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Covington School of Music


Mandeville School of Music 985.674.2992

River Ridge School of Music & Dance




The Right Time to Get Started in Music & Dance

New Orleans, Metairie, Mandeville Piano and Guitar Recitals

The new school year is now officially upon us. As I mentioned last month, it’s a time of great anticipation, excitement and learning many new things! At Laapa, our entire faculty and staff just had a fantastic training workshop sharing and discussing our teaching strategies and goals to ensure that our students have another awesome school year in their music lessons and dance classes!

During this this time each year we love to welcome our eager new music and dance students to the Academy. Everyday we speak with so many new prospective families and students. One of the questions that we are asked most often is “How do I know when it’s the right time to get started or if music lessons and/or dance classes are going to be a good fit for me or my child?”
In fact, just a few days ago we received an e-mail from a parent that really caught my attention. He wrote, “My daughter wants to take singing lessons. The problem I see is that she seems shy and will not sing for us even though she wants to. Do your enrolled students have this issue and quickly get over it most of the time?”
An excerpt from my detailed response was, “Hi, and thanks for the inquiry. We have many students who come to us and are extremely shy. It’s no problem at all! One of our specialties is helping students overcome the shyness and build confidence to share their talents on stage. When a student comes to us with some hesitation and is a bit shy, we see amazing transformations!  As soon as they begin to experience the joy and love of music and acquire skills in their vocal or instrumental or dance classes, the confidence builds.  Self-esteem soars!  Our instructors and Laapa staff hold this as our mission and goal.
“Ok, that’s great, but how do I know if there is real talent worth the expense of professional instruction?” Having three children under the age of 8, I understand that kids show an interest in many things, and it can sometimes be hard to predict what will stick. What I have personally found is that many times you just don’t know until you try it out! Our children have tried gymnastics, soccer, karate, art, among other things (in addition to piano lessons of course).
Also, with so many different music and dance programs offered at Laapa, if one doesn’t stick, we are always happy to transfer you to another to see if that better fits the interests of the student.
Finally, I always like to mention that music lessons and dance classes are more than just the instruction - they build the character and feed the soul of students. Research has shown time and time again the many educational and developmental benefits of studying music and dance! Whether or not they choose to continue in the arts down the road, the skills they have developed will always be a part of who they are.
Ryan Cullen
Academy Director

Congratulations to Ms. Rebecca Posey - voted 2014 Teacher of the Year
by our Faculty and Staff!

Congratulations and thanks also to Faculty members Carolyn Russell, Jennifer White, and Bill Solomon who gave some outstanding presentations this year. It is through the sharing of our ideas that our faculty are able to continue to move forward and provide our students with the finest music and dance education here in the Greater New Orleans area! We'll be posting some video clips soon with highlights from their presentations.

Student News

The LAAPA Choir, under the direction of Carolyn Russell recently performed the National Anthem for one of the New Orleans VooDoo games. The choir features students from the Covington and Mandeville Schools of Music and the River Ridge School of Music & Dance.

Mandeville School of Music student, Chris Hebert, has been keeping busy with his band at various wedding receptions and events all over the Gulf Coast.

Mandeville School of Music student, Emily White, has recently been cast with the new Jurassic Park movie!

Congratulations to Mandeville School of Music student Blakely Shouse for beautifully singing our National Anthem at the Gladiator Combat Championships (UFC Cage Fight) at the Harbor Center Saturday night! Thank you Ms. Amy for your coaching! Blakely sang the National Anthem after the Master of Ceremonies announced all of the officials and other information regarding the Fight. Blakely sang the National Anthem inside the Cage, next to the American Flag. She did a wonderful job and paid great tribute to our Nation!

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.

Happy September Birthdays!

We'd like to wish the following Students, Faculty, and Staff a very Happy Birthday this September!

