August 2021 News

Hello Students and Parents,

Summer is half over and I need to start addressing issues around Fall.  Quite a few students have continued summer lessons and made excellent progress.  

  • Malia has mastered the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata beautifully and Jikai and Iris and Lydia have pretty much got the whole of Für Elise under control including the two episodes.  
  • Kavisha has learned that she loves Jazz and now plays a great version of Cruella de Vil.  Several students love playing the also jazzy Dill Pickle Stomp. 
  • Andrew almost has Bach’s G major Minuet as does Lucas and Pascale. 
  • Sebastian learned the same piece as his cousin, Curious Rhumba, and Anna has mastered He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. 
  • Elijah started piano and is doing very well with two hands already, and my grandson Joshie in the UK is learning the play from memory – Down by the Station and Hoe Down!
  • Venia just eats up new music and I have hard time keeping up! Good work on The Pirate.
  • Mai has learned to play the Tarantella, and Khaleel has almost got a Clementi Sonatina under his fast fingers. 
  • Jane from Charlotte entertained her fellow campers with songs she accompanied on Ukulele – well done Jane!  Very brave!
  • Susan and Malia are both learning a Schubert Waltz with the right pedaling.  
  • Leo and Lucas attended school of Rock camp and learned to play Pink Floyd (not sure about that “teachers leave those kids alone “ song…)
  • Mary-Russell and I are advancing our Debussy Duet En Bateau and Kristen is working on the beautiful Brahms Intermezzo which is definitely challenging me also.  

Very good summer work students!  Proud of you all.

There are some important housekeeping items:

  • I am on vacation from August 20 to September 7.  Most students will miss two lessons but Monday students will miss 3 unless they want to try to fit in later that first week after labor day. This means that students will owe fees for 3 weeks in August $97.50 unless they are also going away.  Please let me know if any doubt.
  • After labor day I am raising my fees, as I said earlier in the year.  There have been big raises in things like internet, electricity, gas, and especially property taxes.  And more.  Fees from September 7 will be $35 for a 1/2 hour lesson and $70 for an hour.  Students taking RCM exams level 5 and above will need some extra lessons for their theory exam and I will talk to those people when the time comes.
  • I am a bit worried about Covid.  I am fully vaccinated and if Pfizer offers a booster I will get it.  Most of my 12 year olds and older are fully vaccinated now, but under 12 students need to wear their mask.  Any families who would prefer I also wear a mask I am happy to do so. I do clean my studio and piano regularly with the appropriate wipes.  However, I am very reluctant to teach online unless it is imperative eg you live in the Uk or in Charlotte or High Point.  Students learn so much better in person.  I have been very fortunate to have been able to teach online with the equipment I have purchased, and I am grateful that students have been able to continue throughout this difficult time. 
  • If you are NOT continuing lessons can you please let me know as soon as you can.  I am not taking new students (except of course I bend this rule because I love teaching!) but I need to work on the Fall Schedule very soon.  On my website is the summer schedule but I am going to put the old Spring Schedule up on a blog post so you can look at it and make decisions.  People who want their old time are fine – I will not be changing except for those who want or need it.  Look at the previous post for the old Spring Schedule.
  • I am planning an in person soiree late in the Fall.  More to come about this, but students get ready!
  • Fall semester begins September 7!!

We are still in the middle of a pretty rough time for everyone.  Hang in there.  Music makes it better.  Get back to me about continuing or not and times for lessons.

Stay well and stay safe – Lorna

old Spring Schedule – check times for Fall based on this.

