Category Archives: Just Stuff

Summer Lesson Fun

Summer Lessons are in full swing and my students are working on advancing their music theory knowledge, technical skills, and sight reading skills…not to mention few fun lesson additions like our SUMMER LESSON CHALLENGE.

Students can choose a challenge from any of the clothespins- but they MUST do the challenge if they pick it. Challenges can include naming and playing all 88 keys on the piano, playing scales prestissimo and staccato, or even sight reading Happy Birthday. Two of the clothespins have a prize of NO HOMEWORK for the week!

“Oh, but I LOVE homework in the summer!”, said no one ever.

More Upside Down Week Adventures


Caroline and I played a Mozart duet composed to be played rightside up and upside down!!



Tommy played his recital piece upside down


Emily did a great job identifying intervals and writing the size upside down!


Emily and I played the Mozart duet sitting on opposite sides of the table using the same copy and a two-sided keyboard on the iPad! She was upside down and I was rightside up!


Aaron did a great job with upside down intervals


Noah wrote his letters upside down and he’s not even in Kindergarten yet!!


Tommy read the upside down sign, upside down!! (oops! I forgot the word “down” ! haha!)

Student News


Delaney accompanied for her Chesapeake Bay Middle School Chorus Concert! She did a fantastic job- Way to go, Delaney!!


Noah is my youngest and newest student. He just “graduated” from Nursery School! Great job, Noah!!!

May Studio Happenings


This is how we sight read in my studio. (Hands together and NO peeking!) Great job, Sarah!! My students have to read between 150 and 200 lines of music to receive the studio Sight Reading Trophy.


Aaron did a great job transposing at his lesson. He picked all the best keys out of the key bag too: f# minor, a-flat minor, A major, C-flat Major, and B-flat Major. Show me a 3rd grader who can do that!! Way to go, Aaron!!


Quintin (shown on snare drum) not only finishes his 4th year of piano, but has also completed his career in the Belvedere Elementary School band on percussion. But thats not the end for him! He will be continuing piano and percussion into Middle School this fall! Way to go, Quintin!!!


Colleen has been accompanying at Belvedere Elementary for a few years now and the chorus director Mrs. Supko (far left) sure will miss her now that she’s graduated!


Oops, I forgot to change lenses on my camera, but Annabelle and Colleen are accompanying for the Severna Park Middle School chorus concert. Annabelle has been accompanying since 5th grade and she will continue as she enters high school in the fall.


Colleen is rehearsing for her Senior Recital scheduled for THIS Saturday June 4 at 1:00pm at St. Margaret’s Church Annapolis.

Student of the Month

My students are ALL awesome!! But once a month I choose a student who has gone above and beyond what is expected of them in piano lessons. I am EXTRA proud of these students because they are demonstrating a fantastic work ethic, a commitment to their piano study, and they are an inspiration to other students.

Want to be student of the Month? Here is what you have to do:

Have a lesson rating of 5 for each week of the month.
Have perfect attendance for the month.
Have an encouraging spirit toward other students.
Have a positive attitude in lessons and look ahead in your piano materials.

Each selected student has their photo posted on my “Wall-of-Fame” in the studio and receives a $10 Music & Arts gift card to spend on anything they like!

Please say Congratulations! to these exceptional students:


Emily- Sept 2015


Juliette- Oct 2015


Abby- Nov 2015


Josie- Dec 2015


Annaliese- Jan 2016


Annabelle- Feb 2016


April- Mar 2016


Molly- Apr 2016


Delaney- May 2016

Topsy-Turvy Week!

Topsy Turvy week is a fun annual event at my studio. This is the week where everything gets turned around– the student becomes the teacher and the parent becomes the student!

What a great way for the student to gain a solid understanding of concepts in theory and performance and for the parent to gain an appreciation of just how hard this stuff really is!

Students gather and prepare materials and “teacher” notes in a folder and decide on 2-3 concepts to teach their “student”. The weeks prior to the day, they practice teaching during their own lessons and then practice teaching me the week before the BIG day.

Finally, the day comes when they can sit in my “teacher chair”, use any materials I have in the studio, and become the piano teacher for the day. My job is to sit back, takes pictures, and be their teaching assistant, (should they need me to find a game or other materials).. ..but other that that, they are in charge!

