Wednesday, March 6, 2019

March Newsletter post

Dear AOS Students, Families and Friends,Happy March! The weather might still feel like January, but the calendar tells us that Spring is just over two weeks away! How exciting! It's been a busy month here at school, and we're looking forward to sharing it with all of you!

Spring Break is COMING:
It might not seem like it, but Spring Break is this month! We will be closed the week of March 24th. As always, please remember to notify the office if you will be missing lessons outside of the Spring Break dates!

Saxophone Lessons at AOS!
You read that right! We are excited to announce that we are now offering saxophone lessons on Thursdays! The best part? You don't have to wait until Summer to enroll! Get started THIS WEEK! Check out enrollment options here.

New openings with teachers!
Would you like to study voice, drums, or ukulele but are worried you missed the window to enroll? We have NEW openings in those areas (as well as some new teachers offering them!) Check out the openings, and get signed up today!

AOS Student Feature:

This month, we are excited to be launching a NEW feature in which we feature one of our current AOS students. Our first feature is Payton Cardella, a long-time voice student of the Academy! Meet Payton!

How long have you been studying at Academy of Sound?

 Payton: I've been attending AOS since either 2009 or 2010. I started off playing guitar, but dropped it for singing in late 2011, and that's what I've been doing since.

What prompted you to take private lessons?

Payton: I always wanted to be proficient with something in music, and when I picked up guitar, AOS seemed like the perfect place to start learning music in a more in-depth way. After a few years, however, I learned that my true passion in music was singing. And, luckily, AOS also provided excellent voice lessons which helped me improve my technique and explore my vocal range.

What are some of your favorite aspects of private lessons at Academy of Sound?

Payton: I love being able to have real connection with my instructor rather than just being another student in a classroom. Doing private lessons means that I can work on what I need specifically, whether it be aspects of my singing, or songs I need to learn for musicals during high school. 

Any advice or practice tips for other students?

Payton: If it's possible, listen to whatever song you're practicing on YouTube to get the tune in your head. It's great to have an idea of what the piece should sound like as you practice so you know what parts you can do well and which parts need improvement. 

Fun Question: If you could anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Payton: If I could go anywhere in the world, I would probably go to Japan. It just seems like such a cool place to visit. The sights, the culture, and the food especially are all really cool and interesting to me, and I'd love to spend a week or so there just to experience being on the other side of the planet. 

Any upcoming news you would like to share with us?

Payton: Something I'm definitely looking forward this May is playing the role of Christopher in the Madison Strollers production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" at the Bartell Theatre. This will be my first big role in a production outside of school, and I couldn't be more excited to be pursuing my dream of being an actor on stage. 

When not studying music, what do you like do for fun?

Payton: Outside of singing and acting, I actually compete in a lot of Super Smash Bros. tournaments around the state. I've been competing since early 2016, and to this day, I practice the game daily alongside singing, and it really keeps me busy throughout the day. I like to think of competing as a second passion of mine, and I think that everyone should try to find something they love to compete in, whether it be sports, video games, music, just anything that you love to do and strive to see yourself improve at. Thank you for sharing, Payton, and we're so glad to have you as part of our AOS family!

Alumni News:
We love our students, and we also love our alumni. It gives us such great joy to see where life has taken our former students. In the upcoming months, we'll be sharing news from our alumni. For our first month, we're highlight two of our alumni!

Chris Telfer: From 2012-15, Chris was on our faculty as an instructor in brass and piano. Since then, Chris has been staying busy with as a public school teacher!  From Fall 2014- Spring 2018, he was in Southern Door County Schools teaching full time, grades 5-6 General Music, 7-8th grade Choir and was co-director of their big fifth grade musical production. In the Fall of 2018, Chris started teaching at Mount Horeb Middle School as the part-time choir director! 

