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Covington School of Music


Mandeville School of Music 985.674.2992

River Ridge School of Music & Dance





In This Month's Newsletter:

• LAAPAFEST 2013 is Coming!

• Student News

• Faculty Practice Tips

• Student Shout Outs

• Students of the Month - Shelby Lambert & Beth Gaillot

• Is Your Teacher Full? - Teachers with Waiting Lists

• Where's Your Teacher Performing?

• Welcome to Our 103 New Students!

• New Free Adult Skype Theory Classes Have Started!

• Lagniappe Corner - Introducing Princess Jazzi Adelaide LeBoeuf

• Refer A Friend And Get Free Lessons!


LAAPAFEST IS COMING! - by Ryan Cullen, Director

Will You Be Performing? What is LAAPAFEST Anyway?

Music Honors Students in New Orleans, River Ridge, Metairie, Kenner Louisiana at LAAPA

(pictured above - 2012 LAAPAFEST Honors Recital Participants)

Dear Parents and Students,

It's hard to believe that LAAPAFEST is once again nearly here! So what is LAAPAFEST anyway?

LAAPAFEST is a unique opportunity for all music students who have been studying their instrument for at least one year (whether at LAAPA or elsewhere) to perform a memorized solo for a panel of three insightful and friendly judges. Students then receive an overall rating as well as detailed written, constructive feedback on their performance (within a variety of categories) which will then be passed along to their private instructor(s).

The overall goal of LAAPAFEST works in tandem with our mission here at LAAPA of instilling a lifetime appreciation of the performing arts within each student while continually building self-esteem. Students do not compete with other students for their overall rating and are rated solely on their individual performances and at their individual levels. Beginning (1 year) students are most welcome to participate in LAAPAFEST and, in fact, are encouraged!

Immediately following the third and final week of LAAPAFEST on March 23, the judges are asked to select 25-30 students who have received the highest overall ratings to join our Faculty in performing at our Faculty and Honors Recital on April 21. Students will be selected per school campus based on their instrument/program as well as their rating. We wish to provide a concert equally represented with students of all instruments/programs. There are very limited spots in the Honors recital and the selection process is always a very challenging one for the judges! Not being selected for the Honors concert, in other words, certainly does not detract from the outstanding achievement of a Superior or Excellent rating!

LAAPAFEST participation is an outstanding event in and of itself that produces Honors reflected in the outcome of student ratings. It is important to note that the majority of our students participating in LAAPAFEST typically earn either Excellent and/or Superior overall ratings at LAAPAFEST (because they are so well prepared)! The focus of LAAPAFEST is on the individual student, their performance at LAAPAFEST, and their individual rating at LAAPAFEST. At all Spring Concerts in June, LAAPAFEST students will be recognized for their participation and rewarded for Excellent and Superior ratings. For more information on LAAPFEST, please speak with your private instructor ASAP. You may download a LAAPAFEST participation form online by CLICKING HERE or simply request one from the school office.

It is also important to note that each year we do have to turn students away from LAAPAFEST due to the limited number of slots available - our judges are usually listening to music non-stop from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM (with only a lunch break), so we encourage all interested students to turn in paperwork well ahead of the Febrary 18 official enrollment deadline.

Good luck at LAAPAFEST everyone!

Ryan Cullen, Director

In addition to the wonderful performances, your generosity helped many children and families who would have literally had nothing this holiday.

We filled our truck and trailer to the brim with your donations of toys and basic need items - and as usual when we unloaded them at the Teresian Sister's main provincilate in Covington, we literally filled their living room!

Additionally, we were so pleased to present the Sisters with your most generous cash donations of $1483.00! This is a new record for us - so thank you so much once again for your support. Photos from the concerts will be available at the school shortly - and we will also be posting the group photos on our Facebook page. Be sure to like us on Facebook if you haven't already at!

Student News

Dr. John listening to former River Ridge School of Music & Dance jazz piano student, Scott Kyser at LAAPA

Former student, Scott Kyser (pictured above) recently had an unexpected visit on his regular weekend solo piano gig at Austin's Restaurant in Metairie. Legendary New Orleans music man, Dr. John (also pictured above) showed up and hung out for a bit! Scott studied jazz piano with LAAPA Director Ryan Cullen at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance.
Mandeville School of Music student, Ian Kelly, made the District Honor Band!

Covington School of Music student Madison Hayes will play the role of "Magdalena" in St. Paul's production of "In the Heights."

