March 2021 Newsletter

Dear Golden Key Piano School Community,
It is March already and we are two months away from our annual solo recital. So, keep practicing and here is some hopeful news for you.

1. Highlights of Our Parent-Teacher Meeting

We had a great parent-teacher meeting last month. Many thanks to Ying (Joshua’s Mom) for suggesting it, and to all the parents and teachers who participated and shared their experiences.
Here are some highlights from the meeting that are helpful for all parents to know.
The meeting was recorded and is available to our current student’s parents by request.
  •  Parents asked if students could have additional lessons that is focused on theory and history of music only.
The answer is yes. The best way to do it is to please let us know you are interested and we will match you with another one or two students who are your age and level to have a small group class. This will make the cost more affordable for the families. You may end up having the extra lessons with your piano teacher or with another teacher in our school based on teacher’s availability. We suggest the theory/history (or musical literature) lessons to be every other week. The tuition will depend on how many students will be in your group.
  •  Parents asked about Royal Conservatory Exam.

We recommend Royal Conservatory of Music as an alternative to Golden Key Piano School’s annual exam.

RCM exams happen 3 times a year. Parents can register for the exam using their teacher’s code. All the teachers in our school can prepare the students for RCM exam. You would need to buy the books on their website.
Each student is unique. For some students, at some point during their years of music education the RCM exam might be a good choice. As long as your goal remains learning and enjoying the music and not getting a certificate, it can be a good option.
If you are interested in taking RCM exam check with your teacher or with Katrin. It is good to be evaluated and challenged by an outside of our school exam system sometimes.
Here is their website:
  • Parents Help or Our Buddy Program?
When it comes to helping the younger students with home practice, very often parent’s help can be not welcomed by the child. We are all familiar with the conflicts that might arise in the result of that.
We have a Buddy Program where our teenagers volunteer their time for 30-minute practice sessions with younger students. The teenagers are supervised by their teachers. The program is good for teenagers to gain “community work” hours,
and share their knowledge of music. And it is good for younger children because it is more fun for them to work with a teenager and look up at them maybe even as their role model in music. If you are interested to receive or give tutoring please email us.
  • The importance of communication between parents and teachers

In the meeting we spoke about how important it is to communicate with your teacher about how your child is doing at home. And also to get a feedback from your teacher about how your child is progressing.

If you are too busy to talk to your teacher at the end of the lesson write your message in the Google doc assignment sheet. Or email Katrin Arefy and she will communicate your point with your teacher.

2. In-Person Lessons

It is hard to believe that we have been teaching on zoom for a year now. We really appreciate all students’ flexibility and ability to adjust to the online lessons.
As the teachers are starting to get vaccinated, we are beginning to think about in-person lessons. We understand that many parents will choose to stay with online lessons until they and their households are all vaccinated. We totally support that. They are also students and parents who are ready to start in-person and we want to make that option available to them as soon as possible.
So, when your teacher gets fully vaccinated (and if it is safe for their household too,) we will contact you and give you the option to send the students to school. You will also receive all the rules and protocols about safety precautions then. Our waiting area, tea-room, and water dispenser will remain closed. All the communications with the office will be still by email or phone only until further notice.
The good news is that so far three of the teachers received their first doze of vaccine. We are extremely happy about it and we look forward to see many of you at school in the coming months.

3. Congratulations to Students Who Received Medals

Congratulations to those students, who have received, or will soon be receiving, their medals for their hard work and for improving in their piano skills over the past year. You really deserve it and we are really proud of you. We would love it if you would take a picture of you with your medal and email us. That will help us share the joy and celebrate your achievement with our school community.

4. A Referral System to Give Back to the Community

In the month of January, out of fourteen new students who registered at our school six were referred by our current students or our friends in the community. We feel flattered and loved by all the referrals and we are starting a referral system to return the love and support back to the bigger community.

Starting February 2021 for each student that is referred to us we will:

  • Add $50 to our scholarship fund, to make our quality lessons available to a wider community.
  • Wave the $30 registration fee for your friend as a welcome gift to our school.
  • Send you a box of Blue Chocolate as a small token of thanks and to help another small business in the community. Chocolatier Blue started across the street from our school in Berkeley and now has a few branches open.
We hope that this new system will make referrals a culture in our school so we can serve more and more children (and adults) in the community.

If you have any questions please call the school at (510) 665-5466 or reply to this email.

Yours truly,
Katrin Arefy


Katrin Arefy, Head Teacher
1809 University Ave., Berkeley, CA

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