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!!

Fall Semester off to a great start!

Yesterday all my students started arriving and I am so happy to see them all. ❤️

I want to welcome two new students, Louis age 6 and Marley age 7.  I hope you both love learning piano.  I started learning piano in Australia age 5.  My mother played the piano and sang, and I used to sit on the piano stool and watch and listen.  I have been playing the piano for 73 years and teaching music in various forms for much of that time!  Being able to play piano is a wonderful skill and if you stick with it when young it does not leave you, even if you don’t touch a piano for years.

My studio is now full (30 students and I cannot take any more!) I have 9 students between the ages of 6 and 9; 8 students between the ages of 10 and 12;  8 teenagers;  and 5 adults.  My schedule is now set at last (I hope) and you can see it on my website under “Schedule” (

First thing I am working on is what music everyone is playing.  I am really keen for most older students (and some younger!) to partly work on the RCM curriculum.  The Royal Conservatory of Music based in Toronto has an excellent curriculum and their repertoire books have exciting newly composed pieces, often by women and including living composers, plus Jazz influenced pieces. I am not limiting repertoire to those books but they are a great starting point for older students.  In fact, I am a product of a related agency, The Australian Music Examinations Board whose exams I completed over my high school and college years.  It was modeled on Trinity College of Music, London (established 1872), just like the RCM.


Next I am working on what students will play at the Holiday Soirée December 8 at 56:30 pm (make sure the date is in your diaries please!).  I will be making suggestions but of course students have a say in this.  Very excited about this year’s Soirée!

Please remember that I am going to be away 10/2/23 to 10/12/23 while my daughter is visiting from Australia.

Stay Cool! 🔥

Thank you always for learning music with me at Flourishing Muse Studio.

School is Starting and music lessons next week

Hello everyone, I really need to know who is continuing and who might not be and who needs a different time.  The Fall schedule is up to date  so please check your name there.  I have 3 families waiting for times so it is urgent that I sort the schedule this week. Thanks.  I know it is hard with school just starting for most people.  If I hear nothing I will assume you are continuing at the same time.

Reminder: no lessons Monday 9/4 labor day – I was going to teach some lessons but I am now going to be away that day.  Fall lessons start on Tuesday 9/5.  Monday students will start Fall on 9/11.
About Fall semester:
My eldest daughter Meredith, her husband Mark and my two granddaughters Lakota (15) and Myla (11) are coming to visit this Fall.  My daughter has visited before but my granddaughters have never been here or seen where I live so I have to take the two weeks off teaching from 10/2 to 10/12.  We are meeting them in NYC for the first week and then they will be here for such a short time 🙁 but better than nothing!  So I am sorry to miss students for two weeks in this short semester but I will give everyone plenty to go on with.
Holiday Soirée:  now on December 8 at ERUUF from 5:30 – 6:45 pm.  PLEASE put this in your calendars now!  thanks.  Want everyone to have the opportunity to play in this lovely venue!
I am loving the cooler weather and the clouds and the rain – hope you are too.

August Already!

Hard to believe it is August 2023!  I had a great trip overseas and a beach week coming up and a visit from my eldest daughter and family so the end of summer and beginning of winter will be busy!  To this end I have some information and dates you need to know.
Fall Schedule:  As of now it will be sort of the same as Spring and you can see that on my website under Schedule, where the Fall is in black and the current summer in red.  Please let me know if you are not continuing (I have a waiting list) or if you already know you will need a different time.
Teaching dates:  I will be teaching up to and including August 17 (Thursday).  Then I will be at the beach and taking another week ‘s vacation and the first Fall lesson will be Tuesday September 5.  I am not teaching on labor day 9/4.
I will also not be teaching for two weeks in early October because my daughter, her husband and my two granddaughters will be visiting from Australia.  No teaching from October 2 to October 12.
Holiday Soiree: I had set the date for the Soirée as December 2 but I am now talking to ERUUF about moving to a later date.  Will let you know as soon as I can negotiate a later date.
Fees:  August fees are due if you have not already paid. thanks to all.  September will be a full month except for labor day and October will be two weeks for most. Fall will be a short semester so am keen for students to pick soon what they might play at the holiday soirée
Thanks to everyone for learning music with my studio!

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!

Performance Opportunities in May 2023

Durham Music Teachers Association Playathon:

As you know, the DMTA playathons raise money for scholarships for students who otherwise could not afford music lessons.  They are a great way to practice performance in a relaxed milieu, and it will be a great way to try your Soirée piece(s) out before May 12. Students contribute $5 each to the scholarship Fund.

The playathon will be on Saturday May 6 and my studio’s allotted time is 2-3 pm. This will be an outdoor playathon under an awning in case of rain (hope not).  The venue and the wonderful pianos are provided by Dr Pitman’s studio, PANC (Piano Academy of North Carolina)

We have performed at the this venue before.

The address is 5832 Fayetteville Rd, Durham, NC 27713 (Sutton Station, in the breezeway next to Regional Pediatrics)

Parking is available in front of Duke Regional Pediatrics or around the back of Sutton Station.

Masks encouraged but not mandatory.

A few chairs will be available but I suggest bringing your own lawn chairs if possible.

Flourishing Muse Soirée:

The 2023 Spring Soirée will be held on Friday May 12 from 5:30 – 6:45 pm at ERUUF (Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship) at 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham, NC 27707, the same venue as last year.  I love this venue and the piano but it is expensive to hire.  It is an important part of my studio practice and I am prepared to pay the hire because I feel it is so important.  I really want everyone to commit to playing if at all possible.  I know some feel to nervous and I certainly understand that but it is so good to share your music with colleagues and friends and family – only twice a year!

Students, especially the more advanced students, should settle what they are going to play in the next week so you will have all April to work with me on your selection.  Younger students should be thinking about what to play but we might make the decision close to the time.  I will be making lists starting today!  I would love more students to include some of their own compositions.

I really encourage students to also come and play at the playathon as a good practice for the Soirée a week later.