THE ERAS

Click here to edit subtitle

Blog

October Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on October 5, 2020 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (4)


Meet Milly!


How long have you been teaching music?

Milly: 12 Years


What inspired you to teach music?

Milly: I have always loved music and the performing arts, but was often told it would not make for a secure career. I considered teaching English until my music professor Dr. Warren expressed that I would make for a good music teacher. I had and continue to have such respect and admiration for her so I knew if she believed I was capable, than I could certainly be successful.


What is your favorite instrument?

Milly: My favorite instrument is the voice. I find it so intriguing how our bodies are capable of producing such intricate sounds. I am also amazed at how unique everyone's vocal timbre is and how rich musical textures can become when singing in ensembles.


Any musical tips for teachers?

Milly:  My two tips for music teachers would be 1.Stay current. Often times as teachers when we find a technique or method that works, we stick to it sometimes longer than we should. This causes our teaching to remain stagnant, students become complacent and disengaged, and we are not growing as professionals. Only change is constant, so we must keep up with the times if we want to be truly impactful. My second tip for music teachers would be to genuinely listen and remain open-minded with your students. Many of my predecessors had a "my way or the highway" mentality, but in my own experience when I listened to my students' needs/suggestions, not only did it bring us closer as an ensemble, but my students performed better because they were directly involved in the music selection process. When they truly enjoy what they are performing, students rise to the occasion and perform their best.


Any advice for parents?

Milly: My advice to parents would be to please keep an open mind if their child has an interest in pursuing a career in the performing arts. Unfortunately, becoming a musician/performer is directly associated with being a "starving artist." There are so many career options within the arts, and when someone is truly passionate about their career field they tend to be more successful. Pressuring your child to pursue a more "stable" career out of fear or a lack of understanding is a detriment to their child's future.


Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Milly: As a music educator, I pride myself in giving back to the community. My advanced choir the K-Birds often perform at hospitals, group homes, senior citizen centers, or in support of local organizations. One year, we hosted a vocal music workshop in which they performed for the elementary school choir free of charge. In turn, the elementary school choir was so inspired they decided to perform for my high school kids. It was a beautiful moment of reciprocity seeing my older students take on the role of student performers as well as student leaders. The energy in the auditorium was electrifying and the visiting students had a ball.


What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Milly: I teach Chorus and Musical Theatre at the high school level. While I do not have a set textbook series, I do enjoy combining materials for my Chorus class such as "Choral Connections"by McGraw-Hill, "Ready to Read Music" by Jay Althouse, "Thirty Days to Music Theory" by Ellen Wilmeth, "Know Your Music Terms & Symbols" by Veronica Harper, and "Alfred's Essentials of Music Theory" among others. Additionally, I order sheet music from Hal Leonard, Choral Music Direct, or J.W. Pepper. For my Musical Theatre class, we utilize two textbooks "Musical Theatre: A History" by John Kenrick and "The Creative Spirit" by Stephanie Arnold. Supplemental texts include "Theatre Through the Ages" by Michael Kramme, "Appreciating Musicals" by William G. Reid, "The Broadway Musical Quiz Book" by Laura Frankos, and "Broadway Musicals Show by Show" by Stanley Green and Cary Ginell.


Why is music so important to you?

Milly: To me, music is more than a leisure activity, it truly saved my life. I grew up in a poverty stricken neighborhood with high crime rates. My only safe haven was being part of the town's community theatre troupe. Not only did it "keep me out of trouble," it allowed me the freedom to express myself in a safe zone. No one can hurt you while you are on stage.. Additionally, music is the one thing that transcends age, race, gender, and socio-economic status. It has the ability to bring people together and has been proven to assist with other areas of human functions such as increased perceptual, cognitive, behavioral, affective, and motivational affects and student outcomes especially in those with special needs.


Who was your favorite music teacher and why?

Milly: I have been fortunate enough to have had great music teachers beginning in elementary school all the way through to my graduate courses at NJCU. My two favorites are Dr. Maredia Warren and Dr. Adria Firestone. Dr. Warren exudes such elegance and grace. Her musical knowledge is so vast and her delivery impacts all learning styles equally. She never loses her patience or raises her voice, when she needs to be stern she does so tactfully in such a way that inspires you to be your best self and rise to the occasion. Furthermore, she makes herself available to assist when she can, even now while she is retired! I know I can always reach out to Dr. Warren to help with my teaching instruction and musical questions.

