Summertime…and the Learnin’ is Easy

What do you think of when you think summer? Sun, beach, pool, gardens, BBQ – the list goes on and on! It is a natural time for slowing down in many ways. The schedule is easier- no carpool lines, no homework. The routine eases up a bit. The long evenings almost beg us to stay outside until the fireflies come out to entertain us! 

As a teacher, I long for the change in routine as well. I’ve also come to understand that summer is the perfect time to approach music study from a few different angles. It is the perfect time for enrichment, or for trying something new, or for focusing on a new style of music, or for composing and arranging! The list goes on and on! 

Looking back over my own piano lessons growing up, I remember that “summer lessons” meant I could ride my bike to my lesson! That may not seem like much, but for me the thought of it brings back great memories of riding in the summer breeze, feeling a bit of independence, glad to be old enough to get myself to my teacher’s house. How fun and how freeing that was! I can still picture the bag my parents got for me to hold my music while I rode my bike. (Also memorable was the time a bee flew into my shirt without me knowing it— and how, mid-lesson, it suddenly sprang to life, and escaped into the room with a buzz — much to our surprise!) 

Summer isn’t really about stopping as much as it is a change of pace. It’s about having “found” time – and the opportunities abound! What your child invests in this summer will have a huge impact on the following year of music study.  

It’s like planting a garden. Sure- it’s fun to plant a garden. It’s fun to plan, it’s fun to create, and let’s face it- it’s fun to dig in the dirt! So what you’re doing there is beneficial. You’re digging, planting, watering – and in so doing you have been nurtured yourself. It reminds me of this quote: 

“We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.” Jenny Uglow  

So, what’s it going to be? How will you make the most of the change of pace this summer? I say invest it! Make this summer a time to dig deep, to plant seeds of growth, to tend to and hone our skills, to try something new, to deepen understanding, and to reap the benefits in the fall! 

At the Center for Young Musicians, we have camps for all ages. Find one to introduce your young child to the world of music. Or a camp to round out your student’s private lessons. We have offerings for strings, guitar, piano and more! We have early childhood music camps designed with summer themes, and the ever-popular Music Discovery Camp! So as your child continues their CYM year, why not consider adding to that study with a camp? And invite a friend! 

Summer is coming — let’s dig in to the possibilities!

Visit our website for more information: 

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” 

~Charles Bowden 

Guitar Hum and Strum – Featured CYM Camp


Guitar HUM & STRUM

I recently watched an episode of American Idol where a young man played guitar and sang. Not so unusual in and of itself, but it was the fact that he taught himself how to play, beginning at the age of 20! It is truly rare to find someone who has taught themselves how to play any instrument. Especially to that degree of beauty. I was moved! It was like watching August Rush (which you should watch if you haven’t!). 

This summer there will be lots of opportunities to learn more about playing the guitar. Here is your chance to try something new, and gain literacy skills! Guided by our expert faculty, you can connect with your inner guitarist! You’ll learn songs to sing, and chords to strum…hence the title HUM & STRUM!  

Music is really so accessible. You can make music pretty much anywhere- and in this camp you’ll be singing, moving to music, and learning chords to strum. It only takes a few chords to sing many different songs! If you already are studying another instrument, your time in this camp will strengthen your reading, and your understanding of harmonies. You’ll be that much more ready for lessons in the fall. 

We would rather you not wait until you are 20 to begin, so children ages 5-9 are invited to this camp! Together with their parents they will get a great start on guitar playing. If desired, those students will be a step ahead on private guitar lessons in the fall, where they can take their new skills to the next level and work on more advanced techniques!  

Instruments will be provided – come ready to sing and make music! 

See you this summer for Hum & Strum in Wexford, June 17-21, 2:00-4:30, cost $250.   Use the coupon code Earlybird19 to save 25% on the tuition.

Register online for the Wexford Location 

Mr. Erich’s Community Concert

Our first Community Concert of 2019 with Mr Erich was a grand success! CYM guitarists and violinists took the stage in our beautiful Sewickley location to the delight of audience members! Thank you to all who played, and to our teachers Mr Erich and Mr Chris, and for our attentive audience!

Couldn’t make this Community Concert? Ms. Grace’s Community Concert is coming up on March 30th! See you there!

Happy Birthday J.S. Bach featuring Google A.I.

Born March 21, 1685, Johann Sebastian Bach is the “Bang” of the musical universe’ s “big bang” beginning.  Much of the structure of the music we listen to today traces back to elements found in his massive body of work.

So it’s super cool that a group of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning specialists at Google studied his harmonic output to program this Google Doodle that greets visitors today on Google’s homepage.


Take a look and try your hand at sketching some melodies and sit back to listen to the machine’s harmonization based on having analyzed hundreds of Bach’s works.

We’re so excited that the beauty and structure of the universe reflected in Bach’s works is nurturing a whole new generation of intelligence on the planet.  Machine learning and artificial intelligence – meet the master of structure, still teaching us these many centuries later.

