Music Lessons for all ages!

Orpheus Newsletter – December 2015

In This Issue:
December Newsletter 

A Letter from the Directors

Cold rainy days, gathering friends and family together, celebrating Holidays … this time of year practically cries out for music and is the perfect time to celebrate the musician in your family. Already most of my students have proudly shared with me their performances from the Thanksgiving Break and more are looking forward to opportunities over the Winter Break.


My own childhood holidays were an odd mixture of Jewish and Christian traditions (my grandfather was Jewish and a professor of music and my grandmother was an actress from England). Lot’s of singing and storytelling and, as my skills grew, I was proud to be a part of the tradition, either accompanying at the guitar, or giving little concerts.


The more I reflect on the meaning of the word “Self-Esteem” the more I think it has something to do with being a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is often defined as having confidence in one’s own abilities, but I think now that it really only comes to fruition when we use those abilities to join in our community and create something special that everyone can enjoy. Make use of this special time and share your talents with your family, your community and the world this Winter!


Thank you for making music with us!

Wendy and Klondike

The Gift of Music is Here!


The gift of music is something to give all year round, but it’s especially wonderful around the holiday season! Do you know someone who has picked up an interest in learning a new instrument? Maybe someone you know is getting a guitar or joining a choir? We offer gift cards for all of our programs and flexible scheduling. You can purchase one to just give it a try, or get our package of 4 at a discounted price. For the months of December and January, all gift certificate purchases will come with FREE registration if the students signs up for lessons.
If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Orpheus at 512-231-8999 for more details. We will be happy to provide more details and let you know how you can take advantage of this great oppotunity!

Itzhak Perlman Hated Practice!

The other day I was listening to the radio and I heard a wonderful interview with the always entertaining violinist, Itzhak Perlman, on the occasion of being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He shared many funny stories, but one thing stood out when the interviewer seemed surprised that he would do anything to avoid practice. Perlman said, “Of course! I was normal. If you told me any eight, nine, ten year old loves to practice I would say either they are lying or  something is wrong with the child. Practicing is work.” It stood out to me, but did not surprise me. This is because I have heard this hundreds of times. From famous musicians to amateurs to most of my friends. Practicing is one of the most rewarding and beneficial activities in the world. If we connect it to our deepest dreams it can be attractive and even fun sometimes. It should never be painful or miserable, but it is rare that young children would choose to do focused work that leads to great skill rather than play and have fun. That is where skillful teaching and parenting comes in: Making valuable, meaningful behavior enjoyable through smart choices.

Student of the Month
Kylie Cash, Piano

“I LOVE playing the piano because it makes me relaxed, and I have so much fun!  I like to perform and memorize songs because it is a way for me to learn, gain confidence, and make myself better at playing music.  I think Ms. Elise is the best teacher because she gives me a chance to think before she helps me with a song.”  

-Kylie Cash


My choice for student of the month is Kylie Cash. Kylie is an excellent student and always strives to do her best. Her love of music shines most through her performances, daily practices, and eagerness to learn. Kylie recently passed her Musical Journey level 1 and will prepare a home concert for the spring.

Elise Leung, Piano/Voice Instructor


Musical Journey Corner

Now that every student under the age of 11 is engaged in Musical Journey, there are events going on nearly every week! Below are a few of the special projects that have happened recently and some that are coming up.

Please congratulate these students on an outstanding job!

Michelle Sang, Piano                                              Home Concert                                     November 22, 2015
Jane Ahlquist, Piano                                               Home Concert                                        December 6, 2015
Evan Brolsma, Piano                                              Home Concert                                      December 21, 2015
Ethan Leung-Lieu, Piano                                       Home Concert                                       December 22, 2015

*If you are planning a musical journey concert or project completion, and would like to be featured in the newsletter, please email us the details and pictures of the performance to [email protected]. Please be sure to include name, date, level and the specifics of the project (i.e. home or public concert).

More Musical Journey Milestones!
Great Job, Everyone!

Pet of the Month


This is Magnolia. When she isn’t enjoying hiding out in her jungle, she partakes in luring birds to her lair by mimicking their calls. Be careful when you pet her because she likes tochew upon your fingers!!

*Thanks so much to Mr. Andrew & his wife Mel for their submission!!!*

Lost & Found

Throughout the semester, we have accumulated quite the assortment of items in our lost & found collection. Are you missing the baseball cap you used to wear all the time? Or that brown-haired doll you loved to play with? Please stop by the designated area or check with the front desk if you’ve lost something!

Read All About Our New & Improved
Summer Program!!

We recently sent out a survey to all Orpheus students asking them what they thought of a proposal to keep lesson times the same during the summer while offering 4 makeup vouchers. The response was overwhelmingly positive (over 90%) so we will definitely be moving ahead with this plan. Please know that we will still be taking input, working with each family to find solutions and encourage all of you to fill out the survey. Here is the plan in greater detail:


Students will keep their lesson times (and lengths) year-round.

