Introducing Althea and Naomi, my featured musicians for November and December!
I am delighted to introduce a wonderful family who I have been very lucky to make music with for many, many years now. Althea and Naomi have been with me since I was teaching in our smaller house when my sons were very small, they stayed with me when I taught in the West Music conservatory for several years, and they are my stalwart Friday friends in my current home studio.
I have seen a huge amount of musical development from each of them over the years and I have also had the real privilege of being alongside them as they grew and gathered many other interests and continued to keep music in their lives while they explore ballet, taekwondo, basketball, art and many of the other pleasures of life. I encourage you to read their answers above to see all the wonder they find in the world.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, I get a real surge of joy from seeing my students making music with their family members and so I especially love when their dad Ryan joins them on mandolin and guitar and their mom Jen joins them on piano and flute. Our fellow beloved Family Folk Machiners and audience members also know what marvelous singers they all are.
This family of truth seekers and kindness givers weaves their love of music into the splendid landscape of life’s many treasures and I stand in awe of all the beauty they share with us.
Introducing Silas, my featured musician for September and October!
I’ve only had the privilege of working with Silas for one year and it is astounding to look back and see all that we’ve already explored together.
Silas is a natural adventurer, choosing to learn about the world by jumping right into the experiences that spark his curiosity. We had only been working together for a few weeks when he arrived at his lesson with his first composition in hand. Together we played through it and I helped him translate what he had written using finger numbers into standard notation. Oh, the thrill when the computer played back his song to him!
Since then, the compositions have been flowing steadily. I have a file of student compositions that I keep on my computer and Silas’s creations now make up almost 20% of the content in that file. It is fascinating to observe how the musical concepts that we explore in lessons organically manifest themselves in his compositions as we progress.
Silas’s technique continues to strengthen along with his creative victories so he is well placed to soon reach his goal of “playing piano very fast” that he states above. He capably achieves all that he sets out to accomplish by taking on challenges at his own beautiful pace with his eager, openhearted mindset toward learning.
My students inspire me so much.
Introducing Waelyn, my featured musician for March and April!
Waelyn is a wonder. She has never met a melody that she doesn’t retain, can hear and demonstrate melodic similarities in vastly different pieces of music, and her impeccable rhythm extends to her comic timing, much to my continued delight.
Perhaps it is no coincidence given her musical gifts that Waelyn’s parents are two of my favorite local musicians (Benj and Nicole Upchurch). Even beyond my admiration of them as musicians, I really appreciate parents like Benj and Nicole who share my belief in music being a joyful, lifelong pursuit and never ever a drudgery or a battleground.
Given her vast array of interests and talents and her impressively balanced sense of self, I am curious and excited to witness how Waelyn’s passions will manifest in the coming years. I am grateful to be playing a part in her story.
Introducing Beth, my featured musician for January and February!
Teaching Beth is a delight for so many reasons. Let me count the ways:
- well-rounded multipotentialite lifelong learners like Beth are the most inspiring and interesting people with whom to spend time. I strive every day to count myself in this group. Here she lists her “interests outside music” but I happen to know that she has many additional talents not listed here, including being a very gifted visual artist.
- dedicating oneself to mastering a complicated instrument like the fiddle is a task that takes years. Beth cheerfully honors this commitment each year and together we rejoice in noting the ways in which she has grown musically over time.
- Beth embraces the ways in which learning music benefits her overall health as well as challenges her areas of growth.
- Beth is very funny and kind and is wonderfully supportive of me and of her fellow students.
Congratulations to you, Beth! You are a light in my life.
Introducing Stella, my featured musician for November and December!
How awesome is the self-portrait that Stella provided for her featured musician poster?!! I hope you can tell that the shirt she is wearing reads “Be Who You Are”. Stella embodies that message so well.
It also delights me to no end that Stella’s mother Katie captured a photo of our very first fiddle lesson together 4 years ago when she was just shy of her fifth birthday.
Since that first lesson, Stella and I have learned so much together. We sing in nearly every lesson because two people who love to sing as much as we do just can’t help ourselves when we get together. We are also both shameless multi-instrumentalists. The more music, the better! I’m actually quite jealous of Stella’s collection of musical instruments and I highly doubt the collection is complete.
Stella draws deep inspiration from performing and I believe it stems at least in part from her generous spirit. She truly understands how much joy a passionate performance brings to the audience and she loves to spread happiness. There is very likely a genetic component as well, given how richly blessed Stella is on both sides of her family with a legacy of performance and music making that goes back many generations.
Please join me in wishing Stella a happy birthday and a hearty congratulations on all her musical accomplishments past, present and future!
Jennifer Masada and I were thrilled to produce another successful Fall Concert at New Song Episcopal Church in Coralville!
Special thanks to all of our wonderful students who worked so hard and played with so much energy and passion and to their families who helped them to achieve their goals.
We knew already that Rey was a Force prodigy who brought new hope to a galaxy on the brink of war but did you know that she’s also a great fiddler?!
Has a box of noodles ever before performed Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King so expertly and with such musicianship? We think not!
A very special thank you to my studio parents for providing those wonderful photos!
The Ninth Doctor performed his own theme song on the accordion. We were surprised he knew of the theme at all!
Thank you so much to everyone for attending and supporting us with your wonderful energy as we performed. We love you and we look forward to gathering again next year to celebrate the FUN in making music!
Introducing Dannye and Rob, my featured musicians for September and October!
There is a special place in my heart for family music-making so it’s an extra thrill to be featuring a mother and son for the first time in my featured musician series.
In addition to making music at home, in school ensembles and at church, Dannye and Rob as well as Rob’s two sisters regularly bring their musical gifts to enrich the guests and staff at The Russell and Ann Gerdin American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. I find it truly beautiful that they are so committed to using their talents to share joy and inspiration.
You can follow some of Dannye’s other creative pursuits at her writing website DannyeChase.com.