Sierra McNall : Sierra McNall is a graduating senior at Monona Grove High School and is looking to pursue a degree in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Psychology at Marquette University in the fall 2019.  Sierra also has an interest in the performing arts and plans to continue as a professional dancer with the Trinity Irish Dance Company during her college years. In addition to performing as a dancer, Sierra also enjoys singing and has been blessed to share this gift in State Solo & Ensemble competitions as well as performing locally, nationally and internationally in various venues.  Sierra got her humble beginnings singing at First Presbyterian Church in Oregon, WI at the age of 6.  However, Sierra really started developing her instrument working with voice coaches at the Academy of Sound in Oregon at the age of 8 and later with Kassy Coleman . Sierra was cast as an ensemble member in Carmen performing at the Overture Center at the age of 10 and then as Little Cosette in the Four Season’s Theater production of Les Misérables at the age of 12.  In the 7th grade, Sierra earned 1’s at the State Solo & Ensemble competition for both classical and musical theater categories and then in the 8th grade was presented with National Honor Choral Award.    Sierra has been part of the Monona Grove High School Choir the past few years and performs in several churches on an intermittent basis.  Her favorite is serving on the Worship Team at Door Creek Church where she gets to sing contemporary Christian music regularly with a live band.  She has also been known to sing on occasion with while touring with the Trinity Irish Dance Company in the US and Japan.Sierra McNall

Levels Up!:

We want to give a big shout out to Emmet Harm, who finished Level 1 in Ukelele in February! Way to go, Emmet!

5 Quotes to Celebrate Music!

We know how hard winter can be, especially when it comes to staying motivated. Here are a couple of quotes to help motivate and inspire.

1. "If music be the food of love, play on." William Shakespeare2. "Without music, life is a journey through the desert."- Pat- Conroy3. "Without music, life would be a mistake."- Friedrich Nietzsche4. "Music is really driving my whole life."- Ariana Grande5. "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which is possible to be silent."- Victor HugoWhat is your favorite quote about music?

That's all for this month! We hope that March is full of joy, sunshine, and excitement! We'll see you in April!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

February 2019 Newsletter

February is finally here! After a month full of weather advisories and closings, we are hoping for a predictable month of weather! Check out some of what's happening at Academy of Sound this month, as well as a few important reminders!

School Closings due to weather
ALWAYS check our website/Twitter/Facebook to confirm whether we are open or closed. You may also check channel 15 and 27, or call us and listen to the recorded message. You also have the option to call the student in absent if you determine that travel from your location to ours is unsafe for any reason.

The following was sent via email to some families who received weather closing emails this month, and will be an important reminder for everyone: Per our policy, we do not offer makeups or refunds for weather closings; However, we are doing our best to offer online lessons and/or makeups anyway as a courtesy.

If all else fails, students who've missed any lessons due to weather will be able to take advantage of our make up days at the end of May. 

A reminder on Illness:

It's that time of the year again! We know that bugs and viruses are running wild around schools and workplaces. As this is that time of year, we want to remind students and families of the policy we have regarding illness.

  • Illness – Please do not come to your lesson sick. If you are not well enough to go to school, you are not well enough for a music lesson. We don't permit students who show signs of illness to participate in lessons that day. Signs of illness include, but are not limited to: fever, stomach ache, runny nose, sneezing, coughing. Please do not bring your child to our studios until they have been fever-free for at least 24 hours following an illness, or until they have been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours.

Early Childhood Music at AOS! :

We are pleased to be offering a Sing-A-Lingo class Tuesday mornings! This early childhood class is designed for children ages 2-6 and their parents. The class incorporates the Spanish language into classes but no previous knowledge of the language is required. Check out more or register here.

Alumni Spotlight News:

Calling all AOS Alumni! We want to know what YOU have been up. In March, we are planning to launch an AOS alumni feature highlighting what former students and teachers are up to these days! If you have some news you would like us to include in future newsletters, please email Erin at

We're Hiring!

AOS is GROWING and that means that we are looking to hire MORE teachers and office staff. We are currently seeking teachers in voice, piano, guitar, drums, and early music education. For many of these positions, we are seeking a June start date. However, we have an immediate need for a piano teacher and would like to fill as soon as possible. For more details, check out information on our website.

Student Recognition- Who's Leveled UP:

Despite the wintry month we had, a number of our students moved to the next levels in their lesson books!

