Countdown to tuition!

Saturday, August 22, 2020 by Kerry Anderson | Uncategorized

Well here we go folks.   

Just hours after I had posted our new socially distant schedule, the government announced further restrictions on groups.


We kick off September 2nd in Wicklow East Glendalough School and Monday September 7 in Newcastle Parish Centre.

So a recap of all that has changed since the advent of 'lockdown'

Both of our Musical Theatre Tutors have decided to change direction.  So a very fond farewell to Caroline Hill and Clare Dixon - words are not enough! But I know we'll meet again one COVID-free day!  Caroline and her husband John were an absolute powerhouse of production and I will miss those heady days of panto magic!  Caroline is moving into film set design and we all wish her well on her road to success!

We'll miss Clare's fun-and-games apporach to tuition.  She got great results from the team of singers and we wish her all the best as she goes further into choral directing (such as it is right now!!).

Now we have intimate theatre to look forward to with Maura Flynn.  Maura has produced many, many shows and jumped at the chance to work on this new course.  She's preparing the details as I write this and will feature on the website page shortly.

We've advertised 10 in a group; now we will reduce that to 5 and see how the COVID situation unfolds.  Praying that the virus has modified itself (as they are want to do) into something more in line with common flu.  In the mean time, I will be taking zinc supplements and D3 as the winter months approach.

Note the musical theatre course is now running each Saturday at 3:30 in Newcastle Parish Centre (A63X782) in the enormous Hall and their giant doors will be wide open until the cold sets in...

We are offering Musicianship ONLINE for beginner to grade one standard each Saturday at 2:00pm.  I will run these classes, and a curriculum will commence in October, but the class starts in September.  This means that in September we can get established as a small community, sharing our taste in music, and establishing what we already know and need to work on.  There is room for up to 12 students, and I am hoping to have something prepared for our virtual Christmas concert.  

Maura is running the intermediate Musicianship course each Saturday morning at 8:15-9:00am. Students are teens and are at grade 2 to 4 instrumental standard.  This course is on-site in East Glendalough School.

All instrumental tuition is running as usual ON-SITE.  But I hasten to add that our students/parents must agree to a default of online delivery should lockdown conditions return.

In the world of opera Pagliacci, the sad clown, sings 'Vesti la Giubba!'  On with the show! 

But let's not be sad.  

Best wishes everyone!


Gearing up for 'New Normal' in September

Sunday, July 5, 2020 by Kerry Anderson | Studio News


Where to start?

I hope this blog post finds you all safely enjoying the summer.  To those families who have lost loved ones, I send you my heart-felt condolences.  I have been fortunate with my own elderly parents, and going forward it's unclear what kind of life they will have.  Will families with older relatives have to coordinate their interaction around 14 day quarantine periods and doses of Zinc and vitamin D3?

There is a global consensus that nothing will be the same as it was last September for all organisations.  Here is what I know as it relates to the music school:


The Sound of Music will now be performed in spring mid-term break next year.  A modified course will be run in Newcastle Parish Centre each Friday at 5:00pm, and social distancing guidelines will be published in August.  This course will be run by Caroline Hill and Maura Flynn

Classes in Wicklow at East Glendalough School are still waiting for guidelines to be established from the ACCS (Association of Community & Comprehensive Schools), so as soon as we know, you will.


The school will be sending out a Survey Monkey and I really hope you can take the few minutes to complete it.  It's objective is to determine how we should proceed with these, as I personally think they have enormous potential.

All of the tutors agreed that teaching online was very different and very tiring.  Much more work, and feelings were mixed as to the future.  For some, it isn't tenable out of lockdown, due to shared accommodation. 

My own experience was quite positive.  I have really enjoyed knowing that the planet has had a breather! 

My experience is that all platforms are essentially the same, however I have not tried Facetime.  I have used Skype, Whereby and Zoom.  Bandwidth is a consideration, and it's unclear what the future holds as it relates to global 5G.  It was a little tricky and I had to reschedule about two lessons over lockdown. 

Each platform takes a bit of focus to reveal each one's capabilities.  I have run a musicianship class using Whereby each week with capacity for 12 students and this has been very satisfying for me.  Screen sharing is one of the most valuable features, as we can all see what is being discussed.  I will offer these in September, as they were great fun! Students love those emojis and shy students could remove their image and mute their screens.  

Piano/keyboard is very different and I believe if we continue with these online, certain conditions will apply for optimal success.  We did send out guidelines at the start of lockdown and these still apply, for example, no pyjamas and as much quiet in the room as possible.  Several of my students were accompanied by their parents, and this may not be needed if the family are equipped with phone holder (the ones with the long bendy arms and the clamp such as the Content Creator from SubbyTech).  

