Spring Semester is almost over! Here comes Summer!

Happy late Memorial Day to everyone, stay healthy and safe.

It seems that first, North Carolina is starting to open up businesses again but secondly, our coronavirus cases seem to be rising. The future is unclear and I am not sure how many summer camps will be operating or whether some schools will start classes partially or with full enrollment. I stay hopeful that we will all continue to help and encourage each other. 

I usually teach in the summer when I am here and except for 2 of the weeks I will be here and I will put the dates below again.  At the moment I am not altering the lesson schedule until I see how many want to continue summer lessons for some or all of the available weeks I am teaching.  I encourage those who want to keep learning to let me know.  Even if you want a part-time schedule I can accommodate that; the 9 weeks plus of the summer break in traditional terms is very long.  Evidence shows students do tend to go backwards during this time.  Without the motivation of regular lessons practice tends to fall away; “I can do it next week…”

Some people have let me know already about summer lessons, either whether they want to take a break, continue or pick up some weeks of lessons.  I will email people individually but I hope I have not missed anyone.  I have been slack about making notes lately!  Feel free to tell me again and I am now making a list!

About fees:  During the summer you can pay in groups of lessons or for individual lessons, and the fee is the same $32.50 each half hour.  However, I am sad to report that 3 mailed checks were lost in the past 2-3 weeks.  I do not know what happened but I know 2 families mailed checks and they did not arrive. I am in a quandary because I love the postal service and I pay all my bills by post – so far.  If you can use Zelle or Venmo that would be great, or the old drop check in my letterbox for locals, but if you’re posting checks make sure of the correct address and put your return address:

Lorna Collingridge

2119 Sprunt Ave

Durham NC 27705

The summer dates will appear on your June emails in red to distinguish them from Spring and subsequently Fall.  

Almost all May fees have been paid so if you are one of the late ones, can you please pay me this week before May comes to an end.

On Friday 5/15 I adjudicated the Piano Festival for the Durham School of the Arts (DSA).  We usually have this event at the school but this time it had to be on Zoom.  It was fun visiting the students at their homes, and I became acquainted with Zoom. Which brings me to concerts.  I cannot have a Soiree at Croasdaile this year of course, so I am thinking of Zoom, but so far just thinking.  My daughter in London is keen to host it/them for me but I have to consider logistics first.  I have many students so could not have just one event.  Stay tuned!

I am so happy to report that two of my ex-students have graduated with their bachelor’s degrees.  Ashley Cummings, my very first American private piano student graduated from NC State  ‘Summa Cum Laude” with award winning results in Cell and Microbiology and a minor in philosophy.  Chelsea Daniel graduated from the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas in Austin but has yet to complete her final piano recital this summer so will know more details after that but she is such a brilliant pianist. There are more students who graduated but I do not have the right details to list them here.

Send a positive thought to Lydia who will complete her level 2 piano exam with the Royal Conservatory on June 2, a member of the first cohort of students who have to do their practical exams remotely on Zoom.  She is very brave!

Please go often to my website and check on new student performances – I hope to have some more intriguing ones up by the end of the week.

I am also happy to report that I finally installed  wifi booster in my studio plus I am now teaching on my laptop so i hope the signal between us all will be stronger – no more glitches!

And finally for piano students especially adult ones, you might enjoy this:


Summer Dates: Summer lessons will be from June 8 through August 21 with the exception of the week from June 29 – July 3  (beach trip, my birthday, 4th of July, relaxing!)  There will be a two week break from August 24 to September 7 and lessons will resume on Tuesday September 8.

Summer Music Lessons 2020

Planning the Summer:

The Spring Semester will end officially on Friday June 6, and I would like all students to be present for lessons online until then. We would have had a Soiree on June 7 but sadly that cannot happen. The Student Performances on my website are the substitute.

 After June 6, I will be teaching a summer schedule yet to be organized but it will run from Monday June 8 – Friday June 26 when i will take a week off for my birthday!  Then I will resume teaching summer lessons from Monday July 6 to Friday August 21 when I will take another 2 weeks vacation to go to the beach (hopefully).  Sadly I will not be going to Australia as planned.

With the current virus situation all summer lessons will be online.  The Fall semester will begin on Tuesday September 8 after labor day.  At this point I really do not know whether Fall lessons will be online or here but I feel they will probably be online until 2021 because the of possibility of spikes in virus activity as the country opens up.  I cannot envisage teaching in a mask or teaching people IN masks or the labor of deep cleaning after every student.  As I read what responsible businesses are doing to safeguard the public it is too time consuming to be able to do it effectively at my home.  Please also let me know if you plan to take music lessons in the Fall.

