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Covington School of Music


Mandeville School of Music 985.674.2992

River Ridge School of Music & Dance



March 2014 Newsletter - ONLINE EDITION

Your Roadmap to Success in Music & Dance

Laapanotes at the Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts

Music, Piano, Guitar, Voice Classes at Laapa

Each day here at Laapa, we have the pleasure of speaking with many prospective families in addition to brand new students who are coming in for their very first lessons.

Quite often during these conversations, we are asked questions regarding what can be expected in terms of progress as a brand new beginning music or dance student here at the Academy. Here are just a few...
"So how long will it take until I can play this piece or dance like this performer? When will I get to the fun stuff?"
Of course at the Academy, our teachers all do a fantastic job in terms of ensuring that each and every lesson is fun and enjoyable - even the very first ones! When students have a particular piece in mind that is their primary goal though, it can sometimes be frustrating to have to first jump through several seemingly endless hoops instead of being able to immediately tackle that ultimate goal.
Playing music well requires additional practice time outside of class each week to allow for the development of fine motor skills and muscle memory...something that only repetition can enhance. Dancers will also benefit from practice outside of class, but care should be used to avoid extended practice on regular hard flooring (as opposed to a professional dance floor as we use at the Academy) to avoid extraenous stress and fatigue on the lower body.
The main key to achieving your goals in our programs here at Laapa is consistency. Consistency is critical in terms of regular practice, regular lesson/class attendance, and for younger students - regular parental involvement (mainly with outside of class practice).
"Shouldn't my child just love to practice on his/her own without me telling him/her to?"
In an ideal world, well certainly. However, as students progress and things become more challenging and perhaps not as immediately gratifying for them, they need more motivation and encouragement from you to keep up that regular practice time so that they continue to progress. Very few students LOVE to practice what they REALLY SHOULD BE PRACTICING all of the time. My own children, Patrick (age 7) and Lucy (age 4) need regular reminding quite often!
"What happens if the progress just seems to stop? Does that mean that music or dance is not for me?"
Not necessarily - in most cases, stalled progress is the result of lost interest and/or lack of goals which makes the task of practicing quite undesirable for the student. It's important to note that every student (no matter how dedicated) will go through bumps along the way. This is perfectly natural, however should you notice stalled progress occurring, it's important to notify and discuss this with us. We can then work with you and your instructor to re-evaluate your lesson plan and perhaps add some more inspiring repertoire to your long term goals and weekly lesson plans.
Committed to your Success!
Ryan Cullen, Director

Student News

Metairie Music Lessons in Piano, Voice, Guitar, Violin, Drums and More at Laapa!

Tanner Tharp (pictured above, left) was recently featured performing on Good Morning New Orleans, channel 4 with the First Baptist Mandeville choir.

Congratulations to Bailey Sitarz (pictured above, right) who dances in SSA's "Royalettes." The team placed First in POM and JAZZ in the UDS state competition! Bailey studies voice with Kathleen Anderson and piano with Josh Theriot.

Brian Forrest III was the only student in middle school to be accepted into the Jr high honor band for percussion. He also played with LPO at UNO lakefront arena for their first ever Play That. He was selected to play with the first violins. He is now playing percussion in the praise band at First United Church in Slidell.

Kimberly Adams was cast as Big Bird in "Sesame Street Live" at St. Catherine of Siena. The performance was held on February 20, 2014.

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! Connect with us on Facebook at,, and now on Twitter at @laapatweets.

Important Dates

March 3-7 - Mardi Gras Break - Classes Resume March 8
March 15 - Laapafest at the Covington School of Music
March 22 - Laapafest at the Mandeville School of Music

March 29 - Laapafest at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance

Summer Music & Dance Camp is Coming! - Enroll Early and Save!

New Orleans Summer Camp for Music and DanceIt's hard to believe that it ALREADY time to start making your summer activity plans! Summer will be here before you know it and so will our 2014 Summer Music & Dance Camps held this year from July 7-25 at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance and the Mandeville School of Music.

Our Summer Music Camps and Summer Dance Camps provide all campers (ages 5-16, beginning, intermediate, and advanced) with the opportunity to choose and explore up to five of our instrumental, vocal, and performing arts programs.

For Brand New Beginners with Little or No Experience...

Campers are able to explore our various programs and see what program(s) interest them!

Perhaps your child has shown an interest in music, dance, piano, singing, guitar, violin, drums (just to name a few!)? Wherever his/her interest lies, we are happy to provide a formal introduction to the programs of your choice in a structured and fun environment!

At the conclusion of each week of camp, the faculty members write a brief overview of your child's aptitude for each program/instrument which is extremely helpful in determining which program/instrument would be a good match in terms of regular classes and private lessons.

