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!
In anticipation of further restrictions on our movements I am transitioning all lessons to on-line. It has been going quite well and almost all students seem to have felt comfortable and those who did not I hope will be more used to our situation in the second week.
These are very difficult times for everyone. I just want to tell you that my studio will remain open for teaching through April 4. I am taking all precautions with sanitizing my equipment and studio and waiting room and bathroom. I have my own hand sanitizer (60% alcohol and 40% water and drops of detergent) and sanitizing wipes. Also I do think soap and water are terrific hand sanitizers and the bathroom is well equipped and I change the hand towels frequently, and will also provide paper towels there. Students can use hand sanitizer or wash their hands in the bathroom. They can also bring their own hand sanitizer.
I am so sorry it has come to this pass in America with this virus outbreak. In all my long years I have never experienced a pandemic. However, I am remaining positive. We can all get through this together. I am not particularly worried for myself although I fall in the at risk category, but I am very healthy, and luckily my partner Carol works remotely most of the time and has little contact with other people. I rarely go out and am canceling any off campus activities.
I am setting up to teach remotely if necessary. I will be teaching through face time as my colleagues have tested out various methods and face time seems to clearest audio and video. I don’t really want to do this but if schools are closed kids will need home activities and music is so great for that and I can help through on-line teaching. Teaching on-line presents certain difficulties not the least being a good internet connection and fast enough up and down load speeds. Parents and students would need some device that can use face time. My usual fees will apply, and can be mailed to my address.
Please let me know any questions. After April 4 I will have two weeks break and please God it will all be over by April 20 and we can resume normal lessons.
WIth very best wishes for your health and the health of your families.
Is March going to be “in like a lamb and out like a lion”? Seems as if we have barely had winter – I have not even broken out the serious pea-coat!
There are a few things I need to remind you about:
I am taking a spring break from April 6-18. I hope to get some down time but sadly the break begins with major dental work and will probably be filled with getting over it. However, I am grateful I have access to great dental work and my dentist gives me gas for the pain and agony. Lessons will resume April 21 after the break. The break should not be too disruptive as most students also have spring breaks around these two weeks.
I have committed to students playing for 1/2 hour in the DMTA Playathon Saturday April 25 from 2:30 – 3 pm. This time the Playathon will be back at Northgate Mall as Brightleaf has new owners who so far have not agreed to host us there. I really need some students to commit to playing on the lovely grand piano Hopper’s supply for us or singing in the acoustically responsive space, or playing ukulele duets with me. These playathons raise money to pay the fees for students and parents who find difficulty financing music lessons. The money is raised by each student who plays contributing $5 plus donations. (DMTA – Durham Music Teachers Association)
Adult students: I am the Chair of the DMTA’s adult student recital Saturday March 28 from 3:00 to 5:00 at Croasdaile Chapel. Previous adult performances have varied from beginners to advanced so please consider playing. It is fun to see what other adults are attempting. All instrumentalists and singers are welcome. I will be taking names in March!
Please check your emails for where I have put a payment forward after an excused missed lesson.
Monday and Tuesday students 5 lessons in March
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday students 4 lessons in March and you can add that day in April that falls before the spring break if you wish.
Thanks always for learning music with Flourishing Muse Studio.
Ground Hog day on Sunday- will that groundhog bring us some snow?
It seems that right now – no snow – I am sad – I love some snow, not tons but enough to be pretty! Let’s see what the old ground hog says on Sunday!
The Spring semester has started well and all students seem to be making excellent progress. I have a few spare times (high schoolers have to quit sometimes to concentrate on sport and/or academics) but I am not anxious to take more students. I have enough!
I love getting parent feedback so please email me any thoughts you might have about student progress or direction.
And thank you to all who have asked me are my Australian relatives OK in the terrible fires and heat. My daughter and family live in Fremantle on the West Coast where there have been fires and 41 degree temperatures but generally things are not as serious as on the East Coast. It is scary to be glad they live 5 minutes from the ocean when you think of towns in Victoria where people have had to leave their homes and take refuge on the beach and in the sea. The devastation of our precious animals, indigenous only to Australia, is heart breaking. An artist known as Edward made a huge sand picture of a koala on the beach at Barwon Victoria in honour of the death of so many koalas:
I have some important dates for everyone:
DMTA Adult Student Recital will be held at Croasdaile Village Chapel on Saturday March 28 at 3 pm with a reception to follow. I encourage all adult to students to consider playing at the recital. Last year there were all levels from beginner to more advances. Please talk to me about playing.
The next DMTA Playathon will be held on Saturday April 25 at Brightleaf Square and my time slot is from 2:30 – 3 pm. This would be a great way to work on your Spring Soiree piece, by playing in the playathon. The playathon raises monwy to pay for student scholarships and I have been very fortunate to receive several student scholarships in 2019 and 2020. The playathon last December raised $1,722! Please consider putting your name down for April 25.
The Spring Soiree will be Sunday June 7 from 3-4:30 pm at Croasdaile Village Auditorium.
Every year the DMTA holds a festival and I have more information about it – it will be on Saturday May 16. Students prepare a piece and play it for invited specialist in their area and receive feedback. They can also be rewarded for excellence with certificates from the DMTA. It would be another goal to add to the ones above for a student wanting to hear more about their piano playing. Sadly nothing for other instruments.
Finally something for younger musicians at Duke. I really love Peter and the Wolf and hope some students might be able to go:
Duke University String School Faculty Recital
Saturday, February 1
4 pm — Nelson Music Room, East Duke Building
DUSS faculty perform Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, with narration by David Ballantyne, WCPE Classical Station’s “Rise and Shine” presenter and producer.Free admission but donations accepted to benefit the Dorothy Kitchen Scholarship Fund.
The Scholarship Fund, named for Director Emerita Dorothy Kitchen, helps families in the community who would not be able to participate in the Duke University String School otherwise. 100% of funds donated go directly to families in need.