Paterson Music Project
Paterson Music Project Blog: Voices of the Silk City by Danielle Lefebvre | October 2018
Cold air and rain-soaked streets set the scene for the Gran Fondo bike race in Morristown, NJ the morning of September 9. Seven riders in support of the Paterson Music Project took on the two-wheeled challenge, riding a distance ranging from 18 to 107 miles. Each rider prepared in their own way, but all walked away with a great sense of accomplishment. Not only did everyone finish the race despite incessant rain and cold temperatures, the team raised over $7,000!
Pam Palumbo, Director of Development for WIPA, recalls that, “the discomfort of being wet and chilled didn’t diminish our team’s enthusiasm” as she successfully completed her 42-mile trek. PMP Program Director, Elizabeth Moulthrop, spent her summer weekends leading up to the event preparing for the physical challenge. According to Liz, the Gran Fondo is known for its elevation gain, so she prepared accordingly doing practice rides in the Adirondacks and western New Jersey. This year there were a few new faces to Team PMP, including PMP Teaching Artist, Bernie Visto. He says, “The start was a memorable one, being it was my first ride with the PMP team.” Almost 3,000 bikers participate annually and gather at a mass start at 7 a.m.
The Gran Fondo challenged our team to rise to the occasion physically, as well as promote a cause we all believe in—the Paterson Music Project. Thanks to the team’s efforts in training, fundraising, and finishing the rainy ride, PMP was able to raise $7,000, surpassing last year’s total amount by three times. Congratulations and thank you to our PMP riders for their dedication and commitment to our cause!
Notes from the Train by Alice Hamlet | October 4, 2018
An interview about the upcoming How to Practice Workshop with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra violinist Naomi Youngstein
Performing Arts School
60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights
Friday, October 12 @ 7:00 PM
FREE and Open to the Public
How long have you been a member of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra?
I joined in November of 1987, so nearly 31 years ago.
What are some highlights of your favorite performances (or one favorite performance) with NJSO?
Two performances stand out: Zdenek Macal conducting anything by Dvořák, and Xian Zhang conducting the Pines of Rome—earthshaking!
When and how did you start amassing tips and insights about practicing for students?
My own teacher at Manhattan School of Music, Burton Kaplan, wrote books and gave workshops about practicing. I use some of his ideas, those of my colleagues, and a lot of my own. Over the years, I’ve learned what works for the school age student. The most important thing to know is that each student may need a different selection of techniques.
If you had to give just one tip about practicing to a beginning student, what would it be? And for an advanced student, would that one tip be different?
For the beginner, I’d suggest always starting by imagining the sound that you want to make. Often the beginner is so concerned with being “right” that they don’t always hear what’s coming out of their instrument. For the advanced student, I’d suggest knowing one’s goals for every piece during each practice session. The advanced student is juggling many things at different levels of preparedness, and deciding what you’d like to accomplish is vital.
What do your own practice sessions consist of?
I always play scales, often etudes and exercises, and usually whatever upcoming pieces we’re performing with the NJSO. This week I reviewed all the harder sections of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony which we perform at the end of this week.
How do you suggest students structure or divide their practice time (ie scales, etudes, repertoire)?
Each student has different needs. Try to get to everything in each session, but each student’s teacher can help the student set priorities. Those priorities can change from week to week.
How important is the use of a metronome in practice?
CRUCIAL!! How do you know if you’re improving if you don’t measure it? You can’t know if you’re controlling a skill or a passage unless you use the metronome. Always write down what metronome marking you’ve achieved. Who could remember such a number from day to day?
For students playing pitched instruments, how do you suggest they work on intonation?
Listening to chords, tonality, matching pitches, always use whole phrases. Out of tune notes always occur in a context, so simply playing higher or lower doesn’t help. Knowing if one is sharp or flat, and how much, is super important.
Favorite food: Definitely pasta
What are you listening to these days: I walk two miles every day and listen to podcasts all the time—my favorite subjects are food, travel, politics, and shows about NYC.
When not commuting, Alice Hamlet is the Director of Marketing at the Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts and is also on the faculty of the Performing Arts School, teaching cello and music theory.
Amused; musings from the ED by Karen Deschere | September 27, 2018
Beauty and the Messy Desk
Those of you who have been in my office know that I don’t have the neatest desk. It’s been a lifetime of clutter ever since I was a kid. Each new job, living arrangement, or New Year’s resolution to keep the desk clean was just beyond my daily ability. And, I’ve gradually come to accept it even though I still find myself apologizing when I have a visitor (many of whom will empathize with me!).
Do you ever watch detective or medical shows on TV where the dedicated doc or cop is wracking her brain trying to solve the mystery to no avail, and then she goes out to dinner, or to the mall, and something totally different is triggered in her brain, and voila! the mystery is solved?
That happens to me with my messy desk. I may be working on a project when I may be interrupted, and I need to rummage through the desk to find that one piece of paper that I know is under this other stack of papers. As I am searching, almost always some other tidbit arises that reminds me of another project, or provides a touch of insight into what I was working on.
Maybe that happens to you neat-deskers as well; you’ll have to let me know.
I think beauty works in the same way. We are bombarded by so much stuff in our lives – work and school deadlines, devastating tragedies, so many issues beyond our control, that I have decided I need beauty breaks. I’m not talking about skin care, but about music. Just five minutes of something beautiful can give me the respite needed to return to the task at hand. With all our devices, we are no longer far away from being able to access something beautiful to take our mind and our heart to a different place for a few minutes.
