So it begins!

Right this minute across campus there are two guitar teachers, a piano teacher, a violin teacher and a cello teacher working with students new and renewing. I love first days!  

Enrollment crunch time!

We've been calling, emailing, texting, and sending smoke signals out to all our students, teachers, potential students, schools, family and friends. It's just that time of year! 

Here are some openings in our schedules you might like to know about: 

1. Guitar lessons on Tuesday and Thursday at Catlin Gabel- open times remain for private lessons.

2. Cello lessons on Tuesdays at Catlin Gabel- open times remain for private lessons

3. Beginner Buds classes:
Beginner Buds is a small group beginner class with a maximum of 4 students working together for ten weeks. They usually play in a recital at the end of the session together. The cost is just $140 (there is also a one-time registration fee per family if you are new to us) and includes use of an instrument for the duration of the class. Several of the classes below are down to one spot remaining. All are at the Catlin Gabel School and outside students are welcome. 

Tuesdays 3:30-4:00pm Guitar 

Tuesdays 4:00-4:30pm Piano

Wednesdays 3:30-4:00pm Violin

Wednesdays 3:30-4:00 Cello 

We also have teachers to come to your home and teach violin, piano, guitar and cello. 

Email for more info!

Kicking off Fall 2016!

Lessons officially begin next week and our first "Back to School" fair of the year is in the books. We had a great time in the library of the Lower School at Catlin Gabel, greeting old friends and making new ones. 

My boys brought a cello, guitar, ukulele and made good use of the little upright piano there. It's fun to watch them interact with other kids and they do love to play for anybody who will listen. 

I believe we had multiple children stop by and hold an instrument for the first time. The cello in particular is a great instrument for these "instrument petting zoo" situations, both because it's unusual to be given one to play at random and because it sounds so nice even in the hands of a beginner. It's a poorly kept secret that I would have liked to play cello myself as a kid, but the bus I took to school banned instruments of that size so I ended up with the viola. 

We happily enrolled 20+ students today in Beginner Buds (small group beginner classes just $140 for ten weeks) and in private lessons. We certainly hope it's a great year of exploration and skill acquisition for each of them. 



Happy New Year from our family to yours.

I am writing this to you from the warm and relaxed chaos of wrapping paper-strewn holiday joy in our house. We have had a very nice break, kicked off by the kids' playing at West Hills Village Senior Residence on Monday the 21st. The seniors remembered our previous recital, and were happily surprised to find us playing songs for them as they ate dinner that night. Even with a certain two year old (mine) throwing an uncharacteristic tantrum (albeit quietly, thank goodness), it was a fun evening and something we plan to organize regularly.

This seventh year of directing our academy has been a year of deep gratitude. As both a mom and as RCMA's director, I feel privileged to have such great music teachers for my own kids through our school who add depth to our weeks. I am grateful that we have been able to launch donated music lessons for Portland area refugee children and look forward to watching that grow. It's a joy to me that we have begun planning our summer camps in July, because I love camp and because my boys are already asking what classes they will get to take and which friends will be back to play alongside them.

As I take a second to sip some coffee, ignore the pine needles falling off our tree and reflect on the year behind us, I'm struck by a sense of curiosity for the coming year. I wonder what songs Isaac (7) will want to repeat on his cello ad infinitum (this year it was Harry Potter and a song from choir this summer that he figured out). I'm looking forward to watching Toby (9) take more ownership of his own piano playing as he continues to surpass my limited abilities there (I'm a string player- a poor assigned tutor helped me squeak past the piano requirements back in college). I really love the little smile he gets as he realizes he can play things I cannot, and that he is a faster study than I ever was.

Here is my wish for each of our students in 2016: that you would find many things that you are curious about, and that studying music would reveal aspects you might not have known about yourself. I wish you loving audiences (including your own two ears and heart) and ever-increasing skill. Most of all, I hope you continue to discover how to teach yourself in the practice room, because that's where so much of the good stuff is, deep in those many hours of attentive curiosity and care wrapped up in a hard-won phrase or bit of technique.