Here are the following students and what books the advanced to:
  • Zacahry Baertlein - 2A
  • Alden Sthokal - 1
  • Tristan Harm - 1
  • Delainey Halverson - 2B

Way to go, everyone!!!

5 Tips to Keep Kids Healthy This Winter Season
As much as we'd like to, our kids can't avoid all of the germs that are being spread each day at school. What we can do is prepare them as best we can to stay healthy. Here are a couple of tips and reminders to help with that.
1. Always cover your coughs and sneezes. We often assume that our children know how to properly "cover" their coughs or sneezes. That is not the case. Teach your child how to cough into the crack of their arm to minimize the spread of germs.
2. Sometimes, it is NOT best to share. As much as we want our children to learn to share, flu season might be the exception to this rule. For instance,  if they use a water bottle in school, make sure that they are clearly labeled and that your child ONLY use their own water bottle.
3. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. There's some truth in that old wive's tale. Making sure that your child has healthy meals and snacks is important for all ages, but especially for growing children!
4. Playtime is important!. It's easy to let winter weather effect activity levels. Make sure find ways for your child to keep getting regular exercise! Better yet, carve out time in the week to exercise as a family. Whether it is a snowy hike or an afternoon of skiing, this is a great way to stay active and create lasting memories.
5. Don't forget to wash your hands! Make sure to wash hands or use hand sanitizer regular. This is the best way to cut down on the spread of flu germs. 

If your child ends up getting ill, rest is the most important thing for a speedy recovery! Take care of yourself, and remember, warmer weather is in sight!

That's all for the month of February. It might the shortest calendar month but it's still bound to be a busy one here at Academy of Sound!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January Newsletter

Dear AOS Students, Families, and Friends,

2019 is here! Can you believe it? We certainly can't. Of course, the lack of snow doesn't help... We hope that everyone had a wonderful Winter Break! It's great to be back, especially as January looks to be a full, exciting month at Academy of Sound!

Conference Lessons Reminder:

It's the end of our first semester, which means it is time for Conference Lessons!

Conference Lessons are an opportunities for parents/guardians of students to sit on a their student's private lesson. Over the course of first 2/3rds of the time, the teacher and student will have a regular lesson as they would any week.

The last 10-15 minutes are designed for the student, parent, and teacher to talk about the student's progress over the course of the past semester. In addition, the teacher may offer suggestions for additional opportunities for the student or tips on growth for the next semester.

In addition, the teacher will provide a form detailing points discussed and suggestions offered that can be taken home at the end of the lesson.

Conference lesson attendance is NOT MANDATORY but encouraged. If you are unable to attend, the teacher will send home the completed form with the student for you to review at your own leisure.

Sing A- Lingo

Have you heard the news? We've got a BRAND NEW music class for students who are ages 2-6 and their parents! This fun, early childhood class will incorporate music and language learning! Classes launch 1/29 and are limited so sign up here today!

Sing A- Lingo is made possible through our partnership with the fabulous staff and faculty at Rhapsody Arts Center in Verona, WI!

Enrollment- still a few spots open!

Is 2019 the year you re-visit your love of piano or take up guitar? We've got a handful of spots open still with our teachers. Check them out here! Please note that tuition cost will be prorated based on when you sign up.

Student Level- Ups:

We've had a couple weeks off since the last post but that hasn't stopped a few of our students from making the leap into their next level of studies.

Let's give a shout out to: Jackson Sweet who recently leveled up to Piano Adventures 2B and Lily Sweet, who is now in Piano Adventures 1.

Way to go, Lily and Jackson!

We'll be sharing more student achievements next month!

Have you synced your calendar to AOS?

If you haven't, that's ok! Details on how to do that can actually be found right on our website.

Some important dates of note include:
January 21st: AOS is closed
March 9th: District Solo and Ensemble (Stoughton High School)
March 25- 29th: Spring Break- we are closed!
April 22nd: AOS is closed
April 27th: State Solo and Ensemble (UW- Platteville)
May 19th: Spring recitals at 1 and 2:30pm
May 20- 24th: Spring Conference Lessons
May 27th: AOS is closed
May 28-30th: Makeup lessons and workshops

If you have any questions or concerns, our calendar can always be accessed on our website. 