For Experienced Students...

Our camps also provide experienced students with the opportunity to try out other programs of interest or may also serve as an opportunity for concentrated study to accelerate proficiency and to generate motivation... giving new life to the student's instrument or vocal study.

All Students...

At the end of each day of camp, all students come together for performance classes which feature what they have learned that day in camp!

In order to maintain a balanced atmosphere of fun, creativity, and education, only 25 students are admitted each week.

Is your child younger than age 5? For ages birth-4, we recommend our Preschool Music Program which includes signing, singing, music & movement, percussion, and more!

Additional information including programs offered may be found on our summer camp at

Students of the Month - Isabella & Amelia Roberts

Covington School of Music students, Isabella & Amelia Roberts take guitar and piano lessons here at LAAPA! They recently took some time to tell us about their experience here at the Academy:
How long have you been taking piano and guitar lessons at Laapa?
Both - 2 years!
What kind of music do you listen to?
Bella - Pop
Amelia - Pop, Justin Timberlake
What is your favorite part of the lesson each week?
Bella - Improvising
Amelia - Doing warm-ups
What do you enjoy practicing each week?
Bella – Improvising
Amelia – Scales
What are some of your other interests/hobbies?
Bella – Track, listening to music and hanging out with my friends
Amelia – Tennis, golf and basketball
What made you choose Laapa for piano lessons and guitar lessons?

Jill (mom) - Every child I saw performing and was impressed with was ALWAYS from Laapa. That's how I came to know about the school!

Former Student Update from Dakota Pique

Dakota Pique graduated last year from the Covington School of Music. He's had a great first semester at University of Louisiana Lafayette, majoring in Music Theory/Composition. His guitar won him a great housing scholarship! Also, he got a great surprise mid semester when his fabulous piano professor, Dr. Susana Garcia, walked into class and handed him an envelope with a $1000 "Friends of Acadiana Scholarship" in it! He had never had any piano lessons but is loving his keyboard class. This semester he was blessed with the lead guitar position in the Bluegrass Ensemble and is also playing in an 8 piece classical guitar ensemble. And! His grades are great! He is a really happy dude and I just wanted to share the news. His parents ask that we please pass this along to Josh Theriot along with their thanks and well wishes!

Further reading - newspaper article on the bluegrass ensemble:


Ready to Get Started in Classes?

Class Openings at Louisiana Academy of Performing Arts in NOLA

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!


A Huge Welcome to our Newest and Returning Students who began lessons this February!

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

Adia Y.
Alexi K.
Amelie S.
Andi G.
Andrew J.
Aniya S.
(thanks to Alicia I.)
Annie F.
Arabella G.
(thanks to George G.)
Atticus F.
(thanks to Henry F.)
Audrey J.
Bailey S.
Brianna B.
Catherine P.
Celeste V.
Charles A.
Clara W.
Cohen C.
Colleen G.
Denva G.
Donna L.
Elijah J.
Eryn K.
Gabriela M.
Grace A.
Grant H.
Isaac S.
Jade Y.
Jerry G.
(thanks to Lonnie G.)
Johnny S.
Jose M.
Kiara L.
Lance H.
Leanna M.
Liam M.
Lynette G.
Macie H.
Macy C.
Madison M.
Madison N.
Mariana E.
Micah B.
(thanks to Cammie T.)
Mimi O.
(thanks to Sydney O.)
Nathan B.
Olalekan F.
Pat C.
Robert K.
Sean M.
Sydney S.
Tabitha H.
Vincent L.
William A.
Zachary G.


Faculty News


Violin Instructors in New Orleans

Vanya Karachobanova recently contributed to the upcoming Abigail's Ghost record. Vanya made violin contributions that will appear on 8 tracks from the album to be released later this year. Abigail's Ghost is a progressive rock band hailing from the south Louisiana area. Like the band's page on Facebook to see video of the recording session and receive news regarding the release!


Domonique Terrell is in the process of applying for a teacher certification program with the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York for continued training and studies.


Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra LessonsKate Withrow will be performing with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra as follows::

Beethoven and Blue Jeans "Appalachian Spring," a concert celebrating the coming of spring including works by Respighi, Vivaldi, Strauss, Beethoven and Copland. LAAPA substitute teacher Benjamin Hart will be performing Spring from Vivaldi's Four Season. These concerts are at First Baptist Kenner on March 7 at 7:30, Columbia Theater in Hammond on March 8 at 7:30, and Slidell Municipal Auditorium on March 9 at 2:30. For a complete listing of the LPO's March performances - please visit their website at