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Orpheus Newsletter – Februrary 2015

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February Newsletter 

A Letter from the Directors
What Real Self-Esteem Looks Like

I want to share with you an experience I had with one of my students last month. In one way it is quite common and happens all the time, but in another it is very meaningful and proba- bly the most powerful reason to take music lessons. My student, Mario, had been begging to play Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” for some time, but because of the very tricky syncopa- tions and coordination between the hands I had asked him to learn several easier pieces first. Once I thought he was ready we learned each hand separately and thoroughly. Still, I warned him that putting hands together was going to be extremely challenging and would take a LOT of focused slow practice. Like most students, he was confident and eager before he started working on this challenge, but after struggling for ten minutes and still not succeed- ing in coordinating his hands I could see his frustration starting to build to the point of being overwhelming for him. We again went over how to break it down into parts and practice each part slowly and carefully, gradually building toward the desired tempo. Before his next lesson his dad told me that Mario had proudly proclaimed that he was “Ready to play hands together for Ms. Wendy!” Mario marched into the lesson and confidently performed the piece with excellent rhythm and syncopation, but the best part was the huge smile on his face showing how proud he was of his accomplishment.

As a teacher these are the moments I live for: When, after great effort and struggle, a student is able to accomplish a goal they set for themselves at a level of excellence they could not have previously imagined. THAT is self-esteem. The kind of self-esteem that runs so deep that we trust beyond a shadow of a doubt our ability to accomplish whatever we set our minds to.

Thank you,
Wendy Kuo

Faculty Benefit Concert
The Music of America

Our Faculty Benefit Concert was a great success!! Thank you to all the families, staff and everyone who helped make the night possible. As you know, all proceeds raised from ticket sales and dona- tions go directly to our local organization, Kids in a New Groove (K.I.N.G.), which provides music lessons for foster children. Some of our very own instructors vol- unteer for the organization, giving their own time to help mentor and teach lessons to the children.

We are very proud to announce that we raised $1,245! Thank you so much for all the hard work and generosity!

Musical Journey Corner

Now that most of our students are actively involved in Journey, there are events going on all the time! Students complete levels by performing at home concerts, public concerts, making CD’s and much more. 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!

Sophia Lifschitz, Piano     Home Concert     February 1st, 2015
Eduardo Gomez-Horton, Piano     Home Concert     February 1st, 2015

Annabelle McKaughan, Piano     Home Concert     February 20th, 2015
Emory Browder     Home Concert     February 22nd, 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)

On February 1st, Eduardo Gomez-Horton performed his Home Concert for Level 1 of his Musical Journey. Eduardo performed beautifully & was kind enough to write a short note about his concert, as well as provide us with some great pictures and an awesome self portrait! Great job!!

“I felt a little nervous practicing for the home concert. I felt really good performing. I felt really proud of myself when I finished. When I was performing the home concert, it was the best part of the home concert. It was lovely to have my friends and family watch me play the piano.” -Eduardo G.

Getting to know us, getting to know all about us!
Andrew Noble, Violin

Favorite Movie:

For 2014, “The Imitation Game” about Alan Turing, the creator of digital computing. I took my father, a computer programmer to see it. 

Favorite Food: 
Whatever my wife and I cook at my house. Recently it’s been making tasty smoothies in the Vitamix blender from Kale grown in my back yard. That’s how fruits and vegetables were intended to be consumed! 

Favorite Austin Location: 

Wherever the action is! I like to treat the city as my extended living room, and I like to experience the wonders that the people of this city share. 


Gardening & home improvement. I recently built a small Aquaponic system in my greenhouse that combines both of those activities. Aquaponics is a process that combines aquaculture with hydro- ponics in a symbiotic environment.

Interesting Fact: 
My current serial obsession is “The History of Philosophy with No Gaps” podcast. 

Missy Hance, Percussion

Hi! I’m Missy! I was born & raised in Vienna, West Virigina. I love my share-pei puppy, my nephew Leon, named after my grandfather and
tubing down the river.

Favorite Movie: That’s too hard!

Favorite Food: Sour Pickles

Favorite Austin Location:
My home

Cooking & Tennis

Interesting Fact:
The first time I ever dyed my hair it was turquoise! 

Elise Leung, Piano/Voice

My name is Elise Leung and I’m a voice/pi- ano teacher at Orpheus! I’m originally from Tyler, TX and moved south for my masters at Texas State University. In my free time, I enjoy hanging with friends or relaxing with my cat Artemis.

Favorite Movie: Beauty & the Beast

Favorite Food: Croissant bread pudding from French Quarter Grille (soooooo good!!)

Favorite Austin Location: Chez Zee

Hobby: Drawing

Interesting Fact: I swing dance! 

Orpheus Academy Pet of the Month!

We are now going to be featuring a “Pet of the Month” at Orpheus! Students are asked to submit a photo of their pet, in a musical setting, along with a short description about them. Pets can be enjoying the musical talent of their owners while they practice, dancing with their owners to their favorite tunes or even playing an instrument themselves! Be creative!!

This is Syra. She loves coming to Orpheus and greeting all the students. At home, she is very excited to play four paws piano duets with Solange.
Her favorite song is Playful Puppy. Her favorite genre, according to Blaise, is Ruff and Roll. 

*Thanks to the Barbier family for their submission!

Student of the Month
Carter Luppino, Guitar

“I chose to learn to play the guitar because it gives me the choice to play classical or electric guitar when I feel like it. I like going to music lessons because it is fun and helps me do better in music class at school. I really like Mr. Devin as a teacher because he makes things easier to learn.”

-Carter Luppino

I am nominating Carter Luppino for student of the month because he is an organized, diligent and dedicated student. He works on the things I ask him to and maintains those practices. He is in musicianship 3 now and his musicianship skills are growing as much as his guitar skills.

