Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Study with Michael, as opposed to another teacher... ABOUT MICHAEL AND HIS TEACHING

(Above is a picture of my studio which conveys the colorful, arty atmosphere my students experience. The text below details the unique benefits of my teaching.)

About me, my background and experience...
I am an experienced, college educated, scholarly, flexible and patient teacher, writer, artist, composer and professional musician. My undergrad degree is in music education, from Butler University, known as the "Harvard of the Midwest." I have masters work from IU and Butler in music, literature/drama and art. My teaching experience includes both private and class/group instruction in a variety of music and arts-oriented settings and subjects. It has taken place over the course of nearly three decades and has included extensive work with all ages, 6-100.

What sorts of instruction do I provide? 
I provide private, individual instruction in piano, voice, guitar, guitar satellite instruments (such as banjitar, mandolin and ukes), music theory, lyrics and composition/songwriting. I also offer life coaching, both by itself and as an adjunct to musical instruction.

What ages and ability levels do I teach?
I teach children, adults and senior citizens and accept each student at their particular age, ability level, etc. No matter what, I provide structure, organization, and guidance. In all, I encourage daily practice, patience with the self, and the realization that learning is a process. I try to monitor progress and adjust as we go, encouraging students to "enjoy the process."

What do I specialize in?
I specialize in designing a unique, structured, personalized course of study for each student, in one or several subjects. I bring my lifelong experience in creating (books/music/art), performing, teaching, administrating and designing music/arts curricula for all ages to my teaching. I am good at problem solving, coming up with ideas/new approaches, setting goals, illustrating with effective metaphors, giving assignments, etc. The above is what makes my instruction different, hard to find, and valuable.

When do I teach and where?
I teach Mondays and Tuesdays (at 8:00pm and 8:30pm) and Wednesdays (at 8:15pm and 8:45pm), except for when there is a "fifth day."   Possibilities include: half hour weekly lessons, hour long weekly lessons, and hour long monster sessions, which typically are every other week or monthly (for those who have trouble getting to my studio weekly).  My studio is located at the Canterbury Condominiums, in a safe, convenient, Northside neighborhood (near 86th and Meridian and close to St. Vincent Hospital).

Can I afford lessons with Michael, and are they a good value?

Pricing and sliding scale...
(and see below that for more flexibility)

1/2 hr wkly lesson: $70  per mo  ($50-$70 sliding scale)
1 hr wkly lesson:    $140 per mo ($100-$140 sliding scale)
1x mo 2hr lesson:  $70   per mo ($50-$70 sliding scale) 
2x mo 2hr lesson:  $140 per mo ($100-$140 sliding scale)

Further flexibility... 
I know folks are struggling right now.  So, if my sliding scale doesn't fit your budget, I'll do my best to help you.  Pay the full amount (or more) if you're able, utilize the sliding scale if you need to (getting as close to the full amount as you can), or ask for further flexibility, if need be.

Sticking with you in hard times...
Whatever amount we choose, if things get tight, let me know. I'd rather renegotiate, than lose you as a student. We can adjust your monthly payment down for a while, then adjust it back up, if things improve.

What about parking, studio entrance, etc.?
Well, I used to live and teach in the very cool, historic, downtown Admiral building, and parking was a bit of a challenge.  Now that I am on the Northside, parking is quite safe and easy.  You can park right outside my condo entrance and walk right up to my door.  

What will my first session be like?
At your first lesson, we’ll chat, get to know each other, talk about your goals, discuss the subjects you wish to study, etc.  I may or may not hear you sing or play.  I’ll have you read through the studio policies at the end of our first session, and if you are in agreement with these and feel like we are on the right track for you, please write a check for the rest of the month.  If you’re not sure, you may just write a check for the first lesson and go away and think about things for a week.  Usually, though, folks seem sure, write their check for the month, and we are off on our journey together! :)  Your first assignment will be a To Do and a To Gather list, which I will provide to you, along with a packet for each subject you are to study.


As you can see above, I'm a friendly guy! I look forward to being your new teacher! :)

Dear potential students: 

Well, you've found the nicest, most versatile, scholarly, organized, flexible and patient teacher in town! (Wink.  Gotta toot my own horn just a little!)  You can study one subject or several in my studio.  So, already, you're getting the best value.  I'll do all I can to make your study affordable and do-able.  And, since I see my work as not just my my livelihood, but also an outreach to community, if you'll work hard, I'll stick with you (even if times in your life get tough)!  I look forward to hearing from you, meeting you, and beginning our lesson process together.  Please read carefully the policies and info below, so we can determine if we are a student/teacher match.  Ty for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you! 

