Special Projects 2021

Vinson Wood: Stop Motion Video

Vinson, with the help of his parents, created a stop motion video, set to his recital recording of Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor! Vinson has created many stop motion videos since the start of the pandemic, and this experience has culminated in a project integrative of his artistic interests.

In order to help Vinson remember the chord progressions throughout the waltz, we came up with a few funny mnemonics:

Am-Dm-G-C > “Avocados Don’t Go Curling” (appearing in measures 1-15, 25-32, 41-48)

Am-Dm-B-E > “Avocados Don’t Belong Everywhere” (appearing in measures 29-32)

Am-Dm-E-Am > “Avocados Do Exist Always” (appearing in measures 49-52)

Thus was born the storyline of a persistent Avocado, breaking free of social norms, in pursuit of his curling dreams. He is assisted by his friend, an open-minded and supportive Lime, who encourages him to go against the status quo. Watch the film to see how the story unfolds!

Does this Avocado and Lime combo make anyone else want some guacamole right now?

Original Compositions 2021

Congratulations to the following students who wrote their own compositions this year!

Natalie Viton: The Hobbs Suite

Download Sheet Music for The Hobbes Suite (PDF)

The Hobbs Suite is about my cat Hobbs. I wrote this suite about him as I thought it might be a fun thing to compose about. Each song is about something he has been observed doing and inspired me to make a composition about. –Natalie V.

Hobbs vs. the String 
Hobbs loves chasing strings, so I wrote a composition about it. In Hobbs vs. the String, it is the key of C minor to add drama to piece. The grace notes and the notes after that is to represent Hobbs bounding after the string. The glissando represents the string slithering away. The ending chord is Hobbs pouncing on the string.

Hobbs vs. the String

Hobbs vs. the Swaying Wire 
I’ve seen Hobbs occasionally playing with a swaying wire and that inspired me to compose Hobbs vs. the Swaying Wire. It’s in a major key because it’s funny and silly. In the beginning, Hobbs is pawing at the wire. It gets quieter to show Hobbs pawing less excitedly as he gets bored. There are less notes at the end as Hobbs grows increasingly disinterested, and the last note is the last time he paws the wire before walking away.

Hobbs vs. the Swaying Wire

Hobbs vs. the Bird 
Hobbs vs. the Bird was inspired from the time we found a dead bird in our backyard left by Hobbs. It is in a major key because it wasn’t that intense for Hobbs since it only took a few swipes for him to take it down. The grace notes represent the bird trying to hop away, and the note after was to represent Hobbs jumping after it. The note before the first grace note is Hobbs swiping the bird from the sky. The last note is Hobbs swiping at the bird for the last time.

Hobbs vs. the Bird

Anirudh Kumar: The Wanderer

Sheet Music for The Wanderer

Originally, this piece was designed to be the menu music for a hypothetical video game that was designed by my friends and me during a summer camp. The game was about space, and the song was meant to describe a spaceship wavering through the endless universe. Now it can be interpreted to also describe a wanderer wandering through the world due to its oriental and inspirational style. — Ani K.

Listen to The Wanderer for piano and violin

Sawyer Newell: Raining Rainbows

Sheet Music for Raining Rainbows
Listen to Raining Rainbows

Vinson Wood: After the Storm

Sheet Music for After the Storm

In my composition, the storm has just ended. In measures 7-10, dew is on the grass, and in measures 11-14, sun beams slowly streak through the clouds. Finally, in measures 15-18, flowers bloom in the distance. — Vinson W.

Kendan Guest: Gourmet Race

Sheet Music for Gourmet Race for Piano Duet

Gourmet Race, originally from Kirby Dream Land, was quite the classic in our household. My brother and I played the Kirby games a ton as a kid. The main theme would always get stuck in my head. I formatted the song as a duet because my brother and I do a lot of duets. The primo part is simplistic while the second part incorporates scales and octaves. — Kendan G.

Listen to Gourmet Race

Happy New Year!

2021, here we come! We have lots of exciting events coming up:

Music Artistry Program (MAP): February 19-21, 2021
Students in 4th grade and up are required to participate. Younger students may participate with instructor permission. MAP will be held via Zoom this year!

Chapter Honors Competition (CHC): March 6, 2021
Open to late intermediate/advanced students by instructor permission. If your student is eligible, you should have received an email from me last month. CHC will be held in-person with social distancing and cleaning protocols in place.

Zoom Group Lessons: March 15-19, 2021.
No individual lessons this week. Check your email for the schedule.

Zoom Recitals: February, March, April
No recitals in January. We’ll be busy preparing for MAP! Check your email for the recital dates and times.

Southside Studio Update

The Southside Studio is now equipped with three pianos to allow for appropriate distancing during our once-a-month in-person lesson days! Samantha will demonstrate on the digital piano while the student learns from the grand piano.

