Laapa Music Assignment Book

Giving Thanks for Cheesecake, Concerts, & Everyone at LAAPA!

As I write our December newsletter, it’s just a few days before Thanksgiving, and once again I’m already being distracted by the thoughts of turkey and my sister in law’s infamous chocolate cheescake! Indeed, I’m very thankful for cheesecake, turkey and those who prepare it. Whoever first invented cheesecake in particular is a genius in my book. Anywho, back to the newsletter...

Looking back on this year, I’d just like to take a moment to say a huge, “Thank You” to all of our students and parents who have either recently joined our academy or (in many cases) have been studying with us for years. Last year the academy hit it’s 1,000 student milestone, and this year we have reached yet another with 1,150 students!

Being able to effectively fulfill our mission of spreading the joy of music and dance within our community is such an awesome priviledge to us. Of course, we couldn’t do it without some of the top music and dance educators and administrative professionals in the New Orleans area. It takes a true talent and commitment to excel in any profession, and our faculty and staff work to achieve this very goal daily. They are undoubtedly our greatest asset. Thanks to all for helping us recognize their hard work by signing the big “Thank You” cards during “Faculty & Staff Appreciation Week!”

One of my greatest joys here at the Academy is being able to see the growth of each student from the time of enrollment to the present. Many times brand new music and dance students come to us and let us know upfront that they aren’t really interested in performing in our concerts for one reason or another, and we let them know that’s perfectly fine! However, after taking lessons for a little while and building additional self-confidence, many eventually choose to participate! With 22-23 concerts a year that we hold at LAAPA, there is certainly no lack of performance opportunities, and I can’t wait to see what you all have been preparing for our final performances of 2015!

Even if you won’t be performing this December, we hope that you can join us to enjoy the many performances from our talented music and dance students!

This year we will be holding a record 12 concerts jam packed with over 520 performances - all in two days!

Our concerts for the Covington and Mandeville Schools of Music will be held on Saturday, December 19 at the Fuhrmann Auditorium in Covington. Concerts for the River Ridge School of Music & Dance will be held on Sunday, December 20 at St. Martin’s Solomon Theater in Metairie.

Student Concert time assignments will be published within the first week of December at:

In lieu of tickets, each December, our students, faculty, and staff put on a Benefit Concert to support the Teresian Sisters and their Mission in Batesville, Texas. Just 30 minutes outside of Uvalde, Texas, Batesville is a small, impoverished town near the Mexican Border. For more information on the Mission, please visit

Merry Christmas & see you at the concerts!

Ryan Cullen, Academy Director

Mandeville School of Music student, Emily Ruli, was selected as one of 30 finalists for New Orleans Opera Association’s Youth Vocal Competition held this past October. She will also be performing in St. Pauls School performance: “The Outsiders” as Marsha. Emily takes voice and piano lessons with Ms. Rebecca.

River Ridge School of Music & Dance Student, Katherine Corcoran booked the role of “Minnie” in Mount Carmel Academy’s production of “Little Women”. Katherine takes piano and voice lessons with Mrs. Katarina.

Madeline Moore will be representing Louisiana in the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Senior Voice Competition (Ages 15-18) and is advancing to the MTNA Division Competitions in January. Madeline takes voice and piano lessons with Ms. Rebecca at the Mandeville School of Music.

Brian Fink made the second round of Louisiana’s All-State Choir for the first tenor chair. Brian takes voice and piano lessons with Ms. Katarina at the River Ridge School of Music & Dance.

Marissa Dreyfus made the Singing Bees Choir at Honey Island Elementary School. She takes voice lessons with Mrs. Autumn at the Mandeville School of Music.

Bill Solomon, Meghan Stewart, and Katarina Boudreaux premiered a new musical this past
November at Cafe Istanbul. The musical was part of faux/real (fringe fest) and was written by Katarina Boudreaux and Liz Kimbrough. The faculty trio was additionally joined by RRSMD piano lessons student Sherri Montz.

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.

Give the Gift of Music & Dance This Holiday Season!

Give the Give of Art this Holiday Season!

Happy December Birthdays!