Parents who accompanied their students agreed that it was an enjoyable experience.  However, we know from experience that not all children will want to learn along side their parents.  The best feature of online lessons for me as teacher was being able to see the instrument being used; the seat and how well the student was positioned at the instrument.  Seat height, and the stability of the instrument, student posture at the instrument were all successfully addressed, and this will go a long way toward effective practise.

Students using electric keyboard - not the same as a digital piano - can all benefit from exercises to make up for the lack of weight in the keys, so it was useful to know what kind of instrument is being used at home for practise.  Some students had an interesting habit of playing with their bellybutton too close to the keys, and so this was quite revealing and it felt good to be able to address it in the home practise environment.  


Our tuition deposits deadline is August 1st 2020 and the calendars/fees will be published July 20th - subject to the government mandates.  Once you register, any credits for tuition will appear on your Term One invoice.


Therese has sent all students/parents their portal password, so now you have an excellent facility for accessing your membership details with WSMD. We would like to encourage you to use ALL the features offered by the school's software.  The practise log feature is one of the most important for monitoring the student's journey through tuition; and it enables both teacher and student to liaise BEFORE the lesson in preparation FOR the lesson.  Here are some cheat sheets:

It is my hope that you will be able to book and purchase your tuition for the September term via your student protal.


I think we have an exciting new opportunity to incorporate planet-friendly online tuition going forward, but this will mean a shift in delivery.  Please take the time to complete the survey which will arrive in the next few days.


It's never easy to say bye when one of our tutors does not renew their contract.  We all get so attached! Yet newly married Clare McEvoy (Dixon) has decided to focus her career exclusively on choral directing.  I know that all of her students will miss her very much but we'll meet again, hopefully in the audience of our next Musical Theatre Show.  We wish her the very best for the next chapter of her life. 

For those involved with musical theatre, you will be delighted to know that Maura Flynn will be taking Clare's place as musical director, and with loads of show production experience we are really looking forward to her work on The Sound of Music in 2021.

In the mean time, I wish you all well for the remainder of the summer. Stay safe.


Edelweiss dancing and Acting monologue

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 by Caroline Hill | Uncategorized

Hello girls and boys !!

We are all adapting to making our short 3 minute videos of our performances and they are a delight to do and watch! Rosie and I were howling with laughter at our last attempts at the Austrian dance. However we kept a straight face during our performance.It was also a welcome distraction during the day to search for costume items and to paint our faces!  Please send the videos directly from your phone to Kerry or me or Clare on Whatsapp which is much easier and quicker than wetransfer.

It's fabulous to see you perform and we would love you all to take part.

So your task for the next two weeks is as follows : 1. Listen to Edelweiss on your backing track that Clare gave you or find it on youtube. Listen to it a few times with your eyes closed and allow your mind to imagine how you would dance to this piece which is a very gentle song. Clare spoke at the last class about the timing of this piece. Please have a read of the email that is sent to you that discusses the timing and movement of Edelweiss. Think of where the song is performed and by whom- by Captain Von Trapp at the concert and also with the children and Maria. It was written by  Rodgers and Hammerstein -the  composers of the musical -and i was meant to sound like folk song and expresses the singers love of the land that is Austria.

Please wear something white and remember this is a simple folk song. Have fun making your video.

2. I thought you would like to try working on a few different musicals for a while, if you've always wanted to play the lead (which is the main character of the story ) here is your chance ! Choose from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, Mary Poppins, Aladin, Oliver, The Lion King, Annie name but a few, so find one of the lead characters in any musical and look for a section when he/she is speaking with someone, which is called the dialogue or a section when they are only speaking this is callled a monologue. You could google monologues from childrens musicals . Next learn the piece and present it to the camera with some hand movement and some  facial expressions as needed. This will help to make the character come alive; maybe find an item for them to hold called a prop...for example an umbrella, or a golden ticket...try not to stand there doing nothing ...Also find out as much as you can about the character, because when you are playing a characer /acting - it really helps you,  to know what it feels like to BE that character, or to be in their shoes. Find out their hopes and wishes, things they are scared of, what kind of family do they live in? What do they do every day? Find out as much as you can. If you choose a dialogue then just get the person filming you to say the other person's words/lines  quietly to you so you can carry on the conversation as it's written and video it like that!

Then present your monologue or dialogue in a 3 mins max video in costume :)  

Please send the two videos to us before May 1st which is the  date of the next class. Goodluck and Enjoy yourself ! 

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COVID-19 Update - tuition is currently being taught online.