What Makes the Burch School of Music Unique?

The Burch School of Music is the only local studio offering Kindermusik classes and piano instruction to all ages and levels.

Highly Educated Instructors

Dr. Holly Hughes:

  • Bachelor of Music (Piano Pedagogy)
  • Master of Music (Music Theory)
  • Doctor of Arts (Chamber Music Performance/Accompanying)
  • Attended the Hochschule der Musik und darstellende Kunst, “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria from 1977-1978

Mr. Russell Hughes:

  • Bachelor of Music (Piano Performance)
  • Master of Music (Piano Performance)
  • Attended the Hochschule der Musik und darstellende Kunst, “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, Austria from 1982-1983

The Burch School of Music faculty brings years of experience teaching piano at a high level. Dr. Holly spent twenty years as a university professor before opening the Burch School of Music. Because of her academic background, she has structured her school much like a university setting. Mr. Russell has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in piano performance and has taught young and old alike during his teaching career.

Group Lessons for Beginners

Beginning Piano Class

Beginning Piano Class

The Burch School of Music teaches beginning students in a group setting. In the school’s digital piano lab, each student has his or her own piano to play during class. Beginning with group lessons has many advantages:

  1. Piano study can be a solitary pursuit, while children in general are social beings. By meeting together once a week, they forge bonds of friendship while learning the basics.
  2. Group classes meet for one hour per week – twice as long as most beginning private lessons.
  3. Group study is a proven winner. When extroverts and introverts come together in a classroom, the introverts are often swept up in the enthusiasm of the extrovert, while the extroverts become aware of the benefits for focused study. Many times when discussing an upcoming opportunity each personality type can influence the other, whether it be the fun of participating in a festival or recital, or an appreciation for the elements of a particular piece. With one-on-one instruction, a teacher could find it challenging to duplicate a similar situation.
  4. Charting everyone’s practice progress each week encourages students to maintain a consistent level of playing at home in order to keep up with the group. (We call this ‘friendly competition.’)
  5. Group piano offers many opportunities for performance. Playing together lends a rhythmic stability that would otherwise be missing. Plus, making music with others is great fun.
  6. In-class performances assist students in coping with mistakes and with successes. They learn to listen and offer constructive criticism to their peers, helping them learn to listen more closely to their own playing. It also helps address any nervous jitters before an actual event.
  7. Students learn many basics of music theory by working at the white board together, playing games, and participating in ear training assignments. Again, including these elements in a private lesson is often difficult to achieve.
  8. Computerized instruction is an additional benefit of the piano lab. At various time during the year students rotate between computer theory activities and individual attention from the teacher, usually in preparation for a festival or performance.

Monthly Group Classes for Students in Private Lessons

When a student graduates to private lessons in their third year of study, attendance at a monthly group lesson with other students of comparable age and ability becomes part of their schedule. These lessons afford more time for theory study since the class is usually longer than the private lesson. These lessons are also used as performance classes, in addition to receiving important music history instruction about composers and performers.

PIANO-LastGroup

Last group class for graduating seniors: the traditional photo at the climbing tree

Enrichment Classes

The Burch School offers one to two enrichment classes each year. At these classes students and their families experience performances by music professionals other than pianists. Past classes have featured musicians playing flutes, violin, clarinet, cello, trumpet, harp, percussion, bagpipes, and even African drumming. The 2015-2016 academic year was the year of the singer: in the fall a former opera singer performed opera arias and talked about his career. In the spring a singer celebrated Texas Independence Day by relating stories of Texas History through cowboy songs.

MelodyBell

Melody Bell, African Griot (historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet, musician), telling stories and drumming

Field Trips

The Burch School of Music often conducts field trips to various sites or concerts. Within the North Texas Texas region, students and parents have traveled to Fort Worth and Dallas for a variety of concerts, while visits to the Texas Christian University and University of North Texas campuses have put students in contact with concert organs, harpsichords, clavichords and fortepianos. Most summers include a field trip to the Dallas World Aquarium with our Kindermusik Rainforest campers.

