By Kristin McGrail
Click here to read Kristin's entire blog.
By Kristin McGrail
Spanish teacher, wife, mother, and traveler, Kristin McGrail reflects on the universality of the language of music and on how she has used music to help herself and her students to learn foreign languages. Music is universal but also culturally specific and can therefore help in learning about cultures not only through its lyrics and rhythm, but also through its cultural relevance. McGrail discusses the many ways in which music can aid in the classroom as well as in our individual lives as continual learners.
Click here to read Kristin's entire blog.
On Sunday, March 24th, eight student musicians competed for a $250 scholarship at Note-worthy Experiences. Five of the musicians take lessons outside of Note-worthy Experiences.
Students performed on a variety of instruments including flute, trumpet, bassoon, cello and piano. Each student performed four pieces live in front of our panel of three judges. Our 2019 Live & Final Round of Judges were Daniel Beilman, Noah Dresser, and Matt Savage.
Prior to this final round, thirty students submitted two recorded pieces for our panel of judges to review. Our 2019 Recorded Round judges were Francois-Paul Aiche, Chris Oh, Maria Price and Renee Bordner.
Our 2019 Winner was Miss Ariel who performed on her flute.
If you are interested in hearing the finalists and winner perform, please join us for our Honors & Senior Recital on May 11th at 5 pm. Please contact email@example.com for details and tickets.
By Renee Bordner
Piano Guild Auditions are something that we offer our piano students each spring. Each year, I am asked by students, parents and even some teachers many questions about it. I am always happy to answer any and all questions as I want students to make an informed decision about participating.
There is a fair amount of information available on the website and a great deal of information available in the Guild Syllabus. However, I am going to attempt to sum up this information for students, parents and instructors here.
I have prepared students for Piano Guild for many years in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. In Massachusetts, I was the Co-Chair of the Concord Center for a period of time before creating a Sudbury Chapter in 2017. The Center Chairperson is responsible for securing the location of the auditions. I have elected to host the auditions at our studio in my home. This also means that instructors from outside of our studio are also welcome to bring their students to our audition center which does occur each year.
Students of all ages and stages may participate in the auditions. The student may register to play one to twenty pieces for the Judge. A student must register in advance with an instructor who is a Guild Member who submits the payment and registration card to Headquarters. Once the Guild Fee is submitted to Headquarters, it is non refundable. If a student wishes to change the skill level or number of pieces he or she is playing, there is a $10 fee to receive an updated certificate / report card. Headquarters will assign the dates and times that each instructor is allotted to have students perform for the Judge. The teacher is then responsible for communicating with the students and parents about the assigned dates and times. The scheduling department at Headquarters assigns the Judge to adjudicate at a center. The same judge cannot return to a center for three years.
According to the syllabus and website,
"The Piano Guild, as we are called (a division of the American College of Musicians), was founded in 1929 by Dr. Irl Allison. Since that time, the Guild has grown to more than 850 audition centers where thousands of students enroll annually in our international auditions, which are held throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Our primary function is to establish definite goals and awards--in noncompetitive auditions--for students of all levels, from the earliest beginner to the gifted prodigy. With the exception of our "special" programs, teachers have the flexibility to choose all repertoire for student auditions. Students are judged on individual merit, by a well-qualified music professional, in the areas of accuracy, continuity, phrasing, pedaling, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, tone, interpretation, style, and technique. Our purpose is to encourage growth and enjoyment through the study of piano."
"Students are adjudicated by an international panel of judges and receive report cards, certificates, and fraternity pins. Programs are diversified to meet the needs of both students and teachers. Programs are flexible and include repertoire as well as technical goals (musicianship phases)."
Guild offers students the opportunity to perform in front of one judge versus a large audience and or a panel of judges in a large university like setting. Each student receives a score and comment card full of constructive feedback. The scores are not posted or public. Students can compete with him or herself year after year to improve the score, increase the level of difficulty of pieces and or the number of pieces performed. This a format for students and instructors to set measurable and attainable goals each year. I often explain this to parents and child care givers by equating this to a third party audit. It is a platform for students to receive constructive feedback to help the student to improve. It is a great stepping stone for students who wish to explore other graded systems, competitions and festivals. Guild welcomes both the students who study piano for recreation and leisure as well as the students who intend to major or minor in music.
