Spring semester was looong but students made great progress as evidenced at the Soiree on June 3 at Croasdaile.  A couple of students missed the occasion, Ashley through illness and some because they were away on vacation.  I hope next time that my Ukulele students will join the guitar groups at our concert!  Welcome to new students who performed for the first time including Chelsea who played a Chopin Nocturne very beautifully.  Congratulations to all the students who played their own compositions.  We will work more on composition in Fall. Chelsea and Teona are off to Piano Camp at UNCG and Miles attended piano camp in Nashville at Belmont University.  Fall Soiree will be Sunday December 2, at Croasdaile and we will have a holiday theme this time!

Congratulations to Ashley and Janelle who were both awarded honors in the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program assessments in Cary in early June.  Ashley sat for level 3 and Janelle for level 1.  In these examinations students not only play set pieces but they also have to display technical, musicianship, sight reading and aural skills.  Both did really well in all these categories and I hope will continue moving up through the levels next year.  I hope more students will be interested in sitting for these assessments.  It is a great goal to work towards but it does not mean it is the only music we do in lessons.  Some students are also going to sit for the Carnegie Hall music theory examinations as well, which is a terrific way to ensure no stone is unturned where mastering music theory is concerned.

Congratulations to Ben, my now ex-guitar student, who is starting his college degree at UNCG in Fall.  He has made very good progress with guitar and I wish him the very best for his new learning situation and his life at college.

Right now I am teaching camps at the Carolina Friends School.  We had Glee Camp first and then Songwriting Camp, and both were great fun.  Glee Camp was attended by 16 girls who gave a concert of 7 songs on the last day for the rest of the campers.  We did terrific versions of Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift.  Songwriting camp was attended by 5 students who wrote and recorded their own songs.  Each student took home a CD of the 6 songs.  Next week it is Mini-Musical Camp and then Ukulele Camp and after that two more camps before I start Fall semester.

Before I get to Fall, Duke is having its amazing piano sale if there is anyone who wants to buy a good piano.  Read the details here The letter explains how Duke manages to have these piano sales and why and how you go about attending the auction.  If I could magically expand my studio I would be bidding on a grand!  Wishful thinking!

Now to Fall.  I have some exciting personal news!  My youngest daughter is being married in London on September 28 and my eldest daughter is giving birth to her second child around August 9.  This means I am going to be away 9/26 – 10/1 for the wedding and from 12/8/12 – 2/1/13 for baby cuddling.  I will have more specific lesson details later in the summer.  Fall semester begins 8/20/12.

I also spoiled myself and purchased the new ipad.  I am currently experimenting with using it during lessons to record student goals for the following week and to record for myself what we achieved in that lesson.  I am using the wonderful Evernote.  Please bear with me while I refine my new system which will save the environment, one tree at a time, as well as saving ink in the printer,  and allowing me more physical filing space.  At the end of the lesson I need to email the notes to each student or each parent.  When Fall begins, I will be asking you if you student has a viable email address I can use or do you prefer that I email the lesson notes to your email.  I imagine that students will make a note themselves about what they need to work on, not necessarily printing out the notes (saving tress and ink is my aim!).  I also will have for sale student lesson registers if students feel they will use them.

I think it will be a good thing for students to take responsibility for their own practice and develop systems that are right for their circumstances. Regular practice is the goal even if it is not a long practice each time, but families have different daily rhythms that students need to accommodate.  In my experience myself and with my daughters, I find either morning practice before school and work, or afternoon practice before dinner works well.  Recording your goals and noting what you have achieved is the road to success in any endeavor.

Have a wonderful summer and even if you are camping or working, have FUN!