Here are some of the highlights!!


Brooklyn checks her notes before teaching her dad.


Brooklyn teaches the music alphabet on the piano keys.


Brooklyn teaches her dad to play a song!


Tommy teaches his mom the “right way” to sit at the piano.


Tommy teaches his mom how to draw a treble clef.


Tommy teaches his mom to play a song!


Aaron plays finger Twister with his mom after teaching her the finger numbers.


Aaron teaches his mom to play a song!



April and her mom play a duet!


April and her mom play a game on the piano keys.


Juliette and her mom play Finger Twister.


Juliette quizzes her mom on the music alphabet!


Juliette has her mom play the Ice Cream game.


Juliette gives her mom 5 beads at the end of the lesson!


Isabelle teaches her dad the finger numbers


Isabelle teaches her dad the 5-finger scale pattern.


Isabelle teaches her dad to play a song!


Josie teaches her little brother the music alphabet.


Josie and Samuel play the Fly Swatter Game!


Josie teaches her brother the groups of 2 and 3 black keys.


Josie teaches her brother a song!


5 beads for being such a great student!!

Adult Rep Class

In October my adult students and I got together for an evening of music, food, and fun! We began the evening with refreshments and then everyone played a spooky Halloween song. We played some games and then had a duet-a-thon! What a fun time! I can’t wait to get together again!!

September Student of the Month


Congratulations Emily!


Congratulations to Emily- September Student of the Month!

Emily has been hard at work this month. She not only earned a perfect rating of 5 beads every week, but she also earned 5 BONUS beads!

Emily was the first student to complete the Happy Birthday Memorization requirement and is well on her way to finishing completely.  For working hard and achieving her goals, she has earned recognition as “Student of the Month”.

Emily will have her picture on the Studio Wall of Fame and receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to buy some fun music to play at home or anything else she wants.

Want to be student of the Month? Here is what you have to do:

Have a lesson rating of 5 for each week of the month.
Have perfect attendance for the month.
Have an encouraging spirit toward other students.
Have a positive attitude in lessons and look ahead in your piano materials.

Practice Chains


This year’s practice chains are off to a great start. They all look great!

Party FUN!

What makes a great party? It’s an easy recipe!

  • Friends
  • Music
  • Food

Yesterday we had all three ingredients and everyone had a blast. I have some SUPER fun students this year- it gonna be one crazy yearbook……

Here are some highlights.


Annabelle plays for everyone

Version 2

Abby is focused on the performances!


Molly plays a Baroque piece on the harpsichord!


Juliette plays for everyone.

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.31 PM

We all LOVE piano!!

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.30 PM #2

But we are all very SERIOUS students!

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.32 PM

Mostly, we are just CRAZY! (about piano, that is….)

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.34 PM #2

HEY!! I was photo bombed!!

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.36 PM

Piano Buddies- Molly and Caroline

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.38 PM

Piano Buddies Abby and Sarah

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.39 PM

Piano Buddies Emily and Anju

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.41 PM

Piano buddies Annabelle and Madi

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.42 PM #2

Piano Buddies April Josie, and Juliette. Look out for this crew- these ladies are a crazy bunch!

Photo on 8-30-15 at 1.50 PM

Piano Buddies Delaney and Annaliese


Delaney plays and sings for the group (yes, at the same time!)


Time for the Musical Trivia Challenge!


“What?? How are we supposed to know how much a grand piano weighs???” Aaron, Isabelle, and Quintin pondered a tough question!!


Making our practice chains


Molly helps with practice chains. (Hey, Molly…can you believe you were that small when YOU started piano???)


Fantastic job, ladies!! (I’m partying with these girls at the Halloween party!)


Time for some ice cream sundaes! yummy


OOO, that looks good, Anju!


Aaron and Quintin enjoy the ice cream.


Yes, folks its time for EXTREME CLOSE-UPS!!!! Abby is beautiful as always.


Good one, Caroline!


Cute, Josie!


Love it, Anju!


Hi Quintin!


Looking good, Annabelle!


Good close-up, April!


It won’t be long Isabelle before you’re in Middle school!


haha! ….why, yes, I DO play piano…..if you must know.


