Before I leave for Australia!

Here it is already July and only two weeks until I leave for Australia!  Spring has been an amazing and long semester ending with a really wonderful Soiree on June 2 at our beautiful venue, Croasdaile Auditorium.  Here are some highlights from the semester and I am sorry if I leave anyone out – the summer has been a bit trying with house renovation going awry.

  • Chelsea Daniel won a place for grades 10,11, and 12 at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem – I am going to miss her terribly in Fall but she promises to come back and play at the Winter Soiree.
  • Kedric Scherle and Corbin Craig were so inspired by their performance at the Soiree that they decided to perform at the open mic at the Depot in Hillsborough.  I saw some of the video and they did very well – singing an original song among others.  They were a popular act!  More songs are being prepared for subsequent performances.
  • Ashley and Chelsea sat for both piano (level 4) and theory of music (basic rudiments) with the Royal Conservatory which is known now as the Music Development Program in its US form. Janelle sat for level 2 piano. Here is the website for anyone who is also interested in pursuing this opportunity: (
  • A number of students composed piano pieces of their own and one group wrote a song.  Congratulations to Jake Smedley, Eliza Ylizarde, Emerson Kirby and Kedric Scherle and Corbin Craig. Other students are working on compositions, and perhaps more will join them especially more song writers.  I know we have the next Taylor Swift here in NC; we just need to discover and nurture her!
  • Chelsea, Janelle and Myles entered the Durham Music Teachers Association festival and were all awarded a superior rating, which was a great achievement for their first time.
  • The Fabulous Five (Ashley, Chelsea, Myles, Elijah and RuRu) are attending the UNCG Piano Camp July 15-19 – I am sure they will learn lots and have heaps of fun!
  • My adult singers were great fun and working with them is such a pleasure because I get to play beautiful accompaniments for accomplished voices which is one of my favorite things to do.
  • I love working with ALL my students, everyone is special to me and I hope to see you all again in Fall.
  • Stop Press! Ashley, Chelsea and Janelle have their exam results!
  •     Ashley: First Class Honors with Distinction in Theory and Honors in level 4 Piano
  •     Chelsea: First Class Honors in level 4 Piano and Honors in theory
  •     Janelle: First Class honors in level 2 piano

Fall Semester

Save the date: Fall Soiree Sunday December 8 at 3 pm, Croasdaile Auditorium

Compared to Spring, Fall is very short.  I am going to start lessons the day after labor day and finish December 8 with the Soiree because we all need a break before Christmas craziness begins.  I will resume in 2014 in the first week of January.

I am going to assume everyone is continuing unless you tell me otherwise.  I know some people need new times so there will be shuffling.  For example, Emerson needs to swap a Thursday 6:30 time for a Wednesday or Monday time and I am sure there are others who will need to change. (Someone else did tell me but cannot find my note – please tell me again!)

Last semester I was able to secure some scholarships for students but at this point I am not anticipating having more scholarship money in Fall.  However all students whose family circumstances are reduced are able to apply for the Durham Music Teachers Association Scholarships.  They just need to have learned from me for at least a year, and I need to sign the application (see the website: and go to Student Opportunities and scroll all the way down).


I am in my fourth year operating my Flourishing Muse Studio at my home.  I have kept my fees the same all this time but now I feel that I need to raise my fees.  I have surveyed other studios and teaching places and I think what I am going to ask is well within what is usually required.  However, I do understand if you find the new fees too expensive, and you feel you cannot continue.  That will make me sad, but I think you all know that my teaching is my only source of income and I am limited by the fact that I am the only teacher, and there are only so many half hour slots after 3 pm in the afternoon for school students.  I teach in my home so teaching late into the evening and on weekends is not possible here.

In Fall 2013 I am going to slightly change the structure of my business.  I am going to raise my fees, change the discount system and charge a slightly larger fee for advanced students taking examinations.  I will give a discount for more than one family member learning with me but no longer a discount for hour long lessons.  I will continue to bill monthly and ask for payment in advance at the first lesson of the month.  This works well for my business where I am the only teacher.  90% of my students and parents pay in the first week of the month at their first lesson.

The new fee for guitar, voice, ukulele and beginner to intermediate piano lessons: $28 for a half hour lesson, and $56 for an hour lesson beginning September 1, 2013.

Families with more than one student learning will still receive a 10% discount.

(I will not be continuing the 10% discount for students taking 1 hour lessons).

Piano students taking Music Development Program examinations level 4 and above: $30 for a half hour lesson and $60 for an hour lesson.  Please bear in mind that these exams involve much more than learning piano, but include sight reading, and musicianship.

Payment is by check or cash.

I try to be very flexible about absences and makeup lessons and I prefer to keep this on an individual basis.  I only ask that I be notified 24 hours in advance when a student cannot make a lesson.  In that case I will try to reschedule.  If the notice is the same day I have to let that charge stand.

Please remember the fee covers my preparation which is sometimes longer than the 1/2 hour lesson.  It also includes the materials I prepare and print for students, as well as the frequent communications I send to families and students.  I am a member of the National, State and Durham music teachers associations and so have access to exciting contests, free workshops and master classes which all help to develop and maintain your passion for music.  I will continue to communicate about all of these opportunities.

Every student is invited to play/sing at the twice yearly Soirees held at Croasdaile Auditorium, Durham.  This is a beautiful venue where families and friends as well as residents can enjoy the students sharing the music they have learned.  There is no charge for these opportunities.


I will be on email while in Australia.  The first Sunday I arrive, my two granddaughters, Lakota and Myla, are being baptized and two days later it is Myla’s first birthday so my time there will start with a bang!  After the dust settles, my daughter and I plan to have lots of talking time, in between cooking fests (she makes raw chocolate!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful summer and stays safe and well.  Try to keep up some practice or just having fun at your instrument, perhaps making up music of your own.  Most of all, have fun!