Monday
9:00 – 9:30 Mary Russell (piano) in person
9:30 – 10:00 Kristen (piano) virtual
10:00 – 10:30 Kristen (piano) virtual
10:30 – 11:00   unavailable
11:00 – 11:30   unavailable
11:30 – 12:00   unavailable
12:00 – 12:30   unavailable
12:30 – 1:00
1:00 – 1:30
1:30 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30 Madeline  (piano) in person
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30 Iris (piano) in person
4:30 – 5:00 Khaleel (piano) virtual
5:00 – 5:30 Louise (piano) in person
5:30 – 6:00 Cecilia (piano) in person
6:00 – 6:30 Kavisha (piano) virtual
6:30 – 7:00
Tuesday
8:30 – 9:00   unavailable
9:00 – 9:30   unavailable
9:30 – 10:00   unavailable
10:00 – 10:30   unavailable
10:30 – 11:00   unavailable
11:00 – 11:30   unavailable
11:30 – 12:00   unavailable
12:00 – 12:30   unavailable
12:30 – 1:00   unavailable
1:00 – 1:30   unavailable
1:30 – 2:00   unavailable
2:00 – 2:30   unavailable
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30 Camille (piano) virtual
3:30 – 4:00 Logan (piano) virtual
4:00 – 4:30 Louisa (piano) virtual
4:30 – 5:00 Andrew (piano) virtual
5:00 – 5:30 Annabel (piano) in person
5:30 – 6:00 Jane (ukulele) virtual
6:00 – 6:30 Lucas (piano) in person
6:30 – 7:00 Jikai (piano) virtual
Wednesday
9:00 – 9:30 unavailable
9:30 – 10:00 unavailable
10:00 – 10:30 unavailable
10:30 – 11:00 unavailable
11:00 – 11:30 unavailable
11:30 – 12:00 unavailable
12:00 – 12:30 unavailable
12:30 – 1:00 unavailable
1:00 – 1:30 unavailable
1:30 – 2:00 unavailable
2:00 – 2:30 unavailable
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30 Lydia (piano) in person
3:30 – 4:00 Mai (piano) in person
4:00 – 4:30 Anna (piano) in person
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00 Ben (piano) in person
6:00 – 6:30 Oscar (piano) in person
6:30 – 7:00
Thursday
9:00 – 9:30   unavailable
9:30 – 10:00   unavailable
10:00 – 10:30   unavailable
10:30 – 11:00   unavailable
11:00 – 11:30   unavailable
11:30 – 12:00   unavailable
12:00 – 12:30   unavailable
12:30 – 1:00   unavailable
1:00 – 1:30   unavailable
1:30 – 2:00   unavailable
2:00 – 2:30   unavailable
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:00 Ava (ukulele) in person
4:00 – 4:30 Leo (ukulele) in person
4:30 – 5:00 Pascale (piano) in person
5:00 – 5:30 Ida (piano) virtual
5:30 – 6:00 Venia (piano) virtual
6:00 – 6:30
6:30 – 7:00 Sebastian (piano) in person
Friday
9:00 – 9:30   unavailable
9:30 – 10:00   unavailable
10:00 – 10:30   unavailable
10:30 – 11:00   unavailable
11:00 – 11:30   unavailable
11:30 – 12:00   unavailable
12:00 – 12:30   unavailable
12:30 – 1:00   unavailable
1:00 – 1:30   unavailable
1:30 – 2:00
2:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 3:00
3:00 – 3:30 Susan (piano) in person
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00

