Newsletters, Uncategorized

October News

Where in the world did September go? We have had three great weeks of lessons already so far. Our focus for September has been to establish or re-establish a daily practice routine. We started out with small assignments that first week but are beginning to see some growth and this year is shaping up to be a very exciting one.


I received some absolutely thrilling news this week! A letter arrived from Conservatory Canada informing me that one of my students, Jessica, (who did her Grade 2 Contemporary Idioms exam in June) received the highest mark in Alberta for that exam. She, along with other students across Canada with top marks, will be presented with Conservatory Canada’s Gold Medal of Excellence. A very big honor! Congratulations, Jessica, for your hard work and dedication.


Our focus for October will be on inspiring creativity and we will be having our first masterclass of the year to kick this off. So, just to remind you, there will be no regular lessons or classes during the week of October 14-18, instead we will have masterclasses at several different times for you to choose from that week. This is for ALL students from Sunbeams 1 to private lessons. This month’s masterclass will focus on improvising and ensemble work and will be a lot of fun. Ages and levels will be mixed to allow for a lot of creativity and mentorship in both our improvising and ensemble playing and to allow all the students a chance to get to know each other better. As we get closer to these dates, I will send out an email with the days and times that these classes will be offered during that week and you may sign up for whichever one works best in your schedule. There will be about 4 different masterclass times to choose from.

SUNRISE PRESCHOOL CLASS–starting October 21st

I am hoping to get another Sunrise preschool music class up and rolling again this year, as has been the tradition for several years now, even some of our older, advanced students can tell you all about spending time in a preschool class with me! (because, GOOD HEAVENS, how old AM I now?) 😉 If you or anyone you know of has a 3-4 year old interested in music this would be the place to start and we just need TWO more registrations to get this class up and rolling! Some highlights of the program include:

Singing, Rhythm and listening skills
Carefully chosen songs and games appropriate to the development level of the preschool age child
Individual and group singing
Listening activities
Playing of rhythm instruments
Fine and gross motor activities
Rhythm development

Key Concepts covered and reinforced through each Sunrise lesson plan include:
Beat and Rhythm
Fast and Slow
Dynamics – Loud and Quiet
Listening Activities
Pre-reading Skills – Left to right

I’d love to get a Monday 11am class up and rolling for October 21st!


Another exciting event planned for October that will be taking place across Canada (and perhaps even farther reaching!) is RETURN TO MUSIC DAY! I will be participating in Return to Music Day on October 19th. This event is for adults who wish they’d had piano lessons as a child OR wish that they’d never quit. For one day only, you have the chance to have your own 30 minute private lesson for the fabulous rate of $5! And all proceeds will be donated to charity. More information and sign up times will be coming shortly. You can also check out the official page ( and check in on facebook every now and then for more updates!


Speaking of Facebook, the studio Facebook page is now at 40 “likes”…..getting so close to that first goal of 50! It has been exciting to see it grow. Some of the students who did exams this year agreed to be videotaped and their performances are posted there, if you would like to see a little more than what was showcased at the June recital! Once we hit the “50 like” mark, we will be having a draw for some prizes–including an MYC music t-shirt and some Starbucks giftcards (a little something to fuel your drive to piano lessons!)

Uncategorized, Wisdom for Your Wednesday

Wisdom for Your Wednesday

Wisdom for your Wednesday:

Why is practice so important? Students should think of their fingers as 10 musical athletes that need to train just as any other athlete does. The body is made up of muscles and require repetition to become stronger. ~ Paul Coates, Calming the Practice Monster

Newsletters, Piano Pedagogy, Private Lessons, Uncategorized

Welcome (or Welcome Back!) to Piano Lessons!

A very big and very warm welcome to all the new students and welcome back to all the returning students!  I am so excited to see you next week and begin another musical year together!  I had a wonderful, refreshing summer with several opportunities for professional development since June and can’t wait to share and use all the new ideas I gained!

Our first week of lessons begins on September 9th!  To the email I sent out, I have attached a policy letter and a calendar of the first half of our year with special dates like holiday closures, masterclasses and recitals on it.  You can print it off and place it on your fridge if you like to keep track of all the dates!  There will be a limited number printed and available in studio for those of you who do not have access to a printer.  NOTE: the date for the Christmas Recital is still waiting to be officially confirmed–if there are any changes at all to the calendar a new one will be emailed out.  So, as we prepare for next week, just a couple of things to remember to bring:

All Students:  LESSON TUITION, in the form of 10 post dates for Sept 1-June 1, 2 payments or 1 full payment made payable to MICHELLE MILLER, please.  If you have not done so already, this is due no later than your first lesson!

Sunbeam 1 students: 
just bring your enthusiastic selves and a parent (Sunbeams is a parented class!)
Sunbeams 2, 3 and Moonbeams 3 students:  bring your bags, tinsheets, castanet.  Leave last year’s books at home.  REVIEW YOUR NOTES!!!  There will be a note quiz! 😀
Private Students:  bring a 1″ BINDER as your homework book (this is NEW this year, but VERY important!) and any books you worked from over the summer to play out of for me…and review your notes for a game! Some of the new private students still need to submit their books fee for the books you had me pick up for your first lesson.  You can submit that as a separate cheque. 

We are at 38 “Likes” now…getting closer to the 50 mark.  At 50 Likes there will be a draw for prizes. If you haven’t already done so,  head on over and check out our facebook page which features videos of students, blog posts from my webpage and few fun things including Wednesday Words of Wisdom!  Then like it and invite friends and relatives to like as well for a chance to be in the draw for prizes!   Thank you to all of you who have liked the page already!  It’s been exciting to watch it grow!  There are even a few “likes” from across the globe!

You can also find my blog with great ideas for working that infamous practice time into your schedule, choosing an instrument as well as regular newsletters (so if you can’t find an emailed newsletter, you can always find a copy there.  You can also subscribe to the blog and have it automatically delivered to your email each time a new post is created.  Find it at:

There will be a couple of new courses offered this year for all the advancing students.  Starting in October, I will be offering a Intermediate Rudiments course.  This is for any students who have completed Basic Rudiments and/or Grade 5 Piano–some exceptions will be made for those who are currently working on a grade 6 level who haven’t completed the former two exams.  Intermediate Rudiments is a co-requisite to the grade 6 and grade 7 Royal Conservatory Piano certificate. It will be a weekly hour long course running from October to May.
The other course I will be offering will be a little more casual but I am really excited about it.  About once a month or so I would like to offer a PIANO PEDAGOGY (how to teach piano) class to all advancing students who have earned a grade 5 Piano exam or higher.  I would like to begin teaching these students how to teach!  In my studio, I like to really focus all levels of music towards learning life skills that allow us to give back in some way with our music.  Some ways we’ve done this is through composing and improvising and learning to harmonize or read lead sheets.  I would like my high school students to have the skills to give back through teaching….not because I think they will want to be piano teachers, but so that they have the ability to give back…maybe through community volunteer work or volunteering at a Senior’s home or Children’s Hospital.  The inspiration for this came from this youtube video:  as well as from a fellow colleague from Coleman, Alberta who told me all about preparing her son to start teaching lessons right before he entered high school.

Enjoy this week!  It kind of feels a little like New Years in some ways!  See you all next week!