Welcome Back. It’s 2017 Fall Piano Time

Welcome back to piano! Some of you took the summer, or parts of it off, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Student news:

Goodbye and good luck to Sarah Hendricks, who graduated this spring from Washingtonville High School and is matriculating college in New Hampshire. Her goal is to become a physical therapist. She will be a great one, and I hope I never need her services. I miss you already, Sarah. Former student Chaundre Broomfield graduated from SUNY Purchase in the spring. He spent his summer understudying one of the lead actors in a play in Lincoln Center called Pipeline. He is the next Denzel Washington, for sure. I can say I knew him when…Goodluck and congratulations to Kyza Ramirez, who also graduated from WHS this spring. She also has plans to join the health care field, as a doctor.

The HCMTA Festival Auditions will be Nov. 17-18 at SUNY New Paltz. There are two categories of participation, one competitive and one evaluative. If you are interesting in participating, please let me know as soon as you are able. There is a small fee for participating. For more information, ask me at your next lesson.

The next studio recital will be held on Monday, December 18 at 7 pm.  Yes, the ever-popular Christmas Recital returns!

Welcome new students Cara and Colin Moore, who started lessons this month. Cara and Colin were able to see the Eclipse in totality on August 21st. Pretty cool, guys!

Please let me know when you want to be placed on the schedule as soon as you know. School starts before we know it.

FYI I will be out of the studio September 7-14.

Have a great year!

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Welcome to Fall Piano 2016

Happy Fall to all! Today is the first day of school for most students. We all remember those days filled with excitement and sometimes nervousness.  I hope everyone is looking forward to their situation at school this year.

This year we are going to see a few minor changes in lessons–really a resumption of programs that I let lapse in the past few years.

1. Each student will keep a practice time sheet. This can be in tablet form or a calendar or whatever floats your boat. But I expect everyone to keep track of what they practiced, how much they practiced, and when they practiced. By tracking what works and what doesn’t, we can develop a more successful routine. This time sheet should begin with September. We’re here now! Write it down!

2. The Student of the Month program will resume, culminating in the Student of the Year to be named in May.

3. We will emphasize sight reading and technique at each lesson, at every level.

4. Balance. Life is about balance. Homework, school activities and sports, religious activities, and music. A few minutes of each lesson will be used to talk about balance in music and goals.

It is my hope that every student feels better about himself/herself when he or she walks out the door after lessons. Music adds so much joy to our lives, and it is my goal to help each one find how to make music joyous everyday.

Thank you for supporting your student. I look forward to working with everyone.

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Summer 2016 Piano

Summertime is upon us. Time to practice, play hard in the sun, and have a respite from the structure of the school year. About half of my students are taking lessons this summer, which is about par for most years. If you are not taking lessons, and even if you are, in fact, try to spend a little time at the piano. It’s a great stress reliever and usually a good way to talk your mom out of making you do the dishes–”but I have to practice!”

Welcome to new student Jade Sampson. Happy to have you join our bunch.

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Like my page on Facebook! Hudson Valley Piano

If you are on Facebook, please like my page, Hudson Valley Piano. I am posting different information on Facebook than I am here on the website. Also, please feel free to make comments on either the website or the Facebook page. Join in the discussion! Just search for Hudson Valley Piano on Facebook to find me. Thanks!

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Welcome to Fall Lessons

Welcome back to piano lessons! September is a great time around here. Most students are ready to get back to school, to piano, to routine, and I’m sure that parents are equally ready to get back to more structure. You will notice that the link on the right side of this page has been updated with this fall’s schedule. As always, it’s not set in stone, so if you need to make a change, give me a call.

This spring I said goodbye to two great students. Corinne moved to Utah, and Ariana moved to Virginia. I hope they are enjoying their new homes and are still playing piano. I heard that Corinne starts lessons next week. I will miss them both.

Congratulations to Allie Hendricks and Mackenzie Thompson for each taking Level 6 solos to NYSSMA last spring. They both posted very high scores. Mackenzie had the added challenge of playing her Mozart Sonata with a broken finger. We modified the fingering for her, and by golly she really stepped up. Also, Allie will be participating in the competitive category of the HCMTA Music Festival this November.

We did not have a recital in the spring, but we will have a recital on Monday, October 5. This makes only a few weeks of preparation, but we can do it!

A few business items: I am using a new billing system, and I’m having a few issues with Windows 10 that should be resolved today or tomorrow. As most of you already know, I generally bill in September for lessons in July and August. Please be patient–the invoices are ready, but haven’t been emailed yet due to those issues. Please pay from the Amount Due field on the left side of the invoice. If you still owe for lessons last spring, please take care of that balance before fall lessons begin. Thanks!

September lesson schedule: Just a reminder–when a National Holiday is observed on a Monday, there generally are no lessons that day. Actually, there are no lessons on any National Holidays. Check with me on availability of make-up lessons.

There will be no lessons from Wednesday, September 23-Tuesday, September 29, inclusively. I am going out west for two great events. My mother is turning 90 on the 25th, and I am celebrating 50 (yes, 50!) years of teaching piano with a piano recital in a beautiful setting overlooking the Grand Tetons. After that week, lessons should continue uninterrupted for the fall term.

Happy practicing!

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Is it ever too late to learn to play piano?