Harpsichord Demonstration at University of North Texas

Harpsichord Demonstration at the University of North Texas


Kindermusik students in the Rain Forest Camp visit the Dallas World Aquarium

Kindermusik students in the Rain Forest Camp visit the Dallas World Aquarium

Festivals

In addition to the local piano festivals offered by the Weatherford Music Teachers Association, the Burch School of Music strongly encourages participation in the annual Junior Festival, a program of the Texas Federation of Music Clubs, held each February in Fort Worth. Burch School of Music teachers are the only Weatherford teachers holding membership in the Texas Federation of Music Clubs, allowing their students to participate in this unique festival program. Most Burch School of Music students participate, and those who qualify are able to attend a state contest in May. Each year 99-100% of the February participants qualify for the state contest, and about half of them travel to San Marcos in May for the competition. With competition in categories that include more than 2000 students from across the state of Texas, the Burch School of Music is proud to have at least one winner almost every year. The upper divisions of the state contest include a cash prize along with ribbons and plaques.

Statewinners

State participants…one winner is holding a plaque on the front row. The rest of the pianists are holding the “Outstanding” award – comparable to “Honorable Mention.”

Parent/Teacher Conferences

The last lesson of each semester is a parent/teacher conference where the teacher presents the parents with a report and synopsis outlining the semester’s accomplishments. Discussions at these conferences are vital in better understanding the needs of both the student and the parents in relation to the teacher’s expectations.

Summer Offerings

During the summer, our students are required to take a minimum of five private lessons during the nine weeks of instruction. They may take up to nine private lessons if they wish. A variety of camps is also included in the summer session. Most summers include a week-long music history camp for elementary-aged students, covering one of our classical heroes (Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, etc), while older students are offered a week-long music history camp, focusing on a major composer, a time-period, or a single musical genre. We offer art classes in the summer to develop drawing skills for budding artists. Sometimes a “Goin’ Country” camp is included on the roster, where students learn to chord by ear while playing with fiddlers and guitarists. A variety of camps for pre-schoolers is also included, utilizing both the Kindermusik curriculum and special camps for young children created right here at the Burch School of Music.

DebussyCamp

Debussy Camp – students are holding their art work, including glass sun catchers and impressionist paintings.


RachmaninoffCamp

Students in the “Music Masters: Rachmaninoff” camp paint an acrylic painting of a Russian landscape.

Opera Club

Each spring BSM families are invited to join the BSM Opera Club in preparation for the Fort Worth Opera Repertory Season. Sessions are scheduled to learn details about specific operas they will experience at Bass Hall.

Opera

A large group of students and parents attend Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall.


BarberOfSeville

A group of attendees to Rossini’s The Barber of Seville meet first at the BSM to get acquainted with the opera.

Annual Awards Picnic

At the end of the spring semester, students attend the annual picnic in the backyard of the Burch School of Music in order to receive their awards. Points earned through logging practice time, performances, attending concerts and arts events, composing music, writing essays, and other music activities become the basis for their annual award. They earn points for finishing theory workbooks and lesson books, and for taking the bi-annual theory test, sponsored by Texas Music Teachers Association. They also earn points for answering quiz questions in their monthly magazine, Piano Explorer. Before an audience that includes other students, parents, and friends, students are called forward to receive their Burch School of Music award, in addition to such honors as Junior Festival certificates and gold cups, theory medals, and gift cards for practicing above the required minimum number of minutes.

Awards

Trophies, Ribbons, Medals, Plaques….all ready to be handed out at the picnic.


PIANO-Backyard

Taking advantage of the shade on a warm May evening…awards are on the back patio of the house.

Additionally, Burch School of Music Students Join Other Local Studios in These Activities:

  • Annual studio recitals
  • Fall and Spring Theory Tests through Texas Music Teachers Association (TMTA)
  • Fall Solo Festival through Weatherford Music Teachers Association (WMTA)
  • Fall Hymn Festival through WMTA
  • Pianothon, Annual Fundraiser for WMTA at a local restaurant in Weatherford.
  • Spring Masterclass through WMTA
  • Spring Solo Festival through WMTA
  • Spring Pop Festival through WMTA
  • Annual Ensemble Team participation at TMTA State convention in June.
  • Other TMTA Contests: Essay writing, Music Composition, Performance
  • Local Concerto Competition sponsored by the Fort Worth Civic Orchestra
  • Spring Fort Worth Music Teachers Solo Contest