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January - March 2024



We've had so much fun being back in the studio after winter break, and there's so much to look forward to this spring! Read on to learn more about February group class, midwinter and spring breaks, and our spring studio event! We also delve into the world of videogame music and share ideas about building your "practice toolbox."

See you in the studio!

Melia & Justin


Notes from Melia & Justin


Studio Updates

  • P-T Conferences

  • February Group Class

  • Midwinter Break

  • Spring Studio Event

Piano in the News

Practice Tip



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.


This month we delve into early video game music! Early video game composers faced unique challenges and opportunities due to the limitations of the technology available at the time, including limited memory, processing power, and sound capabilities of early gaming consoles and computers. Despite these constraints, early video game composers demonstrated remarkable creativity and innovation, making their music an integral component of the gaming experience. One of the defining features of early video game music was its repetitive nature, driven by the need to conserve memory and create compositions that could loop seamlessly. This repetition often resulted in earworms that immersed the player in the world of the game and left them humming long after. Read on for more ways to learn about early video game music!


In this interview, composer Koji Kondo shares about his work at Nintendo, including the Super Mario theme!


We’re building another playlist… This month, enjoy video game themes by Nobuo Uematsu, Hirokazu Tanaka, Koji Kondo!

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This brief article from NPR provides helpful overview of the evolution of video game music from its earliest days!

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With your parent’s permission, take a virtual tour of the National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Texas!

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Parent-Teacher Conferences: THANKS!

Thanks to all the parents who were able to connect with us for Parent-Teacher Conferences last month! While we're always happy to chat about your student's progress and how you can support them at home, the conferences provide a helpful reminder to check in! If you weren't able to attend a conference, feel free to reach out to your student's teacher via email to schedule a phone call or Zoom.

February Group Class

Our first group class week of the fall semester is February 12-15. Per the studio calendar, classes will take place at the following times & locations:


Tuesday, February 13 @ 4 & 5:30 PM

Thursday, February 15 @ 6 PM


Monday, February 12 @ 4:30 PM

Tuesday, February 13 @ 4 PM (violin only)

Violin students may attend any group class but are encouraged to attend the violin-only class. Advanced Track students, connect with your teacher about plans for this class. Please register for the session your student will be attending in the studio portal by Wednesday, February 7.

Midwinter Break: February 19-23

Per the studio calendar, our Midwinter Break will take place the week of February 19-23. No regular lessons will take place during this time, although makeup lessons may be scheduled as a result of teacher absences.

Spring Studio Event:

GV Piano Chamber Concert

There are always great performances happening around Grand Rapids, and we would love for our students and their families to join us on Sunday, March 17th at 5 PM at St. Mark's Episcopal Church (134 N Division Ave, GR) for a performance of the Grand Valley Piano Chamber Series! In this free recital, we’ll hear works by Robert Schumann and Johanna Beyer. A preconcert talk begins at 4:15 PM. Check out the website for more information. We'll send an RSVP email next month!

Spring Break: April 1-5

Per the studio calendar, our Spring Break will take place the week of April 1-5. No regular lessons will take place during this time.


Did you know that West Michigan is host to one of the most prestigious piano festivals in the world? Every year in Kalamazoo, The Gilmore Festival hosts pianists from around the world with performances by both well known and up-and-coming artists. Check out their calendar of events and consider attending one of these stellar concerts!

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Build your practice toolbox!

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One of our jobs as teachers is to provide students and parents with lots of ideas for practicing at home! Imagine a growing (and eventually overflowing) "practice toolbox," a bank of problem-solving strategies to apply to a variety of challenges in music. Make a list of these strategies with your student. How many are there? Do you need strategies for a particular challenge that keeps coming up? Work with your student's teacher to keep building a robust "practice toolbox" for continued growth and enjoyment!

Furry Hearts
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