I am not sure how many student camps are going to happen – for the kids’ sakes I hope they are going to be on with suitable precautions,  But if not music lessons might fill a time slot and I can make the lessons as enjoyable as possible with some different fun projects. I hope music has helped some students to get through these difficult months.

If you have any plans or ideas please let me know – no summer lessons, some summer lessons, lessons at a different time, lessons continuing all summer?  It will help me to make a summer schedule.  It is a very long time from June 5 to September 8 to let your music progress slip away so i do hope you will take advantage of some summer lessons.

As always thank you for learning music with me and my Flourishing Muse studio.  I am so grateful that I can earn my living this way and especially this year to be able to keep earning my living now online.  I hope all parents and students are doing as well as they can and hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel.

My very best wishes for your continuing good health.


Lorna Collingridge PhD
Lessons in Piano, Ukulele, Voice and Composition

Flourishing Muse LLC

Online Music Lessons in Funny Hats, May 2020

This past week I asked the students to wear funny hats during their online lessons.  Some are very mysterious but very creative – love the toilet paper hat! Ida did explain hers and it had something to do with the Coronavius too.  Oscar’s has a pokemon character Gyarados on it!  It was very fun.  I have chosen 5 winning hats and each of the winners will receive a $10 voucher for Locopops, but all the other wonderful hat wearers will also receive a $3 Locopops voucher too.  The photos are not in order! Pretty amazing bunch don’t you think?

Winning hats: Louise, Stella, Oscar, Louisa, and Leo

Runner up hats: Iris, Jikai, Lucas, Mai, Madeline, Cecilia, Ava, Mia, Pascale, Ida

Thanks to Carol for all the technical expertise!

The Merry Month of May

It is a bit sad to see May arriving because it is usually the time when schools have lots of field trips and performances and graduations but none of that will be happening and I understand schools will mostly not be in session until September.  Durham has 3 weeks to go with the official shut in time but even after that social distancing and masks are going to be the order of the day.  I am not making definite plans for my studio but I will not be opening up for students and families to come here until at least June 1.  I will be following the news and the city guidelines and making decisions later in the month.  I would almost prefer continuing to teach online if having students here means wearing masks and constantly disinfecting surfaces.  I also have to consider Carol, my partner, and how she feels about me opening the studio and waiting room in our home.

In the mean time…

Next week I would like to ask all school age students to appear at lessons in their choice of a funny hat.  I will give 5 prizes of $10 gift certificates to Locopops for the funniest, most creative, prettiest, most handsome hats.  I will ask parents to send me a photograph of the prize winning hats which I will feature on my blog page.  I will also include in “hat” things like crowns and tiaras.  Lorna will also wear a hat but I am not creative with crafts so it will be one I already own, something to do with ancient PhD bonnet!  Let the hat parade start!

There will not be a Spring Soiree in 2020 sadly.  Instead I am putting up student performances on my website and if you have not looked at the Student Performances’ page please go and have a look and a listen.  There are quite a few up there but lots of students have yet to send me their videos!  I love all the videos up there!  Some may not be perfect but I can’t expect perfection when I can’t deliver that myself when I perform (can’t focus intently enough!).  Just go for it I say!  In terms of getting it to me, if the video is short either email or text will work but if too big you can send to it to me in drop box, or save it to a thumb drive and drop it in my mailbox and I will return the drive.

Ukuleles!  I need those videos of your parts in Spring and Era Una Vez.  So far I have two videos from Leo, and one from Huyen so am awaiting Lucas, Camille and Ave and one more form Huyen. I am not sure if this is going to work but I think it will.  It may not be perfect (see paragraph above).  Carol is going to put it all together for me in exchange for piano lessons!!

I should mention that on Friday May 15 I will be adjudicating all day for the Durham School of the Arts only this time it will be live on Zoom!  I have not yet worked on Zoom so it will be a first for me.  Lucky my resident Zoom expert is here for rescues if needed! There will not be lessons in that Friday but will try to move students to other days in that week.

Next week May fees will be due either check on the mail or mailbox or Zelle.  Monday through Thursday people will owe 4 weeks and Friday people 5 weeks.  Please check your email this week in case you under or over paid in April.  Always let me know if I have made a mistake!

Everyone be well and hopeful that you will see your friends soon!

Online Music 2020

I hope everyone is doing well and surviving working and learning at home.  This weekend I taught my grandson how to draw a tree in his UK backyard for his online school homework. It was fun to work with him!

