Fall Recital

Brunner Studios is happy to announce that our fall concert has been scheduled.  We will be playing at Miller Piano on Independence Blvd on November 17 at 3:00.

Recitals provide an excellent opportunity for students to practice their performance skills and to show off what they have been working on.  Students will be able to perform up to 3 pieces.  Right now the studio is having a competition to help us memorize those recital pieces. 

I would love to see community members and other teachers in the audience.  The more the merrier!

What A Problem To Have

I am teaching a wonderful group of students piano lessons right now.  In fact, they are so great they aren’t giving me much material to write about on how to run a studio.  What a problem to have!  We are learning Halloween music and Christmas music started leaving the studio this week. 

I am so proud of my younger students.  I have 3 students who just started lessons last year and are about to move from 30 minute to 45 minute lessons.  These kids are really practicing and excelling in their art. 

More students are participating in the National Achievement Program and one will be playing in a Piano Sonata competition later this month. 

This group of students is working hard!

Calling Pianists, Vocalists, and Oboists To Guest Blog

In trying to make things more interesting this year, I want to have some guest bloggers on the website.  If you think you have a topic that is important, funny, or relevant, send me an email.  Include your proposal and little bit about yourself.  All proposals will be considered and the best will be asked to write a full blog post.


If you are a local piano, voice or oboe teacher in Charlotte, NC I would love to hear about your experiences in our city.

Voices of Liberty

Here is the next update of my Disney Music blog series.  This is a video of the Voice of Liberty in the American Pavilion at Epcot.  These might be my very favorite entertainers in all of WDW.  I spoke with the group leader and he indicated that not all of the singers have professional training but many of them do. 


I will be posting more vidoes throughout the week.  The woman in the light blue dress is my favorite performer.  She is a fantastic soprano with excellent technique. 

Music at Disney-Part I

I just got home from a few days out of town.  Disney World is great this time of year, but it wasn’t just for relaxing.  I want to show you some of the ways music is integrated into the Disney experience.  First up was the hotel.  Since this was a last minute trip we stayed at the All Star Music Resort.  This is a value resort.  The rooms are quite small but are still themed really well.  These pictures are not mine since I forgot to take photos in the room, and it was pouring rain 3 of 4 days.

It is a little hard to tell from these pictures but the border around the room is music themed and the print on the wall is Mickey Mouse conducting an orchestra. 

The resort itself is totally decked out in music décor. 


I will be updating this blog series throughout the week.  I am very excited for fall lessons to get started back here at Brunner Studios in Charlotte, NC.  Brunner Studios offers piano, voice and oboe lessons.  At Disney World, I saw piano and vocal performances and heard many selections of oboe music.  It’s funny how much you notice different instruments in scores when you are listening for them. 

After Looking for a Music Teacher, Then What?

The blog has covered how to find a music teacher, but what do you do if you find one and then decide that isn’t the teacher for you?  I’ve run into this scenario several times in the past few months.  This is how it goes:

Potential student calls or emails and asks for information about lessons.  We correspond through phone or email.  We get all the way to discussing potential times and they fall off the face of the earth.  No returned phone calls or emails.

I have to say this is really rude.  If you decide that I am not the teacher for you, then that is fine.  If the location is too far, that isn’t a problem.  However, don’t just leave me hanging.  Send an email or leave a message and just say thank you for your time but we have decided to go a different direction.  There is no need to go into detail, but since you initiated the conversation have the courtesy to end it on a professional note.

Another situation of the same vein is going as far as to schedule lessons and then not showing up or cancelling when the teacher calls to confirm the lesson time.  Usually late spring, I get lots of calls about students who want to start lessons when school gets out.  We discuss cost and times and schedule the first lesson.  I always email or call to confirm the time.  If I have to leave a message, I ask that they call or email to let me know they received it.  Several times, this has been the last contact with a potential student.  If you changed your mind just let me know.  Otherwise, that time slot if blocked off until I determine that aliens abducted you or you bailed on me. 

