Musical Musings

Sharing musical thoughts and ideas.

Heading Back to Baroque

Monday, July 26, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Heading Back to Baroque

When Music was Fancy

Rubens Isabella Painting


We will be listening to music of composers of the Baroque time period, from 1600-1750. This was before the United States was a nation, but during the time people were exploring and colonizing these new America's. Think of a fancy dress. What makes it fancy? Under all the embellishments added like fancy lace, or big collars, or other added sewing the dress would be plain. But, by adding embellishments it makes it fancy. [The picture is from the 1600's the painter Peter Paul Ruebens painted a portrait of himself and his first wife Isabella.]

Just like fancy clothes we can make music fancy by adding embellishments called ornamentation. Many of you have played a trill, or a mordent or a turn. These ornaments simply add more notes to the melody line to make it fancy.

This is a great short overview of the Baroque Period. Can you find some of the different instruments: The Lute looks like a very large guitar. Watch how the harpsichord plays. Can you name a composer from the Baroque time period?

Next Month we will learn about the composer Pachabel from the Baroque time period. Remember to get your Baroque Booklet to become a Baroque Superstar this semester and earn a medal.

How to choose a piano

Monday, March 15, 2021 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Purchasing your Instrument for home practice

Purchasing your first piano can be confusing. Here I would like to share options and the pros and cons to each.

Upright Acoustic Piano

This is the standard traditional piano that sits against a wall and easily fits in most homes. They have 88 keys and inside the back box there are strings and hammer mechanisms that produce the sound.


  • Best Quality
  • Best Long term option
  • Authentic Sound
  • Can resell generally for your purchase price as acoustic pianos are made to last
  • Best to practice so when student plays for lessons, recitals, and auditions there is less shock on the differences


  • Upkeep, generally need to be tuned every 1-2 years (about $120)
  • Difficult to move, movers in our area cost around $150 to move a piano


You can pick up a used piano for anywhere from free to $1500. Generally the higher price will be a much better instrument and the free pianos may have further issues that need to be fixed. New pianos start around $2000.

Unweighted Keyboards:

Unweighted Keyboards are the instruments most people think of when they think of getting a piano keyboard at home. These I do NOT suggest spending money on. Unweighted keyboards generally do not have all 88 keys. Unweighted keyboards are not similar to pianos.


  • Lightweight and cheap to purchase


  • Will hold back a student's technical development
  • You will not be getting the best investment out of your piano lessons
  • more than likely will not have all 88 keys and a pedal

Digital Pianos

Digital pianos can be easily confused with Keyboards. Digital Pianos have the weighted keys and generally come complete with all 88 keys. The keys are more similar to playing a piano. Digital pianos are a good option if you need something that can move easily.


  • Realistic piano features
  • Moves easily
  • No tuning needed


  • Still not the full texture and sound and strength building of a piano
  • Can be more expensive than a used piano
  • Digital parts will break down and may not be able to resell

Hybrid Pianos

Hybrid Pianos combines electronic, mechanical, and/or acoustical aspects of both acoustic and digital pianos. They have real hammers inside and wooden keys just like an acoustic piano but they’re electric. This is the newest technology in piano building.


  • Can be used for silent practice with headphones
  • Will connect to computer and sound systems
  • Won't ever need tuning
  • Can imitate different types of pianos


  • Expensive

New Studio Location

Monday, December 28, 2020 by Paula Augustine | Uncategorized

Beginning January 1, 2021 Miss Paula's Music Studio will have a new home.

We am moving from 533 East Elk Ave (The church)  to across the street, 518 East Elk Avenue. The front of this space is a retail shop and Powers coffee. We will be in a back room and this area will be shared with The Art Space. 

I will continue to teach Tuesday's, Wednesday's and Thursday's this semester. I will be able to accept a few more students on Wednesdays as I can teach later in the evenings, so if you know anyone who would like to start up lessons in January, I have a couple of openings. This location will give the studio more options, we may even attempt to wheel the piano out and have a "coffee and music" session or take part in a downtown Evening on Elk or other opportunities.

Looking forward to moving on to the spring semester! So much more to prepare for this semester.