Devin Ryan, Instructor

Summer Camps Are Here!!

The 2015 Summer Camp Schedule is online and available for registration. Believe it or not, registration is already humming right along, so if you have a particularly busy schedule and want to get your camps locked down, we recommend signing up today!

Chamber Music 

Recommended for students between the ages of 5-11 with at least 2 years experience. This camp will focus on building ensemble skills among elementary aged students. 

Offered the week of:     June 8th         9am – noon


Guitar Camp

Recommended for students ages 7-13, with at least 2 years experience. Students will be broken up into small groups and  complete activities like ensembles, musical games & techniques.  

Offered the week of:     June 15th    9am – noon


Music From the Inside Out

Recommended for students ages 6-10.

Through movement and singing, students will engage with music in fun and new ways to become better musicians in this camp. 

Offered the week of:     June 22nd    9am – noon


Broadway Music (Younger)

Recommended for students ages 5-10.

Our award winning facility will use selections from the most beloved musicals in American history to create the perfect scenes for the talent available at the camp.

Offered the week of:     June 22nd    1pm – 4pm
Older Broadway Music (All-day) 

Recommended for students ages 11-16.

    Offered the week of:     July 6th         9pm – 4pm


World Music

Recommended for students between the ages of 5-11.

This one-of-a-kind camp provides a unique musical & cultural experience led by some of the Austin’s finest musicians and teachers. 

Offered the weeks of:     June 29th        9am – noon

July 20th        9am – noon

August 3rd    9am – noon


Intro to Percussion

Recommended for students between the ages of 7-12.

No prior experience needed. This camp is the perfect introduction for violin. 

Offered the week of:     July 20th         1pm – 4pm


Intro to Violin

Recommended for students between the ages of 5-8,

No prior experience needed. This camp is the perfect introduction for violin. 

Offered the weeks of:     July 27th         9am – noon

August 3rd    1pm – 4pm


Intro to Guitar

Recommended for students between the ages of 5-8.

No prior experience. This camp is the perfect introduction to guitar. 

    Offered the weeks of:     August 10th    1pm – 4pm                    August 17th    1pm – 4pm

Recommended for students ages 5-14. This camp will begin working on music for the Fall semester with focus on the fundamentals of choral singing and musicianship, while learning great music.  

Offered the week of:     August 12th    9am – noon

My Experience Volunteering with KING 

As many of you know, Orpheus has a close relationship with Kids in a New Groove, a wonderful organization that provides free music mentoring to children in Foster Care in central Texas. Through your generous donations we have donated over $3,000 and we are committed to helping them serve more children through donations at the Faculty Concert and the Friendship Concert.
What you may not know is that several teachers at Orpheus also donate their time to go into the foster homes and mentor children there. I have been mentoring a ten year old girl every Saturday for over a year now and I can tell you it has been a very power- ful experience for me. It certainly hasn’t always been easy: The months that her older sister (also at this same foster home) was in Juvenile Detention were particularly challenging. Her depression sometimes made it almost impossible to communicate, and for
an extended time she hardly touched her guitar between lessons. If I even made the slightest correction or suggestion on how to improve, she would shut down and stop trying.
I thought she was probably going to drop out.
I kept varying the lessons, trying to find ways to make it fun and possible for her to do music she picked while still building some basic skills. Somehow we stuck it out together and things have really turned around: These days when I arrive for her lesson
she initiates a little game of hide-and-seek and then we get down to work. She can play and sing several songs, is proud of each new skill she learns and her goal this week is to practice six days! Without a doubt, there are still challenging days, but gradually she is beginning to trust me that lessons will be enjoyable, and more importantly, trust herself that she can accomplish greatthings. For my part, I have learned so much about being flexible and patient and trusting that if I continue to show up and listen

and be creative, anything is possible. –Dr. Klondike Steadman 

A Special Thank You to

Sweetness Bakery provided delicious cupcakes for our Open House and everyone loved them! Their customer service was exceptional and we will all surely be putting on a few extra pounds with them being so close! They are located at 3742 Far West Boulevard #106, so stop by and get some sweet treats today!

(512) 382-1245

Is Your Teacher’s Schedule Completely Full?!
Completely Full:

Joyce Wu, Piano
Eugenio Zapata, Piano
Christine Lunceford, Piano
Wendy Kuo, Piano
Klondike Steadman, Guitar
Skye McManus, Voice/Piano
Liz Comninellis, Voice/Piano

Almost Full:

Kay He, Piano
Ruth Navarre, Violin
Missy Hance, Percussion
Jesse Crites, Guitar
Elise Leung, Piano/Voice
Devin Ryan, Guitar
Hudson Lanier, Guitar
Bernie Brink, Piano
Andrew Noble, Violin

Important Dates!!

March 16th – 22nd 

Closed for Spring Break

Please be aware that Orpheus Academy will be closed the entire week of Spring Break vacation. There will be no lessons or group classes. All regularly scheduled sessions will resume on Monday, March 23rd.


Monday, March 16th 

& Tuesday, March 17th 

Makeup Days

Many teachers will be offering the opportunity for make-up lessons during the Monday and/or Tuesday of the break. If you have a teacher absence or a student absence, and have not used your makeup for this semester, this is a great time to get that scheduled. 


Monday, March 23rd 

Lessons and Classes Resume 

from Spring Break

March 2nd – March 7th 

Musicianship Observation Week

Please plan on attending your child’s weekly musicianship class. Parents can observe the class and the students will end class with a short performance.


Saturday, March 7th 

Performance Classes


2:00pm (5-10 years)

Guitar  |  Piano/Voice


3:00pm (all ages)



3:00pm (5-10 years)



4:00pm (11-Adult)

Guitar  |  Piano/Voice



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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