The Write Notes – March 2020

Dear <<First Name>>,

Let me start with a lot of gratitude.  We are having some seriously challenging times at home and globally.  There is just a ton of concern and unanswered questions about how and how long it will take to get back to our routines.  I’m grateful to our city leaders and to our friends and neighbors for taking the unsettling but necessary precautions to make this better for everyone.

In less than a week, educational institutions made a huge shift to online learning.  I am truly amazed that these massive changes happened so quickly and with such low friction.  Is it perfect?  No.  But it’s a great example of our ability to pull together and simply get things done when the time is NOW.

SJAA students, teachers and families are no exception.  Over 98% of our students made the switch immediately and adapted very quickly to a new way of lesson delivery.  Change is never easy and we still have some challenges to face.  That’s how we learn and grow.

Extremely proud of the way everyone is stepping up to demonstrate that willingness, that commitment to continued learning and growth.

Practicing, learning and playing music are more essential now than ever.

Grateful we have each other and can share this journey together.  It will be transformative, a reminder of what’s most important and an opportunity to demonstrate the best in ourselves.

Stay happy and healthy.  We’ll see you (virtually) in the weeks ahead and looking forward to having everyone together back at the Academy soonest.

Thank you, <<First Name>>!

jason and SJAA

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to message me directly at…
816 294 4856 (cell)

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SJAA Updates –
Shelter in Place – Remains in effect for our city through this week.  All lessons and classes will be online only for at least a few more weeks.  St Joseph Public Schools are out until April 24 so it may be that the SJAA will follow suit.  No official decision but maybe presume that will be the case though April and we’ll roll with the punches and changes as they come in.

Evaluative Adjudication – Sadly, our students have lost every opportunity to demonstrate their best work.  Local and state music contests, recitals, spring concerts and most recently the SJAMTA evaluative audition, ALL CANCELLED.
The SJAA can fill this gap with an SJAA evaluative audition online.  Like a college jury, students would submit 2 videos of 2 pieces in differing styles and 1 video of the scales (maybe chords cadences too) required by the key of the pieces.  No sight-reading or paper test.

Participating students will receive an evaluative critique of their performance, certificate of completion and judges will select a best performance from each for an online broadcast of an online recital.  May 1 deadline for submissions and a May 16 recital “Music Moves Us” broadcast date.

SJAMTA evaluative usually costs $15 to members.  SJAA evaluative will be FREE to members.  Not Mandatory but maybe the only opportunity students will have to demonstrate their continued hard work this spring.

Application Form or send a note to to sign up.

Songwriting Contest – Working on this with more details to come.  Similar to above but original songs or instrumental compositions submitted by video.  TBA

New classes/clinics – Coming soon for summer.  Registrations and info TBA.

Welcome to our Newest Students!

Braeden, Mary, Jackson, Larkin, Maeby, Brooke, Taylor, Cory, Myles, Sabre, Charlie, Elizabeth and Coen!


Music Honors! – Guitarist, Basil Riches of Atchison, KS received a “1” rating for his rendition of “O Son De Ar” at the 4-H Atchison County, KS Club Day contest.  Way to go, Basil!

Drums! – Our new Drum studio opened this month with Will Doyle (master percussion/recording).  Limited spaces available for drum lessons.

New Teachers– Welcome to our newest team member, Mary Jo Lewis (master piano)!

40th Anniversary Monster Concert – The SJAA piano and guitar students joined SJAMTA for the 40th Annual Monster concert last month.  The sold-out show provides money for scholarships to middle, high school and college students for summer music camps, festivals and continuing course work.

Group Classes – With the expansion in our building we got some great new classroom spaces.  We started with some beginner’s guitar classes (child or adult) and early childhood (age appropriate classes from 8ms to 5 yrs) this month.  If you have friends or family that might be looking for musical experienceslike this, we greatly appreciate you sharing us with them.  Many more fun classes in the works!  Let us know if there is a class you’d like to see offered here. for more information.

Limited spaces available.

More to come!

SJAA Expansion Finally Complete! – We’ll look forward to having you here soon!!  Total of 5 new studios, additional pianos, 1 Large classrooms space, 2 waiting areas, reception area and kitchenette, bathroom, fresh paint, new flooring, LED lighting and additional hallways (AND we hung a piano on the wall!).