This year, I will be conducting a Piano Guild Prep workshop for our students. Details will be in our monthly newsletters. This workshop is designed for both students who are new to the Guild process and to students who are seasoned members.
I would be honored to answer any additional questions about Piano Guild, if I do not know the answer, I will find the answer for you. Best wishes in your musical adventures.
Renee Bordner is the owner of Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio and became a member of the Piano Guild Hall of Fame in 2019.
By Rachel Stroia
Note-worthy Experiences has announced its second annual Scholarship competition. The competition is open to all MetroWest students ages 9-17, all instruments. The competition will consist of two rounds, the first will be a recorded round in which the student will submit two pieces of contrasting style. The second round will be live performances by four students selected by a panel of judges, based on the submitted recordings. The prize for the winner is a $250 cash prize.
Last year’s winner was Catie Siedel, a piano student of Dr. Daniel Dickson. Catie was also featured in GetLocalMA magazine shortly after winning the competition. Read more about her here. She was one of four finalists to perform in front of panel of Note-worthy judges of various backgrounds. The four finalists performed a variety of pieces of all styles from Bach Preludes to Beach Buggy Boogie by Martha Mier.
The competition is an excellent opportunity for students not only to prepare a piece for a formal performance, but also to receive a variety of feedback on their progress. A teacher’s feedback is incredibly valuable to a student, and receiving feedback from others is just as valuable to the teacher and the student.
Please see the flyer below for more information on the competition:
By Rachel Stroia
Note-worthy has hosted an annual winter recital for the past eleven years, since the studio began in 2007. The first recital was a small affair in a local church in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Eight students performed. Last year, the studio hosted four recitals in one day to accommodate the over 150 students that performed. The Winter recital is the climax of the studio's year, not only because it showcases the skills and hard work of the students, but because it brings the studio together. Students meet other students of their teachers. Teachers meet and network with other teachers. Parents meet other studio parents and see their students perform. They are all brought together to celebrate the musical achievement of their students and children.
It’s 8:30 AM on the morning of the recitals and the venue is already buzzing with activity. Teachers have arrived to help set up for a day filled with musical performances from instruments from piano to voice to electric guitar. Students begin to trickle in. A family carries in an entire drum set. A teacher is testing an amp. The nervous energy is tangible as the student performers take their places. The teachers, and guests settle in to enjoy the performances. The final performer takes their bow, and Renee hands out trophies and medals to the students, giddy with excitement and adrenaline. A relieved an excited aura replaces the nervous energy. The venue begins to clear only as the performers for the next recital arrive, and the cycle repeats three more times before all 150 students have performed, culminating months of practice and preparation.
A six-year old approaches the piano, apprehensive, wary of the unfamiliar keys of a new instrument. His teacher rises to help him but he has already begun his performance of Frosty the Snowman. Finishing, he jumps from his seat and runs forward to hug his family. Little does he realize that his first ever performance has been a success. The recital photographer captures the moment before the child runs back to his seat.
The audience sits in quiet as the drum set is erected. Murmurs float through the crowd; no one knows whether or not they are allowed to talk. They jump in unison as Imagine Dragons “Believe” blares from the speaker, a stark contrast to the amiable piano piece of the previous performance. Heads start to bob as the piece continues. Cheers ring through the clapping on completion. “That was awesome,” whispers a guest. “I was expecting to be bored, but this is great.”
Note-worthy’s Winter Recital is gives students the chance to showcase their hard work and vast variety of skills. It gives them the chance to create memories of success and the motivation to continue their hard work. But most importantly, it brings together a community of young musicians to share their love of music.