Happy New Year, Rose City Music Academy. And thank you.

Beginner Buds starts next week! Just a few spots remain open

We have these classes with a few openings available now:
cello (Mondays at 5:30 off campus in NW)
guitar (opening left is 4:15-4:45 Wednesdays starting next week at Catlin)
violin (Fridays at 3:30 at Catlin)

Beginner Buds is a ten week class with a max of 4 students working with a teacher for 30 minutes each week to learn the basics of their instrument. We provide use of an instrument (even cello!) for the duration of the ten weeks. It's just $135 for tuition and there is a one time family registration fee of $25 for new students. 

Call 503-308-8863 or email to enroll!

Summer Camps are Nearly Here!

We are so thrilled to have another summer of camps at the stunning Catlin Gabel School campus. We have a limited number of spaces available in each week:
July 6-10
July 13-17
July 20-24
Monday-Friday 9am to 3pm

Please click here to print our application form and as always feel free to call or email with any questions.

NOTE: We have a change of address! The correct address is already on all our forms and it's:
RCMA PO Box 2184 Beaverton OR 97075

Group Lessons and Classes for your Music Student!

Hello all- 
We hope your new year is off to a great start. Below you can find information about our Beginner Buds lessons and group classes for students already taking lessons on ANY instrument! Musicians who join a group practice more and learn musical skills of expression and ensemble faster than those who always work alone. Come join the fun- free of additional charge to all RCMA students! (Groups are just $100 per 10-week term for students of other local instructors.)

Thank you and as always, please email or call if there are any questions we can answer. 

-Miriam and the RCMA Faculty
Small Group Lessons for Beginners
New Beginner Buds 10 week introductory group lessons are starting this week!

Beginner Buds is an easy way to try music lessons in a small group setting. There is a maximum of four students per class, and we can provide instruments for the duration of the course in order to practice throughout the week. Students are given a solid start on an instrument and a short-term chance to see what learning their instrument is like.
Tuition for Beginner Buds classes is only $135! (There is a one-time $25 registration fee per family.) We have a few spaces left in each class.

Piano: 3:30-4:00 on Thursdays at the Catlin Gabel School
Guitar: 4:00-4:30 on Thursdays at the Catlin Gabel School
Violin: 3:30-4:00 on Thursdays at the Catlin Gabel School

GROUP CLASSES for all music students!
Already taking lessons? If you are a student taking private lessons with one of Rose City Music Academy’s teachers, you can join one of our group classes ABSOLUTELY FREE OF CHARGE! Friends who study outside of RCMA can join our group classes for just $100 per 10-week class.

MUSIC GAMES with Andrew Endres
Students taking any instrument at any level welcome. Explore music theory, note reading and rhythm through high-energy games and group activities.
TUESDAYS 4-4:30 at the Catlin Gabel School

All Levels GUITAR GROUP CLASS with Kyle Williams
Guitar students of all levels welcome. Learn to play fun tunes with a group.
WEDNESDAYS 4:30-5 at the Catlin Gabel School

By audition only: please email us for details.
WEDNESDAYS 4:30-5 at the Catlin Gabel School

Beginner through mid-Book 1 VIOLIN GROUP CLASS with Elizabeth Doty
WEDNESDAYS 4:30-5 at the Catlin Gabel School

Mid-Book 1 to advanced VIOLIN GROUP CLASS with Elizabeth Doty
WEDNESDAYS 5-5:30 at the Catlin Gabel School

All Levels PIANO GROUP CLASS with Mahroo Hamedani
Piano students of all levels welcome.
THURSDAYS 5:15-5:45 at Portland First Church of the Nazarene

Specialized CHAMBER MUSIC CLASS with various faculty members
TIME/DAY TBD by group and teacher
Music Students with a playing level at least equivalent to late book 1 and basic note-reading skill are welcome to form groups of THREE or more and receive coaching from an RCMA faculty member. This is an incredible opportunity for our students, and we are excited to hear from parents who have gathered a group ready to learn a piece to play together!

