May 25th, 2021

   I am off this week to catch up on some video projects and take some time before the busy June schedule starts. In addition to the June Intensive Week and the June Lesson Block I will be doing for my own violin studio this month, I am also teaching fiddle classes at the Anchorage and Washington DC Suzuki Institutes. If you hadn't heard yet about my schedule hiccup for the remainder of the summer... It looks like I will be serving Grand Jury Duty. I will for sure be able to teach 3 weeks out of each month, and now know the weeks I will need to take off from teaching. Registration for July and August Blocks and Intensive Weeks are now posted on the site and registration is open :-) 

   The other thing coming up is our first public performance in over a year, which will be happening on July 10th at 5:30pm outside of the Anchorage Museum. All levels (including Pre-Twinklers) will get a chance to perform for a little chunk of our hour-long set. I have T shirts and masks with my studio logo on them for us to wear on stage, but if you haven't confirmed with me that you'd like to perform, please let me know ASAP so I can make sure I have enough for everyone. 

   We have a few new families that have joined the studio this summer, and I want to welcome you and show you all some praise for your commitment and patience through this hardest phase of your music-lesson journey. I am totally blown away how well my beginner students and parent-helpers from the last year have successfully established a good practice and lesson routines and learned how to properly hold and play their instrument with minimal (if any at all) in-person contact. Now that the snow has melted, and I am fully vaccinated, it will be so refreshing to step away from the computer and get these new incoming families started with a bit more in-person teaching this summer. 

   By now, I think most of you have figured out how to log into MyMusicStaff via the Student Portal. Once you are logged in, you can view lesson notes, schedule, pull up tons of videos and practice tracks, and log your practice. (Logging practice will be a requirement once the Fall Semester starts!) While there is no actual "app" you can download onto your phone, once you get logged in on the web browser on your phone, you can "add to home screen," which should make it pop up just like an app :-) I pay the big bucks for this so you all can use it for free, and using the portal is an essential part of my studio... So if you are having any troubles whatsoever, PLEASE don't hesitate to let me know so I can help walk you through any hiccups. 

    I need to let everyone know that after the summer I will be implementing a bit of a rate increase for the Fall Semester tuition. Last year when pandemic kept kids home from school (and my husband away from his work) I became our family's primary bread-winner, and despite teaching lessons both mornings, afternoons, and evenings... it still was a struggle to keep up financially. Put simply, I should not have to teach violin lessons 8+ hours per day and still struggle to pay my bills... After 15 years of teaching experience, and upping my teacher certifications to a book 4  level, I have realized that my rates to not line up with where other experienced and well-trained music teachers are. With that said, I want violin lessons to be accessible to families of all incomes and certainly don't want anyone to leave my studio because they cannot afford lessons. So, in addition to offering a 10% discount to students who logged 100 days of practice last semester, I am offering the option to take your private lessons every-other-week. I will also offer partial or full scholarships to families most in need. All the information with the new rates can be found on the lesson rates page on my website. 

  Before I sign off, I just want to say thank you to all the families who have helped keep my little studio going through this crazy year. Trying to come up with the "perfect" rhythm for running my studio has always been an evolving process, but I am so impressed with how well everyone managed to adapt to such drastic changes and still be able to learn, grow, and enjoy music so much! With some new ideas and inspiration under my wings, I can't wait to see how this generation of students are going to learn and grow as musicians and humans. As always, please don't hesitate to let me know any ideas, questions, or concerns you have. 

- Amanda


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