Students will each receive 4 vouchers for makeups during the summer so that they could plan vacations.

During the summer months group classes will be substituted with Summer Camps.

We will be adding additional composition and performance based camps like Chamber Music.


Benefits of this new program include:

1) No more registration process! (If you ever need to change lesson times, just see the front desk – the process is the same year-round).

2) Musicianship students receive an additional six hours of group instruction during the summer at no additional charge (camps are 15 hours each, 3 months of Musicianship would be 9 hours of instruction time).

3) Your schedule is simple and easy to remember.

4) Your lesson length is consistent throughout the year (unless you decide to change it, like always).


Here is some of the feedback we have gotten from the survey:


“Happy to see more performance camps. Mixed feelings about year round lessons. I know my daughter looks forward to a break in the summer.”


– With the 4 makeup vouchers you can schedule an entire month of break that fits your schedule rather than our intensives.


“For lesson time, it would be best to be able to reserve your school year time even if you need a different time in the summer.”


– Unfortunately, that would mean asking the teacher to hold a spot open, which would mean they could not earn any income during that time. You are free to switch to a  different time, but you would be taking a risk of losing your school-year lesson time. This is analogous to when students need a different time due to a conflict with sports: Often students need a different lesson time for three months, but we cannot ask the teacher to hold two spots for one student.


“It may be difficult to keep the same lesson time given that the child may be involved in a camp that ends later than the child’s scheduled lesson time.”


– This is another benefit of the Lesson Voucher.


“Definitely simpler, less work. If the lesson is at the same time as an Orpheus camp, would you need to use a voucher to reschedule?”


– Most of our camps will be in the morning, but if you take an afternoon camp and it conflicts with your lesson we will work out the schedule with you for that week. 


“Love the idea of keeping weekly lesson schedule, while allowing for makeups due to vacations. Biggest question would be availability of makeup times. I also like the idea of musicianship hours as counting as a credit towards camp (if I understand it correctly). I would LOVE it if there was optional lunch coverage for some of your camps since I work.”


– We believe if everyone cancels the lessons they plan to miss first, that will open up more times for reschedules. In addition, some people (obviously not those who work full time) may be able to make up some lessons at earlier than traditional times since some kids are home during the day. We will have “lunch coverage”, though students will need to bring their own lunch. 


Thank you so much to everyone who gave their feedback to help us make Orpheus the best school it can be. 


Wendy and Klondike

Refer a Friend!!!


Saturday, February 27th, 2016 @ 2:00pm 

We love our students and we want to tell you how incredibly grateful we are that you send your friends to us, review us online and like us on Facebook. To say thank you for your referrals we will be hosting another Raffle giveaway with an another awesome prize!

The drawing will take place on February 1st and the winner will receive 4 tickets to the Texas Performing Arts showing of The Sound of Music! To enter, all you have to do is refer a friend to lessons and when they sign up both you and the friend will automatically be entered. You will also both receive a free lesson certificate that you can use any time. Did we mention we really, REALLY appreciate all you do to make Orpheus great?!!


Is Your Teacher’s Schedule Completely Full?!
As the number of enrollments keeps climbing, we’re filling up fast! Some teachers have opened up additional time to meet the growing demand, while others are still completely booked. Take a look and see who is still available!
Available:Missy Hance, Percussion
Jenna O’Connor, Violin
Ian Tuski, GuitarAlmost Full:

Bernie Brink, Piano
Mathilde Legrand, Piano
Ruth Navarre, Violin
Andrew Noble, Violin
Devin Ryan, Guitar
Eric Slavin, Guitar
Joyce Wu, Piano

Completely Full:Liz Comninellis, Voice/Piano
Jesse Crites, Guitar
Kay He, Piano
Wendy Kuo, Piano
Elise Leung, Piano/Voice
Skye McManus, Voice/Piano
Georgia Sears, Piano
Klondike Steadman, Guitar
Important Dates!!
Saturday, December 12th & Sunday, December 13thHoliday Retirement Home ConcertsThis is a wonderful opportunity for the students at Orpheus to share the gift of music with those in the community. Students prepare & play holiday variations for the senior citizens of Austin and help bring lots of holiday cheer!


Saturday, December 19th

Last Day of Fall Semester
Orpheus will be closed for the 2 weeks of winter break. There will be no private lessons or group classes from December 20th – January 3rd.
All regularly scheduled lessons and group classes will resume on Monday, January 4th.


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Orpheus Academy of Music

3918-C Far West

Austin, Tx 78745

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Dr. Steadman Owner

Orpheus Academy

Music Lessons in Austin, Texas with Piano, Guitar, Voice and Music Camps
Orpheus Academy 3918 Austin, TX 78731
(512) 231-8999
(512) 354-3922