Saturdays in SE Portland!

We have a fantastic new studio day and location available to RCMA students!

Cole Robinson offers guitar (both electric and acoustic), drums, piano, bass and ukulele lessons in his studio near the Hawthorne Bridge in SE Portland.

In addition to teaching popular private lessons for several years with us, Mr. Robinson's classes at our camps this summer were a huge hit! He taught a large variety of classes including everything from beginner piano to ukulele groups singing pop tunes, to music games that got our high-energy students outside and running while learning more about music.

Here are some of his students performing "Radioactive" after just five days together trying out the Ukulele:

Email or call 503-308-8863 to enroll or have a trial lesson with Mr. Robinson!

Two videos for fall!

We have just returned from a family trip to China and are jumping into fall scheduling head first. Ms. Doty was very helpful with keeping all the emails answered and calls returned while we were gone. It was truly a "family trip" because we came home with a new 19 month old daughter! In another four years or so, we hope she'll be joining our students in the recitals.

There are a few open spots remaining on violin, cello, piano, guitar and voice. As always, email or call if you are interested in a trial lesson.

Here are two fun videos to inspire your young students this fall!

Who can forget the Grasshopper and the Ant?!

And how fun would it be to get one of our free group classes to put on a show like these ladies?! There are a couple of particularly dramatic young boys (my own 6 and 8 year olds!) who I know would love to play at being competitive like this!

Play Music: Your brain will thank you!

As we enroll new students for the school year, I can't help but get excited. As these students establish and maintain a regular practice routine, they will be given skills that help them learn. I'm not just talking about passive neurological improvement like all the studies keep showing (see the articles below for more on that good news). What I love is that they learn how to teach themselves; how to refine the very way they learn.

I can say from my own experience that this is one of the greatest benefits of studying music, perhaps even beyond the in-the-moment expression which I so deeply enjoy. Learning how to improve in one hard thing helps a person prepare to tackle all the many other hard things in life. Knowing yourself better is a profoundly useful thing.

Refining motor skills and mental focus,
learning the violin is a worthy challenge.

So, stick with your lessons, give us a call if you need an accomplished & caring teacher or go to the great teacher down the street- Portland is blessed with many! Support classes in schools, pick up that instrument you played until 5th grade. Your brain will thank you for it.

A pair of supporting articles:
How Playing Music Changes the Learning Brain

Listening to and Playing Music Excites Lobes and Cortices Throughout the Brain

And if you'd like to know more about enrolling with us:
A link to our Fall 2014 registration form. 

Viola for Sale

One of our faculty members is selling an excellent William Harris Lee viola.

Used most recently to complete both a Masters and part of a Doctorate in performance, this is a beautiful instrument with a rich clear timbre. It's a hair over 16" but has a much bigger sound. The neck was shaved approximately 10 years ago, making this viola relatively easy to play.

The price for this viola with a custom Gewa case is $5000 firm.

Please email for more information.

Summer Camp Registration 2014 is Live!!

This year we'll offer THREE weeks of summer camp on the beautiful campus of the Catlin Gabel School.

Please click here for the registration form. 

Below are some answers to common questions about our camp:

How much experience do students need? None! We have beginner group classes in addition to groups for more advanced students. Class sizes are kept very small, so that each student has the experience of working in a group while receiving the individual attention necessary to achieve new things within the week.

What if we don't have an instrument? No problem! We have instruments to rent and will even provide some free of charge.

What is a typical day like at RCMA’s summer camp?
We have 6 class periods and a lunch hour spread from 9am to 4pm. When a student chooses a focus area, they will join a small group of students for their “lesson time” with the teacher. They’ll have 45 minutes of class time to explore their instrument with a few other students and will perform together in the recital on Friday for parents and friends.

