Summer Lessons

This just a reminder that summer lessons begin next week. If you are a new student looking to start lessons you might select our 6 week lesson plan. Pick 6 weeks out of June and July for a 30 minute lesson each week. You will receive 2 books appropriate for your musical level. The cost is only $175. You will then be eligible to be among the first to pick a fall lesson time. Summer lessons are not just for a child interested in piano lessons. Summer piano lessons are for teens and adults as well.
Brunner Studios is also offering tutoring for students wishing to get a head start on their AP classes and exams.
We are happy to welcome students in the area for the summer. College students who wish to maintain their skills in a less formal environment and have coaching on pieces that you are carrying over for next semester are very welcome.
Contact Brunner Studios in the Charlotte area to fulfill your piano lesson needs for the summer of 2014. Scheduling for fall lesson times will begin in August.

Memorial Day

Music can impact just about anything. This weekend is Memorial Day here in the United States. We are supposed to be taking time to remember those who have given their lives in war. As I was trying to come up with a post, I remember hearing an article about Paul Wittgenstein.
Paul Wittgenstein was born into a well-to-do family that embraced the arts in Vienna, Austria. Before WWI, the family household was visited by the likes of Brahms, Mahler, and Strauss. While Paul was on active duty in WWI, he was shot and subsequently had his right arm amputated. He then began calling on well-known composers to write literature for the left hand. Perhaps the best known piece to come of this was Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand. With many of the works, they were commissions with the stipulation that Wittgenstein held exclusive performing rights until his death. Wittgenstein eventually emigrated to the United States during WWI and continued a performing and teaching career.
Do a little research on pianists who made careers and only had use of one hand. It’s a fascinating read.

Play Something Fun

As we move into summer here in Charlotte, NC. My piano student’s lessons become a little less structured. Students are in and out during summer vacation. For that matter, I’m out of town some as well. It is a great chance to play something fun. I’ve been asking my students what they want to play. Music from a movie, a tv show, a difficult classical piece they’ve heard. It’s a nice opportunity to let the student have a little more say in the repertoire choices.
Summer piano lessons can be exciting even if the student is not in lessons every week. Ask your students or ask your teacher, what should we play this summer?

A Little Inspriation

As the year wears on sometimes we just need a little boost of inspiration. Creativity comes in many forms. Last weekend I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. To meet so many people that are passionate about their craft was wonderful. The amount of new ideas was also inspiring. Sometimes I feel that as musicians we get so rooted in tradition that we forget to look outside the box. So this week take a look around. Whether you are taking piano lessons, playing the piano for enjoyment, singing in a choir, or just trying to make it to the end of the school year, try to find something new and fresh.
Here is a picture of one of my purchases. It is a supported spindle that is hand turned by a friend.


Summer Piano Lessons

Brunner Studios is now scheduling summer piano lessons for new students. Pick 6- 30 minute lesson slots in June and July and try out learning to play the piano. There are no contracts. The fee is $175 for 6 lessons and 2 books. Lesson times do not have to be scheduled for the same time each week. This summer! Flexibility is key. Vacations and camps come and go. Students will be asked to practice an amount based on their age and ability. There is no one size fits all model. Lessons are tailored to each student. Students will need a basic keyboard to practice on at home.
The Charlotte area is bustling with summer camps and enrichment opportunities. Why not try out musical enrichment? Lessons are open to all ages. Young or old music can be learned and enjoyed by all.

Spring Recital

Scheduling recitals is a pain the neck. There I said it. Don’t get me wrong I love recitals. Students showing off what they’ve learned. Parents and grandparents sitting with their fingers crossed. The fact that the teachers get way more butterflies than the students do. It’s all part of music lessons.
However, trying to find an appropriate time for a recital is awful. For a small studio having just a few students unable to attend puts a serious hurt on the event. Trying to find a location that is affordable and convenient can also be a challenge. Finding the balance between scheduling too far in advance and giving the students adequate time to prepare can be difficult.
There are a few things that I try to work with when looking at the calendar. We don’t do December or May recitals unless the world is coming to an end. It’s just not fair to anyone. The students are stressed and distracted by school and the approaching holidays. Parents are busy running kids here, there and yon. I try to ask for dance and sports schedules. If everyone has Nutcracker rehearsals then there is no sense in adding anything else to those Saturdays. My objective is for a recital to be an important event. Not just another event to cram into the day.
I am still trying to figure out a date for a spring recital. It looks like it will be more of an early summer event. It also helps if the teacher is in town to attend!

Off With the Germs

We have moved on from battling the winter colds and flu. It’s now doing a very wet and cold impersonation of spring here in Charlotte. 75 one day and 36 the next. The temperature swing are causing havoc. So it’s off to allergies and spring colds. How do we keep everyone well? Pianos are germ factories.
If you’ve had a fever in the past 24 hours, stay home. I really don’t want your germs. The same goes for a stomach virus.
If your head is dripping snot come prepared with tissues. The studio usually has some but not always.
If you wipe your nose on your hand, it’s off to the bathroom to de-germ yourself.
If you use a tissue, have a shot of hand sanitizer.
If a student is showing symptoms of a cold, the piano will be disinfected after the lesson. Otherwise, it will be disinfected every few students.

When in doubt, email and ask if you think the student should come to lessons.

And Up We Go

It seems like there is a outbreak of new bookitis in the studio right now. Almost all of my piano students are finishing up levels and moving on to more difficult music. Many are headed into that dreaded intermediate area. It’s a tough step up from late elementary and I see some battles in the future. Other are moving into late intermediate and beginning to play serious repertoire. The beginners are cranking through those lesson books.

Maybe it’s because there is spring in the air here in Charlotte. It could be that spring break is around the corner and the end of the school year is in sight. Whatever it is, I’m thankful we aren’t stalling out here as we move towards the end of the school year.

As you begin to plan your summer keep in mind that summer is a great time for more flexible lessons. It’s also a wonderful time to begin learning to play in the piano. Teachers and students are more relax and time is a little more available. So if you are looking to begin lessons, contact Brunner Studios to schedule a trial lesson.

A Gold Star

Getting my students to write their practice down can be something of a challenge. The little guys not so much. The high schoolers, I’ve had teeth pulled with less effort. Today I am happy to report that everyone not only wrote their practice down, but met their requirements. Gold sparkly stars all around.


They did it. All of Brunner Studios students participating in the NFMC festival on Feb. 22 at Queens University in Charlotte received a Superior rating. I am very proud of everyone.

Looking through the comments gives me a good sense of how everyone did. Even when the judges made comments about a memory slip or a tempo issue, there was always a following note about a good recovery. That is just as important as playing perfectly. Good job!

I felt everyone was more prepared than last year. That is even with the missed lessons due to snow and illness. You guys are impressive. Thank you!