Wednesday, December 18, 2013

CYM Holiday Break is Dec. 23- Jan. 4

CYM's Holiday Break begins Monday, December 23- Saturday, January 4. Classes resume again on Monday,  January 6.

Wishing all our families a warm and happy holiday season and many blessings in the new year!

Curriculum Nights on January 23 and 24

Join us in January 2014 in Wexford or Sewickley for these very important nights at CYM. Current families can listen first hand to their child's teachers explain the goals, content, and motivation behind many of CYM's programs.

Take the opportunity to ask important questions about your child's musical journey and gain perspective to keep your family's musical goals going strong through the school year.

New families can meet teachers, learn about CYM philosophies, goals, and methods, and take home registration information. 

2014-2015 School Year Enrollment Forms will be available for attendees!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sewickley Light Up Night is this Friday

Join us for our first holiday performance of the season! 
Above is the student performance group line-up for the evening. Performers and their families should plan to be unpacked, tuned, in their seats, and ready to go at the beginning of their group's time slot.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Emma Lammert Graduates Suzuki Violin Book One

Emma performs at the Fall Ensemble Recital
Congratulations, Emma! 
Emma will be holding her Graduation Recital from Suzuki Paino Book One on Wednesday, Nov. 20th during violin group class at CYM Sewickley. 
Graduating Suzuki students hold recitals to mark milestones along the way as they progress through their instrument study. Their recitals are open to family and friends of the students and CYM families to come and recognize their efforts and artistry. We are so proud of you!

Thanksgiving Break Reminder- Nov. 26-30

Norman Rockwell's Freedom from Want
CYM's Thanksgiving break is Tuesday Nov. 26- Saturday, Nov. 30th

Monday, Nov. 25th is reserved as a make up for Labor Day 
and classes and lessons will be held as usual.

Merry and Bright at CYM

Beginner's Bow- thoughts from CYM Founder Victoria Raja McGinnis

Victoria Raja McGinnis
Below is an excerpt from Ms. Victoria's introduction of our beginners who took their first on-stage bow at CYM's Ensemble recital on November 2nd.

Some of you have asked about the Beginner’s Bow, wondering why it is included in the program. Let’s take a moment to examine a few of the reasons.


The Beginner’s Bow is part of your musical training.

By getting up on stage today to present yourself (with your parent and teacher - your team), we want you to feel the excitement of receiving our full attention, and the nervousness too, and practice becoming focused while having these feelings. When you do this repeatedly, you will develop the confidence to share your musical skills in the future.


The entire CYM community wants to affirm you.

As you set your foot upon the stage, hear us say, “Yes, your team is willing do everything we can to help you bring out your best! We believe you can do this well!” You see, we want to be sure that you don’t miss how wonderful it is that you have chosen to learn to play an instrument as a means to challenge yourself and have fun!


During the Beginner’s Bow, we envision you meeting your full potential.

Though you may not have even received your own instrument yet, in our minds we hear you performing at a very high level and playing music that will help you bring people together and move them. We see you meeting your own goals, feeling great, and importantly, using music to serve others and make the world a better place.


We renew our commitment to support everyone in CYM’s family, remembering that each of us had a “starting line”, so to speak, as a musician.

Each student’s musical path has brought meaningful interpersonal connections to their lives and the beautiful performances that we hear in our concert today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall Community Concert with Mr. Ryan and Ms. Simmi

Join Mr. Ryan, cello and Ms. Simmi, piano on Saturday, November 16th at 4:00pm as they host CYM's first community concert of the season here in Sewickley!

Workshop and Activities Schedule- updated!


November 16: The Suzuki Philosophy and Method, 10 am, CYM Sewickley

November 17: The Magic Flute at the Opera, 1 pm, Benedum Center 

December 14: Music Therapy Workshop, 4 pm, CYM Sewickley

January 18: Practice Seminar

January 31: Fieldtrip- The PSO featuring pianist Helene Grimaud 

February 8: Fieldtrip- The PSO plays The Planets with NASA film

February 15: Performance Skills Workshop

March 15: Suzuki Play-In 

April 12: Fieldtrip- Don Quixote at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre 

April 19: Beatles Workshop

May 10: Every Child Can Workshop

June 14: Fiddling and Folk Music Workshop

July 12: Musical Theatre Workshop

ü  All workshops and fieldtrips are subject to availability and change. 

