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April / May 2024

Notes from M&J


Welcome back, Music Makers! We hope you had a wonderful spring break, wherever it took you. The next two months in the studio are busy with group class, our Spring Recital, and preparations for summer. Keep reading for more about these and other announcements. You'll also go behind the scenes to learn more about how film scores are produced!

Happy Spring!

Melia & Justin


Notes from Melia & Justin


Studio Updates

  • April Group Class

  • AT Masterclass

  • Spring Recital

  • Summer Semester

Piano in the News

Practice Tip

Student Spotlight



The theme for this studio year is “Soundtrack: Music from Movies & Video Games”! Great composers don’t just write for the concert hall—our students encounter incredible music every day through film, TV, and gaming. Composers like John Williams, Michael Giacchino, and Koji Kondo have gifted us earworms that conjure up magical worlds and beloved scenes. Students love to bring arrangements of their favorite soundtracks to lessons. We’re excited to highlight and explore this amazing body of work through our group class programming, newsletter content, and spring recital.


At the heart of every memorable movie or video game lies an equally remarkable soundtrack, weaving together melodies, harmonies, and rhythms to create an immersive experience for the audience. But have you ever wondered about the intricate process behind bringing these musical masterpieces to life? This month, we step inside the recording studio, where musicians, composers, and conductors collaborate to bring a story to life through sound.

Typically the movie soundtrack’s composer leads the recording session. Having crafted a score based on a deep understanding of the narrative, characters, and emotions of the project, they work closely with the conductor, who will guide the orchestra through the score. The musicians, many of whom are seasoned professionals, typically have very little time to prepare the music in advance. Sometimes the recorded version that ends up on the big screen is their first reading of a piece of music! Read on to learn more about how composers, conductors, and performers bring movie music to life!


Watch The Incredibles soundtrack come to life in the studio! Got a bit more time on your hands? Watch a recording of a complete soundtrack recording session (almost 3 hours) to see the process unfold in real time.


We’re building another playlist… This month, enjoy film scores from Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo, Soul, and Spider-Man!

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Read the Kiddle (kids’ online encyclopedia) article about film scores!



Make your own film score! Have your family act out a scene, while you are the composer and performer at the piano or violin.

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April Group Class

Our final group class week of the studio year is April 22-25. Per the studio calendar, classes will take place at the following times & locations:


Tuesday, April 23 @ 4 & 5:30 PM

Thursday, April 25 @ 6 PM


Monday, April 22 @ 4:30 PM

Due to low attendance, we will not run a violin-only class. Please register for the session your student will be attending in the studio portal by Monday, April 15.

CANCELLED: Advanced Track Masterclass

Unfortunately, the Advanced Track masterclass originally scheduled for Saturday, April 27, has been cancelled. See Justin's email for more details!

Spring Recital

Our Spring Recital is just over a month away! We will be holding two recitals on Saturday, May 18 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. This summer our teachers have decided to only offer our "biweekly" (4 lessons) summer option 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 2024. Based on your survey feedback, we will begin scheduling summer lessons in May. Find our summer semester calendar on our "calendar" page.


Did you know that March 28 was Piano Day? Learn more about the origins and festivities of our favorite day of the year.

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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!


Congratulations to several of our students who participated in Piano Teachers' Forum of Grand Rapids' annual Student Achievement Testing, which took place at Calvin University on March 16. Our students took tests in performance, theory, aural skills, and sightreading to provide a measure of their musical skill. Way to go!

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