Each student’s day will include their focus period, choir, and outdoor play. The remaining periods are filled with art and music classes covering rhythm, music history, composition, music theory, and more. With several opportunities for students of all levels to work and play freely together, both friendships and musical skills flourish.

What is the Intensive Chamber Camp like? 
Chamber campers enjoy working in a small group together, playing compositions in different groupings with multiple instructors throughout the day. Our campers often play classical, pop, fiddle and jazz styles with the guidance of professional musicians versed in those styles. The limited size of this camp fosters bonding among the campers and maximizes their musical development over the course of the week. More advanced students are encouraged to help their colleagues and are given music that is tailored to specifically challenge them. An assisted practice session is set aside each day, when the students are given specific input on how to work on the assigned pieces individually and in smaller groups.

Attention is given to technical development, reading skills, and the ability to play in ensembles. The Chamber Campers perform throughout the week for the summer camp students at lunchtime and they also play several pieces in the recital on Friday for parents and friends. We are impressed each year with how these students improve and what they accomplish in just one intensive week!

Practice articles: Early October 2013 edition

The internet and print media are abuzz lately with great thoughts on how to learn. Parents, please note that these thoughts do NOT only apply to a tiger mother shoving her children into a career as a soloist. Rather, they condense some of the best current thinking on how we learn and contain tips for us all. We are nothing if not students, from beginning to end!

Here are just a few articles I've liked:

James Clear's article, "Lessons on Success and Deliberate Practice from Mozart, Picasso, and Kobe Bryant"

Noa Kageyama's blog, books, and counsel serve as a secret weapon for many professional musicians and I love this article about practice, "How Many Hours a Day Should You Practice". The ideas here could apply to anything that requires time to learn. My kids are only 5 and 7 years old, but we are already talking about some of the things he mentions here both in our school day and our instrument practice time.

Sarah Welsh has a good quick read for parents helping children practice. It's a bit annoying to scroll through to read, but there are some clever tricks offered. In our house we do stickers rather than candy, and the stickers add up to choices from a prize bucket of dollar store trinkets (works for the arcades!), but to each his own. See also our parent handbook page about creative practice helpers. "The Secret to Getting Kids to Practice- Without Tears"

... and just for fun, current Nobel Prize winner Thomas Sudhof says this about what lessons with an excellent teacher did for him:
(Who was your most influential teacher, and why?)
My bassoon teacher, Herbert Tauscher, who taught me that the only way to do something right is to practice and listen and practice and listen, hours, and hours, and hours.

Announcing our Fall 2013 Groups & Classes!

Groups and Studio Classes Fall 2013
Students in our private lessons can join one, free of charge, starting next week!
Group classes, ensembles and studio classes run 10 weeks, beginning the last week of September. These groups are not only fun, they inspire improvement and promote diligent practice. Kids playing in groups develop musical skills they cannot gain in lessons and solo practice.

All students enrolled in private lessons with Rose City Music Academy are invited and strongly encouraged to participate in a group. There is no additional charge for RCMA students joining one of our group offerings. Our faculty members enjoy teaching group classes, students improve more, and this makes it a win-win for everyone in our musical community!

Please let us know which group you would like to join. You can try any group without notice to us, but please do commit to the ones you like so we can be sure to maintain 3+ students attending.
Non-RCMA students can join for just $135 per 10-week course.

5:30-6:00pm Mondays ALL LEVELS VIOLIN STUDIO CLASS at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center 6651 SW Capitol Hwy with Elizabeth Doty
For all violinists of all levels. Students will work together on musicianship, Suzuki repertoire, performance skills, and build community through fun group tunes.

4:00-4:30pm Thursdays BEGINNER VIOLIN STUDIO CLASS at Portland First Church of the Nazarene 6100 SW Raab Rd, Portland with Olivia Baker
For Violinists learning beginning Pre-Twinkles through the Minuets of Book 1
This group is for total beginner violins and students learning up through the Minuets of Suzuki Book 1. Students will work together on musicianship, Suzuki repertoire, performance skills, games, and build community through fun group tunes.

