New at CYM this fall: Group Piano Classes!

Now enrolling!

We are thrilled to announce new sections of group piano designed for beginners! Starting this fall, Music Makers at the Keyboard will be offered in our Sewickley and Wexford locations. This Musikgarten curriculum is designed to capitalize on the dynamic of a group environment to instill music skills that are applied to the piano. A three year method, Music Makers at the Keyboard focuses on singing, movement, ensemble, writing, notation games, and more, in a fun group setting. Concepts are applied to the piano from day one, resulting in fluid sight reading, creative improvisation, composition, ensemble playing, and performance.

Sign your child up to learn in an engaging environment with certified Musikgarten instructors! Classes are for beginners ages 7-9, and will be offered in Wexford on Saturdays at 1:30, and Sewickley on Mondays at 5:30, and Tuesdays at 4:30.

For more information about these classes, contact Amy Rucker: arucker@youngmusicians.org.

Spaces are limited, so visit CYM today!

CYM Teachers Invest in Musikgarten Training

As you may have read in the last few days, the Center for Young Musicians hosted a National Teacher Training Workshop for Musikgarten. Two of our teachers enrolled for this training, earning certification in the Music Makers at the Keyboard curriculum!

Ms. Grace, piano faculty, and Mr. Ryan, cello and piano faculty, attended the 17-hour training, held at our Sewickley location, along with four teachers from the northeast region of United States. Our CYM teachers are excited to be offering the first Music Makers at the Keyboard classes, along with Ms. Amy, this year at CYM!

 

Ms. Grace said about the training: “The Music Makers at the Keyboard training was a positive, whirlwind of a weekend! The training was full of hands-on experience, getting useful information on how children develop and learn, and being surrounded by other teachers who are so passionate about providing quality music education.”

 

Mr. Ryan made this observation about the Musikgarten philosophy, which takes children on a pathway to music literacy: “Musikgarten’s approach first connects students to the instinctive, singing flow at the center of all artistic expression– and maintains this focus as they progress through practical piano skills. Through the three-year program, students learn music from the inside outward, with the piano merely a simple extension of their natural, singing selves.”

Congratulations on your certifications, Mr. Ryan and Ms. Grace!

Click here to register your child for one of these group piano classes! And get ready to see your child experience deep learning and joyful music making at the piano!

 

New Research Points to the Simplicity and Necessity of Child’s Play

You don’t have to look too far to find the latest research on children and the necessity of play. More and more studies are showing that it is play, and not early reading, early math, or memorizing facts, that the young child needs for healthy and natural development. We see more and more that this play is crucial, not just for the immediacy of the moment in childhood, or the joy that it brings, but for the feeding of the brain in ways that translate into healthy, well-adjusted adults.

Two articles that came out within months of each other proved to have significant overlap. One was about having too many toys. With multiple toys to explore, the child stays in exploration mode and rarely makes it to the creative thinking and imaginative play side of the toys. So the fewer, and simpler, the toys, the better. In the other research article, the author shows us that play, including recess (which is often missing in our U.S. schools and pre-schools) boosts mental and physical health, develops the executive function of the brain, and leads to improvements in academic performance, concentration, and behavior. These are well-written articles, very much worth the read:

Read the article on PLAY here!               Read the article on TOYS here!

And know that here at CYM, we are aware of the necessity of play, including exploration and creative thinking. In our early childhood music classes, the emphasis is on getting the child started and then stepping back, and allowing the child to discover and to create on their own. We may set the stage for an activity, but it is the children who take it to the next level, using their creative thinking and storytelling abilities to improvise! Our trained teachers know even when handing out instruments such as our wooden rhythm sticks that we will allow the child time to explore, and to come up with ways to play and use the sticks, and it isn’t until that urge for creative play is satisfied, or at least begins to wane, that the teacher then directs the activity, bringing the sticks to their intended use for the musical concept in the lesson. Which, by the way, the children are ready for, because they had that opportunity to play and try their own ideas, first!

Check out our new line-up of early childhood music classes today.

We will help your family PLAY!

CYM Hosts First National Teacher Training for Musikgarten

This past weekend, teachers attended the Pittsburgh area’s first National Teacher Training for the Musikgarten curriculum. Group piano for beginners was the focus in this 17-hour workshop, held at the Center for Young Musicians in Sewickley, PA. Teachers from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts registered for this hands-on workshop, taught by our own faculty member, Amy Rucker.