ü  One workshop or fieldtrip is already covered by your child’s annual workshop and activity fee. Participation in each additional event is subject to standard fees. 

ü  CYM Families and their guests enjoy discounted ticket rates to the above fieldtrip events- be sure to take advantage during the year!

ü  R.S.V.P.s are required two weeks in advance of each event.

ü  Each event above is scheduled to be held in CYM Sewickley unless otherwise noted.

ü  Refer to the CYM Family Guide for additional information about our Workshop and Activity Program.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Practice Challenge Day 50- Mr. Ryan Checks In

CYM Practice Challenge Award Winners Fall 2012

Hi Everyone,

I'm nearly to day 50 of my practice challenge, and I promised that I would check in and let you know what my experience has been.  Here are a few things I've noticed:
I need variety!
Sometimes I will have a string of days when I distinctly hear my brain say "Ugh!" when I begin to practice my recital pieces.  
"What?!" I cry, "but you love this piece!  YOU were the one who picked it!"  But my arms gradually lose their strength, and I realize I am dragging my feet.  Finally, my practice grinds to a halt.  
"This won't do," I say to myself, "I have to practice something!"  So I choose one thing at random to learn in a piece I'm not supposed to be playing.  Miraculously, the strength in my arms comes back, and I learn the new thing very quickly.  Why does this happen?
In school, I took a class in the kinesiology department call "Skill Acquisition Strategies".  In that course I learned about Hull's Resistance Theorem, which states that the brain builds resistance to doing the same thing over and over.  The more you do something, the more the resistance increases.   

The resistance decreases when you take a break or change to a different activity.  
Perhaps this explains why I can't practice some days.  I do want to learn, but it's hard because my learning is always "same old, same old"!  Now I try to notice when I drag my feet--that's when it's time to work on my "hobby" piece.  However, more often than not I find myself going back to one of my many dozens of old pieces (review!) and using one of these old pieces to accomplish my current practice goal.
The length/quality of my practice sessions is uneven.  
Yes, it's true.  Some days I am very busy, or I just don't feel like it.  Other days I am going very strong.  
If I may say so, life is too short to drudge through practicing.  Mere drudgery goes against the spirit of Dr. Suzuki's philosophy.  Therefore, I define a practice session for myself and for those students of mine who practice every day as "calm, focused attention on one thing."  Almost without exception I have "calm, focused attention" on much more than one thing, but not always.  I prize the quality of my musical work, and only a little bit is better than none at all.  Remember, "skill equals knowledge plus 10,000 times" but also "when the child looks up, the lesson is over!"  
I have had near misses.  
On two days out of my fifty, I have only practiced five minutes each.  Those days were exceptional--for exceptionally poor planning!  I was very busy, hadn't eaten, hadn't slept, and left my practice sitting until the very last thing I had to do that day.   

What a list of errors!  Fortunately, a list like the one above is very handy...just do the opposite of what is on the "things NOT to do" list and you'll be fine!
I need a goal.
I have known for years that I need a goal for my practicing, or it seems pointless.  Right now my goal is getting ready for my recital.  After that recital, however, I will need to find a new goal!  
I have improved a lot!
I'm not the same cellist I was back in September.  I have a new approach to making a beautiful tone and using my vibrato and bowspeed to shape the music.  My intonation is also much better.  In fact, I'm spoiled with all this improvement.  I don't want to give it up, and so I am glad to practice.  
I'm not working my tail off.   
Once upon a time, I bought a large bucket of ice cream and kept it in the freezer.  After a week, I opened the ice cream and found that it was half gone!  I learned my friend had been eating two spoonfuls a day, hoping I would not notice.  He was very surprised he had eaten so much ice cream by himself!  My practice challenge reminds me of that bucket of ice cream--rather than jamming the spoon all the way down in the ice cream (and bending it in the process) I feel like I am taking only two spoonfuls from the top each day.  I don't get sick from eating too much (although I need a different flavor every now and then) and pretty soon the whole bucket is gone!
Happy Practicing, Everyone!