Playathon April 2022

I am looking forward to seeing my students again tomorrow and make sure when you come to see my beautiful new picture windows!  So happy.  Also my room has been painted and looks clean and new!

I am also excited to give you details of the next Durham Music Teachers Association Playathon, which will be held at Dr Frank Pitman’s studio at Sutton Station, 5836 Fayetteville Rd, Studio 10, Durham NC 27713 on Saturday April 30.  Dr Pitman is very generously lending one of his really nice pianos and it will be situated in the breezeway close by his studio.  

I have asked for the hour between 2-3 on the Saturday and I really hope many of my students will participate.  The playathon raises money for the DMTA scholarships which is a very worthy cause – they help students to experience music lessons which they may not otherwise be able to afford. It is also a rare opportunity for my students to play for their colleagues and for our community.  Sadly I have not been able to find a venue for my usual Soirées.  I will be asking students in lessons this week if they can participate but of course parents are involved!  Maybe you could combine a trip to the Mall on that Saturday.

Here are more details from the DMTA:

Breezeway next to Regional Pediatrics

5832 Fayetteville Rd

Durham, NC 27713

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

Masks required.

Participants and guests at the DMTA 2022 Spring Playathon will be socially welcoming, socially responsible, & socially distanced. ~Public health and safety, first~

A few chairs will be available. Guests may bring their own lawn chairs if they’d like.

See you all this coming week.

Masks Information March 2022

Mask Update 3/7/22

Hello Students and parents,

The city of Durham has ended the indoor mask mandate from Monday 3/7/22.  This is the information they sent:

Post Date:02/28/2022

DURHAM, N.C. – The City and County of Durham will remove the indoor mask mandate, effective Monday, March 7, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. Durham Public Health Director Rod Jenkins announced at tonight’s Durham County Commissioners’ Board meeting.

Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website still shows Durham as a high transmission area, Durham officials say that the metrics, including the laboratory testing positivity rate, now at 4.8%, and in-patient bed count, currently at 134 across Durham healthcare facilities, are continuing to trend downward, falling within the CDC’s newly issued guideline of fewer than 200 in-patient hospital beds.

Therefore I will be ending the mandatory use of masks in my studio and waiting room for those parents and students who are comfortable not wearing a mask.  If a new variant arises or the local county transmission rate rises I may have to reinstate masks for everyone.

I am probably going to continue to wear my mask for a while and I hope that is OK.  I have a heart condition and I am 76 years old so I need to be cautious.  I will probably always wear my mask in shops and at appointments but after I see how things go for the next two weeks I am take my mask off.  (I have been very fortunate not to ever get covid when many of my colleagues and friends have had breakthrough infections.) 

Now the weather is so nice (mostly) everyone can sit unmasked out on the deck!

I think most of my older students are vaccinated.  If you or your students are not vaccinated can you let me know because in those lessons I would want to wear my mask. I am fully vaccinated including the booster.  

I really hope that covid is going to die down and we can start to live in our new normal.

Be safe, be healthy, and practice piano!

February News

Sorry about the ground hog predicting 6 more weeks of Winter  🥶

But it is warm inside and there’s piano playing…

I hope everyone is healthy and avoiding the virus and indeed all the viruses, cold and flu which are around too. Thanks to everyone for wearing a mask in lessons and good girl Zelda for reminding me to put mine on after I had been teaching online.

Fees are due for February and for most people that is 4 weeks or $140 unless you have more learning.  Thanks to everyone for getting fees to me at the beginning for the month.

I am so happy that so many students are practicing and therefore making such good progress.  I am not going to name the splendid examples of students who are practicing – you know who you are.  So happy that many parents report loving hearing their student play.

I am also very chuffed (Australian for a combination of satisfied, very happy, delighted – if you like it you can use it too) that two siblings are playing duets together.  Louise and Ida, excellent work!  I love to play duets and Mary-Russell and I have have been playing together for quite a few years.  I have tons of lovely duets, from easy to challenging, classic to jazz – any students who want to play duets just ask me.  Parents who play – how about a duet with your student?

Even more exciting news!  I have a number of students who are composing music.  Sam and Sean have both got great compositions on the go.  Am waiting for some others to get going.  You can play a composition for me and I will help you write it down or you can download some manuscript paper for free and write out your notes and again I can edit.  Sam has managed to download a free version of Finale and teach himself to use it in one week!  I can show students how Finale works (it is very expensive to buy sadly) but teaching them to use it means they have to have this free version which is only available for windows not Mac.  There are other music notation softwares, but Finale is the one I guess I am expert on. 

Performance opportunities:  I am still pondering in person or online but at the end of March two things are going to happen:

  1. Nyssa Collins and I are going to have a little online symposium for composers.  She has some student composers and so do I so we are planning for them to play for each other and share ideas.
  2. I am either going to have an online Zoom concert or I am going to find a safe venue to have a concert (by hook or by crook).  And duets will be involved.

Travel news:  I have finally booked to go and see at least one daughter.  I leave May 29 for the UK and possibly return to the USA June 18 this year.  I doubt I will be able to go on to Australia but if I can I will also be away most of July.  Will keep everyone updated.  I hope to teach a summer program in August and start the Fall semester after labor day as usual.