Our 2018 Winter Holiday Recitals will be held at St. Anne in the Fields, Lincoln on Friday, December 7, and Saturday, December 8, 2018. The registration fee is $40. We do not charge guests for tickets, and students may invite an unlimited number of guests.
Registration will close after November 5th. Students will be assigned to specific recital times. The Friday evening recital will be reserved for our older and more advanced students if they choose to participate in that recital.
To register, please contact Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org, or speak with your instructor.
Rachel Stroia is the Office Manager at Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio. In addition to working at Note-worthy, she is a student at Suffolk University and enjoys reading, baking, and hiking.
By Rachel Stroia
Earlier this year, Note-worthy embarked on the project of collecting teaching philosophies from all of our teachers. We know that all of our teachers are unique in their teaching styles and goals. Reading a teacher's biography can sometimes not be sufficient information to decide if that teacher is a good fit for your student. We asked ourselves how we could make more focused information about out teachers available to families searching for music teachers. Just as every teacher has a different teaching style, every family has a different requirement for their own musical journey. We asked our teachers to write a teaching philosophy so that we could understand their motives, inspirations, and goals, not just their achievements. The results surpassed our expectations. Not only did we learn about individual teaching styles and methods, but we also discovered the wealth of diversity that the teachers at Note-worthy offer.
One teacher said, "I teach students to focus on achieving the sensations of healthy singing, rather than making judgments about the resulting sounds, which can often be instinctively negative, rather than objective and analytical. Once we free ourselves from negative judgments, singing becomes healthier, more creative, AND more fun! I ask students to view lessons and practice as science experiments; be playful and observant and the beautiful sounds will happen." Another, "My teaching philosophy is to instill a state of constant wonder and curiosity for music of all forms." Another, “"Whether teaching voice or piano, my primary goal is to help students see music as a creative, individual, and fun process! Through my positive and gentle guidance which includes invaluable tools like healthy vocal or piano technique, musical literacy, improvisation and ear training, and appropriate repertoire, I hope to help cultivate a lifelong love of music in my students that keeps them learning and experimenting for years to come."
Our teachers bring a wealth of experience from some of the best music schools in the county. But more than that, they bring a passion to share their love of music with others and to inspire a life-long love of music in their students. For more teacher philosophies, please visit our Meet our Teachers page.
Rachel Stroia is the Office Manager at Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio. In addition to working at Note-worthy, she is also a student at Suffolk University and enjoys reading and cooking.
By Note-worthy Experiences
Have you ever wondered why your instructor was first interested in music? How their musical voyage began? ? What kind of music they listen to on their spare time?
You can now learn all about the Note-worthy instructors in the Teacher Feature section of our website! Every month, we feature a different teacher and learn all about their individual musical journey. Discover the unique styles and stories of the diverse Note-worthy team.
By Rhoda Bernard
Arts Better the Lives of Everyone
One of my great joys is experiencing the arts. I am a singer and pianist, specializing in Jewish music in Yiddish and Hebrew. I gig regularly, playing this music that I love at private parties, synagogues, and folk festivals whenever I can. Playing music keeps me grounded in what I love, focused on my passion, and in touch with the most meaningful part of my life.
I have been told that I sang before I spoke – and if you know me, that says a lot, because I am quite a talker! My fondest childhood memories are of singing – songs from the radio, show tunes, melodies I made up on the spot, and songs that I learned at our temple.
My parents, though not art makers themselves, were true arts lovers. When I was growing up, we regularly went to exhibits, concerts, plays, and performances – whether they were in our suburban community or twelve miles away in Boston. I grew up being a viewer, a listener, and an audience member, in addition to being a performing musician.
It is no surprise, then, that I have devoted my professional life to ensuring that all individuals have meaningful access to and participation in the arts. I am the Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, a new Institute that stems from the recent merger between Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory. The Institute is a catalyst for the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in all aspects of visual and performing arts education. Our work has three main pillars, all of which focus on increasing access to arts education for all students: Arts Education Programs for individuals ages 3 to adult; one-of-a-kind Graduate Programs in Music Education and Autism; and Professional Development for the field. We are dedicated to ensuring that all people receive a meaningful arts education, and that they are taught by educators who have the tools and support that they need to reach every student.
