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!
“A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
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!
On Tuesday night, our CYM Summer Choir gave a performance, demonstrating a sampling of what was learned over the summer. Having only met eight times, the children were eager to present their hard work to the parents, who were delighted and amazed at all that had been accomplished.
The program began with a demonstration of vocal exercises and rounds, followed by a selection of songs. Students had chosen different “poses” for each piece, and one song was even accompanied by percussion instruments!
Kristin Butler, parent of Abigail said: “It was a great show! We loved hearing their voices. Thank you for your time with them, sharing your gifts, and especially your patience!”
During the reception, Mrs. Rucker presented a piano recital of of Irish and American folk songs arranged for piano solo! Thank you to all the parents and family members who came to support these young singers.
Watch for future opportunities for a CYM choir!
When Réka was just a baby, she listened to music all the time. She heard music in the car, watched Baby Einstein, took early childhood music and movement classes with her mom, and listened to her Hungarian great grandmother sing as she worked around the house! Fast forward just a few short years, and you’ll find a poised young lady of 16 years who loves the arts, and embodies all that we strive for here at CYM.
This past weekend, Réka fulfilled a major requirement for the Ambassador level of the Young Artist Certificate Program. She presented a recital, along with two other students, 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.
Just how did Réka manage to take this pathway to such a high level of musicality? A junior at Allegheny Senior High School, Réka has been studying piano at CYM for 11 years. She studied first with Miss Rowena, then Miss Sonia, and currently studies with Ms. Grace. She also participated in the American Legends group classes, from which she has made lifelong friends! Réka also studied cello, and played in the school orchestra for six years. Enriching experiences with her family continually provide Réka with a well-rounded education in the arts: her grandmother has been taking her to hear the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since Réka was in elementary school.
Réka’s performance included two Preludes by Gershwin, and the Prelude in B minor by Rachmaninoff. Of her pieces, Réka says the Rachmaninoff is her favorite because: “I can play my heart out, it’s pretty, and like a roller coaster!”
Ms. Grace, Hafsah, Réka, Manus
Réka, pictured here in the middle of the three three performers, has a few more requirements to complete to receive the Young Artist Certificate for the Ambassador level. Stay tuned for her progress through the coming year!
Congratulations, Réka, and Ms. Grace!
The Young Artists Ambassadors Recital was an astounding success! All who attended were treated to a fantastic night of music.
Ms. Hafsah Shahzad started the evening’s activities with stunning renditions of Rhapsody in G minor by Johannes Brahms, Nuages Gris, S. 199 by Franz Liszt, and Prelude in E minor, Op. 28 No. 4 by Frédéric Chopin.
Mr. Manus McGinnis continued the night’s festivities with excellent performances of Linus and Lucy by Vincent Guaraldi, Clarinet Blues by Martha Mier, Vivace from Sonatina in C Major, Op. 36 No. 1 by Muzio Clementi, and “Pizza Time” by Luigi Denza.
Lastly, Ms. Réka Götz finished the evening with a stellar finale! She performed two pieces from George Gershwin’s Three Preludes (II. Andante con moto and III. Agitato), and Prelude in B minor, Op. 32 No. 10 by Sergei Rachmaninoff.
Ms. Grace and Ms. Rochelle organized an incredible concert on Sunday July 21st. It was an evening filled with spectacular performances from a number of students and even Ms. Grace and Ms. Rochelle, too!
Agnes Picarsic began the evening with two folk songs, Song of the Wind and O Come Little Children. After this, Nico Alfaro performed Lightly Row and Go Tell Aunt Rhody, followed by Sophie Godbey’s renditions of Long Long Ago and Allegro. Next, Elijah Haberman also performed Go Tell Aunt Rhody, and the folk song With Steady Hands. After Elijah, Amanda Smith played Canon in D by Pachelbel. Nalani Brayley then serenaded the audience with Hunter’s Chorus and Minuet in G. Lily Haberman was next, performing Gavotte in G Minor and Humoresque. Finally, Sanai Horne concluded the student portion of the evening with her rendition of Perpetual Motion.
Once the students had concluded their portion of the night, Ms. Grace and Ms. Rochelle took to the stage. They both performed Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major (Allegro ben moderato, Allegro, Alegretto poco mosso).