Violin faculty members Kate Withrow and Gabriel Platica of the River Ridge School of Music & Dance coordinated a special Christmas Concert featuring their adult violin students this past December. Participants (pictured below left-right) included John Fore, Adrian Barton, Gina Radecker, Kate Withrow, Vernon Rodrigue, and Gabriel Platica.

Adult Violin Lessons and Classes in New Orleans, Metairie, River Ridge, Covington, and Mandeville Louisiana
Have something to share? E-mail your news to!

Faculty Practice Tips - Quality vs. Quantity in Your Practice Sessions

by Ms. Vanya Karachobanova

It is not that important how long you practice every day but how much you accomplish when you practice. It's great to follow a scheduled practice time, but you should avoid playing straight through pieces over and over without being able to concentrate!

It's easy to reinforce mistakes when you don't pay attention while playing or when you practice without purpose or focus. So always try to ensure quality in your practice sessions! Good luck practicing And remember....

Practicing the Guitar correctly makes Perfect when taking guitar lessons in River Ridge and New Orleans, LA!

Student Shout Outs!

"Thank you for all of your help and guidance in piano, Mr. Russell! I have enjoyed being your student for the past couple years. You're great!." ~ Callie Matyas

"I'd love other parents to know Dakota's story and how valuable LAAPA has been to us, Josh in particular! Dakota is a senior this year and will go on to study for a music degree. We've been here for 3 years but he's had lessons since he was about 9, living in New Mexico, Reno and now here. Dakota recently was offered an internship at a recording studio in Mandeville, JT Studios. Josh has been wonderful. We feel like he's really made a difference in preparing Dakota to study music in college." ~ Missy Piqué

We love getting your news, success stories and comments. If you'd like to share your news with us, please e-mail Please note that we are now publishing our newsletters monthly, and if you don't see your submission in this edition, it will be published as soon as space is available!

Students of the Month - Shelby Lambert & Beth Gaillot

Hip Hop Dance Classes in New Orleans, Metairie, River Ridge, and Kenner, Louisiana at LAAPA!

(pictured from left-right are Beth, Instructor - Candace Schaedel, and Shelby)

Beth and Shelby are brand new adult hip hop students at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance. We recently had a chance to interview them to find out a little bit more about them and their lessons and classes here at LAAPA!

Why did you choose LAAPA for adult hip hop dance classes at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance?

Shelby: I loved how sweet everyone was when I called. They welcomed me in as if I had already been taking classes here. I love it!
Beth: It was one of a few places offering adult dance classes that started at the time I started looking. Most places were halfway through a course.

What do you like best about your hip hop dance classes?

Beth: I'm never bored because we do a variety of exercises and we are always learning new moves.
Shelby: I love how much we incorporate into the hip hop. It's not just simple moves done throughout. It's more of a variation of what everyone loves to do when dancing!


Many of our LAAPA INSTRUCTORS are totally booked!  If you need a schedule change or would like to be added to a waiting list for a particular teacher, day, or time, please contact any of our office staff team and they can add you to the waiting list. 

To inquire about openings for January or February, send an email to or call one of our locations: (504) 738-3050 for River Ridge, (985) 674-2992 for Mandeville, and (985) 590-4545 for Covington. The following is a PARTIAL list of who is BOOKED!


Maggie: TU BOOKED!, FRI 1 spot
Kathleen: TU & WED BOOKED!
Kristen: SAT BOOKED!
Bonnie: MON, WED, TH, FRI – ALL BOOKED!, SAT 1 spot
Jennifer: MON BOOKED!
Russell: TUES BOOKED! TH BOOKED! Wed 1 spot
Katarina: TU 1 spot, WED & SAT BOOKED!
Jenna: TH 1 spot, SAT BOOKED!
Baylie: MON 1 spot, TH 1 spot
Rebecca: MON 1 spot, WED & FRI BOOKED!

Victoria: MON 1 spot, SAT BOOKED!
Bethany: TU, 1 spot


Bill: MON & FRI, 1 spot, SAT BOOKED!
Curtis: TH BOOKED!
Josh: WED, 1 spot, MON, TU, TH BOOKED!


Gabriel: MON 1 spot
Simona: WED & SAT BOOKED!, MON & TH 1 spot


Vitalie: MON 1 spot

Where is Your Teacher Performing?

