Sign Up for Fall Lessons 2020

Sign Up for Fall Lessons 2020

Ready to Book Now?

If you’re ready to book a lesson right now, you can visit our Loft Schedule page to check for available lesson times and fill out the online form to request a day and time. (You have to scroll down to below the calendar to see the form.)

Or you can write directly to Kirsten Livingston at to get more details and/or request a time to speak with her personally to get more information about packages.

Find Out More About Voice or Piano Lessons at The Loft

If you want to know more about what happens during a private voice or piano lesson, you can visit those particular pages to read more and see “Inside the Lesson” videos.

Find Out More About the Core Curriculum With Tiny Books

We are very pleased to now be offering our own in-house Core Curriculum that includes instruction through the Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments by Sandy Connolly. You can find out more about our Core Curriculum here.

Find Out About Rates & Packages

Our new Fall 2020 rates and packages are now available here.

Find Out How We Are Keeping Our Space Safe for You During COVID-19

You can visit this post to see all the changes we have made so everyone can enjoy in-person lessons in our Madison studio.


The Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments

What Are the Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments?

by Sandy Connolly

Tiny Books of Musical Rudiments

Students of Music Need Music Theory

There’s a difference between a person who can recite a poem in a language other than English, and a person who can carry on a conversation in that language. Learning music theory (reading, writing, and musical concepts) enables musicians to have conversations, i.e., make music, with any other musician in the world. I am way more interested in teaching people (of any age or skill) how to make music with other musicians than I am with filling up my recital with students who can play one or two well-executed pieces.

After imposing several music theory curricula on my students over the years, I was not happy with the results. Students struggled to understand basic concepts (or even care about them) because the concepts were not being immediately applied in either their curriculum or repertoire. Most of the theory lessons I could find didn’t teach concepts in an order that made any sense with what students need to know to perform the popular music of today. Singers especially were getting left behind.

“White Board Lessons”

Out of desperation, I developed a series of what I call “White Board Lessons” that are now used during lessons with every age and every skill level, beginner to advanced. They are five-minute theory lessons taught during the weekly lesson to explain whatever concept is needed for the moment. Whether it is knowing what key you’re singing in, spelling a major scale, constructing a triad, or learning how to draw a quarter note, the concept has to be taught and mastered by the student within five minutes, or it takes up too much of the lesson. Students like to actually sing or play during their lessons and not just talk about it. Ha!

Tiny Books Were Born

Out of a long series of events that included the beginning of a pandemic (making white board lessons difficult on Zoom), a bunch of musicians staying at my house for six weeks, and my daughter Abigail Connolly creating her own series of zines, the idea of Tiny Books was born. I needed to get my Whiteboard Lessons out there, and the Tiny Books seemed to be a fun and effective format to accomplish that.

Tiny Books Work with Core Curriculum of Musical Rudiments

While each Tiny Book is a quick read, they introduce concepts that will be immediately applied in the Core Curriculum that I am also writing. Read more about the Crescendo Music System’s Core Curriculum here.

Three of 12 Levels Are Complete & Tested

At this writing, the Primer Level, and Levels One & Two are written and have been vetted by current students with rave reviews. Level Three books will be out shortly, and I have a total of twelve levels in my head to get on paper.

You can click on the example book covers below to see more detail about what you would be mastering at each level.

Take Piano & Voice Lessons This Summer

Take piano and voice lessons this summer

Crescendo Music Studio is excited to have so many students participating in its Summer Voice and Piano Lessons program and would like to announce a new incentive program for those who are still planning their summer.

Enjoy 8 lessons with our best teacher – Sandy Connolly –
during the months of July and August and receive free lesson materials (valued
at $15.00) as well as two audience passes to our increasingly popular
“sessions” artist den concert series performances (a value of $20.00). Tuition
for the eight lessons is $400.00 and arrangements can be made to split the cost
into two easy payments at the beginning of July and again in August.

Don’t delay any further – while we strive to make summer
lessons convenient for our students, the popularity of our program is causing
our calendar to fill up quickly. Be sure to join us quickly so as to guarantee
the best dates and times for your schedule!

Summer Voice & Piano Lessons 2019

Summer Voice & Piano 2019 Lessons

Eight Lesson Package Deal

Choose any eight dates between July 1 and August 31 on any weekday.