It was an incredible night of music and we extend a hearty Bravo! to all of the performers! We would also like to thank Mr. Jacob Nathanson for his accompaniment for the concert.
Continuing with our senior spotlight, we are delighted today to feature Joshua Faber.
Joshua began his studies at the Center for Young Musicians when he was just five years old. He began with an early childhood music class taught by Ms. Kara. When he moved into private piano lessons, he studied with Ms. Sonia, and eventually with his current teacher, Ms. Simmi. He recalls enjoying taking theory and guitar, but piano was always his main instrument at CYM. Joshua really enjoyed the group piano class with Ms. Simmi that he attended with his friends in the piano department. A highlight for Joshua this last past year of study was having the option of choosing some of his own music to work on. Some of his favorites include selections from video game music, such as Death By Glamour from Undertale.
Joshua also plays the clarinet, and was active in his high school’s concert and marching bands. During high school years he also enjoyed extra-curricular activities such as robotics and electrical engineering.
Joshua is headed to Penn State in the fall, where he is exploring the interdisciplinary Digital Media, Arts, and Technology (DIGIT) major.
Asked who he would like to thank at CYM, Joshua didn’t miss a beat as he offered sincere appreciation for Ms. Kara, Ms. Sonia, and Ms. Simmi for their excellent teaching over the years!
All the best, Joshua!
Did you happen to catch Grease at the Benedum Center this month? CYM student Jayne Miner auditioned for the show and earned a spot in the Teen Ensemble for this production! Grease was presented as part of CLO’s Summer Program at the Benedum, and featured Clay Aiken.
Jayne is a student of Ms. Simmi, and has been studying at CYM for 7 years! She also plays trumpet, and is active in her school’s concert and jazz bands, as well as PYCO’s Chamber Brass Ensemble. But wait, there’s more! Since she is also a singer, she participates in her school’s chorus!
Jayne’s previous musical experience includes Annie, Jr, The Sound of Music, and CLO Academy’s production of 9 to 5. A rising 9th grader, Jayne also participates every summer in the community’s Performing Arts Camp- a 4-week daily musical theater camp that culminates in two productions.
Congratulations, Jayne, on all your hard work and successes! We can’t wait to see what you do next!
Jayne is pictured here (front row, center) with the rest of the Teen Ensemble!
From the very first note at 9:30 AM, to the last chord of the 3:30 recital, our solo recitals were a huge success! What a wonderful community we have here at CYM. The atmosphere was one of joyful music making which brought delight to all in attendance. Parents, we thank you for all you do to give your child a great music education. Moments like these on Saturday make the carpooling, the practice hours, the instrument rentals, and the instrument repairs very much worth it, as your child takes center stage and shares their work with us all!
Students, a big thank you for your preparation. Setting the goal of performing was the first step, but every hour you gave over to practice leading up to the recital is what made your time on that stage so enjoyable for everyone. Keep listening to your fine teachers!
Piano faculty, thank you for your part in making our soloists shine! Thank you for the extra hours you put into learning new music and playing (and following) so beautifully, and for fostering a positive environment between soloist and accompanist. You set a great example as we help our students learn more about playing with an accompanist, an aspect of solo playing that is still new to many.
And unlike the Kentucky Derby, there was no jockeying for the lime light. We had students winning trophies, framed certificates, and ribbons for their hard work in their practice commitment, as well as participating in community service and outreach events! More on these winners to come!
We also congratulated our two graduating seniors, Matthew Matisz and Joshua Faber. Watch for a feature on these two young men in the next few days.
Coming soon: pictures from all four recitals!
A big thank you to Jake Niehl for taking some great shots, to Karen Schnatterly for all of the administrative tasks and great announcing, to Leah Givelber for coordinating the event and for FOUR programs, to Victoria for the wonderful receptions, and to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Pittsburgh for the use of their lovely sanctuary and Steinway grand!
Congratulations to all!
But the good kind of Blues! Mr. Mark delighted all with his program of blues, jazz, and more! The concert featured students of all ages and instruments, and included those students who participated in the Blues Workshop that day! Guitar faculty Mark Marston’s presentation included Blues for Classic Guitar by Charlie Byrd.
Thank you to all who participated!