Amy has been leading national teacher training workshops for Musikgarten since 2004. She has taught in Vancouver, New Jersey, North Carolina, Dallas, and Maryland, to name a few. This was the first time a Musikgarten workshop was held in Pittsburgh, and CYM staff is hopeful it is the first of many more to come!

Having in-person trainings allows for the highly-valued opportunity of personally connecting teachers with the beautiful, purposeful, child-centered curricula of Musikgarten. We at CYM respect what Musikgarten has to offer children everywhere- and bringing teachers together to learn the art of teaching music to young children gives this unique teaching philosophy the personal dissemination it truly requires. Musikgarten is a teaching method that lives in the hands of those who bring it to their families. Learning the method, then, is best achieved in connection with others who do the same.

So we were honored to be used this summer as a Musikgarten destination, and hope to provide more levels of training in the future!

Pictured here, are the newly certified teachers in Musikgarten’s Music Makers at the Keyboard, with Mrs. Rucker, second from the left, and CYM’s Mr. Ryan and Ms. Grace on the right! Congratulations, all!

Which animal has the best hearing in the world?!

Believe it or not, biologists and entomologists around the world have found that moths have the best hearing in the world!

But what about the human ear? Let’s look at the facts about our fascinating sense of hearing, and CYM’s philosophy of developing listening skills through music:

CYM Spotlight: Manus McGinnis and Hafsah Shahzad: Journey to the Ambassador Certificate

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

~Zig Ziglar

Setting goals is one of the most important steps to success and to expanding our abilities as musicians. Without a defined goal, even the most diligent person will fall short of the accomplishments awaiting them. At CYM there are established goals, including three levels of certification, open to all students.

Recently, Manus and Hafsah fulfilled a major requirement for the Ambassador level of the Young Artist Certificate Program. Each presented a recital as partial fulfillment of this second level of the Young Artist Program. As mentioned in an earlier post about the Ambassador Certificate, not only do the students perform three or four pieces of advanced literature, but they also present a brief lecture on each composer and composition.

Here’s a little background on each of these students and a glimpse of their motivation in preparing for this goal. (If you missed it, we previously highlighted the other student involved in this presentation, Réka Götz – read it here!)

Manus, whose performance on July 19th fulfilled the final requirement for certification, was awarded the Ambassador Certificate following the program.

He has played piano for 12 years, all at CYM, first with Ms. Sonia and now Ms. Grace. He earned a Good Citizen Award in 2017, and the Young Artists Scholar award in 2018. Manus prepared four pieces for the Ambassador event, and invited several friends to hear his work and listen to the performances of his colleagues, Hafsah and Réka. Manus especially enjoyed learning Vince Guaraldi’s Linus and Lucy as well as Pizza Time from the Spider-man video game. Regarding his practice routines, Manus said that he particularly enjoys practicing for performances when his dogs stretch out next to the piano and participate. Congratulations, Manus!

Hafsah has taken piano at CYM for 11 years. This year she will be starting her third year with Ms. Grace. Drawn to big and dramatic piano pieces, Hafsah loves to dig into Romantic era repertoire. She loves lush passages and minor modes. For those reasons, Hafsah was very motivated to learn the Brahms Rhapsody in G minor. Brahms embodies all the things she loves about playing the piano and being a musician. Hafsah has also played the flute, and is interested in attending medical school after she graduates. Congratulations, Hafsah!

Hats off to all three students and their teacher, Ms. Grace!

CYM Summer Choir Presentation

On Tuesday night, our CYM Summer Choir gave a performance, demonstrating a sampling of what was learned over the summer. Having only met eight times, the children were eager to present their hard work to the parents, who were delighted and amazed at all that had been accomplished.

The program began with a demonstration of vocal exercises and rounds, followed by a selection of songs. Students had chosen different “poses” for each piece, and one song was even accompanied by percussion instruments!

Kristin Butler, parent of Abigail said: “It was a great show! We loved hearing their voices. Thank you for your time with them, sharing your gifts, and especially your patience!”

During the reception, Mrs. Rucker presented a piano recital of of Irish and American folk songs arranged for piano solo! Thank you to all the parents and family members who came to support these young singers.

