Faculty News

Benjamin Solomon Graduates

May 15, 2020

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!

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Mr. Ryan’s BEO String Quartet – Look and Listen!

April 16, 2020
At a time where the world feels somewhat in chaos, we wanted to present something that feels chaotic but also has a strong sense of unity. We found exactly that in this exciting sixth movement from Marc Mellits’ 5th string quartet, ‘Waníyetu’. This movement is marked ‘energetic; eternal polar vortex’, which we love because it is both incredibly descriptive and also it is one of the coolest markings we have ever seen in a score!

For more videos of this performing arts group, visit their Youtube page! Ryan Ash teaches cello and piano to delighted students of all ages at the Center for Young Musicians – please visit our website!

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Happy Anniversary Leah: 2.1.2000 – 2.1.2020!

January 31, 2020

Our regularly scheduled faculty/staff meeting was interrupted this week with flowers, cupcakes, and singing! All because Leah Givelber is celebrating her 20th year with Center for Young Musicians!

Faculty and staff surprised Ms. Leah at the start of the meeting by singing and bringing out a banner that read “Congratulations, Leah for 20 years with CYM”. Laughter ensued as Ms. Leah was clearly unaware that a celebration was in the works.

Not only is Leah a gifted performer, but also a teacher of all ages, with a keen eye for detail, including administrative functions of the business and communication with parents.

Victoria read a tribute to Leah, highlighting her gifts and all she has brought to us.

A few of her reflections:

“As a refined teacher and musician, Leah has positively impacted students’ technique, understanding, and enjoyment of music. As Vice-President of Academic Affairs, she has introduced numerous and highly qualified faculty members to our team. Leah has participated in every aspect of CYM’s development (curricula, processes, and culture)  and we are enormously appreciative of her 20 years with CYM.”

Congratulations, Leah!

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CYM Faculty Leading Musikgarten Teacher Training Workshop

January 8, 2020

This week will see our own Ms. Amy in the Chicago area, doing what she loves to do! Music teachers from around the country, along with music majors from Wheaton College, are taking Musikgarten training with Ms. Amy to become certified teachers in the preschool level of the Musikgarten curriculum. This workshop is being offered through Wheaton’s Community School for the Arts, where Musikgarten has been taught for years.

Have fun, Ms. Amy!


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“SING! An Irish Christmas” Comes to Pittsburgh

December 4, 2019

Bring the whole family to a Christmas concert that will have your foot tapping, and your hands clapping! Imagine favorite carols and songs with fiddlers playing reels, plus a band of instrumentalists, and 200 voice choir singing along with you!

Our own Mr. Rob will be conducting the 200-voice choir for “Sing! An Irish Christmas” which will be held at the Benedum. Some of the choristers are coming from other states just to be a part of this concert. Recently the Gettys asked to add a children’s choir to the program, so our own Ms. Amy has been rehearsing with a 35-voice choir assembled from all over Pennsylvania and Ohio. Come concert time, she will be singing with the choir!

This tour is in its ninth year- and the first for the Pittsburgh area. Other stops in the 2019 tour include Carnegie Hall in NYC, and and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Keith and Kristyn Getty are from Ireland, and have been writing modern hymns for many years and their music is used in churches world-wide. They also have a passion for children’s music, and music in the home, and have created and published books for children and families to share, as well as song books for churches to use.

From the Getty website- a fascinating fact:

In 2017 Keith Getty was honored as an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The award, which commemorates Getty’s contribution to “Music and Modern Hymn Writing,” marks the first occasion that the award has been given to an individual involved in the world of contemporary church music.

When: Thursday, December 12, 7:30 pm

Where: Benedum Center, Pittsburgh

For more information, purchase tickets, and to watch the promo video, visit the Getty web page.

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CYM Faculty Featured as Guest Author

November 8, 2019

UniSound, a Pittsburgh organization dedicated to youth arts education and performance in Pittsburgh, recently invited our own Ms. Amy to write a guest blog.

Check it out here!

For more information about our offerings for babies, take a look at our Early Childhood Music and Movement department!

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Beo String Quartet Performing in Pittsburgh

October 30, 2019

Readers of our website and newsletter may recall an article I wrote last spring featuring the Beo String Quartet. Our own Mr. Ryan is a member of this forward-thinking, 21st century group that is becoming one of the top ensembles performing today! If you missed that first installment, check it out here.

Mr. Ryan, center stage

The quartet is making a stop in Pittsburgh on November 6th. Their tour includes concerts in Las Vegas, New York, Long Island, Louisville, Philadelphia, and Ambler. The program, called Refractions, is a Beo String Quartet original production that showcases four unique and exciting works, each with a link to light and its transformation. Each of the featured works offers a colorful variety of sounds, styles, and sentiments.

The Beo String Quartet

The pieces include “live electronics, immersive staging, and unusual playing techniques that create very pleasing sounds”, according to Mr. Ryan. Three of the four compositions on the program will be premiers.

This is a unique event you won’t want to miss, so here is what you need to know:

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019, 7pm-8:30pm
Bar Marco 2216 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Tickets available online/cash at the door:                        General Admission $20, Student $9
For more information, please visit: http://www.beostringquartet.com/events/2019/11/6/beo-in-the-strip
For tickets, please visit:                 https://www.artful.ly/store/events/19022


Follow this group on facebook and listen to their music on Soundcloud.


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Welcome New Voice Faculty, Lindsay McGinnis

October 25, 2019

We are thrilled to announce the addition of voice teacher, Lindsay McGinnis!

Lindsay studied music at The Ohio State University where she earned her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance, and then at Pennsylvania State University, where she earned a Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance.

Lindsay brings a broad experience of teaching and performing to this position. Having a background in musical theater as an actor as well as director and teacher, she is ready to welcome new students with a variety of goals. Her performances range from opera to oratorio to musical theater to sacred choral music!

Ms. McGinnis looks forward to building her studio here at CYM, and we are looking forward to welcoming her to our family.

Call the office if you would like more information about Lindsay’s schedule and locations.

Welcome, Lindsay!

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CYM Welcomes Mr. Rob Rucker as the New Program Director!!!

August 22, 2019

CYM is thrilled to announce Mr. Rob Rucker as our new Program Manager! Rob has a Bachelor of Music Education from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Music from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, as well as additional MBA coursework.

As a certified music educator and K-12 public school teacher, he has also served as music director for non-profits in Dallas, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio. His achievements include providing dynamic non-profit leadership in western Pennsylvania, and receiving a Fortune 500 company’s Excellence in Community Engagement award.

We are excited to welcome Rob to our CYM family!

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CYM Teachers Invest in Musikgarten Training

August 16, 2019

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!


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