Happy New Year 💥🎉

Hello students and parents and families

I hope and pray and wish that 2022 turns out to be a better year than 2021 and 2020.  It would be great if the pandemic would die down and we could all travel again.  I am probably going to the UK and Australia over the summer – finally!  Maybe!
The Spring semester 2022 begins Monday January 3 and will end at the end of May.  Dates will be in your emails and more information will be coming about a Spring Break.  I have heard back from about 3 people to tell me they are continuing or whether they need time changes.  I am assuming that everyone else is continuing and is happy with their Fall time. The correct schedule is displayed under Schedule.
Fees will be due next week for the month of January, and the fee is the same as Fall, $35 for a 1/2 hour lesson.  Monday people: I will be teaching MLK day but let me know if you are not coming to lessons that day and adjust the month’s fees accordingly.
I am fully vaccinated and boosted as is Carol and we have had minimum contact with groups over the break and are both well.  I was hoping to test myself once I came back from the beach Friday (in a condo with just Carol) but the shortage of fast tests meant I had to schedule a longer test later in the week.  I do not suspect I have covid but was wanting to be ultra cautious.  I will wear a mask unless you are happy for me not to and please tell me either way in the lesson.  Anyone young ones not vaccinated need to wear a mask; others let’s talk about it in lessons. I am wearing Little Lives PPE N95 masks, now – 5 for $15 off their website.
Let me know any problems with the schedule.
My studio windows did not arrive yet so same old windows until the supply chain moves BUT my new piano duet bench IS arriving Monday or Tuesday!  Only took 6 months.
I am so excited that the weather channel says snow Monday morning – probably two flakes but it was great to see that tiny snowflake.  Anyone know a snow dance?
Looking forward to seeing everyone next week.

End of the Fall semester 2021

The Fall semester 2021comes to an end this week.  It has been a great semester if short but students have done some really wonderful work.

Last Thursday evening Anna Long and I went to the Celebration of Lights at the nearby Greystone Church. We played Christmas songs and carols outdoors – lucky it was such a lovely mild evening.  What a great event that church puts on!  So many lights, so many programs like the hayride which went rather fast through the large campus!  Thanks to colleague Jan Perry for inviting us.

On Friday evening 4 students and I went to the Yates Baptist Church for a really fun evening with my colleague Nyssa Collings and six of her students.  The church is very lovely and has a very nice Yamaha grand piano – all the students played so well, and most played 2 items. Thank you so much to the parents who brought their students.  Thank you so much to Nyssa for facilitating the fun evening with games and cookies!

  • Louise played Cruella de Ville and Yellow Bird
  • Pascale played Tuxedo Junction and Dill Pickle Stomp
  • Cecilia played Horse Drawn Carriage and sorry Cecilia if you played another one I can’t remember!
  • Andrew played two pieces from memory, Amazing Grace and Minuet in G by Bach

Nyssa’s students also played really well:

  • Sarah played Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Prelude in G
  • Owen played Malagueña
  • William played Remember Me
  • Belle played Lean on Me 
  • Malachi played Bicycle Ride and Jump Rope
  • Neev played Firefly and Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Students gave their colleagues positive feedback and now everyone wants to learn Cruella and the very nice arrangement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik so I have to go and find that particular book!

Many of my students have learned some Christmas songs so I hope they play them for the family at Christmas.

Last lessons will be on Thursday 12/9/ and then lessons start again 1/3/22.

Next week I will be working on the 2022 schedule and I have already had requests for moves so as soon as you know whether you are continuing in 2022 and approximately what days and times you are hoping for if they are different to this semester please let me know.  I will put up a tentative Spring schedule next week.

I think Nyssa and I are going to plan a joint soiree after easter in the Spring, maybe late April early May, when the virus will hopefully have died down.

Have a safe and happy holiday season 

With Love from Lorna

The end of year 2021

Perhaps we will all be glad to see 2021 fade into the distance!  It has been a difficult year but I have personally been blessed with mostly good health, friends, family and my wonderful students and their families.  I hope everyone has a peaceful thanksgiving with lots of the traditional turkey (I am having fish) and pie (I am having blueberry crumble) but I am making corn bread and oyster stuffing – is that traditional?

I have decided not to participate in the December DMTA playathon on December 4.  I am nervous about going to the crowded Christmas mall and even more afraid of the parking (only accidents I have ever had were at slow speed in car parks).  I think I will wait for the Spring playathon but I hope the teachers near Southpoint raise some great funds for the scholarships.

However there are some other possibilities for sharing music.

Thursday December 2,3,4,5 from 6:30 – 8:30 each night the Greystone church, where the playathon was held, is having a Celebration of Lights with live music. From 6:30 – 8:30 music students are welcome to come and play Christmas music (but other music also).  Teachers nominate a time to be there with their students.  I have nominated 7:30 – 8:00 on December 2 to meet students there and for us (including me) to play Christmas music.  I will be asking in lessons if there are people who are interested.  This is not raising money for anything just a chance to welcome Christmas and see our colleagues. The events are free although the food trucks are not!

Friday December 3 my young friend and music teaching colleague, Nyssa Collins, is holding an event at the her church, Yates Baptist church in Lakewood.  Here is her description:

“On the 3rd (from 6:30 – 7:30) I am hoping to have a group piano lesson – this is for any student, and it is so the students can play for each other. Parents can stay or drop kids off (as long as some parents stay), and the main audience would be other kids. This is meant to be an extra performance opportunity for students playing in recitals, or students who have never played in a recital and are nervous about it. Not sure yet how much “lesson” will be going on – it could be very fun for students to get tips from other students and teachers!  There can also be games!”

I will be there and I would love some students to come and play and hear other students play.  Again I will be talking to students in lessons.  

Sadly I am not sure we will be returning to Croasdaile Village for our Soirees any time soon for many reasons, the pandemic among some but also the condition of the pianos. It seems churches have good pianos which they keep in tune and both these baptist churches seem very welcoming. Suitable venues for concerts and get togethers was one subject on the agenda at the last DMTA meeting.  

The Fall semester ends on December 8 after which I hope my new studio windows will be put in which will make it so nice to look out on the backyard and check on the birds. Spring semester will begin on January 3. 

Happy Thanksgiving for next week 🦃

Lorna