  1. Existing students may keep their current day and time if they wish.
  2. Students wishing to receive two lessons in a given week are welcome to do so.
  3. Tuition for eight classes is $400.00 and arrangements can be made to split the cost into two easy payments at the beginning of July and again in August.
  4. Included in tuition payments are: free participation in The Groove: Open Mic for Teens and Sessions and all materials. (A $35 value.)

A La Carte & Drop in Rate Schedule (subject to availability)

  • 30 Minute lesson – $55.00
  • Materials – $15.00
  • Crescendo Music Loft Groove (Open Mic for Teens) & Sessions – $10.00 each

Cancellation and Make up Lesson policy – We understand that “life happens” – especially during the summer months. Kindly provide us with a minimum of 24 hours cancellation notice for a given lesson date, and we will gladly work with you to reschedule the student’s class before the end of the summer session (August 31 2019) without penalty.

Music Theory Lessons

Music Theory Instruction

HA! Okay – if you clicked on this… then you must already be serious. Who cares about music theory? Well, every musician eventually has to care about it, and one of the things I do at Crescendo Music Loft is make it fun and immediately applicable. For example, voice students learn interval identification, and piano students learn key signatures and chord construction. If you play an instrument that I don’t play, I can still help you with ear training and learning how music is organized. It’s the same for every instrument.

Every high school student who has worked through my entire course has scored 5 out of 5 on their AP Music Theory test, and you can study with me and take the test outside of having any coursework at school.

I am in the process of preparing one student in particular for her AP Music Theory test next year, and here are some of the texts I sent her every day to help her learn chord analysis:


Piano Lessons

Study Piano with Sandy Connolly

Crescendo Music System for piano is a teaching method designed by instructor Sandy Connolly to engage and challenge beginner and intermediate level piano students in the development of fundamental skills required to perform any style of music. Students as young as four years of age and up are welcome in this curriculum as are teens and adults. Studies in music reading, scales, proper technique, ear training along with focus on a repertoire chosen in the style of music the student wishes to learn are developed with arrangements either purchased or written by ourselves specifically for each pianist’s level of performance.

Your instructor:


The studio is in Madison, Connecticut just off of I-95 Exit 59 behind The Red Tomato and Friends & Company at 5B Old Post Road (2nd floor) Madison Ct.

Voice Lessons

Take Voice Lessons with Sandy Connolly

Let us help you maximize the expression of your talent and skills and experience the many joys of singing! All skill levels from beginner through amateur and into professional are welcome at CML. We will assist the student in strengthening your voice, breathing correctly, practicing good pitch and intonation, and engaging in artistic expression with an audience. Enjoy learning any song title and genre you want to sing and when ready, we will assist you in performing on the local music scene. Live video recording as well as photographic resources are available at CML for the student who wishes to assemble a promo package.

Goals for All Voice Students

To be a great singer, you must master the following:

  • Accurate pitch
  • Breath control
  • Pleasing vowel formation
  • Facility in chest, middle, & head registers
  • Legato phrasing
  • Clear diction
  • Balanced posture
  • Accurate rhythm & melodies

But most importantly, you need engaging interpretation that expresses your personal musical message.

Sandy has exercises and instruction to help you develop these goals and is able to assist the student in learn how to engage with an audience. She will work tirelessly with you to help develop a body of work that:

  • Is particularly suited to your voice
  • Is in a style that you enjoy
  • Helps you express the message you bring to the stage

What Sets Sandy Apart as an Instructor

What sets Sandy apart are the personal connections she has with many of the local venues and musicians. Sandy runs Tuesday Night Music Club each week, Sessions artists’ den once a month, both at Crescendo Music Loft, as well as open mics in Guilford, Madison, and West Haven where she can help you network and gig with other musicians. Sandy also hosts The Groove Open Mic for Teens at Crescendo Music Loft. Once you have some repertoire that is “street worthy,” she will assist you in getting ready for an open mic performance and introduce you to the live music scene on the shoreline.

The studio is in Madison, Connecticut just off of I-95 Exit 59 behind The Red Tomato and Friends & Company at 5B Old Post Road (2nd floor) Madison Ct.