(Students) Andrew C. (10), Zelvin C. (11), Lathaniel G. (9), Shelly H., Emily W., Braden G. (13), Oliva G. (13), Oliver S., Payge S. (5), Joey P. (8), Abbey A. (14), Brooke W. (11), London T. (7), Meg W. (13), Ashley B. (15), Luke R. (9), Allison A. (10), Seth R. (8), Lillian S. (9), John T. (15), Johnathan H. (14), Kristen F. (16), Marissa G-M. (15), Zachary G. (2), Cameron E. (17), Emin E. (11), Liam M. (13), Sophie R. (7), Swathi K. (13), Clark L. (5), Jake S. (14), Damyra W. (4), Frances Maia B. (7), Carolina H. (4), Kaleb P. (8), Aiden T. (8), John D., Amanda S. (14), Bella R. (11), Yaira E. (10), Brett S. (12), Saje T. (12), Evyn P. (4), Arya D. (3), Alissa P. (8), Isha S. (5), Macie H. (4), Natalia M. (15), Caleb B. (11), Jerry G., Dusty K. (16), Deneka V., Alisa T. (8), Samantha D. (9), Marley C. (10), Marquita C., Dylan M., Meredith P. (16), Sarah H. (11), Adriana M. (8), Landon D. (11), Neha G. (9), Katie S., (Faculty) Ms. Rebecca Posey, Mr. Ben Hurst, Mr. Josh Theriot, & Mrs. Bonnie Taylor

Important Dates:

September 1 - Labor Day Holiday
No Classes
September 2-30
Fall Registration Open to All!

Students of the Month - Matthew & Katelyn Schaff

LAAPA students, Matthew and Katelyn Schaff take guitar and piano lessons here at the Academy! We recently had a chance to speak with them and learn a little more about their lessons and interests!

Questions for Matthew:

How long have you been taking guitar lessons at Laapa? 1.5 years

What kind of music do you listen to? Christian, Country, Classical

What is your favorite part of the lesson each week? Learning new songs

What are your other interests/hobbies? Gymnastics, building

Questions for Katelyn:

How long have you been taking guitar lessons at Laapa? 1 year

What kind of music do you listen to? Christian, Country, Classical, Disney

What is your favorite part of the lesson each week? Learning new songs

What are your other interests/hobbies? Gymnastics, reading

Questions for Natasha (parent):

I saw an advertisement for Laapa and called to get more information. I spoke with Robin who was very helpful. Matthew started taking lessons with Curtis and enjoyed his lessons from the start. Soon after, I signed Katelyn up for piano lessons with Simona. Katelyn learned quickly but more importantly she really enjoyed her lessons. As a homeschool mom without a strong musical background, I feel relieved that my children are taking lessons at Laapa.

Is Your Teacher Completely Booked? Fall Teacher Openings and Waiting Lists.

As Fall begins, many of our teachers are already nearly or 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. There are still limited lesson spots available for September and/or October.
Here’s just a partial list of who’s currently full at all campuses:


Carolyn: SAT, 2 spots! MON,TU, WED, FRI-BOOKED!
Jennifer: MON, 1 spot!
Maggie: FRI, 1 spot!
Kathleen: TU & WED, 1 spot!
Amy: MON, 2 spots! FRI, 1 spot! TU,TH-BOOKED!
Bonnie: WED, 1 spot! MON,TH,SAT-BOOKED!
Russell: MON,TH-1 spot! TU&WED-BOOKED!
Mirka: TU-1 spots!
Meredith: MON,TU-BOOKED!
Katarina: WED,TH,SAT-BOOKED! WED-1 spot!
Meghan: TU,TH,SAT-BOOKED! FRI-1 spot!
Rebecca: TH-1 spot! MON,TU,WED,FRI-BOOKED!
Daniel: TH-2 spots! WED, 1 spot! TH-BOOKED!
Bethany: WED -1 spot! TU,TH,FRI,SAT-BOOKED!
Yulene: SAT-2 spots!
Jessica: TU & WED, 1 spot!
Jacob: SAT – 1 spot!


Aaron: TU & WED, 1 spot! MON-BOOKED!
Bill: MON-1 spot! MON,TH,FRI-BOOKED!
Curtis: MON, TH, FRI-1 spot!
Josh: MON-2 spots! TU,WED,TH,SAT-BOOKED!
Ben: WED & TH, 1 spot! MON,TU,FRI, SAT-BOOKED!
Jason: WED, 1 spot!
Mark: TU-2 spots!


Gabriel: MON 1 spot!
Simona: TH & SAT-BOOKED!
Denise: MON, 2 spots! TU, 1 spot! WED-BOOKED!
Vanya: MON 1 spot!