Very nice, Annaliese! (I can’t take you ANYWHERE)


Boomwhacker ensemble time!


We did a great job! Why? Because we ALL can count and play!


This is easy for Aaron and Caroline!


Sidewalk chalk art


We are great musicians so of course we are also great artists!


Sarah and Abby did a great job!


Everyone pitched in!




Piano makes us all very HAPPY!


It was a great party. Thanks for a fun day, everyone! Now, go home and practice!


What I Found On Vacation

If my students know me at all, they can probably guess that I was not only enjoying ALL the sights and sounds on my vacation, but I was also on the lookout for MUSIC & Kitties!

(Scroll down for some video clips)

Here’s what I found:


1 of 2 organs in St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City, Rome)


2nd organ in St. Peter’s


Vatican Museum- this goddess plays the Aulos


Vatican Museum- the lyre


Vatican Museum- another lyre


An old Wurlizter piano in our hotel in Rome


Piano decorative lights on the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship


more cruise ship decor


Nostos’ Music Shop in Santorini, Greece


Here is what Nostos sells!


Cruise ship decor


Cruise ship decor


Music Maker’s museum in Venice


Venetian Violin makers


Live band outside of St. Mark’s Square Venice


Hey! It’s Salieri (Mozart’s colleague) (Venice)


1 of 2 Organs and choir lofts in St. Mark’s Cathedral (Venice, Italy)

Now for some kitties!


This poor street kitty was in Bodrum, Turkey. I wanted to take him home. Think Jasmine would mind?? lol


Another Bodrum street kitty


These kitties were in Ephesus, Turkey. It was SO HOT, they were all just napping.


This kitty is a “Turkish Van”, just like my old cat Filbert only this one’s REALLY Turkish!


Here is a Venetian kitty.


Here is a Greek kitty.


This is my favorite kitty. When his owner heard us talking to the cat, he came to the window! He lives in Venice.


Video Clips: (I bought their CD!)


I hope you enjoyed this! Now its your turn! What music (or musical sounds) did you encounter on your vacation?

Send me a pic or video and I’ll post it!

Award- Winning Students

IMG_7610Here at HiltonMusic Studio award- winning students are plentiful. Our 2014-2015 academic year comes to a close on Friday and my students have been busy all year. You see, its not just about taking piano lessons around here, its about receiving a music education, sharing the gifts and talents we’ve been given with others, setting goals and working toward achieving them, learning a good work ethic, and an understanding that working hard will produce fantastic results. These are life-lessons that will benefit my students in all areas of their life.

I am so proud that I have such wonderful, conscientious students, (and parents), and my adult students who understand the value of music education and what it means to share their gifts and talents in and around our community. My students set their goals in September and work continually to achieve those goals. This Friday night my students will be giving their final performance of the school year and will receive the awards they’ve been working on all year.

For your enjoyment, here are the “numbers”…

…of my 22 school-aged students,

18 earned Practice Ribbons (those who came in week after week ALL YEAR and rocked their assignments!): Isabelle, Quintin, Josie, Addison, Caroline, Annabelle, Molly, Cole, Claire, Colleen, Sarah, Delaney, Olivia, Aaron, April, Emily, Annaliese, Juliette

16 earned PIANOlympic Medal (and the number of technical challenges each student completed)– Quintin 16, Addison 24, Zoey 16, Caroline 24, Annabelle 30, Sarah 20, Molly 31, Claire 10, Emily 30, Abby 24, Delaney 31, Olivia 10, Joseph 32, Grace 19, April 30, Annaliese 36

15 earned Listening Awards (those who accumulated listening points for studying classical composers and listening to their pieces): Quintin, Addison, Zoey, Abby, Olivia, Molly, Grace, Emily, Annaliese, Joseph, April, Delaney, Claire, Caroline, Annabelle

11 became One Minute Club Members (those who can play 4 octaves of random flashcards in under 60 seconds; actual seconds are given after each name): Grace 53, Annaliese 48, Abby 48, Quintin 47, Addison 42, Sarah 39, Caroline 39, Molly 39, Delaney 29, Claire 27, Annabelle 24