4:30-5:00pm Thursdays INTERMEDIATE VIOLIN STUDIO CLASS at Portland First Church of the Nazarene 6100 SW Raab Rd, Portland with Olivia Baker
For violinists learning songs from the end of Book 1 through Book 2 & beyond
This group is for students who have mastered the Minuets of Book 1 through and beyond book 2. Students will work together on musicianship, Suzuki repertoire, performance skills, and build community through fun group tunes.

4:00-4:30pm Thursdays ALL LEVELS VIOLIN CLASS at Portland Adventist Elementary School 3990 NW 1st St Gresham with Lucia Conrad
For all violinists of all levels. Students will work together on musicianship, Suzuki repertoire, performance skills, and build community through fun group tunes.

4:30-5:00pm Wednesdays ALL LEVELS CELLO STUDIO CLASS at Catlin Gabel School 8825 SW Barnes Rd. with Adrienne Welsh
For all cellists of all levels. Students will work together on musicianship, Suzuki repertoire, performance skills, and build community through fun group tunes.

Violin, Viola, Cello, Piano
5:15-5:45pm Wednesdays CHAMBER GROUP at Catlin Gabel School 8825 SW Barnes Rd. with Lisbeth Dreier *** This class may move to another time/day. ***
This limited enrollment group is for string players in Book 3 or higher, and pianists who can play the repertoire at a similar level (pianists generally have to be a bit more advanced than their string colleagues). Students will learn pieces of chamber music (music where there is usually just one musician on each part and a max of about 8 players per group), working on ensemble, musicianship, reading, and performance of classical repertoire.

5:15-5:45pm Thursdays ALL LEVELS PIANO STUDIO CLASS at Portland First Church of the Nazarene 6100 SW Raab Rd, Portland with Mahroo Hamedani.
For pianists of all levels. The class may perform for one another, play music games, work on technical skill, discuss music theory and build community by working together on repertoire.

4:30-5:00pm Wednesdays ALL LEVELS GUITAR STUDIO CLASS at Catlin Gabel School 8825 SW Barnes Rd. with Kyle Williams
For guitarists of all levels. The class may perform for one another, work on technical skill, discuss music theory and build community by working together on songs.

4:30-5:00pm Thursdays GUITAR PERFORMANCE ENSEMBLE at Catlin Gabel School 8825 SW Barnes Rd. with Andrew Becker
By audition, limited enrollment intended for students with strong reading skills. The goal of the Guitar Performance Ensemble will be to perform at least once a term as a group, build community, and learn group skills. Email us for audition information.

Composition, Theory and Games (OPEN TO ALL INSTRUMENTS)
4:30-5:00pm Thursdays YOUNG COMPOSERS at Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Hwy with Cole Robinson

Ages 8+, any instrument welcome. Learn the basics of music theory, notation and composition. Students will have their musical ideas put to paper and performed at one of our recitals. This class is always one of the favorites at our summer camp, and now we’re looking forward to hearing what comes from our students during the school year.

Summer's Half Done (WHAT?!)

Here we are, rounding the bend toward fall already! This summer has already been pivotal for RCMA in several ways. We had two weeks of our largest camps ever, and they were also two of our most fun and encouraging weeks to date (see the previous post for some fun pictures and details). The other big accomplishment is that we have hired three fantastic new faculty members to replace teachers who after years with us are moving to Germany and California. The fall is really shaping up to be a great time for our students, and I’m looking forward to bringing together students and faculty in locations all over the Portland area.
Mahroo Hamedani, Piano & Keyboard
Lisbeth Dreier, Violin
Kyle Williams, Guitar

We have jusssst finished up re-packing all our camp supplies into bins, and the next task is to organize this crazy pile of instruments in my home teaching studio. Anybody want to rent a keyboard (please?!)?

Violins, Cello Chairs, Guitars- and after this picture we stacked our six keyboards in front!
We're gonna need a bigger boat.