Ryan: TH – BOOKED!
Reid: TH-1 spot! MON & WED-BOOKED!
Marius: TU & FRI-BOOKED!

A HUGE welcome to all our our new students who began lessons this August!

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

Addison F.
Adele S.
Aimee L.
Ainslee A.
Akshita S.
Alexys B.
Alisa T.
Allie L.
Amanda W.
Angel H.
Arjun W.
Ashley R.
Barbara D.
Bre’Yion W.
Brooke B.
Bryce C.
Brynn T.
Caden B.
Caitlin W.
Caleigh M.
(thanks to Madelyn M.)
Charlotte G.
Colin F.
Cruse W.
Domenic M.
Dondria H.
Dylan B.
Elisa M.
Ema W.
George G.
Grace K.
Hannah P.
Hannah C.
Hannah S.
Heyleen D.
Jack V.
(thanks to Charlie V.)
Jack G.
James (Bucky) C.
Jasaiah M.
Jordan W.
Joyce H.
Kiley G.
Kylie W.
(thanks to Alecia C.)
Laci V.
Landon R.
Laney T.
Layla F.
Liam D.
Lillian Harmann
(thanks to Reagan H.)
Lily W.
Marcy C.
Marquita C.
Martha F.
Meg W.
Mia L.
Monica C.
Nicholas H.
(thanks to Victoria H.)
Noah L.
Preston C.
Ray M.
Ryli M.
Sam K.
Sherman A.
Sofia P.
Sophie R.
Spence W.
Spencer M.
Tamar H.
(thanks to George L.)
Thomas P.
Tyler H.
Yaira E.
Zachary S.

Northshore Jazz Ensemble - Now Recruiting for the New School Year

Come and bebop with the best! The Northshore Jazz Ensemble is a small group made up of top students at LAAPA. It meets every Thursday from 6:30-7:30 PM at the Mandeville School of Music and is directed by Academy Director, Ryan Cullen. The group focuses on standard and modern jazz repertoire with an additional heavy focus on producing original material. The band will be extremely busy this year with a new CD/video project scheduled, Mardi Gras gigs, at least one or two private gigs, and of course 3 recitals. The band is currently auditioning for piano, bass guitar, and vocalists who also write lyrics. For more information, please call the school office and ask to speak with Mr. Cullen.


Student “Shout-Outs!”

“The lessons are absolutely wonderful! Haley is excited each week to go to her lesson. Jessica is a perfect fit for her. The staff recommended Jessica for us from the beginning and it’s been the best experience. Jessica notices all the things that Haley needs to work on, and that’s what they do. Haley is a shy girl, and Jessica noticed that she crosses her arms across her chest, or shrugs her shoulders when she sings. Haley was amazed when this was brought to her attention. The staff has been wonderful. Whenever I have a question, I’ll e-mail Lindsey and she responds quickly. We plan on being here for a long time!” ~ Alice Hickman


Faculty News

Denise Bonis, instructor of violin, strings, piano, voice, and theory recently performed at Festival International de Louisiane. The festival is an annual event celebrating the French cultural heritage of southern Louisiana. Denise performed with the band, “Debauche” which featured Traditional Russian folk music.
Carolyn Russell, instructor of voice/piano and choir is busy! She is currently working on a vocal development and vocal health book and blog which includes the use of essential oils to have a healthy immune, respiratory system and voice! She sings regularly each weekend at the Church of the King - Southshore Campus in Metairie. She is currently writing new music for her next CD out of Nashville as well as co-producing a new musical that will be pitched at two different places in the United Kingdom in the Spring. Finally, you can look forward to a new Christmas single that she is co-producing due out this October.
Katarina Boudreaux, instructor of voice/piano recently composed the music to, “Thin Walls” - a new play by Michael Allen Zell. Tango-playing Charlotte and her Hollywood-bound daughter Julie run an isolated pet cemetery with one simple rule, immediately shaken up by the arrival of new handyman Bram. Two slippery characters, sideshow performers M. Queneau and Miss Elastic, soon arrive, putting a formerly static place in motion. Thin Walls looks backward to step forward. Performances will be held September 12-28 at the Shadow Box Theatre. More information at