This kind of beauty break might just be what our students need as well. Are you stuck on that organic chemistry problem? What if your instrument was on the bed behind you and you turned and played a few phrases of a piece you are working on. Do you think one of those random connections might be made between the music and your chemistry homework? I think it might, and if it doesn’t, well at least you had a few minutes to enjoy the beauty of your music.
Development Blog by Elizabeth Piercey | September 2018
New Jersey Youth Symphony is excited to celebrate our 40th anniversary season this year! To commemorate this milestone, we are partnering with social service agencies for each of our 13 concerts. We will ask audiences to bring an in-kind donation to help serve families in the local community.
Here is the schedule of concerts and partners for the fall season. We invite you to attend all NJYS concerts and make an in-kind donation to our partners!
Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 8 pm
Partner: Toni’s Kitchen
Suggested In Kind Donation: Support area youth through the Healthy Backpack Program, including: Peanut butter, pasta, tuna, pasta sauce, oatmeal, healthy cereal, rice, beans, snack bars, and raisins (no glass please).
Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 3 pm
Partner: St. Joseph Social Service Center
In Kind Donation: Toiletry items, including: toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, lip balm, soap, deodorant, travel-size shampoo and conditioner, travel-size body lotion, travel-size mouthwash, travel-size hand sanitizer, comb, brush, hair ties, and tissue packs.
Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 7 pm
In Kind Donation: Non-perishable food items.
Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 3 pm
Partner: Homeless Solutions, Inc.
In Kind Donation: low-sugar breakfast cereal, low-sugar oatmeal packets, coffee, toilet paper, and paper towels.
Sunday, December 16, 2018 at 3pm and 7pm
In Kind Donation: Cold weather items, including: hearty soups and stews, gloves, hats, umbrellas, and warm thermal socks.
Hector Otero, a student of Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts’ Paterson Music Project (PMP), returned recently from a cross country trip to Los Angeles to participate in the National Take A Stand Festival! Hector had the opportunity to make new friends from other El Sistema-inspired programs nationwide, develop his musical skills, and perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Hector says that he will bring his newly acquired skills and knowledge back to Paterson with him this fall as he enters eighth grade at the Community Charter School of Paterson.
Hector had the honor of being accepted into the National Take a Stand Festival Junior String Ensemble, an opportunity specifically for younger musicians and open to only 36 string players aged 12-15 from across the country. Se lecte students worked with a world-class artist faculty and rehearsed and performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. As an ambassador for PMP and his community, Hector traveled to Los Angeles and Aliso Viejo, CA from July 5-15 to participate in the event sponsored by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
“My favorite part of the experience was visiting the Hollywood Bowl…it was a great experience to see Gustavo (Dudamel) in action with an amazing orchestra,” says Hector. “The music was very interesting; I’ve never seen anything like it. Sometimes we would just stop, take a break, relax, and then play the music vigorously again. It was a very wonderful experience overall.”
Two familiar faces greeted Hector in Los Angeles: Oklahaom City University Director of Orchestras, Jeffrey Grogan, founder and former Artistic Director of PMP, led the Junior Strings Ensemble in Sibelius Andante Festivo and Soon Hee Newbold Perseus at Disney Hall. Hector had the rare opportunity to meet and work with Soon Hee Newbold, renowned composer and arranger. PMP Founding Teaching Artist, Terrence Thornhill, participated as a cello coach, working with the Junior Strings Ensemble and cello section for the 10-day long festival.
Says Thornhill, “What I liked most—they weren’t just selected by how well they played, but also their personal statements, so we got a diverse group. They all left as different kids than when they arrived, which was amazing.”
In addition to performing in the final concert on Saturday, July 14 at Disney Hall, Hector participated in composition and songwriting workshops, international music education courses, leadership workshops, cultural significance of music discussions, group lessons, ensemble and orchestra workshops, and chamber ensembles.
A bright and motivated viola player who has participated in the Paterson Music Project for four years, Hector, 12, has proven that his growth and ambition show no signs of stopping. In addition to practicing with PMP three times per week, he serves as a Junior Teaching Assistant, assisting and teaching younger students in grades 2-5 on days he does not have class. Hector also participates in Montclair State University John J. Cali School of Music’s prepatory program on Saturdays, an honor which only eight PMP students have received. Says Hector, “I want to be a doctor some day. I see that there are a lot of people that need help across the country and I want to help.” This fall marks Hector’s fifth year in the transformative music program in Paterson where he will continue in the Concert Orchestra and as a teaching assistant.
The National Take a Stand Festival is an opportunity for students from El Sistema-inspired and aligned programs throughout the United States to perform as part of a top-tier national youth orchestra. The National Take a Stand Festival is a free program: travel, lodging, meals, and programming are provided at no cost for all participating musicians. By offering young people the opportunity to learn from exceptional musicians, including world-renowned conductors and guest artists, become ambassadors of their programs, and engage with young people from diverse regions and backgrounds, the orchestra aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded populations in the United States. Students not only have access to top artistic and educational resources, but experience some of the world’s finest learning institutions and concert venues.
This year’s festival featured two ensembles: a Symphony Orchestra for advanced musicians aged 12-18 and a Junior String Ensemble for intermediate string musicians, aged 12-15. The festival aims to develop a model for excellence and a national community of citizen musicians from historically excluded populations in the United States. Young musicians from diverse regions and backgrounds will become ambassadors of their programs, learning from world-renowned conductors and artist mentors in beautiful settings and concert halls, including Walt Disney Concert Hall.