January Practicing Tips:

It's the first month after the holiday, and that can be a difficult time for many. Getting back into a routine after a busy holiday season is tricky. Here are some tips to make January a successful month!

1.  It's ok to back-track: Did you have that scale mastered in December, but not it feels foreign? It's ok to go back and break it down. Practicing is a series of steps forward and backward each month.

2. Be kind to yourself: If you took a few weeks off from regular practice, that's ok! That being said, don't expect everything to be exactly where it was when you last played. If practicing feels like it's moving slower for bit, that's fine. Just don't be too hard on yourself in the interim!

3. Set attainable goals when practicing: Do you have a 3 page song to learn for Solo and Ensemble? There is no reason to learn it in one day. Set a goal for yourself. If you practice 30 min a day, start with a goal of getting through the first half of the page successfully with few or no errors. If you can do that, add another chunk. Simply playing through the piece is not the best way to practice, especially when starting a new song.

4. Share goals with your teacher: What? Share goals with your teacher? Yup! If you have a goal of auditioning for a summer musical or trying out for marching band next year, now is the time to tell your teacher that. Your teacher can help tailor your music assignments to those goals.

5. Take Notes/ Record Lessons: Did you know you can actually take notes or record your lessons? You can! This useful tool can help immensely with retention between weeks. Unsure about this? Try it for a few weeks, and see what you notice.

That's all for now! We wish you a Happy January, and hope that 2019 is off to an exciting start for all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

December Newsletter

Dear AOS Students, Families, and Friends,

Well, we've made it to the final post of the year. In less than 2 weeks, 2018 will be a memory. Can you believe it? We can't! It's been a busy month already, and we're excited to share highlights of it with you!

Holiday Recital Re-Cap:

Our 2018 Holiday Recital took place on Sunday, December 16th, in Oregon Performing Arts Center at Oregon High School. We had a very large turnout of student (and instructor!) performances. With over 30 performances, our students presented a wide variety of selections from "Jingle Bell Rock" to "Hey there, Delilah." The event was followed with a reception of holiday treats and goodies.
Our 2018 Holiday Recital Participants
After-recital reception. So many delicious treats!

Our 2018-19 Faculty

Academy of South Foundation Raises $539!
We're pleased to announce that our recital raised $539 for our the Academy of Sound Foundation, Inc! This money will go towards providing scholarship aid to music students. Thank you to everyone who contributed! Are you interested in donating to the Foundation as part of your End of Year Giving? You can donate online by clicking here

Kindermusik or Music Together Teacher Sought
As we continue to expand and grow as a school, we're often looking for ways to reach more students. Currently, we are looking to add Kindermusik or Music Together Teacher to our faculty. Are you a certified instructor looking to add more classes to your schedule or know someone who is? Please share this information with them. More details about this position can be found here.

New Tote Bags!:
Are you looking for a last minute holiday gift? How about an Academy of Sound tote bag? They are $12.99 without customization and $18.99 personalized. You can either pick one up at the school or order one on our website. Check it out here.

Winter Break Closing:
We will be closed December 24th, 2018- January 2nd, 2019. Classes will resume on January 3rd, 2019. Keep up  with our calendar here. 

Teacher's Tips: Practicing Over Break:

It's Winter Break, which means you don't have to practice, right? Think again! Winter Break is the perfect time to get started on new music, work on new skills, or even, re-work old music!

Here are a couple of tips to keep you on top of your practicing during your weeks off from school. 

1. Keep your music/instrument in a place you can easily locate:  With the chaos of the holidays, it's easy to misplace your music (or even, your instrument!) Put it in a place that you will be able to access regularly without trouble.

2. Set a time each day to practice: We know that the holiday may create a few crazy days, but try to find a time each day where you can practice. Set an alarm on your phone or ipad to help keep that appointment. Even if it is only 20 minutes, you'll be surprised at home much you can learn over break.

3. Have some (attainable) goals: At the start of break, write down a few goals you'd like to accomplish over break (learn the first page of a new piece, finishing preparing a song for an upcoming event.) If they are bigger goals, you may even want to consider adding a reward when you accomplish one of them. 

