Perhaps this year we can dress up and trick or treat and have fun!  The week before Halloween would love any students to arrive in their halloween costumes.

AND the DMTA is having an outdoor Playathon on October 30 at the Greystone Church (2601 Hillsborough Rd, Durham, NC 27705) like we did last year.  It is a fundraiser for DMTA scholarships.  Greystone is well equipped with electronic and acoustic pianos and is very happy to host this fundraiser safely outdoors (it is not going to rain…)  I am making a list of students and I would LOVE to have a big group play at the fund raiser (last year Mai and Louise were stars!).  AND the DMTA would love you all to come in costume for halloween or even wear something Halloween like a hat.  Please consider participating. I am working soon a holiday event but it is still in the planning stage and this might be your main opportunity to play for friends and family and raise money for an excellent cause.  The Durham Music Teachers Association awards scholarships to students who otherwise would not be able to afford music lessons.

People have asked me who was my piano teacher at the NSW Conservatorium of Music in the early 1960s.  Her name was Marjorie Hesse, and she was an accomplished performer and composer, although like many Australian composers, her compositions have been neglected and not published.

Marjorie was a brilliant pianist and interpreter of new compositions.  Once she came to visit me in Brisbane and she played for my class.  I had to apologize for the slightly out of tune old upright but she said it’s not the piano, it’s the player.  She played a piece called “Stars” by Peter Skulthorpe (1971) and cannot believe what she did with that old piano.  One of my previous students played this difficult piece (Elijah Rogan-Kelly). She was a demanding teacher and I was a nervous 17 year old from the country, convent taught.  I don’t think I ever lived up to her concert pianist proposed future career for me!

If interested here is her bio:

Last week Venia asked me “Am I a pianist?”  I said yes because you satisfy my definition of a pianist: playing with both hands, creatively interpreting pieces with an appropriate style, and really enjoying your playing and having other people enjoy your playing.  When you play you are telling someone a story.  What about you?  

On the subject of repertoire, I really like students who still play a piece they learned a while ago and which they have memorized and often play as a warm up for their practice.  Andrew has a piece he has memorized and plays beautifully – Amazing Grace.  Do you have one you still like to play and have memorized?

Don’t forget to look at the student performance videos on my website.  I have some new ones up there.


Just a reminder that October fees are due and also the new fee is $35 1/2 hour lesson.  I think most people are on board with this so thank you.  Hour lessons are $70 and remember that above the schedule in the weekly emails it says what the monthly fees are and whether you have paid or not.  That is my form of invoice.


I know you love Venmo and so do I but Venmo is getting more insistent that it is for payments between friends and family not for business which includes services.  I am going to give it til Xmas when I talk to my accountant.  I don’t want the IRS to think they need to audit me!  So in the meantime use Venmo but can you do 2 things:

  1. Make your payments private.
  2. Don’t say it’s for music lessons – say nothing or something like fun night or contribution.

There’s Zelle if you bank has this facility, and checks and cash but I have had some glitches with checks in the mail.  The letter box is great!

Thanks everyone – sorry this was so long.

Happy Fall – hurray it’s a bit cooler!