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October 2021

Notes from M&J


This newsletter comes to you toward the end of this month (better late than never?), in large part because we've been having so much fun in the studio with our Music Makers. This month, we met for our first group classes of the studio year in person and on Zoom, held our first ever masterclass, and are gearing up for our virtual recital next month. Read on for important announcements about the recital and recordings of our fall parent workshop. You'll also learn about old pianos changing lives and meet a new composer in our next installment of "Women of the Keys."


Happy Fall!

Melia & Justin

Seasonal Pumpkins
Women of the Keys
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Wynn-Anne Rossi

(b. 1956)

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 music educator Wynn-Anne Rossi. Rossi has inspired young pianists and their teachers with her plethora of works for the piano, as well as teaching others to compose their own music.

Check out four activities to watch, read, listen, and do to learn more about Wynn-Anne Rossi and her work!


Do a “deep dive” on female classical composers by watching this video from PianoTV. You’ll learn about four composers, one of whom we’ve already introduced and some we’ll meet later in the studio year.


Learn more about Wynn-Anne Rossi by reading her artist biography.

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We’ve added works by Rossi to our “Women of the Keys” Spotify playlist. You can hear more of her work on her YouTube channel.

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With your parent’s permission, check out Rossi’s “Wednesdays with Wynn-Anne,” a collaboration with publisher Alfred in which she shares ideas about composition and jazz piano. Watch one of her videos and try it out for yourself.

Studio Updates
Piano in the News


What happens when old pianos find new homes with young people eager to learn the instrument? Learn about the work of organizations like Pianos for People and Mundi Project in this Washington Post article.

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Parent Workshop
Fall Recital



Parent Workshop

Thanks to all who attended our Fall Parent Workshop: “Piano 101” last Sunday. You can check out the recording of “Piano 101,” as well as last fall’s workshop “Partners in Practice” on our YouTube channel.

Fall [Virtual] Recital

Our fall recital will be held Saturday, November 6 at 11 AM! This recital will be virtual with students recording their pieces at home or during their lesson, then premiering on Facebook! Be on the lookout for additional details. Don’t forget to invite friends and family to tune in. We can’t wait!

Practice Tip
Student Spotight


Become your own teacher!


“If I’m teaching well, I will work myself out of a job.” I’ve heard this phrase many times from music teachers throughout my life. And it’s true—our goal is to create independent Music Makers who, in time, will need less and less help from a teacher to make music on their instrument and with others. Learning to practice is a major part of this transformation. Practicing is teaching oneself a musical skill; it often looks like problem-solving—identifying challenges, testing out solutions, examining results. Over time, our role as teachers become less and less important, because students become more capable of learning new things and solving problems on their own. To this end, a large portion of our lesson time is spent modeling practice strategies. I often encourage my students to think of their own inner monologue at the piano as being their own teacher or coach—ask questions, offer ideas, provide encouragement. Parents can work to encourage this growing independence as well. Ask questions that help students draw on the strategies they already have in their toolbox. Remind them that practicing is teaching oneself, and to treat themselves accordingly. In time, they’ll realize just how competent they are.

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

Jack O' Lanterns


We love it when students take us up on outside performance opportunities! Justin’s student Jackson recently performed at Grand Valley State University’s 20th & 21st Century Piano Festival. Jackson got to hear performances by GV piano students, professional guest artists, and piano students from around the area. Way to go, Jackson!

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October has been a busy month in the studio! Be sure to like our Facebook page to see pictures of our October group classes and the Advanced Track Masterclass!

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