Happy Birthday, JSB!

Piano Department Group

Calling all CYM pianists! Our Piano Department Groups are open to all ages and levels! Perform with and for other pianists to gain confidence in a friendly environment! Try out a piece, test your memory, or play something you’re working on for a recital or contest!  Pieces do not have to be performance-ready. Faculty will be on hand to offer feedback, and to address other music–related issues with the group! Talk with your teacher to sign up!

Next Piano Department Group: April 27th in Sewickley

CYM Guitar Students Wow Pittsburgh Radio Station!

Last week, Mr. Erich and several of his students joined host of the Saturday Light Brigade, Larry Berger, for a special presentation on WCRT 88.3.  Guitarists Ezra White (6), Libby and Josh Laman (7 and 9), and Isla and William Wiegand-Hammond (9 and 10), presented a variety of music, including Suzuki song favorites, original compositions, A-ha, and David Bowie.

Not only did these young pros give entertaining performances, they were interviewed, answering questions pertaining to the joy, challenges, and fun of playing the guitar.

Didn’t catch the live broadcast? You can catch the recording here!


What a great time with our guitar students at Fiddlesticks! Be sure to watch for the next Fiddlesticks event. See below for more information on this fun, engaging program for families!

Pittsburgh is home to one of the top symphonies in the United States! But the thought of taking younger children to a long concert strikes fear in most of us! Still, we have a desire to introduce our little ones to the richness of the orchestra and the beauty of Heinz Hall! So… how do we do that? Enter “Fiddlesticks”! Sounds like fun already, doesn’t it? Fiddlesticks Family Concerts are Saturday morning events designed for your children ages 3 to 8! Come enjoy a warm, relaxed, interactive environment. See the symphony members up close and personal – ask questions about their instruments! Move to the music, explore rhythms, and make a craft to take home! Then hear the full symphony orchestra, and get Fiddlesticks’ autograph afterward!

We have the perfect time for you and your family to try Fiddlesticks: On February 23rd, the Center for Young Musicians Guitar Group and Guitar Chamber Music Class will be performing in the Heinz Hall lobby prior to the concert! Performance starts at 10:00. CYM families can get discounted tickets by using code 74150 when purchasing tickets!

Bring a friend, and have a blast. Fiddlesticks and CYM are ready for you!

CYM Students Entertain Clients from Beaver County Rehab Services!

At CYM, we place great value on helping students share their musical gifts with others in the community. Opportunities like this one are special. Many adults benefited today from the music presentations of our fine and generous students!

Music can provide healing, calming, and can smooth frayed edges for adults overcoming addictions. What a wonderful way to use musical ability, considering these facts! For more on the healing benefits of music, read here and here !

A big thank you to Leah Givelber for organizing this event, and to our students and teachers for taking time from your day to bring joy to so many!


Phantom of the Opera

Did you know….

…Phantom has played to over 140 million people in 35 countries in 166 cities around the world ?

…Phantom has played in 15 different languages?

…Phantom of the Opera has won 7 Tony Awards?

…Each performance has 230 costumes, 14 dressers, 120 automated cues, 22 scene changes, 281 candles and uses 250 kg of dry ice and 10 fog and smoke machines?

Watch for future shows and concerts that we can help your family enjoy! When you go, tag us in a post about the event!

See you next time!

Parent and Child Classes: The Role of the Parent, according to Dr. Montessori

When parents first begin attending a class with their child, it is a normal desire for those parents to want to encourage, to prompt, to ensure that their child engages and “gets” what is happening around them.

At CYM we would like to offer a bit of a “break” for parents of early music learners! Because your child is naturally inquisitive, your role during class may be easier than you think! Assuming normal development is taking place, your child will see, hear, and feel what is happening around them in class!  So take a deep breath, a step back, and I give you permission to observe! You are there to model, to participate, and to be an anchor for your child!

Much of this philosophy is guided by the writings of Dr. Maria Montessori. Montessori’s granddaughter, in fact, has recently compiled her grandmother’s writings on the parents’ role  in Montessori Speaks to Parents, (2017, Montessori-Pierson Publishing).

Our curriculum here at CYM is designed to provide interesting moments to explore, to hear, to manipulate. Most of our activities will be things your child is trying for the very first time! Let them experience the moment on their own time-table, without pushing for quick understanding. Allow time to explore, time to try, again and again. Children develop intelligence through activity – so when they want to do something over and over, you know it is something developmentally beneficial!

And they will watch you, as well as the teacher, and others in class, to gain understanding. Parents model the playing of rhythm sticks, or drums, or singing, or dancing, and let the children do these things for themselves in order to develop intellect, will, and internal discipline.

I am inspired every day here at CYM when I see parents providing this kind of guidance in my Musikgarten classes! It’s happening all the time. Come check out one of our classes and see for yourself how these young children are learning with the nurturing, and modeling, of their amazing parents!



The Center for Young Musicians