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April / May 2023

Notes from M&J


Welcome back, Music Makers! We missed you during our parental leave, but we are so grateful for the time we had together as a new family of four. Now we’re ready to jump back in to music making with you! Thank you to all of our studio families for their cards, meals, and words of congratulations. We are so thankful for you!

The next two months in the studio are busy with group class, a masterclass, our Spring Recital, and preparations for summer. Keep reading for more about these and a few other announcements.

Happy Spring!

Melia & Justin




This year, our studio theme is “Composing: We Can Too!” At the piano, we usually play other people’s written music. By equipping students with a few simple tools and encouraging them to tap into their own creativity, however, we hope to show our Music Makers how they too can be composers! Our group classes and our quarterly newsletter will center on this theme.

Get Inspired: Resources for Budding Composers!


This month, we're highlighting resources that our Music Makers can access to continue their exploration of composing!


Wynn-Anne Rossi


We met composer-pedagogue Wynn-Anne Rossi last year in our "Women of the Keys" series. Her "Wednesdays with Wynn-Anne" series offers 14 short videos, each featuring a composition tip that is sure to inspire!


Composing Academy


The Composing Academy YouTube channel offers 45 videos on various aspects of composing, including this analysis of the film scores of Hans Zimmer, composer for films like The Lion King, Inception, and Pirates of the Caribbean. This channel would be most appropriate for older students, since it goes into some more in-depth music theory.


Kevin Olson


This workshop with Kevin Olson (one of our favorite pedagogical composers and arrangers) delves into the topic of arranging, creating a version of an existing song or piece of music. His discussion ranges from philosophical to practical and will offer students a launching pad to create their own arrangement.

Studio Updates
Piano in the News


Beethoven is one of the most famous musicians in history, but there is still a lot of mystery surrounding his life! Music and science collided recently in new discoveries about Beethoven using samples of his hair. As this article describes, learning more about Beethoven this way “feels a bit like time travel.”

Group Class
AT Masterclass
Practice Tip
Student Spotlight
Spring Recital


Speaking of masterclasses... Justin's student Jackson participated in a masterclass with pianist Johan Botes at The Gilmore's 2023 KeysFest in February! Jackson performed Rachmaninoff's Prelude in B minor, Op. 32, No. 10. Way to go, Jackson!!

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Summer Semester


Make a Plan!

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It can be hard to practice at home sometimes, especially when you’re not sure where to start or how to fix problem spots! Writing out a “practice plan” can help you stay focused and make it easier to get started. Use your teacher’s lesson notes to remember what needs the most attention in your piece of music; then write a list of 1-3 things you can do to learn/fix this areas (repeat measure 2-4 three times, clap RH rhythm, memorize LH, etc). Mark each set with a star or check mark when you’re finished, and feel your practice session fly by!



April Group Class

Our last group class week of the studio year is April 25-27. Per the studio calendar, classes will take place at the following times:

Tuesday, April 25 @ 4 & 5:30 PM

Thursday, April 27 @ 6 PM

Please register for the session your student will be attending in the studio portal by Wednesday, April 19. Advanced Track students will not take part in a group class, since they will participate in the Advanced Track masterclass (see below).

Advanced Track Masterclass

In lieu of a group class in April, Advanced Track (AT) students (45- and 60-minute lessons) will participate in a masterclass. The AT Masterclass will take place on Saturday, April 22 from 11 AM to 12 PM. Please note that AT students will not have a lesson or group class the following week, since this event takes the place of a group class.

What is a masterclass?

A master class is a public piano lesson with an artist who is not the student’s normal teacher. When performing and receiving feedback, students are exposed to new ideas and strategies to improve their playing. As students observe, they learn more about repertoire and artistry.

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We are thrilled to once again welcome Emily Grabinski Conklin as our masterclass clinician. Emily is the Faculty Accompanist at Grand Rapids Community College, where she plays for choirs and soloists and teaches group and applied piano. Emily holds a Master of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Spring Recital

Our Spring Recital is just over a month away! We will be holding two recitals on Saturday, May 13 at 10am and 11:30am at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. There is no guest limit, so please invite friends and family to join in! We will be sending a survey for time preferences soon, so check your calendars.

Summer Semester

Our Spring Recital survey will also inquire about families’ plans for the summer semester. We offer weekly (8 lessons) and biweekly (4 lessons) summer options spanning mid-June through mid-August. Families who do not wish to participate in the summer semester may pay a reservation fee to reserve their spot in the studio for Fall 2023. Based on your survey feedback, we will begin scheduling summer lessons in May. Find our summer semester calendar below and on our "calendar" page.

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