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

(Students) Adia M. (6), Alaycia C. (9), Alison M. (16), Alyssa B. (12), Andrew P. (10), Anna C. (10), Anya T. (10), Atticus F. (13), Aulia T. (16), Bankston N. (11), Ben W. (15), Brighton R. (2), Bryce L. (7), Caitlyn D. (12), Camille V. (9), Camille T. (13), Camille P. (7), Carrietta Y. (8), Charles A., Cheryl E., Chloe B. (10), Chris S. (21), Connor R. (8), David R. (8), Dawson H. (6), Emily Y. (16), Evan D. (8), Finley T. (6), Gabriel J. (10), George B., Grace S. (10), Graham J. (8), Haley H. (15), Hannah C. (7), Hayes H. (14), Helen S. (8), Henry F. (13), Jacques M. (5), Jaden B. (9), Jake G. (15), James O’C. (9), Jethro J. (8), Johnas E. (6), Joshua P. (11), Joshua C. (5), Kameron D. (10), Kate R. (13), Kaylie N. (11), Kevin N. (9), Khalil E. (11), Kimea C. (3),Klayton M., Kushal S.,
Lily W. (9), Lily G. (4), Lily-Rose H. (5), Madilyn K. (7), Madison N. (17), Madison Page T. (10), Matthew B. (11), Max L. (8), , Megan W. (9), Mia R. (4), Michael C. (10), Olivia H. (15), Patrick H. (13), Peter B. (9), Peytan P. (8), Ryan B. (8), Sam R. (11), Sam K. (11), Sanjana S. (13), Scarlett T. (2), Sean St. C. (9), Skylar J. (13), Sofya V. (9), Soleila L. (12), Sophia R. (12), Trace P. (12), Vada F. (7), Victoria M. (15), Wade H. (15), William C. (11), William B. (3), Yousef F. (6), Zyla B. (8)

(Faculty) Dr. Kari Besharse, Kate Withrow, Stephanie Huber

December 19-20 Christmas Recitals

December 21 - Jan 2 Christmas/New Year Holidays

Know someone who is getting an instrument for Christmas or loves to dance or sing? Gift certificates from LAAPA are available starting at just $17.50! Our teachers make learning fun and we offer music lessons in piano, voice, guitar, drum, violin, sax, clarinet, flute, trumpet, preschool music and dance classes in ballet, hip-hop, modern, musical theatre, tap, jazz, parent and tot, pre-ballet.

For more information on current scheduling availability, give us a call today at (985) 231-0875 or e-mail us here!

Enroll Online TODAY!

With down home country humble beginnings Michaela has always been very resourceful. She cuts, sands, primes, paints, and in some cases stains her abstract versions of the wooden instruments, creating very hands-on works of art. This resourcefulness has “Played” out very nicely in her most current work. Though the recycling of varying musical instrument components including guitar strings, violin knobs, music sheets featuring the instrument showcased, Michaela portrays a ‘current’ sense of style combined with a very vivid color pallet, creating a symphony for the senses!

A HUGE welcome to our newest students who began lessons or added programs this past October - November!

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

Student “Shout-Outs!”

Student of the Month - Andrew Rucker

River Ridge School of Music & Dance student, Andrew Rucker takes drum lessons here at LAAPA! We recently had a chance to speak with him and learn a little more about his drum lessons and interests!

How long you’ve been taking lessons at LAAPA?
I’ve been taking drum lessons at LAAPA for four years now. I used to take piano and guitar a while ago, but then I started drums because I felt like trying something new. The teachers I have had over the years have all taught me a little different technique, and I’ve enjoyed them all!

What styles of music do you like to play on the drums?
My favorite music is the oldies, Motown, stuff from the 60s…I love to listen and dance to WTIX-FM 94.3! In my lessons, I will sometimes bring in a song that I like to share with Dr. Mark, and then he will teach me how to play it.

What are some of your other interests and hobbies?
When I’m not playing or listening to music, I love to stay active. I’m on a swim team, I bowl in a league at the All Star Lanes in Kenner, and I lift weights at the gym.

What are your goals for the future?
I want to study drums here with Dr. Mark for the next few years. The River Ridge School of Music & Dance is number one! It’s the best place in the world!