Holiday Bonus: The history of "Silent Night"

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the composition of "Silent Night." This timeless carol was first performed on Christmas Eve 1818 at St. Nicolas parish in Obernof, Austria on the Salzach River.  A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to the parish the year before, and written the lyrics to the now-famous carol. When flooding took place in the area shortly before the holiday season, the organ was not usable for the Christmas Eve services. To remedy this, Father Mohr went to a young schoolteacher and organist in the area named Franz Xaver Gruber and asked him if he could write an accompaniment that could be played on guitar. The carol, as you can imagine, was well-received and laid the groundwork for "Silent Night" as we know it these days. Want to learn more or hear about how the carol has evolved over the years (and even helped to temporarily halt WWI?) Read more here.

And with that, we bid a happiest of holiday seasons. May this time bring you joy and happiness. We also wish you joy in the coming of the new year!

Monday, November 12, 2018

November Newsletter

Dear AOS Friends, Families, and Teachers,

It's amazing how the Fall months seem to fly! We continue to be blown away by how quickly long summer days have shifted to chilly Fall evenings. As we get ready for the upcoming holidays, there's no shortage of activities going on at Academy of Sound.

Student of the Month:
We plan to start featuring a student (or students) each month who has worked hard in and out of lessons and shown progress in individual goals. Stay tuned for exciting features in the upcoming months!!

Happy Thanksgiving-Upcoming Closure Notice:
Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK, which means that we will be closed Tuesday November 20th through Friday November 24th. Make sure you to double check the calendar on our website for other upcoming closings.

It's not too try something new:
It is November BUT it's not too late to try music lessons! A few openings still remain in strings, piano, voice, drums, and guitar/uke. Lesson tuition will be prorated when you start. Check out the openings on our website.

AOS Blog: 5 Tips for Successful Recital Preparation

With the recital just weeks away, it's important to be practicing to perform. As students, we get comfortable with our teachers, and it's easy to let performance practices slide. However, we should be practicing for performance EVERY SINGLE DAY, in and out of lessons.

Here are some tips for successful recital preparation.

1. Commit to your repertoire FAR IN ADVANCE
The recital is on December 16th. If you have yet to choose a piece with your teacher, it's time to do so this week. Next week is a holiday and will affect many lessons. You should leave lessons this week knowing exactly what you are planning to perform (including cuts if you plan to take any.)

2. Practice your piece and set goals for yourself
Your teacher reminds you to practice this week, but this rule is SO MUCH more important when it comes to recital preparation. Practicing doesn't mean just running through the piece once  a day. Instead, you should be breaking down your piece into sections and working each one individually. If you are playing a longer piece or singing a solo, you should also find recordings to listen to and study. Your teacher can help you to select ones that are appropriate.

3. Goals: Memorize AND early
This may not apply to you but memorizing your piece can take some of the stress off of performing. Aim to have your recital piece memorized no less than two weeks out. You can ask your teacher for tips on memorizing or even ask her to schedule weekly "memory checks."

4. Practice performing for friends and family
Family and friends make a great practice audience before the performance. Schedule a few "practice performances" with them in the weeks leading up to the event. You can even practice wearing the dress or shoes that you plan to wear the day of.

5. Take care of yourself!
This goes without saying, but make sure that you are taking care of yourself. Add an extra half hour to your week schedule, especially in the week leading up the recital. Drink plenty of water, and make sure you are eating healthy meals. It's so easy to let stress take over, especially closer to the event. Put your own health first- your body will thank you later!

Perhaps, the most important tip of all is to make sure to enjoy the process. While they might seem stressful at times, recitals are an excellent way to learn and grow as a musician. The process might help you to discover things about yourself you never realized before!

Teacher's Tips: What's in your backpack? (Kirstin Roble, voice teacher)

Every week, I get the response from at least one student of "I forgot my music" when I ask what we should work on today. As we're heading into one of the busiest months of the year, it's easy to forget music, pencils, or water bottles. This month, I thought I'd take some time to make a "lessons preparation list."

