Viewing entries tagged
rose city music academy

Busy & wonderful time of the year!

There is so much going on with music and other performances this time of year. Be sure to take advantage of some of those opportunities for your kids. This is a great time to give them practice with the skills involved in sitting quiet and still during a performance because so many of the local professional ensembles have kid-focused offerings; they're expecting the audience to be "in training".

Our own students have been playing up a storm, giving three program recitals and playing one honors prelude at the symphony.

Thanks to all our teachers, students and their families!

Here is a beautiful group of young ladies warming up for our program at Mittleman Jewish Community Center. I love that the two on the left were our "Early Twinkler" group and they wore the same lovely dress without even planning it! What are the odds? I also love that this photo captures the relaxed & encouraging nature of our fabulous faculty member Elizabeth Doty. The student in front of her played one of her best ever performances just a little while after this picture was taken.

Youtube can be your musical friend!

I have often suggested to parents that they look on youtube for good videos of people playing repertoire their children are trying to learn. It's a great inspiration for music students, especially when you can find a child of a similar age playing with good habits. As always, and particularly on Youtube, be sure to supervise and pre-watch anything you show your kids.

Here are a few things my boys (ages 3 and 5) have really loved watching:
The Cello Wars

Infinitus "Anthem" This is a beatboxing string trio fronted by John "Adidam" Littlejohn, a friend of mine from Peabody who runs a not-for profit music academy that serves underprivileged kids.

So don't forget Youtube and other video posting sites as a great resource for practicing inspiration.

Happy musicmaking!

Recital week is here!

Our recital week is here!
Please come hear some excellent music making by students of guitar, piano, violin, cello and voice. All recitals are free and open to all ages.
Wednesday, December 7th at 6pm at Portland Adventist Elementary School's library. 3990 NW 1st St Gresham, OR 97030

Thursday, December 8th at 6pm at our Sylvan Location: Portland First Church of the Nazarene, 6100 SW Raab Rd., Portland, OR 97221

Saturday, December 10th at 11am at Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 SW Capitol Highway, Portland, OR 97219

Our 2011-2012 School Year Announcement!

Here's the text of our announcement email for this year's RCMA offerings. Valdine & Miriam have been working hard behind the scenes to create some new classes and a new location for our students and their community.

If you'd like to be added to our email list, just let us know:

Musically Yours,
Valdine, Miriam and the RCMA Faculty

New announcements:
Mittleman Jewish Community Center is our newest location!
New monthly weekend masterclasses added to our group class offerings!
New Group Voice Lesson Program for singers aged 6-12

Location schedule and Group Class schedule

Tuition details and deadlines

Important 2011-12 dates.

New to RCMA!!!

RCMA is proud to announce a NEW LOCATION!
Lessons will now be offered at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center near Multnomah Village!
Spots are available:
Violin on Tuesdays- private or shared lessons, Beginner Buds.
Voice on Tuesdays- group lessons for students aged 6-12 (30 minute and 60 minute classes now forming), private lessons for students aged 12 and up.
Piano on Tuesdays- private lessons
Guitar on Wednesdays- private or shared lessons, Beginner Buds

New Group Class option:
Monthly Weekend Masterclasses in all instruments! This is a great opportunity for students to perform a polished piece for a teacher (other than their own) while other students and parents observe. The teacher will work for approximately 10-15 minutes with the student on an aspect of their performance or instrumental technique. Exact weekend times and dates TBD based on interest, held at the Mittleman Community Center.

New Group Voice Lesson Program!
Our amazing voice teacher Angela Reiswig is expanding her voice program with RCMA! Students aged 6-12* now have the opportunity to work in small groups (4-6 students, grouped by age) for 30 minutes or 60 minutes a week. Young vocalists will explore their voices while develop a musical ear and growing their confidence in performing, building the foundation for more rigorous training when their voices mature. 10 week course of 30 minute lessons for $150 (ages 6-7) or 10 week course of hour sessions for $275 (ages 8-12)**.

*Students aged 12 and up may sign up for private or shared lessons.
**All voice programs include monthly masterclasses.

Locations for Lessons and Groups

Lessons: (* indicates Beginner Buds class available)
Violin Lessons: Tuesdays at FAIS* and MJCC*, Wednesdays at Catlin Gabel School*, Thursdays at Sylvan church*.
Cello Lessons: Tuesdays at FAIS (TBD)*, Wednesdays at Catlin Gabel School, Thursdays at Sylvan church.
Piano lessons: Tuesdays at MJCC, Thursdays at Sylvan church.
Guitar lessons: Tuesdays at PAES, Wednesdays at MJCC*, Thursdays at Sylvan church*.
Voice lessons: Tuesdays at MJCC*, Thursdays at Cedar Hills.

