn Barbaza playing Rupert Austin’s arrangement of  Summertime!

Many thanks to three amazing people who have worked to produce this Virtual Matinee:

Rosie Ham (my daughter) email: – Rose has her own company and teaches event management courses and runs large international events, once live but now online.

Sarah McArdle – – Sarah designed the wonderful program and invitations.

Debbie Lo – – Debbie is an event manager like Rose, and will manage the virtual matinee waiting room.

I also need to thank my partner Carol Thomson ( in advance because I know full well that I will need Zoom and other technical support on Sunday.  Carol is a web developer and videographer and general technical wizard!

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.