End of Spring Semester and Summer lessons

Finally, we are coming to the end of not only a long Spring semester but a long, long pandemic – at least I hope the latter is true! I am back teaching in person albeit with masks but it is so much easier than online especially with younger students, but probably most people.  Three students will remain on line as they are in remote locations.
I have some important things to communicate  and ask:
I really and again, really want to put a new set of student videos up on my website.  I want to show what students have been able to achieve in the face of this pandemic.  I am amazed at how much you all got done in spite of dodgy internet connections and sometimes also older devices.  ( I hope all students now pay more attention to charging their device batteries!).  Can parents and students please work on this before June is upon us? Phone video is perfect.  Please put in drop box.
There are only a few weeks in June; one week for Monday students and two for everyone else. I would really appreciate it if everyone could work on paying those fees early next week.  Some have paid already and some have credits – check the end of your student’s latest email.  If you are not taking summer lessons, the Fall semester will commence after labor day.  This means Monday students will start 9/13/21 and others from 9/7/21.
If you are taking summer lessons, I will be teaching 9 weeks during summer from 6/21 to 8/19, but only on Mondays Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Some students have already secured a time; everyone else needs to let me know possible times on the schedule below.  You do not necessarily need to take lessons all of the 9 weeks but I really need to know your exact dates as much as you can tell me.  I can be flexible but I am definitely not teaching on the Wednesday or the Friday during summer.  At this time I would also like to keep Monday after noon free but I am open to possible times then.  If there is a question mark after your name it is just a suggestion so far.  I am on vacation 6/12 – 6/20 and then 8/22 – 9/6. (more after the schedule)
Mondays
9:00 – 9:30 Mary-Russell
9:30 – 10:00 Kristen
10:00 – 10:30 Kristen
10:30 – 11:00
11:00 – 11:30 Lydia
11:30 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 1:00 Joshie
1:00 – 1:30
Tuesdays
3:00 – 3:30
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
5:30 – 6:00
6:00 – 6:30 Jikai?
Thursdays
3:00 – 3:30 Susan
3:30 – 4:00
4:00 – 4:30
4:30 – 5:00 Pascale?
5:00 – 5:30 Tori?
5:30 – 6:00
6:00 – 6:30
Congratulations to 3 graduating seniors, Quinn Barbaza, Andrew Hartman, and Kaitlyn Busch.  I will sorely miss you all and hope you come back for visits like some of my previous students, and possibly play at my Holiday and Spring soirees.
Kaitlyn is my last remaining guitar student and I am no longer going to teach guitar.  I do not have time to practice and once a week playing barre chords does not go well with my left hand.  I will keep some existing ukulele students but probably not taking any new ones.  I might have room for some new piano students; I would especially love some more adult learners.
On the subject of piano lessons,  I would like to encourage interested students to think about the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) curriculum and examinations in piano;  I suggest that several of my current students who seem really keen on piano and are happy to practice each week might consider working towards the RCM examinations, using the RCM’s very fine and comprehensive curriculum.  Among my students Quinn completed level 6, Ashley level 5, Kavisha is about to take level 3, and Lydia is working towards level 3.  All have mastered not just piano skills but a deep understanding of music.
Here is the RCM website:  https://www.rcmusic.com/. I have to say it is hard to navigate beyond the first few pages but you can see some of their ideas.
The RCM is based in Toronto, Canada, but several years ago they agreed to extend their operations to America.  The program was called by various names to help Americans understand what it was but they have settled back into the RCM, even though “Royal” is not used in America.
There is a center in Cary at a local music school and until Covid hit exams were conducted there.  Now the exams are done online and that might become permanent as it seems to be successful.  There are not many teachers in Durham who have students sitting for exams – I think just myself and Sam Marion.  I have had students sit for exams up to and including level 6 so far and all my students seem to achieve at least honors but most get distinctions.
My idea is that even if you do not want your student to sit for the exams, I can teach them through the curriculum which includes technical work, ear tests, sight reading as well as some great imaginative pieces from the baroque era though the 21st century.  The books are not cheap and the fee for exams is not either!
The good thing about sitting for the exams is you have a definite goal, and these are internationally recognized piano standards and the curriculum is taught in many countries.  Good portfolio material!
I think this is long enough now so hope to be seeing videos coming to me.  I would prefer you put them in drop box as it preserves a better quality.  Let me know if I need to send you a drop box invitation.

Big changes next week May 10 onwards

Thanks for your replies. I think the schedule is set for the remaining 6 week of the semester.  PLEASE take a moment to go to the schedule tab for any time changes and whether you are coming in person or remaining virtual.
Happy Mother’s Day Sunday to all you amazing mothers!  Hope you all have a beautiful day and get to do something special.
Early news – I have 3 seniors graduating on June 2 and 4: Quinn Barbaza, Kaitlyn Busch, and Andrew Harman.  I understand Quinn has been accepted at Notre Dame, Kaitlyn at Davidson, and Andrew at Durham Tech.  Congratulations to all 3 and best wishes for your big new future!  It has been a tough year for you!
Reminders:
In your weekly emails I send notes about what students need to practice.  Older students – please READ your emails!  Younger students, would parents be able to print at least the part of the email that says what to practice?  I don’t have any non-readers so you all can read what it says.  This would be really helpful.
I do not send invoices.  On your email under schedule it says what you owe in fees and then there is a copy of the relevant part of my spreadsheet.  You should always check – math no longer my strong suit.
Next week, all in person students should wear a mask unless you are fully vaccinated and past the 2 week post vaccine period.  All accompanying people should also wear a mask.  I will have hand sanitizer and wipes.   Please be patient – my first week of hybrid lessons might be a bit rough.
Summer Lessons:  I have names on my list and if you want to be added to it please let me know as I will make another schedule for summer. So far these students have indicated that they want at least some summer lessons:  Susan, Mary-Russell, Kristen, Lydia, Venia, Mai, Louise (August), Andrew, Jikai.  More details next week.
Thanks always for learning music with me especially through this past year!

