Students' Middle Name Needed - for Federation Festival

Tuesday, December 27, 2022 by Debra B Heald | Uncategorized

The spring Federation Festival (held in LINCOLN April 1, 2023 - or submit a video) will be using a new online registration format. For students who have entered previously, complete records from the past will need to be entered, which my colleague and I are working on over the next few weeks. The middle name is needed (as well as birthdate, which I already have for most students) because it's a national database. It helps to distinguish your student from any other students with similar first and last names. This is to your advantage, because if you ever move or need to switch teachers (HOPE NOT!) your student information will already be there.

Note to newer students: The Federation Festival is our main performance AND non-competitive festival for the year. Most students will participate at least by taking the theory test. There are tests at a very easy beginner level and you begin to accumulate points towards a trophy!

You can help by logging in on my website. In the upper right corner, click on the arrow beside your name, then click on Profile Settings. Scroll down to Student Information. Because My Music Staff does not have a field for middle names, please enter the student’s legal middle name in the Skype Username field since we are no longer using Skype for any online lessons. Also, if your student has a different legal first name than the one listed (e.g., Patricia instead of Pat), please make that correction. And please check that the student’s birthday is correct. Click on save before leaving the page.

Recording for Festival or Online Recital

Monday, April 5, 2021 by Debra B Heald | Uncategorized

Most Festival participants are submitting recorded entries! So why are you receiving this and you are NOT a festival participant? Because we are going to take our recordings and make them into a spring recital (online!) as in some kind of a watch party. And so if you are not a festival participant, you can record and submit recordings of ANY favorite piece(s)!

So here are some tips for recording:

  • Keep it simple, use what you have. Almost every phone/tablet has the option of a video recording. Choose a high quality recording if option is available. For best results, Mom, Dad, sibling, or other person helps start and stop recording.
  • If possible, use a similar view to what we use for lessons. Student's face, hands, and as much of the keyboard as possible should be in the frame. If pedal is used, the foot on the pedal should be visible in the same frame. For memorized piano solos, make sure the music rack WITH NO MUSIC is visible in the frame. (So that it's clear you are playing by memory.)
  • Please record VERTICALLY if at all possible. (This may be a change from your normal lesson setup. If you are using pedal, this may be the only way your feet can be in the view.)
  • It will be best if the recording device is stationary - on the stand or music stand you normally use for lessons, rather than handheld. HOWEVER, if you can't get the above frame from your normal location, have te person taking the video hold in their hand if needed.
  • Wear decent clothes (no short shorts, t-shirts with graphics, tank tops, flip-flops etc) and if you want, you can dress up. Keep in mind you will want to wear the same clothes for multiple "takes" so that both pieces appear "live".
  • Please announce your name, your event/level (i.e. "Piano Solo" and "Primary 3") and the name of the piece. I will be sending individual emails/messages with your level information.
  • Please record the pieces separately - this helps everyone with quicker upload/download.

If you are NOT a festival participant and you wish to submit piece(s) for the "watch party recital" then follow the above guidelines but no event or level information is necessary.

If possible, please upload to youtube as "unlisted" and send me the links. Here is a short video on how to do that: upload unlisted video to youtube. If that is a problem for you, hang onto your "best" performances and I will let you know in a few days where to upload your final recordings.


Sign Up for Grand Lodge Performance ASAP! (Piano)

Monday, February 12, 2018 by Debra B Heald | Uncategorized

Hi Piano Parents & Students

There are a couple performance opportunities coming up this spring of which  you should be aware.

The first is the Heald/Schoen Studio Recitals which will be held the morning of Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Grand Lodge at the Preserve, 80th and Pioneers Blvd. There will be THREE recitals held in the morning (at 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00) and you’ll be able to choose the best time for your family’s schedule. Please sign up here:


This is a great chance for students new to piano lessons to have their first recital experience. Grandparents and others are definitely invited! Of course, we also welcome residents of the Grand Lodge to attend. This is also an excellent time to try out repertoire learned for the Federation Festival (see next paragraphs). For the Studio Recitals, memorization is optional (but highly recommended for Festival Solo participants). This is also an opportunity to solicit donations to support the Lincoln Music Teachers Association Music Outreach Program, which enables students to take private music lessons who would otherwise be unable to afford it. (Both Ms. Heald and Ms. Schoen teach several Music Outreach students.)

The second is the National Federation of Music Clubs Lincoln Area Festival, a.k.a Lincoln Area Federation Festival, held Saturday, March 24, 2018. The Federation Festival allows students to accumulate points over several years to earn trophies in individual events. It is assumed EVERY student will take the theory test. The occasional worksheets students complete help them prepare for this test.

There are also numerous performance Festival events which are critiqued by a qualified judge. The judge also gives a rating. Ratings are non-competitive and students are judged solely on how well they performed their chosen repertoire. Students in their first year of lessons may choose to opt out of performing. But it is a great idea to have those first-year students sit in on a few performances when they come to take the theory test so they’ll know more what to expect in future years when they do perform. Most students are already working on Festival Performance pieces (solo, duet, or patriotic pieces).

Entry fees for each Festival event are approximately $15.00 each.

It is assumed the all current students are participating in the Festival Theory at a minimum. Theory does not require a sign up time. Festival Performance Time Sign Up coming very soon!


Mrs. Heald was an excellent teacher. When my daughters were just starting she was so patient and kind with the little ones. As they continued she not only was their piano instructor but became a life-long mentor. We are looking forward to starting the next generation of our family with her. I highly recommend her!

Susan B

My son has been taking lessons from Debra for three years.  The first two years were in person and the last was online.  My daughter started taking lessons this last year online.  I was a little bit worried how online would go since she is only 6, but is has been great!  Debra is easy to work with and my kids say that she makes learning the piano fun!

Sara Y

Debra Heald is amazing piano teacher. She taught all three of my kids, and I have been taking lessons from her as an adult student for several years. One of her best strengths as a teacher is figuring out ways for everyone to be successful at piano. She is extremely knowledgeable about music and theory but also has a calm teaching approach.

DeeAnn W