This weekly online violin class will play works from the “Music by Black Composers” collection developed by the Rachel Barton Pine Foundation. We are honored to feature this rich repertoire that is too often absent from music studies.
Violin students will meet one hour weekly via Zoom to prepare pieces for ensemble performance. The 5-week session will conclude with an online recital or recording. Classes also will feature discussion of Black composers and their significant contributions.
Rachel Barton Pine is an internationally acclaimed violin soloist. Her foundation works to advance awareness and appreciation of classical music. The “Music by Black Composers” project has collected 900 works by more than 350 composers of African descent from around the world. In 2018, it released the “MBC Violin Volume 1” book as the start of a supplemental curriculum for strings. The project website includes audio recordings and articles to learn more about artists like Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (pictured above), a British violinist, conductor and composer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and Jessie Montgomery, an American violinist and composer currently producing works for orchestras around the world.
This class is open to the public. All violin students studying Suzuki Book 2 and up or with comparable music experience are welcome. Music is a powerful tool for celebrating diversity and bridging differences. Please join us in this important conversation. Click here to contact Ms. Rochelle for more information.
Click here to register for the class, today. You can find the class under the “Summer Camps” registration window.Read the details >>
Have you seen our summer camp listing for Piano Jam? In case you are curious, which I hope you are, I’ll give you some history behind “the jam”.
My first experience with a multiple piano event was in 1976, when, to celebrate the country’s bicentennial, the National Guild of Piano Teachers organized a massive piano performance. I was selected to participate, and it was one of the highlights of my life. Eight pianos, sixteen students, and thirty-two hands. It was thrilling to say the least! These concerts continued to be popular through the seventies and eighties, and were called Monster Concerts.
If you look back in piano concert history you’ll see that in in 1953 there was a monster piano concert at Carnegie Hall, when Steinway and Sons celebrated its 100th anniversary. And one can go way back to the Moszkowski benefits in the 1920’s and the Gottschalk piano festivals in the 1860’s!
Concerts of this type have been talking place as long as there have been pianos! In the 1990s, electric pianos were being used to create varying sounds, and tracks, to enhance the performance. When I taught at SMU in Dallas, we held a Piano Jam showcasing Baldwin keyboards (and all the bells and whistles) within a piano teacher’s conference.
This summer at CYM, Ms. Simmi, Ms. Grace, and I will be working as a team to pull these worlds together. Because we will be online, everyone will be on their own pianos, so our Piano Jam will in that way be more like the concerts of old- acoustic (perhaps some keyboards here and there for color)! We have some excellent ensemble music for multiple pianists to play – we are looking for some late intermediate to advanced students to jump in… and jam!Read the details >>
Ben attends Pine-Richland High School where he is a senior. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, tenor sax, ukulele, banjo, and piano. Ben began his academic career at CYM in the “Babies” class when he was not even one year old, and has been continuously enrolled at CYM for eighteen years! Ben could read notes before he could recognize letters. After the Toddlers class, Ben began with Mark Marston as a Twinkler, then took up Classical Guitar in the Suzuki program. Aside from CYM, Marching Band was a favorite school activity. At school Ben was a member of the National Honor Society and Ski Club, Vice President of Math Club, and Founder and President of Bike Club. Ben volunteered his time playing guitar and helping with Sunday School at Temple Ohav Shalom. He played Soccer and Tennis for his school teams, and holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Ben will take his memories of CYM and his music with him to the University of Pittsburgh, where he plans to study Computer Science.
From Mr. Mark:
- I have had the honor of being Ben’s teacher for longer than I have with any student in my career so far. Ben was in one of my first Twinkler classes when I returned to CYM, and is now the first student I have taken all the way from early childhood music through all nine of the Suzuki guitar books. Ben has been part of just about every milestone of my time at CYM, including many performances on the Saturday Light Brigade radio program, the annual performances at Wintergarden, the first guitar Chamber Music classes, as well as many solo and ensemble recitals. I’ve also watched him work with other students at Suzuki Institutes and other workshops.