Dr. Firestone was my voice teacher throughout most of my college career and has now become my mentor/career coach. On stage, Dr. Firestone is a beast having performed in Operas all around the world and even having a cameo on "Family Guy." While she pushed me to my limits vocally, her focus on the self has helped me become the professional I am today. She has taught me to be vulnerable on stage and in life, accept myself for where I am TODAY, and to be fearless in the pursuit of my dreams. When I allow doubt to creep in, she reminds me that there is always something more to strive for. I am truly grateful for her guidance throughout most of my adult life.


What was your favorite piece/song to teach and why?

Milly: One of my favorite pieces I taught this past December 2019 was a holiday song by Lisa Loeb called "Light" arranged by Andy Beck. This was the first time I veered away from traditional Christmas music and attempted a song associated with Hanukkah. While some of the traditions of Hanukkah are buried in the lyrics, the overall message of the song is that there is always more hope even when you think there is no hope left. Musically, the harmonies are rich, there is opportunity for call & response between vocal sections, and if done properly the dynamics can be breathtaking. However, the reason the song was particularly impactful this December 2019 was because a tragedy occurred in Jersey City (one of our neighboring districts) in which two assailants attacked 5 people at a Kosher grocery store in acts of hate and domestic terrorism fueled both by anti-Semitism and anti-law enforcement beliefs. If there was ever a time where hope was needed, this was it. As my students said, "the lyrics hit differently after that tragedy."


Any tips for teachers on transitioning from your class to an online setting?

Milly: I would definitely encourage educators to try to maintain human interaction with students while distance learning via Google Meet, Zoom, or other platforms that enable video conferencing. Worksheets, quizzes, and assignments can become monotonous during distance learning especially if all teachers are assigning work in a similar fashion. Most students crave that human interaction and do better when they see their teacher's on these virtual platforms. Also, give students the benefit of the doubt. Online learning was difficult for most, but not all students are "slacking off." Some students may not have access to the tools required to complete their work while at home, others may be caring for younger siblings or sick parents, some may have to share devices with other family members, and others may have become essential employees in the blink of an eye and have to provide for their families. I find that having some compassion and flexibility goes a long way when you truly want to make authentic connections with your students.


Any tips for parents on online learning

 Milly: The only advice I have for parents during distance learning is to not give up. We, the teachers are here to help you with your needs. We were all thrust into this situation and it has been challenging for us ALL. Parents, you are doing a GREAT JOB and you are appreciated!

September Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on September 7, 2020 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (1)


Meet Jayne!!!


How long have you been teaching music?

 Jayne:  I have been teaching music for twenty-eight years. I teach piano, voice and music theory.

 

 

What inspired you to teach music?

 Jayne: My enthusiasm, understanding and love for music and desire to share and connect with students of all ages. Inspiring an individual to reach goals and learn of their own abilities is why I became a music teacher.

 

  

What is your favorite instrument?

 Jayne: The piano is my favorite but I love the voice, the guitar and the flute.

 

Any musical tips for teachers?

 Jayne: Get to know your student. Find out their favorite artists and composers. Go slowly and teach simple concepts to gain their trust. Be pleasant but firm. Praise your student when they achieve their goals. When correcting your student be gentle. Pace your lesson time wisely. Do not teach a new concept at the end of a lesson without enough time to explain. If your student asks to show you something at the end of a lesson allow them to. If you don’t have time, make the extra time. A student can be sensitive and feel rejected if you tell them that you don’t have time. My motto is, “The teacher is everything."

 

 Any advice for parents?

Jayne: Depending on their age and proficiency monitor their practice day and times. For young pupils I had an incentive program which rewarded students with music gifts for their practice and performances.

 

 

 Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

 Jayne: I had a charming ten-year old, gifted piano student. One day, at the end of a lesson, she handed me her lyrics about growing out of childhood and into a more mature child. Her lyrics were excellent. At the end of my teaching day I composed a song which was performed in our recital and at my songwriter showcase. The song was sung by my student, my daughter and I chimed in for three-part harmony in the chorus. She wrote me an email telling me that I was more than a music teacher, I was her friend. Her father wanted her to take private classes at Juilliard in NYC but she asked to stay with me and she wrote and sang her own songs after I taught her basic chords.