First Recital in our New Space – So honored to have Mr. Brock’s violin studio present our first ever student recital IN OUR VERY OWN BUILDING!  It has been a major work in progress to get our doors open and just really fun to have everyone there.  Thanks to Mrs. Foster, Mrs. Riley and Isaac Johnson for accompanying and congratulations to the performers and to Mr. Brock on their dedicated work.


Student of the Month

Our March “Student of the Month” is…

Myles Grimsinger!!!

We are so lucky to have Myles and his family with us at the SJAA.

Besides being SJAA’s premier drum student with Will, Myles is part of his middle school band as a percussionist.  The guy loves baseball and we are all hoping the season with his team “Smash” can hit the field together soon.    Myles is also part of a Dungeons and Dragon club with friends after school.

He just recently upgraded to a new drum kit and is excelling with it.

We’ll celebrate Myles with an iTunes gift card for him!

Thank you, Myles for referring your friends and family to the Academy.


To be considered for Student of the Month, be sure to talk to your teacher about all your musical and extracurricular activities, share pictures and refer your fellow musicians to the academy.

The New “Social Distancing Elbow Bump” Emoji!!
SJAA’s Upcoming Recitals 


2/8 –  Monster Concert  (piano rehearsals Jan 31, Feb 7)
2/29 – Teacher Appreciation Day
3/8 – 2pm SJAMTA student recital (CANCELLED)
4/18 – Academy @ the Mansion, 2020.  (TBD)
4/25 – SJAMTA Evaluatives (CANCELLED)
4/26 –  2pm SJAMTA student recital (CANCELLED)
3:30 SJAMTA Honors Recital at First Presbyterian (CANCELLED)
5/1 – SJAA Evaluative Audition Submission Deadline
5/16 – SJAA “Music Moves Us” Online Recital, TBA
5/XX – SJAA Ribbon Cutting, Open House (TBD)

5/21 – Recital at Living Community, 7pm (TBD)
6/13 – Hawkfest, 130pm
7/15 – Silver and Gold Banquet, Word of Life Church, 1245pm

10/11 – Photo Day @ SJAA, times/venue TBA

SJAA Specific Events in BOLD

Books!Is your student ready for new books? We carry a very limited supply of instructor approved titles. Talk with your teacher about your next books and we’ll get them ordered.

Thanks to all for registering for convenient auto-drafting from credit cards or your bank account.  So glad to be able to offer this for our families.

Lesson Policy
– Is here and copies are at the studio…

Thank you for reading -“The Write Notes” –  
Monthly Newsletter from the St. Joseph Arts Academy!
We made some memories this month, didn’t we?

Thank you for encouraging the advancing musicians in your life and in our community.

We are making the world a better place through music.

Here’s to YOUR music success!

Jason Riley
8162944856 (personal cell)
Here to help! Call or text if you need anything at all.

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Referral Program – We have a great family of students and teachers at the SJAA.  We are extremely discerning in selecting the very best coaches and students when growing our family.  We want great students just like you.  The SJAA is now able to offer a FREE lesson for referring new students who register for lessons.  Thank you for referring your friends and family to be a part of our SJAA family.

Does Your Teacher Have Openings?

Jolie – Full
Terry – Full
Frank – Mondays, 330 & 5
JC – Mondays 630
Andrew – Tuesdays 2:45 & 4
Emily – Mondays 430,  Saturday 1030
Monica – Mondays 430, Wednesday 6
Brent – Tuesday 530, 6, Thursday 3, 5 

Jason – Monday 4pm
Mary Jo – Tuesday, 430 & 530
Will –  mondays 4 & 430
Sarah – Saturdays

 SJAA Classes/Courses – Guitar, Piano, Violin, Cello, Voice, Uke, Drums, Early Childhood, Group Guitar

TeacherZone is our on-line platform for our students and our teachers.

Free Wi-Fi – SJAA password “MusicAccomplished”

Academy Mission

Our mission at the St. Joseph Arts Academy is to provide the highest quality musical instruction and performance opportunities to beginning and advancing students in the Midland empire. We use our patience, enthusiasm and loyalty to encourage, inform and inspire others to happily share their skill and talent in love and gratitude to make the world a better place.


Music Accomplished!

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