News & Updates

Which animal has the best hearing in the world?!

Believe it or not, biologists and entomologists around the world have found that moths have the best hearing in the world!

But what about the human ear? Let’s look at the facts about our fascinating sense of hearing, and CYM’s philosophy of developing listening skills through music:

End of the Year Video and Youtube Page!

Time for some exciting news and to celebrate the year that was! CYM is proud to announce we have updated our Youtube page! Brand new to the page is a quick montage of some of our favorite moments from the past year so far. We also have a couple playlists of other videos we think our students will enjoy. Be sure to keep checking out our Youtube page for more great content!

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!

CYM Summer Choir Presentation

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!

Book Recitals Cap Off a Great Month at CYM

Two recitals held recently at CYM showcased the artistry and accomplishments of two of our students!

In Suzuki piano, we had Hanna Singhi’s Suzuki Piano Book 3 Recital. Hanna performed on CYM’s historic Steinway Concert Grand for her friends and family on Saturday, July 27 at our Sewickley location. Hanna, who studies with Ms. Simmi, played all the pieces in Suzuki Piano Book 3 beautifully, and is now excited to start working on her duet piece for the fall!

Congratulations, Hanna!

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In Suzuki Strings, we celebrate the accomplishments of Alexa Bronkaj, who gave her Book 5 graduation recital on Thursday, July 25 in Sewickley.  She was accompanied by Jake Nathanson.  Alexa performed the entire Concerto in g minor by Vivaldi, and a few other selections from Book 5. Congratulations to Alexa, and teacher Ms. Leah!

Early Childhood Music Classes: More Than Just Fun and Games!

Because there is FUN, and there are some GAMES….but why stop there?

If you are going to invest in music for your young child, then you will want to be sure there is more to it than just fun and games. But you might not know what that “more” is! That’s OK, most people don’t! After all, what could be taking place in a class of toddlers? Sounds pretty much like a recipe for mayhem, amirite?

Thankfully, the research has been going on for decades regarding young children and music, and we know a lot about what that early childhood music and movement class should look like. Much of what we do in the early years at the Center for Young Musicians is driven by the work of Dr. Lorna Heyge, who wrote one of the first childhood music programs in the United States. Working in Germany in the 1970s, she and other music educators pulled together the best of Kodaly, Orff, Suzuki, Jacques-Dalcroze, and others, to build a comprehensive music program designed to create lifelong lovers of music!  More recent studies in the neurological development of children and music language acquisition have informed our work as ECM educators, and Musikgarten has put this all together to create an up-to-date, essential program for early learning.

So it’s OK- we know what to do, and we do it well. Our music classes for little ones include:

  • Active, thoughtful participation
  • Focused Listening
  • Steady Beat Development
  • Purposeful Movement
  • Language Learning
  • Singing
  • Instruments and Ensembles…..and more!

Our lessons are designed to meet the needs of your growing child at every stage of their development, laying a foundation for success in future instrumental study!

And the fun and the games are all included; and OK, maybe a little mayhem here and there.

For a good time, visit www.youngmusicians.org

 

CYM Spotlight: Réka Götz and her Journey to the Ambassador Young Artist Certificate

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!

Free Piano Classes!

Who doesn’t like free?! The Center for Young Musicians is offering FREE Musikgarten Group Piano sessions for any child between the ages of 6 to 9 years old. Classes will be held August 4th and 5th from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at CYM Sewickley. Sign up for both days; parents join in for last 15 minutes of class each day. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NEEDED!

These classes are presented as a part of a National Teacher Training for Musikgarten. Teachers in attendance will observe these classes taught by Amy Rucker. If you’re interested in registering, please e-mail Amy at arucker@youngmusicians.org.

 

Who’s your #WCW?

On May 8th, CYM started posting our #WomanCrushWednesdays, celebrating the lives and achievements of numerous women who have made an impact in the music world. So far, we’ve highlighted 12 incredible women on our social media pages. Since it has been been met with such an amazing amount of support, we thought we would share some of the women we’ve highlighted so far the past couple of months.

But there’s one more thing, we want to hear from YOU! Who’s your #WCW? Who should we write about next? Be sure to write in the comments who you want to see as our #WCW in the future!

 

Nadia Boulanger

One of the most prominent composers, conductors, and educators of the 20th century. She studied with Charles Marie Widor and Gabriel Fauré at the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10, and studied organ privately. She won top prizes across Europe in composition, and recorded many little known organ works. She is best known for teaching composition to some of the great composers of the 20th century- Copland, Quincy Jones, Denoe Leedy, Walter Piston, George Peter Tingley, Roy Harris, Virgil Thomson, Michel Legrand, Joe Raposo, Philip Glass, Robert Shafer, and Elliott Carter. Her legacy has extended to shape and establish classical music in America.

 

Anoushka Shankar

Hailed as one of the greatest Indian classical soloists of our time, she has released 11 albums, been rewarded numerous Grammy nominations, and has collaborated with leaders in music across many cultures and genres. Her body of work increasingly reflects her passion for women’s rights and social justice around the world, connecting a large scope of demographics through her music. Nitin Sawhney wrote, “no one embodies the spirit of innovation and experimentation more evidently than Anoushka Shankar.”

 

Aretha Franklin

An 18-time Grammy Award winner, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts, and the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the accolades spanning her 50-year career are endless. Her gospel-voice and songs “Respect” and “Natural Woman” were anthems for social change and civil rights. Her cultural and musical contributions will live on forever!