Randy at recital1.jpg  This is my husband at the Christmas Recital in December. He started lessons in April of last year. A few years ago he started lessons, and life got in the way, as it tends to do, and now he is playing in earnest. His picture is a reminder that anyone can begin learning a new skill at anytime, in fact, it’s good for our brains to learn new and technical things. Learning to read music is complicated–not too complicated–just enough. The old wives tale that we only use 10 percent of our brains at one time is just that–an old wives tale. Reading music requires mental awareness, math skills, pattern recognition, concentration, and physical prowess. Small muscle control is essential, as is the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time. Learning to read music is like learning a new language. Once we learn, we don’t really forget. My main focus on teaching is to give each student the tools he or she needs to read and play music for pleasure, stress relief (don’t we all need that?) and enjoyment. The possibilities are limitless.

In other news, congratulations to Kyle and Mackenzie for participating in the middle school talent show a few weeks ago. Kyle was the MC and Mackenzie did a smashing job of accompanying. Congratulations are also in order for Corinne Tousley, Sarah Hendricks, and Allie Hendricks for serving as organists for the congregation we attend while I’ve been out for wrist surgery. Great job!

Welcome new students Ariana Schuck, and Emma and Miles Brondum.

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Summertime 2014

Steamy summer has arrived, and another school year of lessons is complete. Recital was held on June 9 this year–and what a great time we had! This recital was student-centered, meaning that they all chose their own pieces. What a variety–everything from Meet the Flintstones to Clementi Sonatinas, from a Beatles medley to the theme from Love Story.  I even heard a couple of audience members humming along during some of the pieces. I think everyone had a good time, even the students who performed. Brava!

Students receiving special awards at the recital were Kate Hendricks (100 days of practice in a row), Tiffanie Descadres (100 days, Community Recital, HCMTA Annual Spring Recital), Corinne Tousley (100 days), Kyle Thompson (Community Recital, HCMTA Annual Spring Recital) Mackenzie Thompson (Community Recital, HCMTA Annual Spring Recital, BachFest), and Jordan Thompson (Community Recital).  The students who practiced 100 days in a row were honored with their names published in the magazine Piano Explorer.

The summer schedule is set, though I will not post it on this site since it is such a short time. Basically I am teaching Mondays and Wednesdays this summer, with interruptions, of course. I plan to have a very flexible schedule this summer, and hope you don’t mind changes made on my end, too.  Also, invoices went out yesterday for June lessons. Lessons in July and August will be invoiced together, so if you are a summer student, plan to get your next invoice the first of September for July and August lessons.  Thanks!

Looking forward to fall, the first performance opportunity with be the annual HCMTA Music Festival Auditions held at SUNY New Paltz on November 14-15. This is a most ambitious festival, falling shortly after school starts. Students who want to participate should let me know at the first lesson in September. Or sooner.

It’s never too early to reserve lesson times for the upcoming school year. Each year I start with a blank slate, so when you know your preferred time, please let me know. I’ll do my best to keep the schedule updated for fall on this website. I am accepting new students this year (graduations and move-outs have created some open times) so feel free to refer your friends and neighbors to my studio. I appreciate that–thanks!

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April. At Last.

Congratulations to Kyle Thompson, Mackenzie Thompson, Jordan Thompson, and Tiffanie DesCadres for representing our studio well at the Community Recital given at Elant Goshen on March 23. They did a terrific job! This recital is an annual event sponsored by the Hudson-Catskill Music Teachers Association, and I highly encourage students to participate when they can. Quite a few students from other studios failed to attend, so our little group made up half of the program. Good job, guys!

Schedule notes: there will be no lessons during spring break, April 14-18.  Have a great time doing all of those spring things we all love.

Also, there are no lessons Wednesday, April 2, and Thursday, April 3.

It’s time to start thinking about the spring recital. This year it will be in June, exact date TBA. I expect to assign pieces the week of April 21st for the recital.

How are you all coming with the 100 day challenge?

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March is here; where’s spring?

Happy Meteorological Spring!  What a winter we have had.  Thank you all for making the effort to come out to lessons when the weather has been less than pleasant.  We’ll all get through this.  Also, thank you for your patience while we were in the middle of painting the studio.

Some exciting things are happening for our students.  Congratulations to those who are participating in honor groups around the Hudson Valley. Also, congratulations to Melvine Gomilla who was accepted to the prestigious Regis High School in the city for the next school year.

There is a great performance opportunity coming up this month on the 23rd for students who are interested in sharing their music with folks in Elant in Goshen or Fishkill.  Community Recitals will be held at both venues at 2:30 in the afternoon. If you are interested in participating, please let me know as soon as possible.

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Holiday Time has arrived!

Believe it or not, it’s December already!  I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving.

I will be emailing an article from the New York Times to each of you.  Published October 12, the article by Joanne Lipman is titled Is Music the Key to Success? The article states that multiple studies link music study to academic achievement, and that music education also correlates to success in other areas.  Although this is not necessarily new information, it’s yet another reason why the benefits outweigh the expense and (sometimes) inconvenience of lessons.  And remember its not too late for adults to join the party.

Congratulations to students who are participating in holiday plays, ballets and other events.  Elizabeth Allegro performs the role of Clara in the Nutcracker this week, and Gabby Gellys was a fantastic (and scary) Miss Hannagan in Annie a few weeks ago.  If you have an upcoming performance, let me know.  I love to come out and support my kids!

The lesson schedule link on the right is up to date as of Dec. 1st.

Lessons will continue as usual until December 20th, when we will adjourn for the Holidays.  Lessons resume when school starts again in January.

There will be no holiday recital this year, but we will still be playing Christmas music throughout the month of December.  Have a great month!

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