Michael :)


Answering your questions and providing important details

About us as student and teacher...
I do ask some things of my students (see below), but also offer many things that other teachers often do not. I do apologize if in some ways my policies seem strict, but over the years it has become apparent that certain rules are needed for the smooth and effective running of my studio. 
What if you must miss your lesson or you're running late?
Please call me if you can't come to a lesson (even if it's last minute) or you are running late. It really helps me to know what's going on.
How is payment to be made and what about the first lesson?
Your payment is due in advance for the month at the first lesson (or monster session) of each month.  Please place your check or cash under one of the paperweights on my living room coffee table.  If you bring cash, an envelope with your name on it is advised. 
Am I responsible for payment if I miss? What about make-ups?
Officially, the policy is that there are not makeups.  I have tried doing makeups in the past, but this is too complex and does not work well.  Students end up being cavalier about missing, I am run ragged with constant rescheduling, and I am not able to depend upon my income.  Your teacher must keep a roof over his head, if he wishes to continue teaching! :) 

So, the best way to think of your lessons is that you have a monthly in advance bill tailored to your budget, and you come as often as you can.  Lessons are a process.  Some months will be better than others in terms of attendance.  That is just how it is with lessons.  
If you cancel (or miss due to illness), please put your check in the mail. I might occasionally call to see if you'd like a makeup and sometimes I may just give you extra time, but you should not expect this.  College quality instruction, the excellent education and experience of your teacher, reasonable/flexible pricing, a course of study designed just for you, the possibility of multi-subject study, a scholarly but flexible approach... these more than compensate for payment when you miss.
What is the illness policy?
If you (or anyone coming with you) are not 100% well (i.e. sniffle/sneeze/cough free and finished with all courses of antibiotic), you are to cancel your lesson and you are still responsible for payment.  Again, your amount is tailored to your budget, you may get extra time, I might possibly call for a makeup, and there are many unusual compensations here in my studio.  Lessons are a process. It all comes out in the wash.
What if you want another lesson time or need to stop lessons?
Please don't be afraid to call me. I'm always nice! Choosing another lesson time is often possible. If you need to stop, just let me know.

What about refunds?
If you cease taking lessons in the middle of the month, there is not a refund for the remainder of that month. 

Is there a contract?
There is not a contract for lessons, and you may stop at any time. However, please tell me before the next month begins, or be resigned that you owe for the new month. This is only fair to your teacher, who must keep a roof over his head! :)
Thank you for your time and effort in reading these policies.  I appreciate greatly your compliance, since they are important to the smooth running of the studio and my ability to continue with teaching.  I look forward to our continued association as teacher and student.

-Michael :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Hello Dear Friends and Viewers,

I am sorry I have been so absent. I've been rather busy and engaged with my life. Just a short note to let you know I am well, and to extend good thoughts and prayers to you for happiness, creativity, and an abundance of all good things in each of your lives.

It has been an unusual year for me. The Universe, since about last November has made it clear to me that this is a time in which I am to reformulate my life and mode of living, including the areas of finances, health, spirituality, schedule, inner peace, balance, rest... in short, in just about all ways. I have been working on all of these things, making changes and adjustments (sometimes almost daily) since last November (since the Universe won't stop making it clear that this is to occur!)

It is as though something big is going to happen in my life or in the world, and I need to be ready and in the proper "mode" when it does. It also feels as though I am getting older, and I am preparing/being prepared for the long 20 year stretch to retirement (if I ever do get to retire... lol... like many self employed people, it's difficult to save for this milestone in human life.)

The latest change includes a reduction in the number of hours spent performing and in teaching/coaching each week. I am still doing both, but the reduction will reduce stress in my life significantly. Also, my schedule is now the same each day. When I can truly stick to my schedule (it's only default mode) I get up, work, nap, recreate, create, teach/perform, have time with my "boo" and doggie, eat, and go to sleep at the same time each day. I need this consistency (as well as the flexibility of realizing the schedule is just default mode) each day.

I do feel all these changes (both those described in the paragraph above, and those which have been made as I have gone through this phase of change over the course of the last year) have been most beneficial and instructive to me as a human being, soul, artist, teacher, musician, writer, recording artist, etc... beneficial to all the aspects of me, and to me as a whole.