Aidan H.
(thanks to Marcela S.)
Alanna L.
(thanks to Seth S.)
Alaycia C.
Alisa T.
Andrew B.
Arden H.
Arianna A.
Ariel H.
Armani M.
Aulia T.
Breigh-anna S.
Brianna G.
Brighton R.
Brina F.
Brooklyn H.
Candace Y.
Cara A.
Cartagena I.
Cassidy C.
(thanks to Addie C.)
Ce’vanne U.
Chris G.
Christian H.
Davian A.
Dax H.
Elizabeth L.
Emily M.
Gabriel B.
Gideon S.
Hannah S.
Haroly G.
Jack M.
Jacques M.
Jaiden L.
Jean Paul C.
Jeremiah H.
Jessica V.
Jessie J.
Jethro J.
Joanna P.
Joel A.
Joshua P.
Juliet D.
Justin B.
Kate B.
Katelyn B.
(thanks to Tammy T.)
Klayton M.
(thanks to Sarah & David M.)
Landon P-R.
Lea G.
Logan R.
Malaya T.
Matthew F.
Michael D.
Michael P.
Milena J.
Morgan F.
Olivia J.
Philip M.
Rene T.
Ryan D.
Ryan T.
Rylan L.
(thanks Wanda C.)
Sam K.
Samantha A.
Samuel R.
Sean St. C.
Shelby L.
(thanks Angela F.)
Sijun Y.
Tamanna P.
Tamanna M.
Timothy P.
Ty W.
Yolonde P.
Zoe D.
(thanks Zachary D.)

“Lessons are awesome! Mr. Chris said he is about 6 weeks ahead of where he’s expected to be. I’m serenaded every night!”

~Migliore Family

“Jackson loves lessons so far! He really likes Layla and how easy going and laid back she is. He also enjoys that Layla is interested in teaching hims songs that he wants to learn.”

~Nieto Family

And the Winner of our Apple Watch is...

Today is the big day that we selected the winner of our Fall Referral contest and the lucky recipient of a shiny new Apple Watch! Watch now to see if you won. A huge thanks to all students who referred new students to the Academy this Fall - stay tuned for more great contests coming up in 2016!

Student & Faculty News

If it has been awhile since you have last come inside our Mandeville and River Ridge campuses, then we would like to invite you in to take a look at the recently added artwork throughout our school.

Local artist, Michaela Howell has graciously decorated our schools with her music and dance themed artwork (just one example of which is pictured right). All of these pieces may be purchased for your home or as a gift! Please inquire at the front desk.

Here are some required supplies for classes. If you have questions about a specific class that is not covered here, please e-mail or call 301.528.2260 and ask to speak to someone in the education department.


Local Music Stores:


Students will need a set of headphones, a 1/4 inch adapter, a pencil with a working eraser, and a book for class. Students will work at digital pianos with semi-weighted keys with their headphones during class.

Headphones can be any style: over the ear, in the ear (earbuds), on the ear, or behind the head.

A 1/4 inch adapter is a standard piece of audio equipment and can be purchased at most electronics stores. It turns a standard 3.5mm Stereo Jack into a 1/4″ stereo plug and allows the students to plug their headphones into the pianos for class.

It is strongly recommended that students have a piano at home to practice on. We recommend that pianos or keyboards have at least 61 keys for practice purposes. Please visit one of the local music stores suggested above for recommendations.

Information about which books to be used in which class to follow. Instructors have provided assignments below, any instructor not included will provide that information at the first lesson.

Classes taught by William Chang

Intro to Piano: Piano Adventures, primer level, lesson book
Piano Levels 1-3: Any book that student has used before. New book recommendations will be made in class

Classes taught by Paul Buehler

Intro to Piano: Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Lesson Book Level 1A (Orange cover)
Piano Level 1:  Alfred’s Basic Piano Library: Lesson Book Level 1B (Green cover)

Classes taught by Al Hart
For New Students

Intro Level: Bastien Primer Level
Level 1: Bastien Level 1
Adults – Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course Lesson Book Level 1
New Students with prior experience: Bring the books you have used with other teachers to first class. Alternate assignments may be made after initial class.

Returning students

Please bring the books you used in class last year

Classes taught by Barbara Kober

Book recommendations will be made after initial class. Please bring any books you have used with other instructors to initial class.


Guitar classes are taught for both acoustic and classical guitars.  Students must provide their own guitars, a pick, folding music stand, folder, pencil, and the text “Everybody’s Guitar Method Book 1 (with CD).”  Other optional but useful supplies include a guitar strap, tuner, and metronome.


Students will need their own violin, bow, book, and pencil for class.

Introduction to Violin: Essential Elements Book 1
Level 1: Essential Elements Book 2
Level 2: Essential Elements Book 3
Level 3: Essential Elements Book 4



It is recommended that students bring a water bottle to every class, tie hair back or out of face, and remove any jewelry.

Local Dancewear Stores:

Shoes and leotards are often available at places like Target, Walmart, and Payless. Here are some local retailers that specialize in dance apparel:

Online Resources include: Discount Dance Supply, Dancewear Solutions, and many others.

If you or your student is new to dance, there are many different kinds of shoes and leotards that you can buy. We’d recommend going into a dance store and asking the sales representative what they would recommend for a beginning student.

