The Write Notes – May 2020

Dear Students and Families,

Another month behind us in these ‘novel’ times.  The school year is all wrapped up.  Folks are starting to cautiously emerge from quarantine and locally businesses are slowly opening back up to customers.

Thankfully to you, our SJAA families and staff, we’ve been able to stay on mission and have weathered this very positively.

It’s had me thinking a little deeper about the word “dedication“.  Of course, as teachers we are supremely dedicated to our students, their musical growth and their development as amazing people.  Our students have remained dedicated to their instrument, their study of music and in participating fully with the opportunities they have here and beyond.  Our SJAA member families have remained dedicated to the purpose of prioritizing music training to their loved ones, to their beloved teachers and to our Academy in a time when it might have been easier to walk away.

That’s a wonderful kind of dedication.

I got to thinking about another kind of dedication.  The type that an author puts in the beginning of their book or the way a musician or composer might dedicate a piece of music to a city, a king or simply “dedicated to the one I love”.

We haven’t really stated it before.  I hope that it goes without saying.

Our academy is a dedication.  Dedicated to the advancing musicians and their families in our community.  But also, dedicated in a tribute to them.

The St. Joseph Arts Academy is dedicated to you.  In every way the word can be used.  It’s strong language that reminds us, pushes and pulls at us to dig a little deeper and to give a little more.

I know I’ll be talking to my own students this week about dedicating their music, their next performance, even their practice time towards something beyond themselves.

There’s important info below about how we are beginning to come back in-person for those who are ready.

And, we’ve had lots to celebrate this month too.

Dedicating the Summer of 2020 to our songwriters, composers and every student committed to growing in their music practice.

Thank you, << Test 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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Our SJAA Covid-19 Protection Plan

Since mid-March, the SJAA has been open for ONLINE LESSONS only.  Our commercial building has been receiving continued improvements but with little to no public traffic.

Members are invited back for in-person lessons beginning Monday, June 1.  

NOT MANDATORY.  We are expecting a mix of both on-line and in-person lessons for the for-see-able future.  Personal decisions are respected and up to the individual teacher or family. 

We will have both sides of our building open so we have plenty of space now for everyone to spread out.

Our safety plan is based on city and state requirements as well as member feedback from our “Returning from Quarantine” Survey (It’s still available and we want all the feedback we can get.  It only takes a couple of minutes.

Safety Plan

a) Families should expect to wait in cars until exact lesson time.  Students ONLY should go directly to their studio.  (ONE) Guardian/parent/chaperone is always welcome to sit in on lessons if requested or required (specifically for our littlest learners).

b) Waiting areas will remain closed until further notice.  We’ll aim to keep our population under 10 at a time.

c) Students and teachers should do their best to stay “socially distant” (6 feet not 100% possible for some instruments 100% of the time).

d) Face masks are optional unless designated by the Teacher or requested from the family.

e) Teachers (and students) use the available hand sanitzer (or bring their own) liberally and between lessons.   We have 3 sinks for hand washing.

f)  Bathrooms, hand washing stations, all entry ways and studio door handles will be disinfected nightly (and periodically throughout the teaching day).

g) Teachers disinfect their own teaching area/surfaces regularly including pencils, music stands, chairs and any touched pianos, etc.

g#) Don’t come to the studio if you are sick.  It’s easy as ever to offer an online lesson or reschedule.

We take your health and safety seriously.

Our policies and processes will evolve with any and all changes in the health and business environments.

Thank you.
St. Joseph Arts Academy

SJAA Updates

Songwriting Festival – June 1 is our “deadline” for songwriting submissions.  There is a little flexibility if composers are having any trouble getting videos made.  Ideally, we’ll get the videos to the judges by June 8 and have feedback to students by June 15.  Besides written comments from our judges about their music, “Grand Prize” writers can win gift certificates and other awards!

Again, they can submit videos themselves or just send them to and we’ll happily take care of them.  All the details are here…

Thanks in advance to our international panel of songwriting/composition impresarios in Anthony Glise (Sainghin-en-Mélantois, France), Ed Daniels (Las Vegas), Simon Fink (Houston), Lucy Gray Hamilton (Peer Judge, St. Joseph) and our very own Dr. Frank Nawrot (Lansing, KS)!

Summer Practice Challenge! – All of our summer festival/concerts have been rescheduled or cancelled.  This leaves a big hole in our summer activities and performance opportunities.

So… Let’s give some attention to working hard this summer, practicing extra and earning some recognition and prizes.  June/July practice totals can be logged by paper (we have practice logs available or create your own) or in TZ’s practice timer feature.