Before you come to lessons this week, ask yourself, "what's in your backpack?"

1. Music/Instrument- This seems obvious, but you need to bring your music books/sheet music and instrument to EVERY lesson (unless your teacher specifies otherwise.) If you come straight from school or work, put your music in the night before your lesson so you don't forget the morning of.

2. Accessories- Do you need guitars picks, reeds, rosin, or staff paper for a lesson? Those should also be in your bag each week. Not having those can slow down the lesson SIGNIFICANTLY as your teacher will be sent off to find the materials, or you will have to do without for that week.

3. Water bottle- It's DRY outside and inside. Bring a water bottle to each and every lesson. Your throat will thank you later.

4. Assignment book or notebook AND pen/pencil- We don't expect you to remember every detail of each week, but we do want you to write assignments down. That's why we ask you to bring an assignment book or notebook to each lesson to keep track of what you ned to work on. Don't have an assignment book? Ask the front desk, and they can help you get one!

5. Willingness to try new things- this isn't a physical item that you can put in a bag, but it deserves to be on this list regardless. As teachers, we might ask you to try something new to get a desired sound or explain a new concept. Yes, it might be a little silly or different than you're used to but the result can be pretty awesome. Be willing to TRY- that's all we ask.

Have a great rest of November, and we'll be back at the beginning of December with more AOS news!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

October Newsletter

Dear AOS Students, Families, and Friends,

October is here, and once again, we are amazed to see the start of this new month! With the temperatures slowly starting to get cooler and the evidence of Pumpkin spice everywhere we look, Fall has truly arrived. It's been a busy first month of the Fall semester here at Academy of Sound, which we are excited to share! Some of the highlights as well as news items are below.

Meet Jackson King!

We're so excited to welcome Jackson onto our faculty at Academy of Sound. Jackson begins teaching drums this month!

Here's some information about Jackson!

Jackson has been playing drums since 2012, in styles like jazz, rock, funk, and metal. He is also skilled in rudimentary drumming, marching percussion, and other miscellaneous percussion. Jackson has experience teaching in both a large group setting and in private lessons. Jackson studies at Oregon High School, and will graduate in 2019. His drumming experiences are many, and include almost a decade with Shadow Drum & Bugle Corps under the direction of Nick Lane, as well as Oregon High School Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble, Orchestra, and School of Rock. Jackson joined the Academy of Sound faculty in 2018

It's not too late to enroll!

September is always a busier month than we anticipate it will be, right? Even if you didn't get a chance to enroll in lessons in August, there are still some openings. Check them out here. 

One-stop Music shop!:

Do you need a new bow, rosin, staff paper, or music book for lessons? Stop at the front desk before or after your lesson to order! We are placing several orders throughout the week, and can often get what you need in just 2 business days!

Get a referral credit for new students:

We offer a $25 credit per new student that you or your family refers. Make sure the student notes that you are the one referring them when they register. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask our front desk staff!

Sonatina Festival:

Sonatina Festival is only one month away. If you are planning to participate or interested in learning more about it, ask your teacher in this week's lesson! Remember, Sonatina Festival is not limited to just piano students- other instruments can participate too!

Mark Your Calendars:

Our first holiday break of the school year is next month (Nov. 20-23rd.) The holiday recital will be Sunday, December 16th at 4pm. Stay up to date on these and all other dates by adding the AOS calendar dates to your personal calendar. Access our calendar here.

Teacher Tips: Practicing with Nancy Cox

Nancy is a longtime member of our staff, and has produced many excellent students during her tenure here. This month, she shares some of her favorite practicing tips for success!

1. When practicing, analyzing, memorizing, or woodshedding a piece (piano is my area) with a student, start from the back of the piece and move by adding shorter sections towards the front, gradually increasing the playback until the student is performing the entire piece with corrections.  This works because our brains learn on several tracks when going through a piece backwards by sections, then forwards.  Good tip for vocal students too.

