Studio News

Student of the Week - Tesla!

Monday, September 20, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student of the Week

Congratulations to Tesla on achieving First Class Honors in her Level 4 piano examination through the Royal Conservatory! Tesla exhibits being a model student to her two younger siblings and not only does she study the piano, but violin as well! In addition to preparing for RCM exams, Tesla loves learning Halloween music and recently recorded a piano duet of the Imperial March from Star Wars with her teacher.

Student of the Week - Khashvi!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student of the Week

Khashvi.jpegCongratulations to Khashvi on achieving First Class Honors in her Level 3 piano examination through the Royal Conservatory! Not only did she achieve such a high mark, but she did so while skipping Level 2 entirely. Khashvi is most at home playing lovely Romantic pieces on the piano, but she has an open and curious spirit to willingly explore other styles, and her hard work pays off.

Tesla plays "Imperial March" from Star Wars

Friday, September 10, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

Tesla, wrapping up a fun duet project from this summer. Stay tuned for more piano duo recordings this fall!

Did You Know? Calendar Syncing

Friday, September 3, 2021 by Graham Yates | Helpful Hints

Having been self-employed nearly all my teenage and adult life, I have had to come to terms with balancing a sometimes erratic schedule. Between cobbling together rehearsals, teaching blocks, performances, health & fitness appointments, and social events I pretty early on had to adopt a strict policy of "If it's not in the calendar, it doesn't exist."

I vaguely remember when Google rolled out its Calendar feature and pretty much that was the end of those spiral-bound paper calendars for me! Now my calendar goes everywhere I do (or rather, my phone goes) and I even have it color coded based on what entity is demanding my time at the moment.

I live by my calendar, and rely on calendar syncing from MyMusicStaff (my teaching database) to Google Calendar.

It occurred to me today that I ought to share this feature more broadly. While I spend my days tethered to an open MyMusicStaff window on my computer, I bet many families struggle to understand how to integrate yet another educational app into their long list of StrangelyNamedInCamelCase apps various teachers and clubs require them to sign up for.

Your MyMusicStaff account shows you everything from your lesson schedule to your billing, to past lesson notes, to your practicing trends (if you choose to log your practicing). That's all fine and good if you remember to log in every once in a while (and dig out your originally assigned temporary password... oops).

But what if you could have your MyMusicStaff calendar sync with your Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook or even Blackberry (!) - you know, your calendar of choice that you already use to schedule the rest of your life?

Well... you can!

Here are the instructions to do so, straight from the folks at MyMusicStaff themselves:

You have the ability to sync your My Music Staff calendar to your personal mobile device. This is a one-way sync. So, changes must be made in your My Music Staff account.

  1. Log into My Music Staff on your mobile device.
  2. Navigate to the "Calendar".
  3. Tap the purple "Setup Sync" button in the top-right of your calendar.
  4. Select your device type from the drop-down menu.
  5. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the sync.

Now, in addition to receiving email and/or text reminders of upcoming piano lessons or events, you will be able to see the lesson itself in your calendar.

Sweet, sweet peace of mind is yours!

Happy practicing!

Iggy Plays "The Entertainer"

Friday, July 30, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

Here's a way to beat the summer heat: play a ragtime duet! This arrangement of Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" is just right for a crash course in counting. Way to go, Iggy!

Special Announcement - RCM

Tuesday, June 8, 2021 by Graham Yates | Announcements

I’m happy to announce that recently I was offered an opportunity to become an examiner for the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) and have begun conducting remote examinations over Zoom.

While, for obvious reasons, I can’t officially evaluate my own students, it does mean that students preparing for RCM piano exams will benefit from my close knowledge of the system and the professional development that comes with the position. I’m looking forward to developing this skill even further and one day being able to travel all over the US and Canada to conduct exams in-person, while continuing to teach from Austin/Round Rock.

Royal Conservatory of Music Certified Teacher

Remote Recital #4 - Spring 2021

Tuesday, May 4, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

For this remote recital, students were invited in-person to the studio to record. For many, it was their first time in the new studio space, and also meeting Mr. Graham for the first time in-person! It was also a transitional experience from playing at home on students' own keyboards only for over a year, to having to adjust to another instrument in a flash. A skill and a challenge all pianists can relate to!  

Next time (hopefully): live performances!  


00:18 Teagan - Twinkle & Honeybee 

01:18 Fiona - Lightly Row & Honeybee 

01:55 Nico - Cuckoo & Lightly Row 

3:09 Octavia - Cuckoo & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 

4:09 Suria - London Bridge & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 

5:04 Chloe - Go Tell Aunt Rhody 

5:35 Aattoja - Mary Had a Little Lamb & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 

6:29 Saaz - Little Playmates & Go Tell Aunt Rhody 

07:23 Jose - Allegretto 1 & Chant arabe 

08:40 Daniel - Ecossaise & Minuet 1 

10:59 Madhav - A Short Story & The Happy Farmer 

12:56 Ashley - The Happy Farmer & Minuet 1 

15:07 Iggy - Crazy Comics & Courageous Cat 

16:10 Khashvi - The Song of Twilight & Left Alone 

18:19 Vivica - The Sparkling Brook & The Avalanche 

20:40 Anvitha - The Song of Twilight 

22:04 Tesla - The Happy Farmer & Sonatina in F (Diabelli) 

24:21 Cylee - Sonatina in G (Latour) 

25:42 Bruce - Prelude in E minor (Chopin) 

28:22 Eleanor - Pomp and Circumstance 

29:55 Apoorva - Etude in G (Czerny) & Jumping Competition 

33:02 Samaya - River City Blues 

34:42 Vince - Mia and Sebastian 

36:40 Leena - Blue Habanera

Lilah's Suzuki Book 1 Graduation Recital

Friday, April 30, 2021 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

Big congratulations to Lilah on recently completing her Suzuki piano book 1 graduation recital. It took supreme effort and dedication to come this far, and I wish I could convey how excited she seemed to dive into Book 2 immediately after this recording concluded. A special thanks to her supportive family in the background, who supplied the uproarious applause that we all want to give Lilah.

Daniel's Suzuki Book 1 Graduation Recital

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

In these Covid times, we have all had to make incredible adaptations. One of these changes is that students who complete Suzuki book 1 have to find alternatives to performing a public recital to celebrate and share their accomplishment.

Daniel began his Suzuki piano book 1 journey about a year ago and completed his graduation recital during his Zoom remote lesson last week. In addition to learning the entire book (10 selections of which you'll hear below), Daniel completed one theory test (earning gold!) and has prepared to take another, and earned First Class Honors on a Royal Conservatory practical examination! Congrats, Daniel!


Ashley's Suzuki Book 1 Recital

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 by Graham Yates | Student Recordings

And another student joins the ranks of those who have completed their Suzuki piano book 1 graduation recital. Ashley is already making great strides in book 2 and could hardly wait to complete this performance. In addition to the obvious dedication and musicianship displayed below, Ashley scored 99.5% on her recent theory test, and was invited by the Royal Conservatory of Music to perform in the regional Celebration of Excellence recital. Way to go, Ashley!