 

 What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Jayne: I’ve used John Thompson for the earliest beginner, Faber & Faber is excellent with their broad scope of books, A Dozen A Day technical exercises.

 Why is music so important to you?

Jayne: Music is a language in vibratory tones which communicates emotion. Listening or performing music can soothe another’s sorrow or encourage a person to reach their goals. As I am also a composer, music is a part of my daily life. Music is my medicine and a way to connect with all people. Music is a blessing.

 

Check out her website: www.jaynecritelli.com 

August Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on August 2, 2020 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)



Meet Elizabeth!!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Elizabeth: I decided to explore entrepreneurship skills and began Piano by Elizabeth in 2014 during graduate school. I've been teaching for the past 6 years and I love it.

 

 

2. What inspired you to teach music?

 

Elizabeth: Music is a creative outlet for me. Music also helps in so many unconventional ways - it strengthens confidence, creates discipline and improves cognitive skills. These are all things music provided for me during my studies and I wanted to share the art of piano playing with others. Having my own studio has granted me complete creative freedom to teach my students and watching my students succeed is fulfilling.

 

 

 

3. What is your favorite instrument?

 

Elizabeth: The piano , of course, and Chopin is my dearest composer. Although I would love to play the cello and am seriously considering lessons. I think piano/cello duets sound so beautiful.

 

 

 

4. Any musical tips for teachers?

 

Elizabeth: Every student is different and a student-teacher relationship plays a critical role in the student’s success. Adaptability is the most important thing I’ve learned while teaching piano.

 

Like many businesses, the piano studio has undergone some changes and we have successfully transitioned from on-site lessons to virtual learning via different platforms. We are now on Zoom, while embracing remote learning, and adapting to the ever-changing norm caused by COVID-19. Some students are thriving while others need a bit more assistance and grace, but that’s okay because with change comes the need to adapt. In fact, to keep my students motivated during the social distancing period, I developed The Quarantine Series - a group forum available to the public via Zoom every Wednesday. These 30-minute, totally free, group sessions focus on all aspects of music learning: improvisation, composition, music theory, etc. Local teachers have expressed interest in my series and I have invited them and their students to participate. It's been a success! Collaborations are important and it's rewarding when others are inspired by your work. I have even coached some of the local music teachers in ways to keep their students motivated by recommending music tools and providing music learning material to help them design their own music theory group courses.

 


 

 

 

5. Any advice for parents?

 

Elizabeth: Please do not force your child into lessons. It’s counterproductive. It creates unnecessary resentment towards the instrument and can possible deter children from even experimenting with other instruments. Everyone takes time to find their passion. Be patient.

 

 

 

6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

 

Elizabeth: There are so many. I had a student name, Areli Sujtu, who came to my studio for Guatemala - yes, Guatemala - during winter break. I taught her a few holiday pieces, she performed in my Christmas recital and returned to Guatemala. She then sent me a thank card and a gift from home to thank me for her musical experience learning to play piano. She also shared that she performed piano at her school’s talent show. That experience was so unexpected, brief and incredibly rewarding!

 

 

 

7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

 

Elizabeth: I haven't committed to any specific methods or books. I design each lesson and tailor my teaching style to the student’s musical aptitude. I look for strengths and weakness in a student and navigate through them to create the best possible outcome. I do, however, work with the National Guild of Piano syllabus to create a program that highlights a student’s musical capabilities.

 

 

 

8. Who was your favorite music teacher and why?

 

Elizabeth: Grace Gimbel, she is based out of Montclair, NJ. I met her during my National Guild Audition; she was the adjucator that year. That was one of my best auctions. I decided to take Master lessons with her to perfect my repertoire. I remember walking into my lesson and handing her my sheet music only to meet her confused stare as to why I was handing her the music score. Lessons with her were less about technique and correct notes and more about performance and mastering the music. She emphasized the importance of musicianship and interpretation and making the music your own.

 

 

________________________________________

Instagram: (@pianobyelizabeth)

Facebook Page: https://m.facebook.com/pianobyelizabeth/" target="_blank">https://m.facebook.com/pianobyelizabeth/

 


July's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on July 6, 2020 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)



Meet Ashley!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Ashley: I started teaching piano and guitar the summer of 2014 and have been teaching music ever since. 6 years.

2. What inspired you to teach music?

Ashley: My inspiration for teaching music comes from surrounding myself with other great musicians and learning from them.