Watch for future opportunities for a CYM choir!

Book Recitals Cap Off a Great Month at CYM

Two recitals held recently at CYM showcased the artistry and accomplishments of two of our students!

In Suzuki piano, we had Hanna Singhi’s Suzuki Piano Book 3 Recital. Hanna performed on CYM’s historic Steinway Concert Grand for her friends and family on Saturday, July 27 at our Sewickley location. Hanna, who studies with Ms. Simmi, played all the pieces in Suzuki Piano Book 3 beautifully, and is now excited to start working on her duet piece for the fall!

Congratulations, Hanna!

\

 

 

In Suzuki Strings, we celebrate the accomplishments of Alexa Bronkaj, who gave her Book 5 graduation recital on Thursday, July 25 in Sewickley.  She was accompanied by Jake Nathanson.  Alexa performed the entire Concerto in g minor by Vivaldi, and a few other selections from Book 5. Congratulations to Alexa, and teacher Ms. Leah!

Early Childhood Music Classes: More Than Just Fun and Games!

Because there is FUN, and there are some GAMES….but why stop there?

If you are going to invest in music for your young child, then you will want to be sure there is more to it than just fun and games. But you might not know what that “more” is! That’s OK, most people don’t! After all, what could be taking place in a class of toddlers? Sounds pretty much like a recipe for mayhem, amirite?

Thankfully, the research has been going on for decades regarding young children and music, and we know a lot about what that early childhood music and movement class should look like. Much of what we do in the early years at the Center for Young Musicians is driven by the work of Dr. Lorna Heyge, who wrote one of the first childhood music programs in the United States. Working in Germany in the 1970s, she and other music educators pulled together the best of Kodaly, Orff, Suzuki, Jacques-Dalcroze, and others, to build a comprehensive music program designed to create lifelong lovers of music!  More recent studies in the neurological development of children and music language acquisition have informed our work as ECM educators, and Musikgarten has put this all together to create an up-to-date, essential program for early learning.

So it’s OK- we know what to do, and we do it well. Our music classes for little ones include:

  • Active, thoughtful participation
  • Focused Listening
  • Steady Beat Development
  • Purposeful Movement
  • Language Learning
  • Singing
  • Instruments and Ensembles…..and more!

Our lessons are designed to meet the needs of your growing child at every stage of their development, laying a foundation for success in future instrumental study!

And the fun and the games are all included; and OK, maybe a little mayhem here and there.

For a good time, visit www.youngmusicians.org

 

CYM Spotlight: Réka Götz and her Journey to the Ambassador Young Artist Certificate

When Réka was just a baby, she listened to music all the time. She heard music in the car, watched Baby Einstein, took early childhood music and movement classes with her mom, and listened to her Hungarian great grandmother sing as she worked around the house! Fast forward just a few short years, and you’ll find a poised young lady of 16 years who loves the arts, and embodies all that we strive for here at CYM.

This past weekend, Réka fulfilled a major requirement for the Ambassador level of the Young Artist Certificate Program. She presented a recital, along with two other students, as partial fulfillment of this second level of the Young Artist Program. As mentioned in an earlier post about the Ambassador Certificate, not only do the students perform three or four pieces of advanced literature, but they also present a brief lecture on each composer and composition.

Just how did Réka manage to take this pathway to such a high level of musicality? A junior at Allegheny Senior High School, Réka has been studying piano at CYM for 11 years. She studied first with Miss Rowena, then Miss Sonia, and currently studies with Ms. Grace. She also participated in the American Legends group classes, from which she has made lifelong friends! Réka also studied cello, and played in the school orchestra for six years. Enriching experiences with her family continually provide Réka with a well-rounded education in the arts: her grandmother has been taking her to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since Réka was in elementary school.

Réka’s performance included two Preludes by Gershwin, and the Prelude in B minor by Rachmaninoff. Of her pieces, Réka says the Rachmaninoff is her favorite because: “I can play my heart out, it’s pretty, and like a roller coaster!”

Ms. Grace, Hafsah, Réka, Manus

Réka, pictured here in the middle of the three three performers, has a few more requirements to complete to receive the Young Artist Certificate for the Ambassador level. Stay tuned for her progress through the coming year!

Congratulations, Réka, and Ms. Grace!

The Center for Young Musicians