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November / December 2021

Notes from M&J


We can’t believe our busy fall semester is coming to a close! We’ve had a blast working with and watching the growth of our Music Makers week-to-week in private lessons. We are so looking forward to winter break to rest and refresh before the spring semester begins in January. We’re keeping things short and sweet in this month’s newsletter… We highlight one of our favorite Christmas arrangers in “Women of the Keys,” indulge in a little self-promotion for Justin’s new album in “Piano in the News,” and reflect on the value of taking breaks for our long-term wellbeing and growth.


We wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season!

Melia & Justin

Christmas Vibes
Women of the Keys
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Melody Bober

This month, we continue our 2021-22 studio year theme “Women of the Keys: Piano Music by Female Composers” with a look at American composer, pianist, and church musician Melody Bober. Many of our students will recognize her name from their own pieces, since she has composed a plethora of pedagogical piano works. Bober’s work is not only for young pianists, though; We love to perform her arrangements, especially around the holidays! Her writing is creative, inspiring, and fits so well in the hand. You can learn more about Bober by reading her biography here. Check out her performance of her own Christmas arrangements below.

Studio Updates
Piano in the News


And now for a bit of shameless self-promotion… Justin recently released his debut album entitled the fires & the river: piano music for modern dance, a collection of thirteen solo piano compositions for the modern dance classroom. The album is now available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube Music. You can also stream, buy, or gift the album on Bandcamp. Check out Justin’s artist website to learn more about the inspiration behind this work.

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Winter Brek



Winter Break!

You are receiving this newsletter during the final week of the fall semester, and that means we get to see our Music Makers for holiday-themed group classes! Per the studio calendar, we take the following two weeks off for winter break. The spring semester begins the week of January 3.

Practice Tip
Student Spotight


We are so grateful that many of our Music Makers have musical parents. This holiday season, Justin’s student Yeseong has been collaborating with his mom on a duet version of “Good King Wenceslas." Melia’s student Sebastian has been collaborating with Justin’s student Adriana (Sebastian’s mom) on a duet version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” We’re so impressed by their collaborations!

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Take a break!

Children Playing in Snow

We’re coming up on two solid weeks of winter break from school and weekly private lessons. Some families may see this as a time to encourage more focused practice at the piano, gearing up for lessons in January. But in general, we encourage our students to take a true break. After a long semester of school, piano, and other activities, all of us (teachers and parents included), need time to “fill up our cups.” We encourage our students to play for fun, maybe even learn another holiday tune. But most importantly take a break and rest! This will allow us to begin the spring semester fresh, with renewed energy and clarity of mind. To learn more about the value of “psychological rest,” check out this article from music performance psychologist Noa Kageyama. (This article is geared toward music pros, but you may find it interesting, too!)

What questions do you have about practice? Send me an email (, and I’ll try to answer them in upcoming newsletters.

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