 

Martha Argerich

Martha Argerich is a legendary pianist and a highly celebrated classical musician for the last 60 years. A Deusche Grammaphon artist and recipient of many awards, Argerich made her professional debut at the age of 8. Early in her youth, she won elite competitions, the Geneva International Music Competition, the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition and the Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw, championed for her technical proficiency and emotional depth. She has toured around the world, and has performed with many notorious musicians including Gidon Kremer, Alexandre Rabinovitch, Nelson Freire, Mstislav Rostropovich, Mischa Maisky. Her latest release was 2018 album “Prokofiev for Two,” recorded with Sergei Babayan.

 

Ella Fitzgerald

“Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She worked with all the jazz greats, from Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, to Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Benny Goodman. (Or rather, some might say all the jazz greats had the pleasure of working with Ella). She performed at top venues all over the world, and packed them to the hilt. Her audiences were as diverse as her vocal range. They were rich and poor, made up of all races, all religions and all nationalities. In fact, many of them had just one binding factor in common – they all loved her.”

 

Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk is a composer, singer, director/choreographer and creator of new opera, music-theater works, films and installations. Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, she is a pioneer in what is now called “extended vocal technique” and “interdisciplinary performance.” Monk creates works that thrive at the intersection of music and movement, image and object, light and sound, discovering and weaving together new modes of perception. Her groundbreaking exploration of the voice as an instrument, as an eloquent language in and of itself, expands the boundaries of musical composition, creating landscapes of sound that unearth feelings, energies, and memories for which there are no words.” -bio and photo from meredithmonk.org

 

Christina Aguilera

Did you know Christina Aguilera was raised in the same town as CYM’s main location, Wexford, Pennsylvania? The breakout star has earned 5 Grammy awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her singing and songwriting, and is one of the world’s best-selling artists. She lists Etta James, Billie Holiday, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Ella Fitzgerald as some of her biggest vocal influences. Today, in addition to continue producing studio albums, she serves as a judge on the popular competition “The Voice.”

 

Hilary Hahn

Performing both contemporary and classic music around the world, Hahn has already recorded a number of albums and have over 1500 live performances before turning 40! A graduate of the Curtis Institute, she began studying one month before her 4th birthday, starting with #Suzuki training. In addition to premiering works alongside the greatest orchestras and conductors, Hahn expresses a special love for Bach, claiming she has played his music every day since the age of 8.

 

Tania Leon

She has received commissions from renowned ensembles and has conducted orchestras around the world. A founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, León instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series, co-founded the Sonidos de las Américas festivals with the American Composers Orchestra, and served as Latin American Advisor to the American Composers Orchestra and New Music Advisor to the New York Philharmonic. She is the founder and artistic director of Composers Now Festival and the Composers Now organization, “a nonprofit in New York City founded in 2010 and dedicated to empowering all living composers, while celebrating the diversity of their voices and honoring the significance of their contributions to the cultural fabric of society.”

 

Jacqueline du Pre

Launched into international stardom at just age 20, she is noted as one of the greatest cellists and soloists of the 20th century despite her untimely death at age 42. Her first teacher was her mother, a music educator, and she later studied with legendary cellists Pablo Casals and Mstislav Rostropovich. Her recording of Elgar’s Cello Concerto launched the then little known piece into the standard repertoire. Though her career was sadly cut short by multiple schlerosis, her emotive, energetic style has inspired countless musicians for many decades to come.

 

Lizzo

With music that combines R&B, soul, hip-hop, rap, and flute elements, her charismatic, positive and often humorous music gets everyone on their feet. Lizzo began flute in 6th grade, and short after formed her first rap group. After studying flute performance at the University of Houston and dealing with the passing of the father, she decided to take a new path in the indie scene of Minneapolis. Her first album launched her to national success, and for the last few years she has been dancing and singing her way around the world, flute in hand. She is currently on tour with her new album, “Cuz I Love You,” and serves as an icon of body positivity and diversity for the next generation.

 

Maria Callas

A vocalist known for her remarkable range and musical intensity. Beginning piano at age 7, it wasn’t long until she proved to have an impressive voice. After many rejections and struggling to find work, she debuted in a performance of “La Giocanda” in Italy, and gained notoriety over the next few years by working in Florence. Nicknamed nicknamed “The Tigress,” Callas was fiercely resilient and said of audience members’ jeers, “Hissing from the gallery is part of the scene. It is a hazard of the battlefield. Opera is a battlefield, and it must be accepted.” Her American debut in opera “Norma” established her as a magnanimous force in classical music. Her influence continues to inspire today as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

 

Be sure to follow us on social media so you can find out who the next #WomanCrushWednesday will be!

Night Mart this Week in Sewickley!

You better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

It’s Christmas in July week in the city of Sewickley and we have a special event coming up!

CYM Sewickley will be open for all to see Friday, July 26th for Night Mart! Night Mart, which runs from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., is a celebration of local shops and businesses. Enjoy a pop-up artisan market featuring locally handcrafted goods, a variety of food trucks, and even live music! Be sure to stop by CYM Sewickley to try out our colorful front window piano! Mr. Ryan will also be there letting people try out some instruments as well!

So stop by Beaver Street tomorrow night and be sure to check it out!

The Center for Young Musicians