Group Class Option List for private & shared lessons students:
Violin Pre-Twinklers/Twinklers (non-Beginner Buds): Thursdays 4:00-4:30, Sylvan 301.
Violin Book 1-3, Suzuki Repertoire Play-in*: Thursdays 4:00-5:00 PM, Sylvan 201.
Cello Pre-Twinklers/age 3-4: Tuesdays 5:00-5:45 PM, Lake Oswego studio.
Cello Book 1 and up, Suzuki Repertoire Play-in*: Thursdays 6:15-7:15 PM, Sylvan 306.
Guitar Groupies: Thursdays 4:00-4:30 PM, Sylvan 305.
String Orchestra: Wednesdays 3:45-4:30 PM, Catlin Gabel School Choir Room.
Voice Group Lessons: Thursdays 4:00-5:00 PM & 6:00-7:00 PM Cedar Hills (217 and 26W); Tuesdays 4:00-5:00 PM at MJCC
Weekend Monthly Masterclasses: schedule TBA, based on sign-up and teacher availability.
*Attend portion of class relevant to your lesson review material. Class is about fine-tuning basic skills, reviewing polished pieces, and observing more advanced students. Come as early as you like, stay as late as you like!

2011-12 Tuition Details:

Private lessons (includes weekly lessons, weekly group classes or monthly masterclasses, and recitals)
Term payments on credit card will be assessed a 2% service fee. Monthly plan includes service charge.
~30 minute lessons: $525 per term, or $140 monthly installment plan (credit card only).
~45 minute lessons: $750 per term, or $200 monthly installment plan
~60 minute lessons: $1000 per term, or $270 monthy installment plan

Shared lessons (includes weekly lessons 2:1, weekly group classes or monthly masterclasses, and recitals)
~30 minute lessons: $300 per term
~45 minute lessons: $450 per term

Special Classes:
Beginner Buds: $125 per term
Voice Group Lessons: $150 (30 minute classes)/ $275 (hour classes)


July 1: $100 Deposit Due
Sept 1: 1st term tuition due, deposit frozen.
Sept 6: Late fee applied
Sept 6: Term 1 lessons begin
Sept 26: Group classes & Beg. Buds begin
Nov. 22~27: Thanksgiving, no lessons.
Dec 1: 2nd trimester payment due
Dec. 12~16: Teacher make-up week. End 1st trimester lessons & groups.
Dec 8: Sylvan Recital, 6:30 PM
Dec 10/11: Lewis & Clark Recital, TBA
Jan 3: 2nd term lessons & groups begin
Jan 16: MLK Jr. Day, no lessons
Feb 20: President’s Day, no lessons
March 19~23: Teacher make-up week
March 22: Sylvan Recital, 6:30 PM
March: other recitals TBA
March 26~30: Spring Break, no lessons
April 1: 2nd trimester tuition due
April 13: 2nd trimester ends
April 16: 3rd trimester begins
May 28: Memorial Day, no lessons
June 7: Sylvan Recital, 6:30 PM
June 9/10: Lewis & Clark Recital TBA
June 11: summer lessons begin*
*Regular lesson schedule until June 15th. Flex scheduling of five summer lessons with teacher from June 11~Sept 3, 2011.

James Ehnes' violin

I've been thinking lately about better ways to teach kids how to care for their instruments, something I have begun to see as a gap in my method. Lately I've noticed many of my students need reminders about not swinging the bow or violin around, poking the tip of the bow into their foot, the ground, the stand, etc. It's a problem, especially because I know that when they are free from the lesson room and the harping of the teacher they will revert to their own whims and habits. As the parent of two preschool boys, I know well that I have to both discipline the behavior and approach the heart of the child in order to aim at changing their motivation.

It's my job to help them want to change. In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit I'm particularly sensitive about the bow tip as I just spent $500 getting the ivory on mine replaced after it had what looked like an everyday crack to me. It also scared me a bit that it had gotten bad enough to need more than a quick fix because I know how crucial the mechanism of the tip is to the proper function of my lovely bow. I should have taken care of it much more quickly when I saw the first sliver of a crack. Lesson learned.

Yung Chin,
bow whisperer & pernambuco conservator

In last night's Oregon Symphony program I particularly enjoyed this part of the interview with violinist James Ehnes about the privilege of playing his instrument:

You've played your Stradivarius for 11 years. Describe the relationship you have with something that is your constant travel companion and, I would assume, your most precious item.

One of the more interesting things about violins is that they're works of art that help create works of art. It's as if you had a Rembrandt that could paint a Rembrandt. It's a very unusual thing. I feel fortunate that the people I was around from a very young age instilled in me feelings about these instruments. I mean, my first violin was probably worth $150. But that just seemed like an unbelievable amount of money to me. It was more money than I could process. And then as I got a violin that was worth $500 or $1000, and these figures.. I think they put me in this reverential respect for instruments so that as the stakes got higher, I'm not sure my attitude towards the instrument changed.
I remember one of my old violins dated from the early 1800s. It was just a three-quarter violin, but I could tell that this instrument had been through a lot of hands. When my dad bought it for me, he explained to me that the only reason I have this is because generations of other lucky young people loved it and took care of it and made sure that I would be able to have it someday. And certainly when you get to an instrument like a Strad, you're just upping the ante there. Because it would be really a tragedy if something happens to one of these violins. The only reason that there are any left at all is because people appreciated them enough to take care of them.
(emphasis added)

So there's my task as a teacher. I want to instill in our students a respect for their instruments that encompasses not only the instrument as a tool of expression, but also the art involved in creating them and the longevity of the creative lives of stringed instruments. This thinking can be presented to students in a way that includes respect for their bodies & brains as creative tools as well, tools which need time to learn, many repetitions to remember, and good maintenance to perform at the top of their potential for their young owner/operators.

