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.

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 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. 

Summer Piano, Oboe and Voice Lessons

It’s not summer yet!  However, I am starting to get questions about how summer lessons will work and if Brunner Studios offers summer lessons.  The answer is yes, Brunner Studios will be offering lessons this summer.

Here’s how it works.  I will pick 2 or 3 days to begin with to offer lessons.  Those days will need to be semi-full before I expand the schedule.  Lessons can be scheduled starting at 10:00 in the morning.  In fact, I highly encourage students to take an early lesson if possible.

How many lessons do I need to take or what if I go out of town?  If the student is in town, I expect them to be at lessons.  If you are out of town, there isn’t much that can be done about that.  Tuition will be figured on a monthly basis and will be due at the first lesson of the month.  No refunds will be given for scheduled lessons that are missed. 

If you need to change a lesson to a different day, during the same week, on which lessons are offered, then if there is time this accommodation will be made.  If a student misses a lesson without contacting me first, the lesson will not be made up at all.

Summer scheduling will begin May 1 and summer lessons will begin June 11.  Students who take at least 8 lessons will be given first choice of fall lesson times.  After that scheduling will be open to all students on an even basis.

Summer is a great time to try out lessons before committing to a regular schedule in the fall.  Establish good practice habits and be ready to continue them when school starts back in the fall.

Educational Expectations for Summer Piano Lessons

Today my students will begin having their last lessons before the summer session starts.  Many of them will be taking summer lessons but not on a regular schedule.  What should parents and teachers expect from students who take lessons during the summer?


If a student is taking infrequent piano lessons in the summer, then my goal is retention of knowledge.  Just like with academics, if you don’t use it, you will loose it.  All that hard work we put into theory and technique will quietly drift away.  As a teacher who as high standards week after week for the literature that the students are learning, I find that summer is a great time to play ‘fun’ music.  Now, I find classical music to be fun but my students don’t always agree.  So we will be pulling out the pop and show tunes.  Recognizable pieces that students enjoy playing so much.  The technical skills are the same and we might learn some new interesting rhythms. 


I try not to stress out about the lack of practice in the summer.  Kids go to camps and travel with their families.  When they are home, I encourage them to try to maintain a normal practice schedule.  Even if the amount of time is less, I don’t want them to lose the habit of practicing.   Parents can help by reminding the students to practice when they are able.


Summer is a nice time for teachers and students to relax and regroup.  Review those skills and make sure everything is in order for when piano/music lessons start back in the fall.  Festival season will be here before we know it.  So help maintain those skills be practicing for you summer lessons when the chance arises. 

Prizes and Awards


It is that time of year again.  The school year is just about over and it is time to hand out those achievement awards.  Every year I struggle to find just the right balance between well-earned and well-deserved awards and recognition for students who didn’t accomplish a major feat but stuck it out another year. 


Certificates go a long way for many students.  Almost everyone completed a book this year or participated in a festival or concert.  So I’ll head to Lakeshore Learning and purchase a bunch of certificates and those nice shiny gold seals.  I’ll do certificates for book completion, festival participation, practice records, and attendance.  It does take a really long time to fill these out, but most of the time the kids are happy to receive them.


Composer Busts.  A few years ago my mom was at the Dollar Tree and they had black and gold composer busts for….you guessed it….a dollar.  She bought them out and I am still giving them away.  My students with perfect attendance and those who met a minimum number of practice minutes for the year will receive a bust. 


I am not giving these out at a program this year because I ran out of time and the kids are about concertized out.  So at their last lesson they will get their prizes.  It doesn’t take much to make most students happy so this is a way to end the year on a high notes and to motive the students to keep practice during their summer lessons.

Summer Lesson Special

Brunner Studios is now offering a special discount to new students on summer Piano, Voice and Oboe Lessons.  Schedule and Pre-Pay 4 Lessons and Receive 2 lesson for FREE!  This is a savings of over $50.

Summer Lessons offer flexible scheduling.  Students who take at least 4 summer lessons will receive priority registration for fall lesson times.


Contact Brunner Studios today!

Conveniently located near Idlewild Rd and I-485.

Piano, Voice and Oboe Lessons in Charlotte, NC

Summer is an exciting time to begin piano, voice or oboe lessons in Charlotte, NC.  Brunner Studios offers extreme flexibility in summer scheduling and standard lesson times during the school year. 


Why should you start piano , voice or oboe lessons in the summer?  Many people’s busy schedules slow down in the summer when the kids are out of school.  This gives the student, whether young or mature, the chance to be more focused and to get grounded in the basics before the more regimented school year starts back.  Back to school is difficult enough without starting a entirely new activity to boot. 


Students who take summer piano, voice or oboe lessons at Brunner Studios get priority registration for fall lesson times.  Schedules are tight during the school year, so start lessons now to get a jump on those prime-time slots. 


New piano, voice and lesson times available starting June 14 are as follows:

Mondays-  all day availability

Tuesday- 10:00- 1:00-  come to a lesson before hitting the pool in the afternoon

Wednesday- 5:15-8:30- have a lesson after a day of fun filled activities

Thursday- 10:00-2:00- take a break from the heat of the day

Friday- all day availability


Monday and Fridays are now available due to higher than anticipated demand for lessons.


Please contact Brunner Studios about setting up your lessons today!