This Month’s Highlights

Piano Students Connect Across the Miles

May 29, 2020

Ten CYM piano students participated in the recent Piano Department Class! The students took turns performing their pieces, and as they were playing, their peers wrote down encouraging, positive remarks about what they heard. Those comments will be shared with students in their next lessons. It was a great class and I received positive feedback from many of the parents who were appreciative of the opportunity for their child to virtually connect with their CYM piano peers!
This photo was taken at the end of the class and includes the smiles of: Julianna, Sofi, Nick, Will, Sami, Yazan, Kenzie, Hanna, Akshay, and Clara. Congratulations students, for your dedication, drive, and your encouragement to one another!

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Saturday Serenade Soars Far and Wide

May 29, 2020

This past Saturday, a CYM Saturday Serenade with several guitar, piano, and violin students took place. The students ranged in age from 6 to 16, and there was a nice mix of classical, folk, fiddle tunes and pop music. I got things started by talking about how to start and end a performance, and then demonstrated with a performance of an Etude by Aguado. 

Next up were the students:
Thomas, guitar, played Song of the Wind, Go Tell Aunt Rhody and Ode to Joy.
Eli, guitar, played A Toye, Corrente by Paganini, and the theme from Star Wars.
Lily, violin, played Concerto I, by Seitz, The Swallow Tail Jig, and Witches’ Dance (which she decided to play after Mr. Mark talked about how Paganini was one of the few composers who wrote music for both the instruments that she and her brother play).
Carson, piano, played Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” and Prelude by Arens.

Family and friends from as far away as New York were able to watch and applaud, as well as send their feedback by chat. One family member pointed out that he learned some of the same music on dulcimer as a child. Sharing music across generations and miles is enriching for performers and audience alike. Thank you, students, for your diligence in preparation and willingness to allow others to enter into your world of music!

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February is Practice Challenge Month

February 14, 2020

Did you know that three months of the year we have a Practice Challenge?

What is it, how do we jump in, and when is the next one?

Three months of the year are designated as Practice Challenge months: October, February and May. The goal for your child is to practice his or her instrument every day, for the length of their lesson. Lesson and Group Class days count as practice days.
An official “Practice Challenge Calendar” is used to track the days, and each week the student shows this chart to the teacher for his or her signature. The students who successfully complete the challenge are honored with Practice Challenge medals at the next CYM recital, special event, or Group Class.
These Practice Challenges not only provide excellent drive towards consistent and remarkable progress, but instill habits of practice that will benefit your child for the remainder of their musical study.
A bigger goal-setting quest comes with the 200 Day Practice Challenge, and of course, families can set their own goals to create a unique adventure.
Read the blog post on the Tedford family about their practice accomplishment and enjoy a parent’s inspiring perspective!
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Students and Families Dazzled at Pine Community Center

November 18, 2019

Hundreds of families stopped in at our CYM booth at PCC’s Holiday Dazzle to try out percussion hand instruments, and even participate in a sound-effect laden performance of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Abridged. Children supplied instrumental and vocal sound effects while others read lines in a 2-minute reduction of the classic tale!

Meanwhile, Mr. Mark was upstairs with his guitar students, who presented a recital to the delight of families who came in to warm up from the outdoor festivities.

These CYM guitar students added to the festive feel of the event by playing a selection of holiday favorites:

Aarnav Kannan – Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Riya Kulkarni – Up On The Housetop
Charlie Reiter – Dreydl Song
Keely Acheson – Deck the Halls
Carson Joller – Oh Tannenbaum
Sara Singhi – Silent Night
Christopher Ramaley – Jingle Bell Rock 
After the performances, students joined the crowd gathering outside to enjoy a fireworks display that capped the night off perfectly. Let the holidays begin!
Thank you, to all who performed!
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Summer Camp Highlight: Lochlan McGinnis

September 4, 2019

CYM student Lochlan McGinnis spent a week at the Chautauqua Music Camps this summer. This was Lochlan’s first experience with this well-known institution, where he studied with a private instructor and played in a chamber group and an orchestra. Instructors at the camps include members of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, as well as highly skilled teachers from around Western New York and Pennsylvania. The camp culminated in a concert that delighted family, friends, and area arts patrons.

Lochlan appreciated being able to spend time with his friends on the beautiful campus . He was pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of the staff of the institution, and feels the biggest take away from the experience was learning how to play with confidence music that he felt was beyond his range of abilities!

Chautauqua Institution is home to the world-class Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera Company, and Chautauqua School of Music.

For more information on the Chautauqua Institution and programs for youth, visit Chautauqua Festival Schools 

Photos below from the Chautauqua Institution website:



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Prelude Classes and Excitement at Sewickley’s Night Mart!

September 3, 2019

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!

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CYM’s incredible #FreeTheMusic Summer!

August 22, 2019

Sometimes, the universe seemingly opens and drops an incredible gift into your lap. CYM was fortunate enough to have this same luck earlier this summer when a non-profit organization named Free The Music selected the CYM Sewickley storefront as a recipient of one of their incredibly restored pianos.

If you live in the Sewickley area, you’ve probably spotted a few of the Free the Music pianos. These amazingly decorated pianos adorn the streets of downtown Sewickley (as well as a couple of other areas) enticing citizens to step in and fill the air with music.

The sheer number of people who have stopped and asked to play the piano has been astounding. Teenagers, adults, and children of all ages have asked to try the piano in the front display. One gentleman began to play, and another man asked if he could just sit and listen for a while! Night Mart brings about an entirely new experience where people can celebrate the many colors of music -on a neon piano!  Even the piano keys are colorful!

We cannot begin to fully express our gratitude to Free the Music for selecting our storefront for one of their gorgeous pianos. It has been a gift sharing the piano with the community and having so many citizens come in to play.

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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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New “Prelude” Classes Available!

August 21, 2019

Do you happen to live around the Sewickley area? Good news! CYM is now offering free classes called Prelude. Prelude sessions are fun, interactive demo classes that allow budding musicians to explore potential programs and instruments. Come listen, touch, and learn about the different instruments offered at CYM and then take part in a group music class which will have your child singing, dancing, and creating music! Prelude is available for children ages 4 to 12, and no prior experience is needed.

To register for Prelude clink the link below to go to CYM’s Timetap page. From there, select the Sewickley location. After that, select the Prelude option and fill in the necessary information.

Our next classes will be at CYM Sewickley in September. Be sure to check this website and CYM’s social media for the date. To register, click the link here!

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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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