The Three Year Mark



Wow, how has it already been 3 years working full-time in the studio? And 15 months of that time has been spent handling lessons during a worldwide pandemic!


The past year has taught me a lot about the word "Navigating." I used that word at least once a day during the pandemic. It is typically used in a travel setting, as its definition is : "to plan and direct the course of ship, plane, car etc.,"


Funny that with coronavirus raging around the world, I would consistently use a word most associated with the word "travel," when I couldn't travel at all, whether it be for adoption or vacation.


But as I reflect on all the decisions that had to be made in the past 15 months regarding the studio, I was, in fact, planning and directing the course of my teaching. Because every decision counted, for the safety and protection of each student, their immediate families, and their nearby family members.


So March 2020 through August 2020 became a strictly virtual lesson studio, and that was good and wise for that time period. We knew very little about the virus at the time, so when school was shut down for the students for the rest of the school year, my studio was able to provide the weekly, consistent, and stable rhythm of teaching that encouraged progress and growth.



August 2020 to January 2021 was another unique phase in the studio, wherein I allowed in-person lessons, but only in an outdoor setting. This required a bit of creativity, as a keyboard was purchased for the use of lessons either outside on my back deck or inside my garage. Temperatures ranged from 90 degrees in August to below freezing come December. But everyone embraced the rugged atmosphere and, in a way, reveled in the fact that garage lessons are pretty cool as neighbor kids would bike by to see the commotion!








January 2021 was a month of preparation for allowing students to return inside my home - buying air purifiers, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, disposable masks, etc. - in order that I could safely reopen the studio by February 1st. Some parents were ready to have their students return to the studio, others decided to remain online, and every family decision was and still is respected. Although we kept the May piano party online, I am looking forward to hosted our 8th piano party in-person come December!




The studio continues to work in the format of family preference for online or in-person, but this summer a good portion of my students have returned to the studio, which has made this month a lot of fun with good reconnection talks. Hearing about the special ambitions or goals the students have has been a delight to my ears.


This June has also given me a little more time to reflect on everything that has happened, and to reflect upon my goals from the previous year.



Reading through these, some seem rather silly given the circumstances, and some seem rather impossible to achieve at the time, but they got done:


1. Complete and obtain my MTNA piano teaching certification. (Completed June 2020)


2. Grow my studio from 43 full time student and 4 part time students to 50 full time students. (Currently teaching 50 with a waiting list)


3. Continue work on The Iowa Series. (Planning to play around with tunes this summer after completing a few walking tours last summer)


4. Complete recording and distribute The Aeneid Series. (Not even close - but working on it!)


5. Transition back to in-person teaching when allowed. (DONE DONE DONE)


6. Have 5 students participate in piano competitions. (I had 7 participate in virtual Auditions, and all received the highest rating of I)




So for this coming year, I have a similar list of goals and ambitions. Let's hope that the end of the pandemic is near so some of these can really, truly happen!


1. Become a Steinway Verified Teacher


2. Complete recording and distribute The Aeneid Series.


3. Continue work on the Iowa Series.


4. Have 8-10 students participate in piano competitions.


5. Create a fall schedule that provides a dinner break. Hilarious, I know, but I realized that hangry Miss Cate is not a good teacher, so dinner at 8pm will not do!


Cheers to year 3 that is in the books, and on to year 4!