We have revamped our registration form, and it should be much easier to download and print now. We are also always happy to attach one to an email for you- just let us know if you'd like more information.

Did you know we now have teachers available to teach in your home? I’m thrilled about this option and frankly plan to take advantage of it myself with my own two boys (how did we end up staring down the barrel of three different instruments and four lessons a week?). There is a $125 travel fee per 14-week term for this option.

With these new options and the success of the summer, I am really looking forward to building a musical community again this year!

I'd love to hear from students and friends: What musical fun did you have this summer? 

Summer Camp Debriefing

I’m thrilled to post about our summer camps this year, and to put up a few pictures of campers in their native environments. We had large numbers of kids and it was fun to see them form friendships with other students of varying ages. From the first day, when each kid was a little nervous, they began to work together in their classes and free times. By the end of the week the kids were plugged into several groups and moved freely between them through the day: some by age, some by instrument, some just by schedule, others by interests. Friendships formed around learning and expression are often that much sweeter, don’t you think?
Art Class: These gentlemen did finger knitting twice their own height!

Morning Break

Ms. Hamedani works with a camper.

Ms. Welsh teaching composition.

Instrument Making: Glockenspiels in the Sun

Outdoor Play on Catlin's gorgeous campus!

Each of the weeks ended with a recital and I can honestly say I was impressed with what they accomplished in such a short span of time. Our faculty struck a perfect balance of introducing enough content to inspire while rigorously teaching good habits and technique.
Young pianists perform in the Friday recital

From Advanced Chamber groups to Art and Instrument Making, the variety of activities through the day kept the kids engaged and excited.

Ms. Conrad coaches a chamber trio

Camp Counselors: We are accepting applications!

Email us for a counselor application if you are a responsible, active 12 to 18 year old interested in volunteering for the service hours and responsibilities described below. 
JULY 9-13th
AUGUST 6-10th 
with a meeting for preparation the Friday before each week

RCMA offers an outstanding camp for children ages 4-14 for two weeks (you are welcome to help with either or both weeks) on the beautiful campus of the Catlin Gabel School. Counselors help run the camp by assisting the students and faculty members throughout the week.

Can you handle these awesome dudes?
Responsibilities & Opportunities for our Counselors
Our active counselors should be prepared to help students find their classes, keep track of their instruments and supplies, re-heat lunches and in general enjoy their day at camp. Students spend a portion of each day playing outdoors and counselors arrange fun games and team activities to best entertain their students.

They are responsible for knowing where their assigned campers are at all times, and for helping younger children to treat each other, their instruments, and the campus with respect. Counselors are expected to encourage campers in their musical interests and are invited to participate alongside campers in classes when possible.

Younger campers (ages 4-6) will need less intense times throughout the day and their counselors should help them find quiet activities especially in the afternoon.

Counselors will play a big role in helping direct the camp recital on Friday. They help students line up for their performances, move chairs and stands on stage, and assist any students who may be feeling shy. In past years, counselors have presented performances and skits in the relaxed time after the recital on Friday to the delight of both students and faculty members.

Benefits of Serving as a Camp Counselor
o   Exposure to & observation of professional faculty members teaching young music students, and the opportunity to participate whenever logistically possible. (Let us know if there is a class you would like to take in particular!)

o   A week on the beautiful Catlin Gabel campus with time to enjoy the many outdoor play spaces.

o   A written recommendation for each counselor including the number of volunteer service hours completed and a specific description of their contribution to our fine arts camp.

o   The satisfaction of assisting with and encouraging the development of younger music & art students.

We have been grateful to have several outstanding counselors return year after year to help with and learn from our camp. We would love to have you join us.

MYS Concert June 10th

The Metropolitan Youth Symphony will have its season finale concert on Sunday, June 10th at 7pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland. Not only is this a wonderful concert for students and families to attend, but we are proud to say we have students involved in this wonderful organization.
Click here for more information.