This soup of responsibility & reward is one of my favorite things about kids learning music. I love the many opportunities this discipline gives them to explore and demonstrate these truths themselves, and even enjoy the steep challenge inherent in getting to those rewards.

Here's a video from youtube with audio of Mr. Ehnes speaking about the Stradivarius "Sassoon" violin and playing Kreisler in a deliciously beautiful way. Keep it playing, and around 3:20 you're rewarded with video of him playing. Note to my students: You may keep your violin thumb that high when you are as tall & free of tension as this accomplished dude. That is all, enjoy!

April 2010 Newsletter

Hello all!
Our April Newsletter has all the latest on our Spring recitals, RCMA discounts for Summer Camp Registration, and our newest group offerings including the Rhythm Roots class from 5:30-6 pm on Tuesdays at Northwest Childrens Theater in downtown Portland. Rhythm Roots is going to be a really fun and useful class for young musicians and for RCMA families we're offering 8 weeks of classes for just $50! (And it's a great deal at only $100 for everybody else, so why not join with a friend for a musical playdate?)

Parents, we also mention some great ways for you to join in the expressive fun by taking lessons yourself! You can add 15 minutes to your child's time, take lessons with a friend, join our intensive classes from 8-9 am or 4-5 pm during camp (Monday through Friday July 12-16th), or jump right in and sign up for private lessons. Over the years I've had the privilege of teaching many adult beginners, some of whom have gone on to join local amateur ensembles. Don't forget to challenge yourself with classes and opportunities like this- it's worth your time!

Click below to download or print the Newsletter.

Newsletter April 2010


City of Roses Fine Arts Camp (CORFA Camp) will be at Catlin Gabel School again this year, Monday through Friday July 12th through 16th. Hours will be 9 am to 4 pm with before & after care available.

Incredible faculty from across North America will be teaching Suzuki method, orchestra, chamber music, violin, viola, cello, voice, guitar and piano. Our classes are designed for all levels, from beginners to Suzuki book 4 and beyond!

Click here to see & print our application.
CORFA Camp 2010 Application

Inspirational Violinist

I just have to tell you about one of my students. Bailey is a wonderful young musician who has practiced diligently in addition to concentrating and putting lots of effort into her lessons. But it's not just her skill and enjoyment of the violin that makes her a great young lady to teach. Bailey has a generous and exuberant sprit that spills over to the people around her.

This week she came in with a sweet new hairdo, having donated 13 inches of her gorgeous red hair to Locks of Love, "a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 18 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis."

Thanks, Bailey- great lesson this week.
~Dr. Miriam English Ward

More Saturday Activities!

In addition to our Parent's Night Out in the Pearl on Saturday from 5pm (Have you registered? We'd love to have you!), there is a neat thing happening at one of our school locations this Saturday, November 14th 2009.

Portland First Church of the Nazarene on Raab Road will have a Christmas Marketplace with over 20 vendors on Saturday from 10am-4pm. You can find more information here.

December 2009 Recital Week

Recitals are a meaningful, concrete way to encourage and celebrate all the hard work our students, faculty and family members have done this term. Students learn from performing and from enjoying their colleague's success. Our vision is that every student would perform in one of our recitals each term and that they would all attend the Honors Recital at Lewis & Clark College.

If you are an RCMA parent, please invite friends and family to come and encourage your child. We encourage anyone interested in our program to attend any of our recitals to chat with teachers and enjoy some fantastic young music makers!

Saturday, December 12th, 10:30am
Lewis & Clark College's Evans Music Center

This is our Honors Solo recital for students who are invited by their teachers to show the fruits of their diligent work this term. Teacher invitation/approval is required to play a solo. We'll also have group performances pooled from the various groups we have playing each week around town. Group teachers will arrange these performances. Some of our faculty will also perform. At the conclusion of the performances we'll celebrate with treats in Seitz Lounge.

Wednesday, December 16th, 6:30pm
PAES Gresham Library

All-levels recital. Your teacher will help you find a piece to perform in this more relaxed, celebratory recital. Groups will also perform.

Thursday, December 10th, 5-7pm ***PLEASE NOTE DATE CHANGED***
Sylvan Location

All-levels recital. Your teacher will help you find a piece to perform in this more relaxed, celebratory recital. Groups will also perform.