Archive for the 'newsletter' Category


March Coming In.

Hello troops!

If you haven’t watched the youtube video link above, please watch it when you finish reading this update.  Just think of the opportunities that arise out of piano lessons–and good carpentry skills.

The student of the month for March is Mackenzie Thompson.  Mackenzie is often the last student of the week for me, and what a joy she is.  Hopefully you’ll all get to hear her play Leap Frog some day.  It’s simply amazing.  Congratulations, Mackenzie.  Very appropriate for welcoming the spring peepers.  Soon they will be out!

The schedule will remain the same for the month of March.  If your school has a snow day this month, please call and let me know as early as possible in the day whether you are coming to lessons or not.  Thanks.

Later in the month we will begin working on recital pieces.  Now is a perfect time to do a progress check with your student on the MTNA Music Achievement.  Please let me know if you are having a hard time finding resources for reports or books to read.  Your local school library is a great source, and the internet can be a big help, too.

Have a wonderful March.   


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Recital Coming Soon

IMG_0001.JPG  It’s Recital time again!  Here’s Kyle, going at his tune with gusto in 2007.  I look forward to hearing him, and everyone else, at the annual Holiday Recital on December 19th at 7 p.m.  The venue is the same as last year:  The LDS (Mormon) church on Mt. Airy Road in New Windsor.  Directions are: From Newburg and Cornwall Area, from Five Corners in Vails Gate, travel west on 94 to Mt. Airy Road.  You might recognize this intersection as the one leading to Cornwall High School.  Instead of turning towards the high school, turn right (if coming from Vail’s Gate, Newburg, or Cornwall) onto Mt. Airy Road.  When you come to the T in the road, take the left.  Follow that road for about a mile, past the reservoir, and the church is on the right.  From the Washingtonville area, take 94 to the intersection of 94 and turn left (north) to the T.  I’ll hand out direction sheets at lessons during the week of the 19th.  Please RSVP on the recital ASAP.

 The adult student recital is postponed for a few months.  Several students have had surgery and other complications, so we’ll give it a go around Valentines Day.  It will be held here at my studio, informally. 

The recital will last about an hour, maybe less.  I am not combining any other teacher’s students with us this year. 

Student of the Month for December is Chris Hendricks.  Yeah, Chris–for sticking with it and progressing musically.  Chris also plays bass fiddle.  It’s a pleasure to have you each week.

How is your progress coming on the MTNA Music Achievement program?  Remember to track your practice and other goals.  If you need a little boost after the holidays, check with me.  I may have a fresh idea or two.

December’s Schedule will continue as usual until the Recital.  There are no lessons from Dec. 20-January 5th. 

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.  Let music help you ease into the holidays with less stress, and enjoy the ride.

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Over the River and Through the Mad Lib.

The MTNA Music Achievement Program is in full swing.  I commend all of the students who are participating, and so far it looks like everyone is on board, though I haven’t received papers from some of you.  Please bring these to lessons ASAP.  If you want to come up with goals of your own in lieu of, or in addition to those listed on your individual sheet, go for it. 

The Student of the Month in November, for October’s work, is Brianna Mathelier.  Brianna is working hard on her goals, one of which is to practice 30 minutes a day 5 days a week.  The consistency in her practice is paying off, and she’s noticing that her tunes are easier and easier to play.  Way to go, Brianna!

It’s November.  Over the River and Through the Woods time.  Enjoy it.

We’ll be starting Christmas music next week.  Please bring whatever Christmas materials you have to lessons this week and next, so that we can evaluate any needs.

Most of you are working on a memory song in addition to the regular lesson work.  Please take these tunes seriously–playing by memory allows one to concentrate on making music musical.  I will expect all recital pieces to be memorized. 

Schedule notes:  Lessons will continue as usual until Thanksgiving,  There will be no lessons on November 27th and 28th, Thanksgiving and the following day.

Last week at lessons, Veronica Gilman gave me this little Mad Lib she did.  I thought I’d share it:

mad_libs.jpg   Just click it to enlarge it.  Thanks, Veronica.

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September News

The new school term has begun, and with it, a more structured lifestyle.  In reference to structure, please take the link on the right marked schedule. I will assume you will be here at the appointed time beginning next Monday, unless I hear from you between now and then.  Some of you have taken lessons throughout the summer, and are returning to your old time slots.  Please take a moment after reading this to peruse the schedule and make sure we are in agreement on lesson time.

Speaking of schedules, there will be no lessons September 14 -22.  Lessons will resume September 23rd.  Most students will miss one week of lessons, and Monday students will miss two weeks.

