Need More Christmas Music

This whole new piano thing is leading to a lot of new music.  As a teacher, I try to keep a good variety on hand for when a student needs some variation in the schedule.  As a musician, I love to have music that sounds great and I am pretty much sit down and sight read.  So yesterday it was back to the music store.

First up is Popular Christmas Hits by Dan Coates published by Alfred.

This book includes songs from Bethlehem Morning, Frosty the Snowman, and Growup Christmas List.  It is very diverse.  My favorite surprise is that it offers interesting key changes.  When was the last time you saw 6 flats in a popular book?

For full disclosure on the next selection, I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan.  I can’t wait until the Hobbit comes out next week.  So when I saw The Lord of the Rings:  The Motion Picture Trilogy by Howard Shore for Piano and Voice, I knew it was for me.

Some of these songs are familiar right off the bat and others I had to search my memory for the correct scene.  This book has interesting arrangements that are fairly close to the sound from the score.

I would recommend either one of these books to one my students of an advanced level.

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!

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.

Wednesday Is Now a Wait List Day

If you have been looking for lessons at Brunner Studios, there is good and bad news.  The good news is that Tuesdays are now open for lessons.  The bad new is that Wednesdays are now a wait list day.  Wednesday is officially full.  If you are looking for a Wednesday time slot as a new student or to change your regularly scheduled time, please contact me.

It is so exciting to see the studio growing and adding students of all ages!

NFMC Success

Congratulations to the Brunner Studios students who participated in the NFMC Festival at Queens University on February 25, 2012.

A special round of applause for the following students who received the highest ranking of Superior:


Savannah Horne

Abbey Koenig

Bradey Shirley

Rohan Muthukumar

Max Granger

Success with the Carnegie Hall Achievement Program

Congratulations to Rohan who received a score of First Class with Honors on his Level 4 examination that he took in December.

Rohan looks forward to taking his Level 5 practical and theory examinations. 


Sign up begins tomorrow 1-24-12 for the spring examinations.  It isn’t too late to sign up for lessons and take your first examination this spring.

Student Performances

I just added a new recording under the student performances heading.  Hopefully as we get ready for the recital on Nov. 12 there will be more great performances to share.  I will not be using student’s names to identify the performers, just the titles of the pieces.  So if you are looking for a specific recording, as the performer what their piece was.

BOO to You

Between the Gershwin and Schubert things have been hopping around here.  This week Max, my mom’s dog is visiting.  So I’ll just pop in for a minute. 


This is the last full week of October.  In the studio this month we have been having a practice contest.  I made up some goodie bags that look like this:


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Well, the other 2 are a ghost and a pumpkin.  So the 3 students with the best practice records for the month of October will receive a prize.  Currently 2 students have perfect practice with 4 students tied for 3rd place based on the sticker chart.  If there is a tie on the chart, I will add of the actual minutes the students practiced so that the prize is fairly rewarded.