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!

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