As I look out my window, the yellow leaves are falling over the street – yes, winter will not be long away but the days are gorgeous!

Fall soiree planning is in full swing now and this week I would like to settle what everyone is going to play and whether they are able to be at the soiree, December 4, 3:30 at Croasdaile Auditorium. I am hoping you will be able to come and bring friends and family, and I will do more advertising at Croasdaile itself, because I know the residents who do come really enjoy hearing all the students perform.

I have at least 8 students who are composing their own pieces for piano and voice and I am hoping to include their compositions in the soiree program (where are my guitar and song composers?). However, I do want the compositions notated before accepting them in the program. It is a wonderful thing to improvise at the piano but what tends to happen is that from one improvisation to the next, you forget that fabulous thing you did and you can’t get it back. Notating your music means you can play it again and again and you can also share it with another performer. In fact, one student is going to play a piece written by a student of my colleague, Susan Paradis!

Writing down your music also enables you to look at how the piece is structured and unless you are composing analogue music (music which repeats over and over with minute variations and which can last for many hours – fascinating, but not what we can perform at the soiree) you need structure. This means your piece has a beginning and an ending and something interesting happening in the middle. My very simple recipe for a composition is you need repetition, so you know you are in the same piece not another one, and variation, so the repetition does not become boring. I am planning to print the original compositions in the program.

This brings me to another point. At the moment students are playing their compositions for me and I am notating them in my music software, Finale. What would be wonderfully empowering for students is for them to be able to do this for themselves. They can enter the notes and hear them as they enter them and then when they are done, they can play the whole piece back and check if it is what they intended. When they are happy they can print the music and bring it to their lesson. Students can also email me their finale file (*.mus)and I can look at it on my computer. You can download the beginning student version called Finale Notepad for $10 if you are interested. Some students have already done this. (

I have always wanted to teach finale as a compositional tool and I am considering the most efficient way to fit this in. I am thinking of a workshop of about 2 hours when students would need to bring a laptop with finale notepad loaded. I could teach them how to use the simple program in this time and then if they wanted to go on to the more complex versions, individual or smaller groups workshops could be arranged. One consequence of learning Finale is that you have to know your theory and once you do, you can see the power of understanding how music works. If there is enough interest, I would need to find a venue with some suitable seating. Email me if you like the idea!

Thank you so much to all my students and parents who enable me to do what I love as my business. I do appreciate the prompt payments of my monthly invoice as it really helps me to run my business successfully. I do not do very much advertising, just the church bulletin and the neighborhood newsletter; most of my students come from your very wonderful referrals, so thank you again. I have the following afternoon spaces free right now:

Monday 6-6:30

Wednesday 3:30 – 4 and 5-5:30

Thursday 3:30 – 4 and 4:30 – 5

Please let your friends know if they are interested in learning music with Flourishing Muse!