Our various Arts Education Programs include:
And coming in Fall 2018:
We will be piloting a theater program for students with disabilities that will become a full-fledged program in the spring of 2019.
We will be piloting a duet program to prepare students to play music in ensemble settings. This program will be an official program beginning in spring 2019.
These programs are taught by our dedicated staff of instructors, all of whom are students or alumni from our Graduate Programs in Music Education and Autism. I am very, very proud of the outstanding teaching by our instructors and the fantastic training and support provided by our consultants.
Currently, we serve more than 160 families every Saturday in these programs. If you’re interested in learning more about our work, please follow the links and go to our website. You can sign up to be on our newsletter mailing list, where you will learn about our programs, events, and initiatives. You can fill out an application for the program you are interested in by clicking the red APPLY button at the bottom of each program’s web page. Please also note that financial aid is available for families who qualify. There is a link to the financial aid application on every program page.
At the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, we truly believe that the arts better the lives of everyone, and we are deeply committed to making it possible for every person to learn, experience, and participate meaningfully in the arts. We feel that access to the arts, arts learning, and arts experiences is a civil right, and we work hard every day to spread the great joy of the arts to every single person.
By Jim Lansing
The Rascal Flatts song “My Wish” is one of my wife’s favorite songs. The chorus goes:
“My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.”
This became her anthem, a song she would sing to my boys. It resonated so much with my eldest son, now a college junior, that he and my wife got matching tattoos of the phrase “Dreams stay big, Worries stay small.”
As a piano teacher, I have dreams for each of my students: I wish that they will play piano for the rest of their lives. We begin this musical adventure by learning how to hold their hands/fingers, how to sit on the bench, and how the mechanisms work inside the piano. We also learn musical concepts like note values, names of spaces/lines, and playing loudly/softly. Through practice and recitals, students build up their skills and confidence.
My wish for each student is that they lead “Happy Birthday” from the bench when their families gather to celebrate milestones. Maybe they’ll accompany a song by their school choir. Perhaps they’ll play a piece at a family wedding. Once they’ve done that, they might make a musical offering during a worship service at their house of worship. Their path might lead them to play keyboard in a garage band with their friends, audition for their school jazz band, or even earn a few bucks playing in a church worship band. Some of these activities could take six, eight, even ten years of study to achieve. A few students will become that proficient; many will not.
When a student announces their “retirement” from piano lessons, it often coincides with their move to middle school and a shift to playing a band or orchestra instrument. At this point, my wish for them being lifelong pianists shifts to a dream they will be lifelong musicians. When they are “out there getting where [they’re] getting to,” maybe they’ll join a drum & bugle corps, a church choir, or a community orchestra and continue to make music!
Should they quit their musical endeavors, my final wish is that become lifelong consumers of music. For the musical arts to survive, we need people to purchase tickets to concerts, buy recordings, and otherwise make it possible for musicians to make a living at their craft.
While I don’t have lyrics tattooed on my body, “My Wish” resonates with me just the same. As a piano teacher, I hope that each student will become a lifelong pianist. I wish this for every student because you can never predict what each will achieve!
Jim Lansing is a piano teacher in Bloomington, MN. You can find out more about him at www.jimthepianoguy.com or follow him at www.facebook.com/JimThePianoGuy.
Note-worthy Experiences is honored to be a collection spot for the We've Got Your BACKpack campaign again this year. Brand new back packs and new school supplies are being collected for children in the MA Foster Care Program. Please drop off your donations at our studio by August 25th. A bin will be on the front porch if we are in lessons.
Note-worthy Experiences Music Studio LLC, located in Sudbury, Massachusetts, provides private in-home music lessons to students of all ages in the Boston MetroWest area including Concord, Wayland, Weston, Wellesley, Newton, Lincoln, Lexington, Sudbury, and Boston. Contact us at 978.443.0480 or email@example.com
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