I tend to define myself by what I do, though I know this is not me in totality. I enjoy doing so many things which hopefully bless others. I have accepted that I have many different aspects, some of them seemingly disparate. But it seems now I am being instructed to slow down, rest, and be content with the many things I have created and done in life. I feel guided to make sure that I am peaceful, balanced and rested at all times. I am being "encouraged" to just "be."
I think just letting go, going slowly and quietly, accepting myself (and all my aspects and limitations) may be the message of this year, and its insistence that I find a more restful, balanced mode of living.

It does not matter what others think, or what the "old push push push Michael" would think.

From now on:

  • I go slowly and quietly at all times.

  • I have a great "schedule" but I rest till I am rested, create when it feels right, and open my body, mind and spirit to ever increasing peace and balance.

  • I make constant adjustments to my "schedule" each day, and it's ok... Its just default mode anyway. (I think I just made a little poem... I like it!... lol).

  • I constantly prioritize and re-prioritize on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis, so that I am able to deal with all that "needs doing" without driving myself crazy. I use this wonderful tool, the computer, to assist me. I am so grateful that I have devised a series of "schedule files" for the day, week, etc to help me stay organized. You all should see them. They would make my super-organized father very proud. My weekly schedule is even color-coded, indicating various aspects of my life (the body, work, creating, teaching and performing, etc) so that I can see at a glance if I am in balance.

  • I thank the Universe for the idea of a "computer pad" and handwritten pad by my bedside, which both now help me to just jot things down when I am worried about something, or have an inspiration in the middle of the night. Jotting things down is so much better than lying awake worrying or getting up and working on something in the middle of sleep time. So sorry, muse, but balance and rest is taking priority. I was so faithful to you, dear muse, when I was younger... Now, I am older and must rest! ("I grow old, I grow old... I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled!")

  • I open to receive more wonderful ideas like the above "pads." This year (and every year) should be about opening to, receiving, and implementing guidance from the Universe/our Higher Self.

  • I do what I can do each day... and not more.

  • If I should die "before I wake," it's ok... I've had a good long run, did and created many things, all of which expressed myself and hopefully helped others. If I don't finish all creative projects, it's ok... Since we are all connected, just the act of working on them, the intention of doing and expressing something good, helped others and sent good energy out into the world.

  • I accept and integrate all aspects of me, disparate as they might seem to the world. I am glad I am multi-faceted. So many Michaels. This is good.

  • My life must fit me, if I am to be at peace, healthy, happy, creative, productive, etc. (And I must be these things... we all must if we are not to be in a state of dis-ease). I am blessed and happy.

  • I continue to believe that I can manifest abundantly whatever good, loving thing I can dream of. Thank you, God (who according to my current understanding is in all things and IS all things!... No separation... God in the grass, my brother and sister... It's all God... all one big God...There is ONLY love or the absence of love).

  • I choose love and light.

  • I choose and choose again every day, every minute.

I send love and light to each of you. As Garrison Keillor would say, "Be happy, do good work, and keep in touch."

-Michael :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Dear Readers,

I just composed a "letter to my students" for use in the packet I give to my students when they begin lessons with me. This packet now contains this new letter, plus policies, and a schedule of times we will have lessons (and won't). Thought my blog readers might like to see the letter, since it contains info about me and about my teaching. I think it has some good advice for all students and an interesting outlook for teachers to consider as well.

Hope you all are well and happy.



from Michael D. Purvis, BME

Dear Students,

This letter is written in an attempt to tell you a little about myself, since I am your new teacher. In addition, it will give you a good idea about what the possibilities are for you in regards to instruction here in my studio. Finally, it addresses how you might make the most of your learning experience.

About me, your teacher:

My education and related experience…
My education includes a Bachelor of Music Education from Butler University and masters work from Butler and IU in literature, art and music. During the course of my career, I have taught music in public school and private study settings, performed extensively as a professional musician, lectured on music and the arts for activity professional certification courses and The Indiana Alzheimer’s Association, and created arts programming for the elderly in all elder settings. I have, as well, administrated and designed curricula for a children’s theatre, implemented a major Eli Lilly grant involving children and theatre, worked with children with special needs for Very Special Arts, produced, written and directed an educational television show for cable TV, directed various children’s and adult choirs, and acted and music-directed for community theatre.