If you teach an instrument that requires special equipment this is doubly frustrating.  I have a few oboe students.  When I schedule a new student, I order lesson books and custom made reeds.  If the student is a beginner there is no way around this.  Since oboe students can be few and far between, I don’t always keep intro level reeds and materials on hand.  This spring a parent contacted me and scheduled lessons.  We booked for the whole summer.  2 weeks prior to the start date, I ordered materials so they would arrive in time for the first lesson.  The week of the lesson, I called to confirm the time and directions. The parent told me that the child had changed their mind about learning the oboe.  It was obvious from the phone call that this wasn’t a new development.  A simple phone call or email on their part would have saved me around $50.

Be considerate.  For most music teachers, this is our livelyhood.  Having to sit on materials or not scheduling new students in a blocked off time slot can hurt our bottom line.  If you expect your teacher to be a professional, then treat them as one and be considerate of their time and effort.

Summer Lessons Stats

Summer is always a tricky time for music teachers.  You want your students to continue taking on a normal schedule if possible but many families travel extensively in the summer.  So as a teacher you have to be prepared for the drop in pay during the summer months.

The past few years I taught piano, voice and oboe at a school of music here in Charlotte, NC.  It seemed like a pretty good deal as far a summer lessons went.  Students were required to take 6 lessons in order to obtain VIP registration for the fall.  People would twist and turn their schedules and gripe and complain, but mostly they seemed to fit those lessons in.  Only 1 or 2 of my 35 odd students would take more than 6 lesson.  Everyone was just so busy in the summer.  On the surface, it seemed beneficial to have a required amount of lessons.

Fast forward to this summer.  I am teaching exclusively from my home studio and I was really worried about how summer was going to pan out.  While not wanting to pressure students into lessons, paying my bills is important as well.   So, I highly encouraged my students to take lessons if they were in town.  If they are traveling, don’t worry about it and you don’t pay for that lesson.  However, if you are here I expect to see you in the studio those weeks if at all possible. 

Talk about surprising.  Almost all of my students are taking a full schedule for the summer.  We are moving lesson days to accommodate summer plans, but the students are really stepping up to the plate.   The flexibility of being able to change lessons with little notice is really keeping the lesson going. 

So fellow teachers I would encourage you to give your students a little wiggle room in the summer.  They might surprise you with their dedication. 

Summer Lessons

Just a quick update on scheduling summer lessons.  Most of the late evening lesson times for days other than Tuesday are almost full.  If you think you want an evening lesson time, contact Brunner Studios as soon as possible.


Brunner Studios is dedicated to providing quality piano, voice and oboe lessons for the greater Charlotte, NC area.  Musicianship and technique go hand in hand.  Using the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program which is the equivalent the Royal Conservatory Program, student have a road map to follow for the skills they need to develop to become accomplished musicians.


Whether a beginner, intermediate, or advanced student, Brunner Studios can help you hone your talent.  Children and adults alike are welcome for lessons. 

Clearing Out the Shelves

Last week I had a little bit of a snap.  My studio book cases are so full and there is literature on there that I just don’t use.  A few hours of work later, there was a huge stack of music that someone might like.  So this week I am having a music sale.  The students can pick whatever they want and the prices are 50 cents to $1. 

My book cases look a lot better now and it is much easier to find what I need.  Getting new music is always fun and getting new music cheap is even better.  How have you gotten rid of excess music or grown your collection in an inexpensive manner?

Summer Lessons Are Now Being Scheduled

How did May get here so quickly?  School will be out soon and vacation is just around the corner.  That means it is time to start thinking about your summer lesson plans. 


Piano, Voice and Oboe lessons at Brunner Studios run year round.  Summer lessons have a slightly different policy.  As always lessons are paid for at the start of the month.  However, you will only need to pay for the lessons that you take.  I encourage my students to stay on an as normal schedule as possible, but I know there are lots of extracurricular activities in the summer.  Lesson times are available in the morning as well as the evening.


Brunner Studios has lesson availability but the time slots are going quickly.  Call or email now to set up your summer lesson schedule.