Protocol for In-Person Lessons at the Studio:

  • Masks are required
  • Hand washing is required before and after each lesson
  • The piano keys will be disinfected between students
  • Parents and siblings may not wait inside the studio, please wait outside in your car or on the porch instead
  • If your student is sick, please opt for an online lesson
  • If your student shows symptoms during an in-person lesson, the lesson ends immediately and cannot be made up
  • If Samantha is sick, lessons will be held online

Original Compositions

Congratulations to the following students who wrote their own compositions this year!

Boden Co: “Dove Garden”

Sheet Music for Dove Garden

I named my composition Dove Garden because a dove represents holiness and peace. It soothes and quiets our troubled thoughts. A dove also represents living calmly and living with purpose. I chose the garden part because a garden symbolizes a safe enclosure and an image of the soul and innocence.

Listen to Dove Garden performed by Boden Co

Lucien Yoong: “Into the Ocean”

Sheet Music for Into the Ocean, a suite of three pieces:

Crab: A Dazed Crab Scurries on the Beach
Octopus: A Mysterious Octopus Floats in the Dark Ocean
Turtles: Baby Turtles Hatch Under the Night Sky

I chose these three animals: the crab, the octopus, and the turtle because they are some of my favorite sea creatures. Firstly, I chose the crab because it is a unique and silly animal. The music of the crab was made to sound like it is scuttling around the beach, moving on all its claws and legs. Secondly, I chose the octopus because it is a mysterious and intelligent animal. The music of the octopus depicts the scene of an octopus floating in the deep ocean. Lastly, I chose the turtle because it is an exceedingly popular animal and its hatching process is very interesting. The turtle piece was created to portray the image of baby turtles hatching at night.

Listen to Octopus
Listen to Turtles
Listen to Crab

Juni Clouse: “Rocky Road”

Sheet Music for Rocky Road

My piece is about a carriage driving up a bumpy steep slope. This long gray road leads to a dark spooky castle at the top of the hill.

Elly Kirkbride: “Spring Rain”

Sheet Music for Spring Rain

First Week of Performance Classes

Our Performance Classes have been so fun! Thank you all for participating and sharing your work with your fellow students. 

Tuesday afternoon with a fantastic group of boys. We heard the music of renowned composers Mozart, Moszkowski, MacDowell, and others:

Later on Tuesday with another group of musical middle and high school boys. They performed music by classical composers Clementi, Chopin, and Benda; along with singer-songwriter “piano man” Billy Joel:

Wednesday’s performance class with my oldest high school students! They played Bach, Beethoven, and Badarzewska:

Friday morning with more wonderful middle and high school girls:

I had the students comment on each others’ performances through the chat feature.

Here is a sample of some of the wonderful comments from my Friday class:

Comments for Riley’s performance:
I love the dynamics in your piece! super cheerful and uplifting! 🙂
The staccatos were very good and clear
nice dynamics!!!
So pretty! I love the story behind it!
such a graceful piece!!!
Really pretty and smooth

Comments for Allyson’s performance:
beautiful, great dynamics
Such a pretty song! Love how smooth it was!
The dynamics were really pretty and it was very smooth
it was very energetic and bouncy

I loved the staccatos! So bouncy!
very nice- amazing staccatos

Comments for Claire’s performance:
I love the strong beginning and the fast speed
beautiful! good speed!
great energy, amazing staccatos
Very smooth and majestic
very beautiful, energetic
I could feel the emotion in that piece!

Comments for Jordan’s performance: (she was only able to play one piece due to a technical issue)
one of the best pieces from you I’ve heard!I loved how fast and smooth it was! The energy was great! Super pretty!
elegant, smooth, amazing overall

I’m looking forward to more performance classes next week!


Bravo to all of the following students who have performed in public this year, including at retirement homes, at house recitals, and the farmers market!

Bravo to Ani, Emelyn, Vinson, and Jasper for performing at Madison House on January 18!

Bravo to Emelyn, Vinson, Jasper, Boden, and Rohan for performing at the House Recital hosted by the Woods on December 21!

Bravo to the 50+ students for performing in the Winter Studio Recitals at Resonance on December 14!

Bravo to Toren, Maya, and Ani for performing at Bellewood on December 7!

Bravo to Rohan, Ani, Claire, Jack, Nevan, and Avesta for performing at the House Recital hosted by the Sarpangals on December 7!

Bravo to Jack, Katy, Jaden, Riley, and Sanaa for performing at Emerald Heights in Redmond on November 23!

Bravo to Avesta and Ani for performing at Madison House on November 17!

Bravo to Nevan, Rohan, Eshaal, Manaal, Claire, Toren, Ani, Maya, Emelyn, Vinson, and Jasper for performing at Emerald Heights on October 19!

Bravo to Claire, Rohan, Nevan, Caelen, Lucien, Enrique, Natalie, Toren, Avesta, Tandisse, Sepanta, Sanaa, Kylen, and Kendan for performing at the Juanita Friday Market on June 21!