Dance Attire for Seasonal Dance Classes:

All seasonal dance class students should wear comfortably clothes that allow for easy movement to class. This can include dancewear, athleisure wear, sweats, or shorts and a t-shirt.

  • Contemporary: Barefeet or dance paws
  • Hip Hop: Clean sneakers or jazz shoes
  • Kuchipudi: Barefeet
  • Little Belles: Barefeet with tights and a loose t-shirt
  • Strut: High Heels: Dance heels, comfortable high heel shoes, or jazz shoes
  • Tap: Tap shoes required
  • West African Dance: Lapa (large piece of African fabric that is wrapped around the waist) is recommended but not mandatory.

Dance Attire for Conservatory Dance Classes:

  • Girls: Black leotard, pink tights, pink ballet slippers, hair in a bun if applicable. No skirts, tutus or jewelry.
  • Boys: White t-shirt, black tights with black ballet shoes or black dance shorts with white socks and black ballet shoes.
  • Adult Class: Instructor’s discretion. Please use the above attire as a guide.



It is recommended that students bring a folder, pencil with a working eraser, paper, any assigned material, and water bottle to every class.

Visual Art

For a number of our art classes, materials will be provided by BlackRock.  These classes do have a materials fee included in the price.  For those classes without a materials fee, students are required to purchase their own materials prior to the first class.  If you already have the materials listed, please feel free to bring them.  Before purchasing supplies we recommend you call our Front Desk at 301-528-2260 to confirm the class is being held.

Supplies for The Art of Drawing with Walkiria Torealba:

  • An 11″ x 15″ drawing pad
  • A kneaded eraser
  • Graphite sticks
  • A paper stump or tortillon
  • Charcoal pencils
  • Charcoal sticks
  • A white stick
  • Pencils: HB, 2B, 2H


Supplies for Watercolor Still Life with Matthew Bird:

Sample palette would include: Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Mineral Violet, Prussian Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Orange (Daniel Smith), Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Neutral Tint

*This is a sample of a complete palette that would be ideal for class. If you already have paints than the palette you already have might work. Bring to class so instructor can review and make suggestions if needed.

2″or 3″ Hake Brush; small, medium, and large rounds

Watercolor Paper
100% cotton rag paper, 300 lb. Cold Press

Water Bucket (some will be available)
Terry cloth towel larger than the paper you will be working on
Masking Fluid and masking tape (Scotch brand, 1″)


Supplies for Exploring Watercolor with David Daniels:

Bring any watercolor supplies that you already have. The following is a suggested list of materials. Feel free to go beyond the limits of this list, but in any case buy the highest quality products you can afford.

  • Paper: Several sheets (3-5) of D’Arches, 140 lb or D’Arches 300lb cold pressed watercolor paper. 22″ x 30″. Please buy full sheets, not pads or blocks. Please, no spiral bound pads. Sheets may be cut in half for ease of transportation.
  • Palette: There are many commercially made palettes that work very well. I would recommend the John Pike or Robert Wood pallete. Make sure that your palette has numerous compartments to hold your paints and a large mixing area.
  • Paint: Please use professional-grade tube watercolors. A basic palette should consist of a warm and a cool version of each of the “primaries” as listed below. Brands may be mixed. Ultramarine Blue Hansa Yellow Light Alizarin Crimson Phthalo Blue New Gamboges Cadmium Red Carbazole Violet Pyrolle Orange Quinacridone Gold Choose from the colors listed below if you wish to expand your color choices: Cobalt Blue Sap Green Quinacridone Pink Turquoise Winsor Violet Cerulean Blue Veridian Chinese White Permanent Rose Neutral Tint Winsor Yellow Magenta Cadmium Yellow Cobalt Violet Hookers Green Cobalt Teal Phthalo Green Quinacridone Sienna
  • Brushes: Three basic brushes are needed. A 1″ flat (wash brush), and two round pointed brushes. A #6 and a #10 should work well. My personal brushes are a #2 & #6 Raphael, Kazan Watercolor Mop, and a 1″ flat Daniel Smith, series 44-09
  • Liquid Frisket Liquid Frisket is used as a masking agent. It is available in many brands.
  • Sundries: Two plastic water containers, sketch pad, pencils, masking tape, paper towels, tracing paper, and graphite stick.
  • We will be painting primarily from photographs and sketches. Bring a large assortment of photos and/or drawings containing subjects that are of interest to you- landscapes, still-life, and flowers etc.

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