3. What is your favorite instrument?

Ashley: My favorite instrument(s) are drums and tenor sax. Both of which I play ;)

4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Ashley: The biggest tip I can give teachers is to become a student of the art you are teaching first. I'm a student of music before I am a music teacher.

I understand that I don't know all there is to know about music but my strength is that I am a very open-minded and adaptable person. I practice and fill my mind up with music knowledge.

 

5. Any advice for parents?

Ashley: The advice I would give parents is to not only be supportive but active in their child's hobbies/passion. Whether it be sports, dance, whatever it is, being there and making sure they are practicing and doing the homework efficiently is key.

6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Ashley: One of my most memorable teaching experience comes from a family of four (mom, dad, son, daughter). I had to give both siblings piano lessons but, both siblings had ADHD. Being able to adjust my teaching style so that they are learning, growing and becoming the best musician they can be was amazing for me. The parents complimented on my teaching, my music and overall personality. I was then recommended to another family who's child had special needs because I worked so great with their kids.

 

7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Ashley: My methods/music books varies for each lesson because each student has a different learning style. I often find myself using the 'Bastien Piano Basics', 'Piano Pronto', 'A Dozen A Day' and 'Alfred's Basic Piano Book' for my piano lessons.

And 'Hal Leonard' and 'Modern Guitar Method' for my guitar lessons.

8. Why is music so important to you?

Ashley: Music is so important to me because it's how I express myself. I'm naturally an introverted person. Growing up, I didn't play with kids or was comfortable being around anyone other than my family, but music was my outlet and it has been very therapeutic for me.

__________________________________________________________________

Ashley is available for remote lessons! Kindly check out her website for more:

https://ashleysmusicacademy.com/?fbclid=IwAR1lYw7cuc1A-LaidSyYMR8FcY0p74tl4Tkq_abcC3kpulEQxffSJfeQQQs" target="_blank">https://ashleysmusicacademy.com/?fbclid=IwAR1lYw7cuc1A-LaidSyYMR8FcY0p74tl4Tkq_abcC3kpulEQxffSJfeQQQs

June's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on May 29, 2020 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Meet Rebekah! 

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Rebekah: I have been teaching music for 20 years

 

2. What inspired you to teach music?

Rebekah: I wanted to be just like my music teacher

Marie Sawany was my first private teacher

 

3. What is your favorite instrument?

Rebekah: Violin is my favorite. I do love cello but don't play. I can play the piano!

 

 

4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Rebekah: Make sure you are really listening to the student. I always say to my students "please ask any questions, If you dont understand I am willing to listen". or.." Dont be afraid to say something if I have piled on too much for you to manage."

I also often inform my students in how I much I give them. I give them a certain amount of work and have them work with it for a week and then we discuss what happened. Was it too much? Too little? Or just right? Now sometimes I still will pile it on - to challenge them. I make sure they know they have a voice. Teachers should be willing to try new methods. if you have been teaching a certin way for years and its not working for the particular student, change. Dont be afraid to try new books as well.

 

 

 

5. Any advice for parents?

Rebekah: Don't just think the teacher is just a sitter for 30 min or however the amount of time you have chosen for the lesson.

If it is at home, be somewhat engaged. For example, if you hear the child is misbehaving - not listening to the teacher - and heard a number of times the teacher had to repeat stop, YOU need to deal with it. It can simply be just walking in the room and not saying anything. Maybe just standing near the student. If need be tell the student to come in the kitchen for a quick word. Also maybe have the student apoloigise to the teacher after the lesson.

If you are in a music studio and just dropping the student, don't text the student to come out to the car. Be there a little before the lesson ends so the teacher can talk to you. Be open minded to listen.

 

 

6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Rebekah: I had just gotten a new student. She never played violin before, she picked up the instrument and had the perfect left hand position. I was so amazed!!!! She is an amazing player, and gets better every lesson I hear her play. She is such a joy to teach, I often can't wait to have a lesson with her. Plus she's a funny student!

 

 

7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Rebekah: I teach from Suzuki and the Barbara Barber violin books. I mainly cater to the student. I try to see which method books works best for them.

 

 

8. Why is music so important to you?

Rebekah: It is an outlet for me, to express who I am. I also have been given this gift to give to others. It is a joy for me to play for the all generations. I love it! It is also a way for me to get to know people from all walks of life even if i dont know their language very well. Music can change people. As a musician I can bring people together from all walks of life and I love doing that!