- If I had to pick one part of Ben’s character that has impressed me the most, it would be how he balances a strong desire to learn independently with a willingness to learn from others with an open mind. Ben has always polished music that I had assigned until he could perform it at a high level, but he also often surprised me with music he discovered on his own. And usually this music was very challenging! He also made his own arrangements of favorite songs, and branched out into jazz and piano on his own. Just this year, he had prepared to play in his school’s orchestra pit, which is always a challenging experience for a classical guitarist, but even more so as his part included switching between guitar, banjo, and ukulele. And he played them all well.
- I am having trouble imagining the time when I will not have regular lessons with Ben any longer, but I know that as he moves on to college and beyond, he will take the abilities he has developed and be able to excel in whatever paths his life takes. Ben, we all wish you well!
From Ben’s Mom:
- When I reflect on the 18 years I spent at CYM with Ben (and the time before that, with his older sister Julia), you might expect that what would come to mind would be the exciting times playing on the radio, at museums and Heinz Hall, and even in the White House. But that’s not it. Most memorable to me is the focused time I spent with my children, day in and day out, as their home teacher. Practicing at home. Practicing at their grandparents’ homes. Practicing in hotel rooms. Practicing at the beach and poolside. Practicing on ski resort balconies. Ben remembers practicing guitar in our moving car once, buckled into his booster seat. Julia practiced cello once at a highway rest stop. We didn’t have instruments with us, but for one week during a 200 Day Practice Challenge, we even “practiced” (reading music) on a cruise ship.
- Ben is our youngest. Parents of grown children know that childhood is fleeting. If not seized in the moment, those chances to spend time with our children at any particular stage will never come again. While our children learned music and perseverance at CYM, my parent takeaway is different. Just like parenthood itself, being home teacher for my children was a challenge. But the value of those precious moments spent together, every day over the many years, fighting and loving each other at the same time, learning to work together, is immeasurable. The days are long but the years are short, and I’m so glad we spent them making music together!
From Ms. Victoria:
- The long-term commitment of the Solomon Family has given vibrancy to the stated mission of our music school. Seeing the pictures shared here brings amazement and a few tears! and makes us reflect on why we still want to study and play music – to be ready to meaningfully connect with others, at any age, in any venue, for any reason. Ben (and Julia) you have done just that, with quiet yet steady affability, and we are so proud of you!
- Thank you for sticking with your lessons and practice, for the generosity with which you regularly shared through performance, and for the kindnesses you showed your teachers and fellow students. We are grateful. Congratulations Ben!
It is said that Dr. Suzuki lived with “a kind heart and unshakable belief in a brighter future.”
Mentors and role models are helping us so much in these difficult times – many kids find themselves more reliant on parent encouragement than they were earlier in the year and what a difference it makes to call out the positives!
Sharing what you notice about hoped-for changes taking place can quickly shift music practice (and family life) from burdensome to pleasant.
To that end, we hope that regardless the program, instrument, or class type in which you are enrolled at CYM, you take a minute to check out the free resources available from the Suzuki Association of the Americas. Just go to suzukiassociation.org , tap News, then Videos.
Material there includes 181 videos that provide tips for more effective practice, advice from teachers, interviews with students, inspiring reflections and performances, and reminders of why music study continues to be relevant,
One video titled “A Perspective On Parenting Teens” by Gabe Bolkoysky (under Child Development), discusses how important it is for parents to take a step back even if they might not like what they hear as their teen practices independently, and also, how playing chamber music offers kids a tremendous sense of connectedness and purpose. Students working on Chamber Music with Simmi, Ryan, or Leah, or those who might like to reach out to their teachers to form a new ensemble, may particularly enjoy this video.
Another piece titled, “Why Perform?” by Meredith Harris (under Motivation), discusses how performing often builds the confidence needed to perform well, and why sharing music helps students understand how they impact others. Students at CYM looking to bolster their performance experience will find opportunities through Department Groups and Serenades – watch for them on the Calendar and rsvp through Eventbrite – and if you have not yet considered CYM’s Good Citizen or Young Artist Certificate Programs, you may find that using these templates satisfies the desire to serve others through music and gain additional performance practice. Ask your teacher how you can get started.
On the SAA’s site you can also find videos of large ensemble performances, like the footage of participant guitarists at the 2014 Conference held in Minneapolis and a presentation of the Carnival of The Animals from the 2018 Conference.
