top of page

September 2020

Notes from M&J


Happy New (Studio) Year! We've had so much fun starting weekly lessons again, with some students joining us in person and some online. Welcome to our new Music Makers and welcome back to our veterans!

At Yellow Door, we believe in the power of music to connect us to the world and those around us. It's important, then, to make sure the music our students encounter, study, and love accurately reflects the world in which we live. This year, we're excited to explore the incredible body of music created by African Americans, through our studio year theme, "Music of Color." Rather than sending weekly newsletters with enrichment activities, we'll be sharing these resources through our monthly newsletter in the Fall and Spring semesters. Our group classes will delve more deeply into this topic as well.

We're also looking forward to our Parent Workshop on September 20, Piano in the Park on October 10, and our virtual Fall Recital on November 7. Thanks for joining us on the journey!

Be well!

Melia & Justin

School Supply
Music of Color
Nina Simone.jpg
Andre Watts.jpg
Frances Walker-Slocum.jpg

top to bottom:

Nina Simone

Andre Watts
Frances Walker-Slocum


We had a blast celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday this summer through our online group classes, weekly enrichment activities, and playing his music at the piano. Exploring different composers, styles, and genres allows us to fulfill our core learning objective of Music Appreciation: Music connects us to the world! Throughout history, music has been central to communities and cultures. Students expand their understanding of music’s universal power by studying music from other times and places.


This studio year, we’re excited to explore another musical topic with our Music Makers: African American Music. It’s hard to imagine an ethnic group with a greater impact on the trajectory of American music than African Americans. In fact, musicologists agree that the contributions of African Americans, through the creation of styles like ragtime, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll, are what set American music apart from its European heritage.


Our Music Makers will learn more about African American pianists, composers, and musical styles through our online group classes, enrichment activities in our monthly newsletter, and study of music by African American composers in private lessons. Without further ado, here are a few activities to learn and grow as a Music Maker this month:

Florence Price.JPG
Nathaniel Dett.jpg
Stevie Wonder.jpeg

top to bottom:

Florence Price

R. Nathaniel Dett

Stevie Wonder



This video shares an overview of popular music styles that African Americans created. Which ones did you already know about? Which ones surprised you?


Meet 5 classical composers of color in this article from The Gilmore Festival. Audiences will get to hear selections by each of these composers during the Gilmore’s 2020 season.


Research a Black pianist from the past who interests you. Need a couple ideas?


Hazel Scott was a virtuosic jazz pianist and the first African American to host her own TV show.


Duke Ellington was a pianist, composer, and bandleader who composed over one thousand pieces during his lifetime.


We’re building another playlist! This month, we’re introducing a smattering of works that will attune our ears to the scope of work created by African Americans, including a concert spiritual arranged by Harry Burleigh, a suite by a Nathaniel Dett, and a rag by Scott Joplin.

spotify icon.png

With your parent’s permission, use the internet to learn more about these musicians. Where did they grow up? Where did they study music? What style(s) of music did they perform or contribute to? How did they contribute to the cause of racial justice in America?


Winslow reminds us to practice like our next meal depended on it (only true for professional musicians!). Our felines, Murray & Mama Cat, haven't quite mastered this trick yet!

Parent Workshop


Record Icon.png

Record yourself playing a piece and then listen back. What do you notice about your playing?

Studio Updates
Piano in the News
Simple Maple Leaves
Piano in the Park
Review Us Online
Practice Tip



Parent Workshop: "Partners in Practice"

A new addition to our 2020-21 studio calendar is a Sunday afternoon Parent Workshop in the Fall and Spring semesters. 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 or joining the Zoom call 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? In our September Parent Workshop, 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!

Parent Workshop: "Partners in Practice"

Sunday, September 20 @ 3 PM on Zoom

More details via email!

Piano in the Park!

Our fall studio event will be Piano in the Park! On Saturday, October 10 from 11 AM to 12 PM, our Music Makers will share their playing with studio mates, Yellow Door families, and passersby at John Ball Park (just a block from our home studio). We'll also have some snacks to share (while maintaining personal distancing). 

Piano in the Park

Saturday, October 10 @ 11 AM

John Ball Park

review us online — save $50

Our Annual Enrollment Fee, $50 per family, was billed with September tuition. We're excited to offer an opportunity to share your experience with Yellow Door and turn this fee into a credit toward future tuition payments.


To earn this credit, simply review us on Facebook AND Google. In your review, please share your student's age, teacher, ways you've seen your student grow, and any other positive aspects of your student's experience.

How to review a us on Facebook.

How to review us on Google.

facebook icon.png
google icon.png
Student Spotlight


Our Music Makers have done a fantastic job following our COVID-19 safety precautions for in-person lessons. Thank you for helping to keep us all healthy!


Here, Mila sports a floral mask while celebrating the completion of her first Wunderkeys book and sightreading with the Piano Maestro app!

bottom of page