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September / October 2023



Another studio year has begun! We've enjoyed being back in the studio each week with our Music Makers after a busy summer. We hope the school year has started off smoothly for all of you! In this newsletter, you'll find several important announcements for the months ahead as well as the first installment of our "Soundtrack" studio year theme series.

Let the music making begin!

Melia & Justin


Notes from Melia & Justin

First Day Pics!


Studio Updates

  • Autopay & Calendar Sync

  • Piano [& Violin] in the Park

  • October Group Class

  • AT Collaboration Workshop

  • Fall Parent Workshop

  • Fall Recital

Piano in the News

Practice Tip

We're back at it!

       Official first day of teaching pics...

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Justin first day.jpeg
Denielle first day.jpeg


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're going back to the very beginning... way, way back... to before movies even had sound! From the late 1890s through the end of the 1920s silent films were accompanied by piano or theater organ. Learn more through our "watch, read, listen, do" activities!


Filmed in 1930, not long after the introduction of sound with movies, a silent film pianist lets us in on his secrets for accompanying newsreels!


We’re building another playlist… This month, enjoy several modern recreations of silent movie piano music!

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This brief article from the Kansas Historical Society provides a helpful overview of how music accompanied silent films. You'll also see examples of sheet music used for silent films!

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With your parent’s permission, find one of your favorite movie scenes on YouTube. Turn the sound off and see if you can improvise some music on your instrument that matches the tone of the scene!

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Studio Portal Features:

Autopay & Calendar Sync

The beginning of the studio year is a great time to remind families about some awesome features of our studio portal! Many of our families prefer to set up auto-pay for their accounts, rather than paying manually each month. To set up auto-pay: 1) Head to "Profile Settings" in the studio portal (dropdown when you click on your name). 2) Click "Manage Payment Methods." 3) Enable autopay for the appropriate card/bank account. Please note that setting up auto-pay only applies to future invoices, not the one you just received. Families who have previously set up auto-pay do not need to update their Payment Options unless their banking information has changed. Easily add the studio calendar to your favorite digital calendar app by clicking “Sync” on the “Calendar” page.

Piano [& Violin] in the Park!

Maybe we'll come up with a better name next year!? On Saturday, September 23 from 11 AM to 12 PM, our Music Makers will share their playing with studiomates, Yellow Door families, and passersby at John Ball Park (just a block from our Westside location). We'll have donuts from Sandy's, pumpkins to decorate, and fun games for the whole family. Siblings, parents, and grandparents are all invited! Please RSVP via email by September 16.

October Group Class

Our first group class week of the fall semester is October 16-19. Per the studio calendar, classes will take place at the following times & locations:


Tuesday, October 17 @ 4 & 5:30 PM

Thursday, October 19 @ 6 PM


Monday, October 16 @ 4:30 PM

Tuesday, October 17 @ 4 PM (violin only)

Violin students may attend any group class but are encouraged to attend the violin-only class. In lieu of a group class, Advanced Track students will attend the Collaboration Workshop (see below). Please register for the session your student will be attending in the studio portal by Monday, October 9.

Advanced Track Collaboration Workshop

We are excited to once again host our Collaboration Workshop for Advanced Track (45- and 60-minute students) on Wednesday, October 18 at 6 PM! This year we're hoping that holding the event on a weekday evening will allow more students to attend.


Our master collaborator for the evening is our very own Teacher Denielle on violin!


During the workshop, students will rehearse pieces they have been preparing to play with Teacher Denielle. In addition, they’ll observe Justin and Denielle collaborate and share about what they’ve learned by making music with others.

Fall Parent Workshop:

"Partners in Practice"

We know that the biggest predictor of student success at the piano is a supportive family environment. Parents already demonstrate their commitment to their Music Maker's journey by enrolling them at Yellow Door and driving to lessons each week. But in most cases, a student's 30 or 45-minute lesson is just a small part of their musical experience. The more important work is their practice at home between lessons. So, how can you support your Music Maker in this critical, independent work? Our Fall Parent Workshop will take place on Sunday, October 22 at 3 PM on Zoom. We'll explore how parents can be "Partners in Practice" by offering practical tips, Q&A, and discussion with other Yellow Door parents. You won't want to miss it!

[Virtual] Fall Recital!

Our Fall Recital will be here before you know it! While the pandemic no longer forces our hand on in-person events, we have intentionally chosen to hold a virtual recital in the fall and an in-person one in the spring. We've learned that the virtual format gives students an opportunity to experience the recording process, which has just as many challenges as performing in front of a live audience. Invite friends and family from all over the world to watch the recital on Saturday, November 11 at 11 AM. Students will select their pieces in the coming weeks. Since Facebook no longer supports the feature we previously used to broadcast our recitals, we'll be watching it together in a Zoom room!


So it might not be "the news," but it's exciting for us! We continue to to make ourselves at home in our new Eastown location. (Learn more here!) We recently added a new sign on the small studio where private lessons take place adjacent to the large music-and-movement studio where we offer early childhood group music classes through our sister brand Joyful Sounds Music Studio. And later in September, we'll take delivery of a new (to us) Kawai acoustic upright piano; thanks to our friends at West Michigan Piano for helping us find the perfect instrument for our space!

new piano
Autumn Leaves


Fall Practice Challenge!

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Our fall practice challenge emphasizes lesson preparedness! Each week, students can earn a sticker for the following:

1. Arriving prepared (books, instrument, handwashing)

2. Practicing 3+ days during the week prior

3. Completing theory or other worksheets

4. Completing a bonus challenge

At the end of the fall semester, students will get a raffle ticket for every 5 stickers earned. We hope that emphasizing students' work prior to each lesson will help them see how rewarding time in the studio can be!

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