Beginning October 1st, students will be given the opportunity to participate in a new Achievement Award program, designed partially by the Music Teachers National Association, of which I am a member.  This program’s purpose is to help encourage students to continue their music study and enhance their love and appreciation of music.  Students will earn a special MTNA pin upon completion of the program.  The program has three main sections:  Participation, Exploration, and Observation.  Within each section, certain goals will be listed, tailored to individual student’s skill level.  Examples of Participation goals for an intermediate students are: 

Examples of Exploration goals:

Examples of Observation goals:

There will be a minimal cost to this program, to cover the cost of pins.  A sheet explaining the individual student’s goals will be given out at lessons, after each student who wants to participate returns a contract sheet stating his or her desire to participate.  Forms will be distributed during the last week in September. I hope many students give this a try.  I promise to set realistic goals so that all may attain their pins.  At the conclusion of the program, we’ll have a recital where the pins will be awarded.

A word of business:  Please read the business link on the right, also, to remind yourselves of the business policies of this studio.  I was lenient about attendance notification this summer, and this leniency will end (yikes!) September 8th.  Please call or email if you will not be at lessons, or take your chances–I will assess a $10.00 missed lesson fee. 

Thank you all for trusting your musical education to me.  Play on!

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Summer’s On

Summer schedule has begun.  If you need a change in schedule, please let me know as soon as possible.  The posted schedule is the schedule during the school year. Since few weeks in summer follow a set schedule, I won’t post a summer schedule.  If I don’t hear from you, I will assume you will be staying on the regular school year schedule.  A few of you have requested morning lessons, and I can accommodate those.  Also, if you are going to miss lessons, please give me a call or email.  I hope you all get to enjoy a little vacation time this summer.   Thanks!

Speaking of schedule changes:  There will be no lessons July 3rd, and no lessons July 7, 8. and 9th.  I am attending a National Music Teachers seminar in NYC on those days

I hope you all enjoy your July 4th holiday. 

Coming in the Fall:  A new achievement recognition program, affiliated with the MTNA.  This program will be tailored to each individual student’s abilities and aptitudes.  I’m working on the requirements now, and it should be ready to implement Sept. 15th.   

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February Notes

Happy Valentines Month!  I hope you are all enjoying the mild winter we’re having.  I look forward to these mid-winter months.  Usually productive for practice, the next few months are a great time to show good progression in piano study.  I’m happy with the renewed energy many students are showing.

As many of you have noticed, I am in the process of evaluations.  I anticipate finishing these this week, and you should all receive written progress reports next week.  These are helpful for future planning, and although I usually don’t share these with parents and students, I decided that it might be interesting for you to see how I measure certain skills.  If you have any questions after you receive the evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact me by phone, email, or in person.

There will be no lessons on Monday, February 18, because of the Presidents Day holiday. 

The Student of the Month for February is Nailah Cooper.  Nailah is showing improved effort and is working on staying positive when the task is challenging. Good work, Nailah!



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Recital Notes, Schedule Notes

I hope you are all enjoying the hustle and bustle of the season.  The recital will be on Saturday morning, December 15th at 9:30 SHARP.  It will be about an hour long.  Dress for the participants is semi-formal.  Girls should wear dresses, preferably, or dressy pants.  Boys should wear nice pants, preferably not levis, and ties if possible.  In case of inclimate weather, I will post a notice on this site by 8:00am with alternate plans. 

Directions to the venue:  from the east:  take 94 west through Five Corners at Vails Gate, turn right at stoplight at intersection of Mt. Airy and 94.  Continue on Mt. Airy to “T” intersection, turn left there.  Continue on Mt. Airy, past the reservoir on your right (and left) and watch for “one way” sign on right about 1/4 mile past the reservoir.  Turn into that parking lot and you have arrived at the church. (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.)  From the west:  take 94 through Washingtonville, Salisbury Mills, and past the Metro North train station to the interesection of Mt. Airy and 94.  It is the only stoplight between Washingtonville and Five Corners.  Turn left onto Mt. Airy road to the “T”, and turn left again.  Continue on Mt. Airy, past the reservoir and watch for “one way” sign on right about 1/4 mile past the reservoir.  Turn into that parking lot and you have arrived.

Please be prompt.  The recital will begin on time.  Students should be in their places on the dais by 9:25.  I look forward to a lovely event and appreciate everyone’s participation.  As of today, all students are planning to participate.  I have not yet made a decision on whether the event will be recorded, but you are all welcome to bring video cameras or other cameras if you would like. 

No food or beverages allowed in the building, please, and also no smoking is allowed.

Thank you all so much for the support you give each student.  Performance at recital is something every participant will remember–let’s make that memory a great one!

Vacation from piano lessons begins Dec. 15th.  Lessons will resume Jan. 2, 2008.

Beginning the third week in January, I will be doing evaluations.  You should receive copies of these the first week in February. 

Have a wonderful December!