Students and their teachers will set some goals based on their age/level.  Simply practice TONS,  complete and return logs by Aug 1 to compete (TZ is auto-reporting).  Grand prizes will go to those with best times, improvements over the summer for early and later elementary, middle school, high school and adult.  Considerations by each studio and/or instrument.

Let’s focus on effective PRACTICE routines this summer, set some playing goals and have lots of fun.

SJAA Early Childhood – Our new Early Childhood program went on immediate restriction with the Covid-19 Quarantine but that did not stop our amazing program leaders (Miss Sarah and Mrs. Emily) from providing tons of extra content and love from a distance.

We are meeting soon to discuss options for moving forward.  Early Childhood Music is simply the best possible gift/experience and most important window of opportunity to positively affect the human brain for a lifetime.  The SJAA team remains deeply committed to early childhood music experiences for our whole community.

New classes/clinics – Online and hopefully, on-location courses are coming soon for summer including our annual July “Maestro Series”, TBA.

Previously scheduled Maestro, Anthony Glise is sequestered in France the rest of the year, maybe.

Taking suggestions for the classes you’d like offered by the SJAA.  Registrations and info TBA.

AND… We’ll have (another) annual summer coloring contest in July!


Spring Music Contests – Our first online evaluative adjudication was May 1st.  We had a full 30 students in guitar, piano and violin who submitted videos of their recital pieces and level-appropriate scales/chords.  They received some extremely positive feedback and constructive critique from an impartial judge on their instrument along with a Certificate of Completion.  Wish we could have sent them on to “State”.  Instead, adjudicator selections were presented at…

“Music Moves Us Together” Online Recital – This was an incredible success.  It took a lot of work on our end and we know how the students (and videographers) worked very hard to participate.  Thanks to all who encouraged their students in it, to our judges for amazing feedback for them and to all who watched the recital to give some shout-outs in real time.
Check it out here if you missed it!
We’ll do something similar in the fall!

Did you see us in the News? – The SJAA was featured in a recent Sunday edition of the St. Joseph News Press for our transition to online music learning.  And Sydney got the photo opp!

We held our first ever SJAA “State of the Academy” & Teacher Continuing Ed.  Zoom meeting edition this month.  We set a record for getting almost everyone together.   Looked like “Hollywood Squares” but with a focus our amazing team.  But mostly, we talked about your amazing students.

Got something to celebrate?  Please keep us up-to-date on the accomplishments, special events and activities in our students lives so we can celebrate them!


Student of the Month

Our May “Student of the Month” is…

Hadley C.!!!

We are so lucky to have Hadley and her family with us at the SJAA.

Besides traveling from Maryville for a weekly, 1-hour violin session with Mr. Brock, Hadley is also involved in cheerleading.

She enjoys crocheting, baking, reading, spending time with her siblings, and taking care of her goats and chickens.  Also a young entrepreneur, she sells fresh eggs and participated in a children’s business fair selling bath bombs made with goats milk.

Hadley recently participated in our “Spring Music Contests” and was a selected performer for the “Music Moves Us Together” online recital.

We’ll celebrate Hadley with an Amazon gift card for her!

Thank you, Hadley 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.

Repurpose that Piano?

While we insist that you play them, if they can’t be repaired, why not turn it into a cool computer desk.  Check out what Cash and his Dad made!  Turns all the colors and we presume a very fun place to work on your stuff.

Looking for an investment?

The most expensive instrument in the world is the “Lady Blunt” Stradivarius violin, which sold in 2011 for US$15.9 million.

Usual Suspects

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?!

SJAAUpcoming Events

5/16 – SJAA “Music Moves US Together” Online Recital, 7pm

5/21 – Recital at Living Community, 7pm (Rescheduled, TBA)

6/1 – SJAA Songwriting Competition deadline

June/July –  SJAA “Practice Challenge” deadline Aug 1.

7/15 – Silver and Gold Banquet, Word of Life Church, 1245pm (Rescheduled, TBA)

9/19 – Hawkfest, 130pm

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

10/23-25 – Robidoux Resident Theater presents “School of Rock”

12-19 – Beethoven’s 250 Birthday


Books!FREE shipping on in-stock books to SJAA students who need to “Level Up” in their reading materials during quarantine.


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 – Wednesday 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!

Copyright © 2020 St. Joseph Arts Academy, All rights reserved.
You are a preferred member of the SJAA!

Our mailing address is:

St. Joseph Arts Academy

2509 Ashland Ave

Saint Joseph, MO 64506-1938