Again, this is a free resource, relevant to any music student and their family, and we hope that it helps you create a joyful home practice environment.
Note: Many of the free videos are taken from former year’s content of the SAA program entitled “Parents and Partners Online Video Inspiration for Suzuki Parents and Teachers”. If you would like access to the most recently (2020) produced educational collection, at the discounted group rate of $12, please email firstname.lastname@example.orgRead the details >>
Violinists, Violists, and Pianists who study with Christopher Sforza can now connect with him, and one another, every Sunday from 4:00 – 5:00 during Open Studio, where students get practice support upon request. Mr. Chris’s studio members can join a unique Zoom meeting at any time during the hour, popping in to ask a question, tell a story, play something that they are working on, get help on an assignment from their week’s lesson, or perform one of their favorite pieces. Students will come and go as they please and have the opportunity to observe and learn from others. If you study with Mr. Chris and want to discuss or join his Open Studio, there is no need to RSVP, just reach out to him directly.Read the details >>
Individual lessons go by so quickly, so isn’t it great that more time is available to spend on the myriad components of music study? During the CYM Department Group you have an additional opportunity to refine your repertoire, prepare for performances, learn about composers, improve listening etiquette, and meet up with friends!
Next on the Calendar: Guitar Department Group, April 18th at 10:00 A.M. with Mr. Mark. Check your email for an invitation to register.
Talk with your teacher about the benefits of attending the next Department Group!Read the details >>
Spring has begun to sprung! Soon, the trees will have grown new leaves, birds will be singing merrily, and the sun will be shining. In the midst of the seasons changing, CYM will be hosting a number of exciting opportunities. If you are interested in either of these upcoming events, you can click on this link to go directly to the Register for Events page and sign up today.
First, CYM is proud to be partnering with local musician Matt Price for the “Experience the Drummer in You” Drum Circle! Join Mr. Matt on Saturday, March 14th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at CYM Sewickley for CYM’s first official Drum Circle. Come create music with friends and family in a supportive and welcoming environment. No experience necessary and all ages are welcome. Free for CYM students, $10 for adults, and $5 for kids 12 and under. You can read more about the benefit of drum circles by clicking the link here.
Later, on Saturday, March 28th from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. will be Achievement Day! This is a perfect event for teacher and student to set a few specific performance goals. Come and perform for other students and faculty, and receive immediate feedback from faculty panelists. Be sure to talk to your child’s teacher to see if Achievement Day would be a good choice at this time. And if not, all are still invited to attend – there will be a variety of performances, and being in the audience is always beneficial to our own growth as musicians. If you are interested, you can register for an individual time slot on the Register for Events page. To learn more about Achievement Day, be sure to click the link here.
Both of these exciting opportunities are fantastic ways to grow and enrich musicians, so be sure to sign up today!Read the details >>
Calling all CYM violinists! Reminder that there is a Department Group this Saturday, January 25th, 10:00 am in Wexford.
Calling ALL Young Musicians: Department Groups are open to all ages and levels!
What is a Department Group? It’s a place to perform with and for other students to gain confidence in a friendly environment. Try out a piece, test your memory, or play something you are working on for a recital or contest. Pieces do not have to be performance-ready. Faculty will be on hand to offer feedback and coaching. Department Groups are a time to focus on performances, composers, repertoire, performance etiquette, audience etiquette, and more. Talk with your teacher to sign up!
Upcoming Department Groups:
Violin Department Group: January 25, 10:00 am in Wexford
Guitar Department Group: February 15th, 10:30 am, Wexford
Piano Department Group: February 22, 9:00 am, Sewickely
Read the details >>
Who doesn’t like free?! The Center for Young Musicians is offering FREE Musikgarten Group Piano sessions for any child between the ages of 6 to 9 years old. Classes will be held August 4th and 5th from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at CYM Sewickley. Sign up for both days; parents join in for last 15 minutes of class each day. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NEEDED!
These classes are presented as a part of a National Teacher Training for Musikgarten. Teachers in attendance will observe these classes taught by Amy Rucker. If you’re interested in registering, please e-mail Amy at email@example.com.
Read the details >>