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Updated November Notes

The Virtual Recital is complete.  Students will receive their CDs beginning today, Nov. 13.  It was interesting to do this project.  Most of the students were more nervous during the recording process than they are when they play in a recital.  The CD begins with a Prelude by myself, then twenty one students, and ends with me again, this time I play Someone to Watch Over Me.  I will probably do this Virtual Recital once a year.

The Student of the Month for October is Kyle Emanuele. Kyle is in the sixth grade at Cornwall Middle School.  He is progressing very quickly and yet doesn’t sacrifice quality for speed.  Keep up the great job, Kyle.

 Christmas books have been added to my music list (named dolcemolto) on  The students will need to have these as soon as possible.  To find the books, go to pianoatpepper, then to music lists on the task bar, and key in dolcemolto for the list name.  There is no password required.  This will take you to the list of music I recommend.  Again, if you order from them, they do not charge shipping.  What a deal!

The Christmas Recital will be Saturday, December 15th at 9:30 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Mt. Airy Road in New Windsor.  Invite your friends and extended family–there will be plenty of room for everyone. 

Thank you, everyone, for your efforts to be on time for lessons.  It makes everyone’s lessons go smoothly–thank you.  Also, for those of you concerned about the cold and flu season, I use disinfectant wipes on the keys if I even suspect a student has played the piano with a cold, and hand sanitizer is available in the restroom and its use encouraged. 

It’s Over the River and Through the Woods season again!  Listen for this tune this month.  Everyone will be playing it.

There will be no lessons November 22nd and 23rd in observance of Thanksgiving.  If you will not be attending lessons on Wednesday, November 21st, please call me.  Thank you.

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October Notes from Ms. Joanne

Piano studies this fall seem to be moving along quite nicely.  If you haven’t done so previously, please scroll down to the post below this one.  Chaundre did a demo for me to show how we will do the recital this month.  In case you missed it, the students are to choose a favorite tune to share with others, and I will record them.  By the end of the month, everyone will have a CD to share with their families of all of the students playing their tunes–a sort of virtual recital.  They seem to be having fun preparing for this.  To hear Chaundre’s tune, click on the mp3 file that is highlighted on the previous post.

The Student of the Month is Cheyenne Broomfield.  Cheyenne has shown significant improvement during the past month and this award is well-deserved. 

I have tried to make your music ordering from even simpler.  When you need a new book, take the pianoatpepper link from this site, and from their homepage, find music lists on the toolbar.  Choose shop from a list, and when the new screen pops up prompting you for a list name, type dolcemolto.  A password is not required.  The list that pops up will include the book I requested, and you can order it directly from that list.  Using this feature should save you some time.

The schedule should be uninterrupted for the next several weeks.  Just a reminder–you can review the schedule online.

Have a great fall, and enjoy the cooler weather. 


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September Notes

The summer is almost over–I noticed that some of the trees on Bull Road are actually in the early stages of turning.  The shortening days and imminent school openings are sure signs of fall.  I hope everyone enjoyed their summers.

 Schedule now online.  Those of you who have looked at the website in the last month have probably noticed a few subtle changes.  The biggest change is the ability for you to see the schedule online.  This should be a big help to everyone.  If you need to make a change in your lesson time, you can see what is available.  Folks are pretty good about switching times if the need arises, so don’t hesitate to ask for a change even if it is taken.  Almost always, something can be worked out.  It might surprise you to know how many people forget what time their lesson is from week to week.  Right now the schedule is in the post prior to this one, so just scroll down to find it.  It will soon be listed as a Link on the sidebar.

The Students of the Month (yes, plural) for August are Alberto and Veronica Gilman.  What great strides they’ve made this month.  It was impossible to choose between–they both showed great discipline, so they are both Students of the Month.  Congratulations.

Music List now online.  Another new feature this month should help everyone out when it comes time to purchase new music.  For those of you familiar with, (look for the link on this page) you can now see and order music from my studio music list on their site.  When you click on the pianoatpepper link, it takes you to their home page.  On the menu bar below the title, there is a choice called music lists.  You will be given the choice of create/edit list or shop from a list.  Take that option. When you are asked for the name of the list, type dolcemolto.  You don’t need to furnish a password;  I did not password protect the list.  The dolcemolto list should come up.  Browse that list and you should be able to find whatever book your student needs. You can order it from the list. 

During the month of October the students will be preparing for the first “remote recital“.  They will each prepare a piece to play (as perfectly as possible!) and I will record it.  Once everyone has recorded their piece, I will burn a CD with everyone’s piece on it.  More information to come in a few weeks on that..

The Hudson Valley MTA is sponsoring Auditions in November.  If you are interested in participating or want to know more about it, let me know.  I will be posting on the subject in September.

The Fall Schedule as posted will begin Sept. 10th.  There will be no lessons from Sept. 1-Sept 9th.  Enjoy the chaos that is the first week of school.  I look forward to seeing everyone again.



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