2.  When making practice recommendation to a student, it is good to recommend the number of times a student should play through a piece each practice session, also the number of practice sessions per week desired, and the length of practice sessions.  It is good to have students monitor, record, or self track their practice sessions in writing or on phones etc.  I give younger students stickers or stars per days of practice.  Older students can learn to connect the learning/progress rate with the amount of time practiced.

3.  Remember the 8000 hours minimum recommended by successful rock stars for students with performance ambitions.  (Question:  What is the single most important factor that allows someone to become a musical (rock) star?  Answer:  Not a good agent.  Instead, 8,000 hours minimum of practice (figure it out).)

4.  Remember everyone puts in their frustrating times at the keyboard or in practice.  Sometimes breakthroughs come after several practice sessions, or even several weeks of practice sessions.  The key is to keep working on improving your performance, while learning to listen critically to yourself.

5. I try to ask my students after each piece played, What do you think?  Could this have been performed better?  What would make it better?  What do you think you need to work on when practicing this piece?  Some students have trouble "hearing" their performance errors or omissions.  I try to get them to focus on what they are presenting each time they perform, then to work on improvements.  It is always helpful to start out a critique with something that the student did well, or showed improvement on.

6.  Finally, it is always good to encourage students, but to balance expectations with realistic observations.  Students may not reach their potential if you don't have high enough expectations.  But also, I believe music as a life enhancement skill or experience is all about discovering the joy of creating your own project that you can improve and change as you are able.   That's all for now- Keep practicing is my motto!

That's all for now! See you in November!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

September Newsletter

Dear AOS Families, Students, and Friends,

            The weather might feel like July, but we are officially into the month of September.  We want to start by wishing all of you a welcome, and welcome back to Academy of Sound! Our school year lessons will be starting next Monday, September 10th, but here is some information about what to know for this month.

Semester Start and Reminder: As mentioned above, lessons start Monday, September 10th. Don’t forget to double check you or your student’s time and day before lessons start!  There will be no lessons this week to help you or your student get back into the busy school routine!

Registration:  Our lesson openings are becoming fewer and fewer each day. With just a handful of spots remaining, make sure to register if you have not already. Here is a link to registration:

Punch Card for Busy Adults: Are you a busy adult?  We offer a 6-lesson punch card. Contact our office to learn more about this program!

Teacher Tips:

This month, our voice teacher Kirstin Roble, offers 5 tips for first time lesson attendees.

5 Things that are Ok to know for your first lesson

            Whether it’s your first lesson in three months or your first lesson ever, it’s not uncommon to be a little nervous. When I started taking private lessons, I remember having butterflies in my stomach at the first lesson.

1.    It’s ok to be nervous:
What? It’s ok to be nervous. I tell every new student that I get this exact sentence. Private lessons are different from a music class you might take in school. Working one on one is easier for some students to adapt to right away and harder for others. It’s ok to be nervous- your teacher is here to help you grow and achieve the goals you have.
2.    It’s ok to bring music or your instrument
This may seem obvious, but I get asked all of the time if it is ok to bring music you’ve been working on to your first lesson.  The answer I always give is “yes!” Maybe you’re auditioning for a solo in choir or band- feel free to bring that music into your first lesson! Your teacher can work with you on it and it can help us get a sense as to what you may need to work on in lessons
3.    It’s ok to ask questions
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when starting lessons is that they don’t think that they can ask questions or embarrassed to. Ask questions! That’s one of the best ways to learn. Also, feel free to take notes or record your lesson! In 45 minutes, we cover A LOT of material. I can’t always remember everything nor do I expect you to!
4.    It’s ok to ask about “how to practice”
Believe it or not, I didn’t learn how to practice just by sitting at home in front of my piano. It was my early teachers who helped me developed a strategy for practicing. Your teacher will have resources, tips, and even warm-ups that you can take home and replicate for your practice sessions.
5.    It’s ok to have fun in lessons
Yes, private music lessons can be fun! We do warm-ups, theory, and talk in foreign languages (at least in voice lessons!) but we also laugh and study really amazing music. It’s ok to have fun- we teach because we love it and we want to share that passion with each of our students!

As we get ready to start another year of lessons, there’s a lot of excitement at Academy of Sound. We can’t wait to spend another school year with you!