9 were named Student of the Month Winners (those who went above and beyond the call of duty for their piano lessons): April- September, Delaney- October, Abby- November, Zoey- December, Colleen- January, Annabelle- February, Annaliese- March, Molly- April, Caroline- May

6 became Key Club Members (those who can play scales, triads, and intervals in 26 different keys)– April, Molly, Addison, Olivia, Grace, Quintin

 6 were Community Volunteers-(those who gave their time and talents on piano)

  • 3- For the Anne Arundel Music Teacher’s Association’s Music at the Movies event at Annapolis Mall: Delaney, Annabelle, Caroline
  • 4- For the patients of the Hospice of Chesapeake Critical Care Unit in Edgewater: Annabelle, Caroline, Colleen, Kitty
  • 2- for Elementary School Talent Shows and other concerts– Zoey, Caroline

4 worked as professional accompanists at various schools for chorus concerts, Anne Arundel County events, and other events: Colleen, Annabelle, Delaney, Caroline

4 shared their talent in Performing Arts with the community at large in theater and dance: Caroline, Emily, Abby, Olivia

 3 earned the highest award in my studio, the Distinguished Music Achievement Trophy (those who took 2 years to complete an enormous number of requirements for this trophy): Delaney, Caroline, Annabelle

3 earned the Music Teacher’s National Association 2-year Music Study Certificate (awarded every 2 years): April, Jospeh, Olivia, Grace

1 earned the Music Teacher’s National Association 4-year Music Study Certificate (awarded every 2 years): Addison

1 earned Music Teacher’s National Association 6-year Music Study Certificate (awarded every 2 years): Annabelle

1 earned the Mozart Award Trophy (for taking the school-year to complete a large number of musical requirements for this trophy)- Claire

1 earned the Sight Reading Trophy (for successfully sight reading the equivalent of 20 books): Addison

1 Was accepted into Interlochen (an internationally renowned Music School in Michigan for a 7- week intensive study in piano)- Colleen

Student(s) of the Month-February & April

Congratulations to Annabelle & Molly

With all the events and preparations for the Baroque Teahouse and chorus concerts, I neglected to announce a February student of the month! So today I will announce BOTH the February and April students at the same time.


Congratulations to Annabelle, my February Student of the Month.

Annabelle is working on her 6th year of lessons with me.  She consistently comes to lessons prepared and always puts in the extra effort needed to progress in her studies.

Annabelle has been really focused these past few months on getting a number of chorus pieces ready for the Severna Park Middle School Pop Choir and SPMS Chorus. She was given only 4 weeks to learn and perfect 2 pieces for the Anne Arundel County Festival Chorus adjudication and now has and additional 3 pieces to prepare for their June 4th concert. Annabelle has been working tirelessly to juggle both her accompaniment pieces and her regular lesson assignments– not to mention her June piano recital piece. She also recently completed the 2015 One Minute Club with 24 seconds. For working hard, remaining dedicated, and really keeping it professional she has earned recognition as “Student of the Month”.

Annabelle will have her picture on the Studio Wall of Fame and receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to buy some fun music to play at home or anything else she wants.


Congratulations to Molly, my April Student of the Month.

Molly is working on her 5th year of lessons with me. She has consistently come to lessons prepared and this year has really put in that extra effort needed to progress into classical music.

Molly works hard to have her lesson material ready for each lesson and has improved a ton in the past three months alone! Recently, Molly completed the 2015 One Minute Club with 39 seconds! I have been so impressed with Molly’s dedication to piano and her improvements that she has earned recognition as “Student of the Month”.

Molly will have her picture on the Studio Wall of Fame and receive a $10 Music & Arts gift card to buy some fun music to play at home or anything else she wants.

Want to be student of the Month? Here is what you have to do:

Have a lesson rating of 5 for each week of the month.
Have perfect attendance for the month.
Have an encouraging spirit toward other students.
Have a positive attitude in lessons and look ahead in your piano materials.

A Little Snow


Well, we had a little snow today, so everyone had the day off from lessons.


So I decided to have a bit of fun in my own backyard!


Earlier this week in the studio, we made pictures out of music. I made a snow picture out of music….who’d have thought that today I’d make music picture out of snow!