Ensemble Recital Brings High Level of Performance

On Saturday, we enjoyed one of our biggest events of the year: Ensemble Recital. Congratulations, students on your very fine performances, a special shout out to those who earned awards!

Students entertained the full audience with piano duos, string ensembles, guitar duets, and even some singing from our youngest learners.

Teachers and parents, you should be very proud. Your students played with poise and confidence!

Don’t forget- anyone is invited to attend these recitals even if you are not performing.  There is always something new to see and hear. This year we enjoyed two beautiful Minuets that were arranged for strings and piano by Mr. Chris. Also this time around we had a 6-hand piano performance by piano faculty Ms. Grace, Ms. Simmi, and Ms. Rucker, replete with antics!

To see pictures from the event, visit our post for the 9:30 recital here and the 12:00 recital here!


Ukulele Workshop Fun

The ukulele workshop was a great time, and was attended by four CYM students. Pictured below are Keely Acheson, Carson Joller, Aarnav Kannan, and Sara Singh.

What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Students strummed, learned new songs, and enjoyed playing music with others. Thank you, Mr. Mark, for leading our students with engaging workshops such as this.

Watch for future ukulele events and workshops!

All in Good Fun at the Annual Masquerade Recital

It’s pretty fun to dress up in a costume, but it’s even more fun to perform on a recital dressed up in costume! Who knows how it might improve a performance…adding extra flair, or flourish, or gravitas.

Well, that’s what several CYM students experienced last weekend during Mr. Chris’ Masquerade Recital! Students arrived in full costume ready to put on a show- visually as well as aurally.

At the end of the recital, all students played Twinkle as a surprise – and Mr. Chris accompanied with his own spooky piano arrangement. The only thing that could top that would be for all to enjoy lots of treats at the reception!

Congratulations to all who participated. If you missed it this time, watch for it next year, or ask your teacher to sign you up.



Fall Piano Concert Full of Artistry

Ms. Grace held a community concert this past Saturday and showcased many of her students, as well as students of Ms. Simmi.

The audience was treated to a wonderful array of musical styles. Duets were performed with terrific ensemble and flair, reminding us of the fun ahead at the Ensemble Recital!

Ms. Grace finished the concert with two Rachmaninoff Preludes, as well as delightful music from the movie Up. (If you are not familiar with this soundtrack, you should take a listen. Here is a piece called “Married Life”.)

Congratulations to all performers, their proud families, and to our fine piano faculty!

Ravi Coltrane Reaches Young Audience

One of the benefits of being a part of CYM is that you have access to curated music and arts opportunities, some of which are arranged just for our families! These are carefully selected events that we feel would be of interest, educational, and of course, entertaining!

This past Saturday was just such an event. We had the wonderful opportunity to hear a world-class musician, in a marvelous venue! Ravi Coultrane is the enormously gifted saxophone player, who is part of quite a legacy of music: he is the son of John and Alice Coltrane.  A colleague and friend of mine said: it’s like hearing from “the son of a prophet”, referencing the legend that is his father, John Coltrane.

What struck me, as a music educator, was of course, the high quality of musicians on the stage, but beyond that, I was thankful that Ravi Coltrane was motivated to involve students in this sound check. I would venture to say that most professional musicians do not allow any audience for sound check/rehearsal. In fact, these hours are typically closed to anyone outside of the tech crew of the venue and the musicians. It can be an intense time of setting sound levels, lighting cues, and making last minute changes to the music.

So it gives me hope for the future of jazz and music and culture and the arts that there are performers like Ravi who see the importance of sharing their gifts and experiences and processes with young people.

After the band finished working through all the numbers for that night’s concert, Ravi  took time to talk with the students in the audience, most of whom attended as a part of the Kente Arts Alliance. He asked them questions, heard about their music endeavors and laughed with them about practice and encouraged them to stick with it – every day!

We will keep watching for events like this for you. (Thank you Rob Rucker for making all the arrangements!) Please keep an eye out, and grab the chance when it comes around- you’ll be glad you did!

Beautiful Music in a Beautiful Space

Sometimes you just need to hear live, acoustic music in a calm and inviting atmosphere! Folks who attended Mr. Erich’s concert were presented with all of the above. Beautiful music, eloquently presented!

Students Ayan Ganesh and Ezra White performed solos as well as duets, charming the audience with their poise, ease, and musicality! Their personalities really shone through as they connected with the audience, making their performances most pleasant and very enjoyable.

Mr. Erich performed masterfully, with a variety of tones, textures, and tempos that rang out beautifully in the grand sanctuary. Performing some of his own compositions was a highlight for the audience. Each piece was a delight!

The evening was capped off with a duet for flute and guitar by Ravi Shankar. Shankar is often considered the “Godfather of World Music”. Read up on his biography here. Leah Stevens joined Mr. Erich for the duet, and their complex performance was haunting, energetic, and virtuosic. A great way to end the program!

Congratulations to all!

Prelude Classes and Excitement at Sewickley’s Night Mart!

A buzz filled the air at CYM’s Sewickley location this past Friday night!

Mr. Jake rolled up the white carpet, then promptly “rolled out the red carpet” for curious children and their families! Our colorful front window piano caught folks’ attention, as did Mr. Jake and Mr. Rob, who ushered students in to attend a petting zoo of stringed instruments with Mr. Ryan! Parents stood by and enjoyed seeing their children explore violins and cellos, learning about how to sit, handle instruments, and play! Meanwhile Mr. Rob talked with parents, answering questions about CYM offerings and philosophy, and encouraging folks to sign up for the CYM newsletter. Then with an eye to the back room, where Ms. Amy was leading Musikgarten activities, Mr. Rob would lead students and their parents from the petting zoo to their next adventure! Ms. Amy then led the children in songs, dances, singing games, and drumming activities! For two hours or so, non-stop, Mr. Ryan and Ms. Amy taught dozens of curious budding musicians! Whew!

Stay tuned for similar events at our Sewickley location- we would love to have  word-of-mouth advertising from our current CYM families!

CYM Guitar Students Attend Suzuki Summer Workshop

CYM students Ayan Ganesh, Ezra White, and Elijah Haberman attended the Greater Pittsburgh Suzuki Institute this summer!

Each day of the one-week camp, these students attended a masterclass, a guitar group class, and guitar ensemble, as well as electives that included art, dance, musical theater, and secondary instruments! Throughout the week they all honed their skills on the guitar and had a lot of fun along the way. There were a couple of “play-ins” which involved everyone in the institute. One in particular was a “pajama play-in” where Eli performed in awesome Pikachu pajamas (see below!). There were also solo recitals midweek and a big group concert to end the week on Friday.

Congratulations to all, and to Mr. Erich, their teacher!


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!

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!

The Center for Young Musicians