_______________________________________________________________

Rebekah is available for remote violin teaching. 

Follow Her Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rjsmusicaltalent/" target="_blank">http://https://www.facebook.com/rjsmusicaltalent/

May's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on May 2, 2020 at 6:50 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Meet Edwin Lopez Villada!!

1. How long have you been teaching music?

Edwin: I've been teaching since late 2002

 

2. What inspired you to teach music?

Edwin: Assisting people inspires me the most to teach music.

 

3. What is your favorite instrument?

Edwin: Though I've always been debating between piano and violin, I chose piano!

 

4. Any musical tips for teachers?

Edwin: I have no musical tips for teachers because they have their own ways of teaching, but nudge your students wisely if you wish to challenge them.

 

5. Any advice for parents?

Edwin: Most parents must be supportive to their young children by knowing the difference between being a great supporter and vigilante. This is the main reason I would recommend parents to attend my lessons so they would be able to help their children with home assignment.

 

6. Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Edwin: My memorable teaching experience was when I started to become a music tutor in Essex County College in Newark, NJ as my second year.

 

7. What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Edwin: I always recommend a staff notebook in order to write down notes. Alfred's piano lesson book for young students is my favorite because it explains music very clearly.

 

8. Why is music so important to you?

Edwin: Music is important to me because I want to inform music students that music is not just an art but also a universal language, and for me teaching them is my passion.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Edwin Lopez Villada offers his teaching services remotely during COVID-19. He currently is a music instructor at PY Rock Music School and Iza's Music Academy. He also taught at Pastore Music for 9 years.

Reach out to him for further questions!

His instagram account is @elv.raz

April's Music Teacher Interview

Posted by costastaffmusic@gmail.com on April 5, 2020 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)



Meet Carmen Arrojo!

 

How long have you been teaching music?

Carmen: I have been teaching music, specializing in percussion, for five years. However, there is a long journey ahead.


What inspired you to teach music?

Carmen: When I turned 16, I started working at a place called Camp Liberty in Jersey City. During my ninth year there, the camp staff bought drums for the children. There were several children that loved playing music with me and my coworker , Sam Oliver. I loved seeing the young ones excited and determined to learn something. I loved seeing them focused in a healthy way.


What is your favorite instrument?

Carmen: It's hard to name one favorite instrument. My top five are, bass (electric and upright), acoustic guitar, cello, marimba, and all earthy percussion instruments.

 

Any musical tips for teachers?

Carmen: A good tip for teachers is to really listen and get to know the students for who they are. Learn their likes, their dislikes and pay attention to their personality and how they respond to the materials you offer. It will teach you how to guide them and empower them. They already have music inside of them. We just facilitate an environment in which they can cultivate that gift.


Any advice for parents?

Carmen: Parents should see if their children feel forced into music. If the student loves it, they should be on the same page with the teacher and encourage their child at home.

 

Talk about a memorable teaching experience.

Carmen: My oldest student went through a traumatic experience during a lockdown at her school because of a shooter on the loose in the town. When she arrived home, she wrote a chord progression on the marimba for her own song. The next day, during our lesson, we wrote a melody. This is only one small instance. There are so many more that bring so much joy and gratitude.

 

 What methods or music books do you use to teach?

Carmen: I use different method books. For mallet percussion, I rely heavily on the Morris Goldenberg text. For congas, I use Michael Spiro's method book and an Alfred's edition for the young ones. For cajón, I turn to YouTube and old recordings from lessons with my own teacher. I also use stories and tell my students about the folklore and traditions tied to the instruments. They are ,after all, highly based on oral traditions and spiritual journeys. It is an echo to the rich past of the Earth.


Why is music so important to you?

 Carmen: Music is the most important thing. I am music and music is me. It is what carries me home after days of arduous work. Music is what I carry home to feel home because of the people whom I have found home in. Music is the dance between silence and sound that lives in every single person's heart. It is what connects us to the intangible and shows us that we do not exist alone. It is everything.


Camen Arrojo offers her teaching services remotely. Reach out to her for questions!

Follow Carmen Arrojo on her Instagram: www.instagram.com/carmenarrojo

She also has her education Percussion Discussion Youtube Channel:https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzJEG1Yj-L1CQX_hfj5E16w" target="_blank"> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzJEG1Yj-L1CQX_hfj5E16w