New Orleans Brass, Trumpet, Trombone Lessons and Instruction at LAAPA
Jack Pritchett, instructor of brass/winds/percussion, has a number of upcoming shows as follows:

All months, every Saturday 7pm-10, Maison on 508 Frenchman St. Dinner Time with the Smoking Time Jazz Club. It's a restaurant until 10pm so you can bring the family!

Panorama Brass Band parade Schedule:

2/8 Krewe of Morpheus, Uptown/Downtown New Orleans Evening 6:30pm
2/9 Krewe of Tucks, Uptown/Downtown New Orleans - Afternoon 12:30pm

The Larry Foyen Big Band: Mondays Feb 18th, 25th, Every Monday thereafter from 6-9 pm at Mojitos Restaurant at 437 Esplanade Ave.

Violin and Cello Lessons and Instructors in Covington and Mandeville, LA at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts

Vanya Karachobanova, instructor of violin/cello/piano will be performing with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, February 21, 7:30 pm at River Center, Baton Rouge and with the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra, February 6 and 7 11:00 am at the Seanger Theatre, Biloxi, MS

A Huge Welcome to Our 103 New Students and Families Who Enrolled in January!

We are so happy that you’ve chosen to study at LAAPA.  We know you will do great things this year!


Abby G., Abigail S., Adrian P., Aeden B., Alexsandra S., Alice K., Allison B., Aniya C.,
Annabel B., Ariane C., Arnice S., Austin I., Ayden M.,
Benjamin T., Bernadette M., Blakely S., Brette S., Caden C., Caitlin S., Caleb B., Caroline D.,
Catherine S., Catherine W., Chloe A., Christyn B., Claire S., Colt B., Cooper R., David H., David C.,
David C., Dmitri H., Dominique G., Eleanor C., Elizabeth D., Ella B., Ella C., Ella H., Emily T.,
Emily G., Evan F., Gabby R., Giselle G., Glenn M., Grace C., Grace W., Hannah P., Hudson V.,
Jackson I., Jalisia S., Jeremiah C., Jingjia L., John D., Joseph S., Joseph G., Kadie B., Katelyn S.,
Kayden B., Kaytlyn H., Keith B., Kelly W., Konnor B., Kyle H., Landon D., Lawson M., Lorraine D., Luke T.,
Madi K., Madison V., Maria H., Matthew L., Max L., Megan A., Michael O., Michael C., Miranda B.,
Natalie B., Nicholas S., Nick V., Noah P., Olivia C., Olivia M., Paige M., Pat V., Porsha D., Rolland D., Ryan S., Sam K., Savannah F., Savannah H., Siaden M., Spencer F., Sydney C., Thomas W., Tom B., Tuana P.,
Tyler V., Warren D., Yahjah B.,Yayan L., Yishu L., Zheyan C., Zheyuan H.

New Free Adult Skype Theory Classes Have Started!

Come on in and learn all about the fundamental building blocks of music!

Our Adult Skype Theory Classes have started! These classes are completely FREE to all currently enrolled music students (ages 17-up) and are held each Thursday from 5:15-6:00 PM via Skype. All you need is a laptop or desktop computer with Skype installed and a webcam.

For more information or to join the class, please login to Skype and send a Skype contact request to skype name "rpcullen.laapa". Be sure to include your full name and note that you'd like to join the Adult Theory Class!

ALSO, students ages 10-17 can also attend each Thursday from 4:15-5:00 PM! Watch a video of a recent skype class below!


For more information on how to get started in our free theory classes, just call the office or visit the front desk!

Lagniappe Corner - Introducing Princess Jazzi Adelaide LeBoeuf

Princess Jazzi, a Whippet puppy, has style and the name to match! She is a family member of River Ridge School of Music & Dance piano student, Jesse Lynn Leboeuf. Jazzi turned one year old on November 19, 2012 and is an indoor lap puppy. She is super-fast outdoors. Her favorite toy is her tennis ball, but she also loves to play with anything that squeaks. Jazzi can also sometimes be found practicing the piano with Jesse Lynn - when she isn't taking a nap, that is!

Refer a Friend and get FREE LESSONS!

Take Music Lessons and Dance Classes with us at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts!

Enjoying your experience at LAAPA?

If you have a friend who might like to take lessons, if you refer them to LAAPA and they enroll, we'll give you a gift certificate for a free lesson! It's very easy to refer someone. Just visit:

Type in your name, their name and their contact information and we'll take care of the rest! There's no maximum to the amount of free lessons that you can receive! We’re so glad that you’re with LAAPA and this is just our way of saying THANKS!