May news and studio changes

Important Changes in May

Hello Students and Parents,

By Monday May 10, both Carol and I will be fully vaccinated so I am able to welcome students back to in-person lessons at 2119 Sprunt Ave, if so desired, but with several provisos:

  • We will all need to wear masks, as well as myself, even if fully vaccinated.  This includes the parents or guardians who bring the students plus any other siblings who come to the lessons. There is a slight risk of Covid 19 infection even after vaccination and we cannot risk that.  The way I think about masks is that apart from covid it has drastically reduced the flu and cold seasons which is great.  Ukulele and Guitar players need to wear masks as well; just have to deal with singing in a mask!
  • Please do not bring food to the waiting room (you can’t eat while effectively wearing a mask).  Bring a water bottle of course and slip your mask down briefly to take sips.
  • It has been shown in research that Covid is rarely passed on by contact with surfaces but I will be wiping the piano down after each lesson.  I will also provide hand sanitizer and I will have a few disposable masks if you forget to bring one.
  • Please respect our lovely house and yard.  We have a bathroom that can be used for absolutely necessary use only.  Please try to use your own facilities or those at school before coming to your lesson.  This also reduces any of the small risks we have of the infection. I will leave paper towels in there to wipe your hands so please do not use the hand towels.  You can sit on the deck if the weather is appropriate but please don’t allow students to run around the yard (would hate for someone to have a fall and the terrain is rough!) or touch my plants, indoors or out.  Please bring a book, school work, ipad, something to use while waiting. Wifi is available.
  • In May I expect to be teaching in a hybrid manner and have purchased an additional laptop to facilitate this.  It will not be easy to keep switching but some people have already indicated that they want to stay virtual till the end of the Spring semester on June 11 and I cannot realistically change the schedule before that (From fall I will be teaching on dedicated virtual and live days and I will speak with each of you regarding scheduling when the time comes). When you arrive for an in person lesson I might still be teaching online at the piano so, as before, the door will be open, just come in.  If the door is closed please close it after you but if the weather is nice you can leave it open and just the screen door will be closed.  We have the yard sprayed regularly in summer with garlic spray so there are no mosquitoes which makes sitting outside very pleasant.
  • New People:  My address is 2119 Sprunt Ave.  Please come down the driveway and along the path on the right hand side of the house (be careful on the flagstones) and come up on the deck at the back where you will see the door to my waiting room.  Parents of older students can wait in my waiting room or leave for the half hour and return at the end.  This has worked really well in the past.  Go for a walk down on Ellerbee Creek or do some fast shopping.

IMPORTANT PLEASE:

I need to know if you are going to come to in-person lessons after May 10 or whether you are going to remain on line.  This is critical for my teaching!! Every student and family needs to let me know by Friday 30 April by 4pm. Please consider carefully. Thank you!

Other news:

The Durham Music Teachers Association (DMTA) held a very successful outdoor playathon on April 17 in the grounds of Greystone Church Hillsborough Rd Durham.  We raised over $1,000 for the scholarship fund!  Two of my students played very well, Mai Dunn and Louise Downs.  Thanks girls!

On Saturday April 24, five students played in a DMTA Virtual concert from 3-5, Quinn Barbaza, Lydia Pollak Coy, Leo and Ava Pieraccini and Pascale Lodewick.  These virtual concerts have been so great as in person recitals have been not possible.  There will be a final one on 5/29 at which another 4 students will be playing, Khaleel Jackson, and Louise Downs, and possibly Oscar McCormick  as well.

Summer lessons:

Summer schedule will run from Monday June 21 to Friday August 20.  Please let me know if you are interested in summer lessons and what times and days would be best. If you are attending day camps, what time are they finishing?  Fall semester will begin Tuesday September 7, the day after labor day.

All the best wishes for your good health.

April brings the warm weather!



Happy to be wearing fewer layers and even some bare feet!
Students and parents, I hope everyone is healthy and well.
The Spring semester starts again on Monday 4/12.  I will be glad to see everyone.  It was good to take a break although it has been filled with some sadness as my partner Carol’s mother is now in hospice and not expected to live very long.  She had been ill so this was not unexpected but it is still sad when one’s mother is going to pass.
Fees reminder – April fees are due from Monday and most people owe 3 weeks unless you had a payment put forward ($97.50)
Most Important!!  From the Durham Music Teachers Association
 

Spring Play-a-thon, April 17th 

We are excited to announce we will have an “in person” play-a-thon Saturday April 17th. The play-a-thon will be held outside at Grey Stone Church, 2611 Hillsborough Rd.  If you’d like more information about participating or would like to sign up for a time slot, please contact Lorna: lcollingridge@gmail.com or 919 599 9372.   Play-a-thons are informal performance opportunities for students of any age and level.  Money raised from the play-a-thons support DMTA’s scholarship program.

Please consider signing up:  Can be any student from beginners to advanced – I know playing in the open air is different but hey!  this has been a different kind of year!  You can play more than one piece if you want.  I hope to fill my half hour 2-2:30 pm!  I think it has to be piano players because there won’t be amps and microphones for singers and ukulele/guitar players. If you are not from Durham you are excused!
I look forward to hearing people clamoring to play…