The Whole Note

Where did the summer go? It has flown by this year!

We are hosting 8 weeks of summer camps at the MLE Studio, so every day has been filled with music and fun. Natasha Marsalli has done an outstanding job of creating the curriculum and working with students, from ages 5 to 12 throughout the summer. If you missed the camps this year, put it on your calendar for next year. It’s a lot of fun!

Lots of wonderful changes are coming to MLE! I am thrilled to introduce ensembles at MLE. This will be a fantastic opportunity for our students to begin performing on a regular basis, as well as learning how to perform as part of a group. Another change with MLE is that we will not be returning to the schools to conduct lessons this year. This was not an easy decision to make, but one that is necessary for the sustainability of MLE.

When we began our program in the schools, many years ago, the idea was to provide a very cost-effective music lesson in a convenient manner, so as many children as possible would have the opportunity to learn an instrument. A few years back, the school board implemented a use of facility policy, which amounts to thousands of dollars per month in rent that I pay in order to provide lessons in the schools. Even with the $5.00 increase in February, I cannot cover the cost of the rent and other expenses to continue the program
in that manner. There was also a space issue at all of the schools, this created a quality of lesson issue, and wasn’t fair to either the students or the instructors. Every student deserves to have separate rooms for their private lessons. For these and other reasons, we will no longer teach lessons in schools. However, what MLE continues to do very well is bring lessons to our students in-home, about half of our customers take in-home lessons.

We specialize in having instructors meet our student’s time requests for lessons both
in – home, and at the MLE studio. I am very confident that we will be able to accommodate all of our new and returning customers, as well as provide a better quality lesson for ALL.

I believe in doing one thing and doing it well. MLE is the only 12 month a year studio in Tallahassee of our size that provides only music lessons; and I am very proud of how our program has grown over the past few years. It’s hard to believe that we have been pro- viding music lessons for students in the Tallahassee area for 8 years now! Our youngest student is 3 years old and takes violin lessons, and our oldest student is 81 years old and is learning the harmonica. Thank you for being a part of our program, and I hope you will stick with us for many years to come!


Brett Wellman




Summer enrollment has been great and has exceeded all expectations!

With that said, there is often a large influx of students registering and re-registering late August/early September. There have been quite a few changes since last year, and we hope to facilitate a smooth transition for those registering with our current system.

In the past, we have used the online registration form on our website or taken information over the phone. We recognized that this system was not working well, so we switched to a paper registration packet. Now, you can call to have the forms emailed to you or you can make an appointment with the office to come in and register.

The Paypal system has been a headache for many, so earlier this year we began to take ACH (automatic draft) payments. The new registration packet includes forms to sign up for ACH. Which will allow for more flexibility.

The MLE REGISTRATION FEE has reduced to $35! Note, if you took lessons over the summer, you do not have to pay a registration fee for fall.

Starting August 1st, you may reserve a lesson day and time, as long as you begin lessons by the second week of September. Lessons are reserved once registration forms and the first months payment is received.

Caution: Lesson days and times are first come first serve. That means that early registration for a specific time/teacher is best. Questions? Call 850.219.3653


Summer Camp ‘14


I always tell my private students that my job is to get them to a point where they no longer need me. I give them tools- technique, practice strategies, music reading skills, historical background- with the ultimate goal that one day, they will be able to pick any piece of music, learn it, and perform it on their own. As students progress towards that goal, they need time to practice and experiment with their instruments. Our Summer Sampler Camps provide just such an environment where students have five full days to explore the world of sound and music under the direction of full-time profes- sional musicians and educators.

Students are given daily access to a wide variety of instruments: violin, guitar (acoustic and electric), piano, mandolin, ukulele, banjo, and double bass (to name just a few!) Instructors introduce the instrument – its construction, background, and basic technique- and students are then given opportunities throughout the day to pick any instrument and experiment with it. With a maximum of six students per week, students are guaranteed access to their favorite instrument every day and plenty of one-on-one instruction.

Their creativity is always astounding. Last week, three students combined themselves into a trio (two on piano, one on guitar) and worked together to perform “Heart and Soul” on the last day. Another student wrote her own song on guitar, incor- porating her previous knowl- edge of chord progressions with newly – learned improvisation skills. Even our youngest camp- ers (ages five and six) are able to compose their own songs and play several beginner songs on the piano by the end of the week.

This summer, we have had some remarkable guests visit as well. Kent Hutchinson from Harmony Rhythms has come in every week to teach African drumming and lead a drum circle. The students have universally loved Kent and hate to see him leave. Samuel Peliska, a doctoral candidate at FSU, has introduced the students to the clarinet, and GinaMarie Senters from Jim’s Pianos has led keyboard and composition activities.

It has been such a pleasure working with all the students these past few weeks and we hope to see them later this summer or in the fall for private lessons. A huge thank-you to all the parents for sharing their children with us this week as we continue to help them grow as musicians and creative individuals!



CONGRATULATIONS Helei Gomariz on your acceptance to Eastern Music Festival this summer!

CONGRATULATIONS Derrick Koelsch on the birth of your baby boy!

CONGRATULATIONS Christina Toole (Torkelson) on your nuptials.

CONGRATULATIONS Brandon Robertson on your nuptials. 

Group Ensembles

Coming This Fall!
• Mandolin Ensemble
• Vocal Ensemble
• Flute Ensemble
• Violin Ensemble
• Piano Ensemble
• Suzuki Pre-Twinklers Violin
• Suzuki Pre-Twinklers Guitar

This Fall, we will offer several group ensembles to both MLE and non-MLE students.

A large part of music and life learning stems from working and performing with others. These classes are supplemen- tal to private instruction and are led by teachers with exceptional experience in their field. Instructors include:

Mickey Abraham
Achia Floyd
Ben Lougheed
Natasha Marsalli
Tareva Moore
Christina Torkelson

Participation in an MLE Ensemble will require a placement audition to be held the last week of August. Specific dates and times are TBA, location is the MLE studio. All ensembles will begin the first week of September. Specific information concerning the makeup and level of each ensemble can be found here

*All students who participate in ensembles or group class must take private lessons at MLE or elsewhere.


Recent Student Performances

In May, Music Lessons Express took part in the annual KidsFest at the North Florida Fairgrounds. An event where local companies are on hand to discuss their summer programs. Avery Tangen, a sixth year MLE student and former Newsletter feature, performed a set on violin. She performed several Suzuki pieces and was definitely a hit!

Also in May, Jawad Khan and Kenneth Carver had the opportunity to perform on WTXL’s “Sunrise Rocks.” They were troopers, rising super early to be prepared to perform at 4:30am! Jawad did an excellent job on piano and Kenneth impressed with his violin skills.

All three students are a great example of why consistent practice is important – you never know when a performance opportunity may present itself!

Please Welcome Our


Aaron S.
Akhil S.
Akira H.
Alyson M.
Barbie B.
Brittany L.
Chris G.
Don W.
Doreen H.
Hannah D.
Ingrid C.
John M.
John P.
Jon L.
Kelly S.
Laney S.
Lily F.
Lodna A.
Madalyn L.
Max J.
Paul R.
Shilpa S.
Shirley T.
Sophie T.
Stephen H.
Terrence W.

It’s easy to take the next step:

Lessons are first come, first serve
so contact us today to arrange your first lesson!

850.219.3653 or


Click the links below to read previous Newsletters:

April Newsletter

March Newsletter