On the weekend I also worked with Carol to clean up and reorganize the Student Performance Page.  If you go to the page, it shows thumbnails you can click on to view student’s playing and singing; you can also choose categories like “All”, “Piano” , “Ukulele”, or “Voice”.  Lydia’s piano piece is the latest one I have put up and I am anxiously awaiting more videos.  Please just video the performance, no announcing or talking because I know what piece you are playing or singing.  It should be a video of your best performance without feeling it has to be finally perfect.  I would like to have all students represented by April 30 so I will be asking and reminding!

Some of the previous performances are very nostalgic – Sadie and I playing ukulele – she learns guitar now!  And the Pieraccini twins when they still sang together! Previous students Ashley, Jesse and William playing piano. 

Ukuleles:  I have sent out recordings of the parts for two duets in the red ukulele book, Era Una Vez and Spring.  What I would like you to do is video yourself playing your part in these two duets (separate videos) at the speed at which I played in the recordings.  I am going to try to edit them all together so you can hear everyone and see everyone in their “box” playing their ukuleles.  I would be very cool but depends on you being at the same speed as I played and not stopping to correct a mistake. You can make a mistake but you cannot stop and interrupt the speed.

I know a lot of students are taking this opportunity to do extra practice and it really shows in your lessons – well done!  Be safe and well everyone and go and look at the videos and be inspired to get yours up there.

April 2020 in the new online world!

April Is nearly here

Of all the things I could have imagined this 2020 world being embroiled in, it would be all of us fighting off this virus! I think the word we all need is endurance. Imagine a long arduous journey where we just have to keep going to the end.

We are coming up on the third week of online music lessons. There have been wonderful highlights including my youngest student who dressed up in lollipop mouse ears and colorful clothes which really brightened my day! Annabel has only been learning for a few months and she managed learning online very well. (Photo with Mom’s permission).

Some students have used their home time to do extra practice and it really shows! One of my high school guitar player/singers has recorded that beautiful and strangely prophetic song song “If the world was ending” after her last lesson and her rendition is beautiful. You might remember Kaitlyn from the last Soiree.

Leo has written a new song to encourage everyone “ Spring Allergies”! Chorus: “Even though there’s a virus going around, We’re not going to let it get us down.” I am sure you will be hearing it at the next Soiree. I hope to have more recordings coming in this week because sometimes is it not easy to hear clearly when we are online.

I do think week three might see some of us get frustrated and cranky. I know by last Friday I was a bit snappy – sorry for that! It is a lot of extra work because I have to record material for singers, and prepare more carefully so I have student material in front of me on the piano. However, I am really happy that I can teach my students and see them each week and hear what they are doing, and I hope everyone can continue through April. Let’s just endure this journey and stay distant and well.

Face time and skype are working well but I am also now using google duo if anyone would prefer that. It seems to work well. I have fibre optic cable and fast internet thanks to Carol’s work but I realize not everyone has that facility and sometimes there is a delay but we are all managing. I would love to get some recordings of students especially singers but try using voice memo or some audio only program because it is clearer and easier for me to access. But I can also access video but better to put it in drop box as the files are big.

If you have not seen this video below it is amazing. Boston Conservatory at Berklee student Shelbie Rassler made an arrangement of the Burt Bacharach song “What the world needs now”. She sent out the arrangement to all her musician friends and each recorded their part solo and she edited them all together. Very inspiring. (Must have all had metronomes!)


April: I am not taking a Spring Break. It seems pointless when we are all locked in to our homes so I am happy to keep teaching and will take a break when we are allowed out again. I hope everyone is OK with that.

You can pay fees by using Zelle (I am told by my bank that it is pronounced Zail, like sail), or post a check to my address (2119 Sprunt Ave, Durham NC 27705) or drop a check in my mailbox but text me when you are doing that please. I know these are very tough times for all of us and I hope the government can make good on its promise to help us all financially.

April fees will come due on Wednesday 4/1/2020

Monday, Tuesday and Friday people will owe 4 weeks and Wednesday and Thursday people 5 weeks and this will all be in your email this week. On the subject of my feedback emails, I am trying to put a series of bullet points about what to practice in the subsequent week. If parents of the younger students could cut and paste these points into something that the student can have on the piano or on a bulletin board or in the front of their binders so they are clear about what to practice each week. I am very keen for this to happen; let’s take advantage of all this extra indoor time!

Stay well, be patient and endure this imposition, play lots of music, write new songs and compositions, send to me and be kind to each other.

PS the pollen is requiring a tad more endurance. I guess the trees have to do their thing!