My creative life…
Since my college graduation, over 20 years ago, I have taught many students, ages 6 – 100, in a variety of subjects in music and the arts. I have, as well, performed over 6,000 professional musical performances for elders living in various settings. Finally, I’ve written (and often illustrated) many books for children, youths, young adults, adults and senior citizens in various genres, including: fiction, poetry, self-help, and home-study instruction. In many instances, I’ve created audio and video versions of my writings. To see these offerings, visit my websites: Music-Outreach.com, Abundantchange.com, and PlaySingNDream.com.

About my studio and specifics about my teaching:

About my studio…
When one enters my home and studio, it is evident that I love to do many things. There are traces of my loves wherever one looks: on the walls and floor, in every nook and cranny. In my home and studio, I currently teach, write, paint, craft, illustrate, make recordings and films, publish my creations, and create web-sites. Somehow, I manage to do all of this in limited space. If you have to step over an easle, computer, loom, or microphone to get to the piano bench, I do apologize in advance. (I try my best to keep it all organized and artfully arranged as possible, but it is a bit cramped. Hopefully, all that aside, it’s an inspiring place for you to receive instruction!)

Specifics about my teaching…
I instruct students in guitar, piano, voice, music composition, and music theory. I also incorporate life coaching, when appropriate. I enjoy sharing expertise and helping others to gain knowledge and fulfillment. I sometimes teach just one thing to a given student. Often, to meet a student’s goals, I craft a course of study which includes several things. I utilize my background, experience, and education (which includes teaching, literature, music, art and drama) to create a special individualized curriculum for each of my students. In short, I help persons of various ages get where they want to go… personally, creatively and professionally.

What sort of students come to my studio, and what do they hope to learn?...
If they are very young, my students come to me to begin their experience with the arts. If they are a young adult, they are often trying to sharpen their skills and break into a career in the arts where they will be performing on the stage, performing music, writing, or composing. (Sometimes it’s all of these!) If someone comes to me in middle or old age, it is often because they are on a sort of personal quest to express or fulfill themselves. They have reached a certain age and find that something is “missing.” Studying an instrument or the voice is often just the ticket to help them find that sense of personal fulfillment or expression they feel they are lacking.

How can you make the most of your learning experience?...

Whatever your reason for entering my studio, I welcome you…
Together, we will work hard to help you achieve your dream. Remember, though… it’s a process. You came here with a goal… but enjoy the process. While you are in the midst of your process, you are already doing what you came here to do! It’s not, “Gosh, when will I ever learn to play guitar/piano/sing as well as I had hoped?!?” Instead, it’s, “Hooray! I’m doing what I came here to do! I’m enjoying this!”

Work steadily, daily, in the organized structure I provide…
But also help me adjust that structure and your assignments (if needed) by communicating often about your progress, feelings, disappointments, and successes. If there is special music or a special assignment that you want to incorporate into your practice, let’s find it together. That way you will have special material which motivates you. This can be key in helping you to enjoy your study and keep up your momentum.

Finally, remember that daily practice is the key to success…
Make practice a part of your daily life, even if some days you can only do a few minutes. Just as lunch, sleep, and teeth brushing are a part of your routine, so is practice! Daily practice, as opposed to intermittent practice, will help you to experience what I call “the music fairies.” If you practice each day, while you sleep at night, the music fairies will come and wave a magic wand over you. (This sounds goofy, but hear me out.) Then, when you practice the next day, all of a sudden that thing you have been struggling with will be magically better! (It’s sort of like the tooth fairy, only better!).

If you practice daily, your progress and your joy will be increased…
Remember, “Slow and steady wins the race.” So get as close to daily practice as you can. Doing something every day is preferable to a marathon practice just before your lesson (although, FYI, the marathon is better than no practice at all! )


Ok, that’s enough for now… Please take a look at the policies and schedule attached. I look forward to working with you.

Michael :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Introduction, Contents, Slideshows by Michael

Welcome, Dear Viewer! :)

In this first blog entry...
there are slideshows of my art and photographs for you to enjoy.

In the second entry...
there are videos of me playing and singing music for you.

In the third entry...
you will find audio recordings of my original music, written, orchestrated and performed by myself (except for the last piece, which was spontaneously composed by myself and my friend Ani Ahava, and is performed by both of us.)

Below that, in the fourth entry...
you will find my updated, latest blog entry with insights, musings, and many links to my pages and creations (in book, CD, and video formats).

So glad you stopped by. Please add me to your favorites and visit often!

Michael :)

Music Videos By Michael

Original Music Written and Performed by Michael