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Performers from show 263

The performers sporting their From the Top medals after the taping

Late October found us in Davis, California where we taped an episode of the radio show at the Mondavi Center, a stunning concert hall on the campus of UC Davis. This show was full of interesting and talented kids, including three who’ve won major competitions.

Kicking things off was a very young violinist –12-year-old Alex Zhou, who played one of my favorite violin showpieces, Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen. He was followed by flutist Annie Wu,who not only played classical flute, but also a beatboxing piece (you’ve got to check this out in the sneak peek – it’s pretty amazing)!

17-year-old Alex Holcomb was up next playing Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude transcribed for classical guitar. Chopin on guitar is not something you hear every day, and he played beautifully.

We met pianist Phoebe Pan next, who actually first met Christopher O’Riley when he was one the judges at a piano competition she won. We had to have some fun with the fact that three of the kids on this show were competition winners by having them compete in a quiz called “A Competition Competition.” The winning prize was a fabulous, aluminum, deluxe, logo-emblazoned From the Top water bottle! Clearly there was a lot at stake.

Closing the show was a trio of teens, all new to the U.S. from three different countries, who performed from “The 4 Seasons of Beunos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla – an exciting ending to a great show.

Check out the sneak peek below, and don’t forget to tune in when the show airs the week of January 14!


1 year ago | |
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It’s that time of year again – The Blount-Slawson Young Artists Competition is accepting applications! Musicians in grades 7-12 can enter to win prizes including $10,000 cash, a performance with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, and an appearance on From the Top! String, wind, brass, percussion, and piano students are eligible to apply. Applications must be postmarked no later than December 7.

Click here for more information about the competition.

Evelyn Mo performs L’isle joyeuse by Claude Debussy on her From the Top appearance in March of 2012 after winning the Blount-Slawson Young Artist Competition.

All competitors will play one concerto movement in the preliminary round on January 26 at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and nine finalists will perform on Sunday, January 27. From the Top Music Producer Tom Vignieri is once again a member of the judging panel – click here to read his behind-the-scenes account of the competition!

We encourage all young musicians to consider this wonderful opportunity, so please share this information.

2 years ago | |
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All of the young musicians posing with host Chris O’Riley after their impromptu performance!

Towards the end of October we were in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a taping at the Palace Theatre. It was a great show and the young musicians really bonded and had fun together– as evidenced by what happened during curtain call!

In what has to be one of the most unexpected moments in From the Top history, the entire group of young performers decided to treat the audience to a little Gangnam Style.

Haven’t heard of that? Have no fear – I hadn’t either until being schooled by the kids! Basically, “Gangnam Style” is the name of a catchy pop tune with a video that features the singer doing highly comical dance moves, and it has become a huge Youtube sensation.

Anyway, right before the show was to begin, we were all backstage getting ready to go on ­– and in From the Top land, that generally means laughing and goofing around. There’s always an atmosphere of excitement and energy before the show starts, and on this particular occasion several of the kids were having fun showing off their “Gangnam Style” dance moves to each other. And then they came up with this crazy idea…

Flash forward to the end of the show. It’s curtain call and all of the young performers have walked onstage to take their final bows. They bow as per usual, and the audience cheers, and then, without warning, the “Gangnam Style” song comes on over the speakers, and all of the kids start dancing! It definitely made for a fun and unique end to one of our shows.

I found out afterwards that the kids had stormed the control room with their curtain call idea – and as one of them happened to have an mp3 of the song handy (and as our producers happen to be extremely cool), they made it happen!

Of course we managed to capture some of this on Flipcam, and you can see it at the end of this week’s sneak peek! Enjoy, and make sure to tune in when this show airs the first week of January 2013.

2 years ago | |
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I think it is very important for musicians these days to be flexible and able to do many types of jobs in the music world aside from playing an instrument. 

Cellist Nikita Annenkov (Show 238) had a really unique experience this past summer at the Chamber Music Connection’s (CMC) Summer Music Festival – he was a teacher, a mentor, and an arts administrator. Nikita reflects on his experience at the festival below…

I have been with Chamber Music Connection (CMC) since 2007, which was when I moved to Ohio from Uzbekistan. I was a recipient of the Chamber Music Columbus Scholarship and was also a part of the CMC Fellowship Program. My chamber music experience comes mostly from CMC – I grew to love the program as it guided me on the path to be a well-rounded musician over the years. I attended CMC’s 2012 Summer Festival as a returning alumnus, where I assisted with chamber ensemble coachings and helped advertise CMC to the community. I think it is very important for musicians these days to be flexible and able to do many types of jobs in the music world aside from playing an instrument. It is well known that times are tough for young musicians, so being a well-rounded musician with many skills, including administrative, will provide more opportunities to succeed in the field of music.

This summer I experienced what it can be like in the “real professional world”. As part of promoting CMC, for example, I had to contact local businesses and find advertising opportunities. At first I was very nervous, having not had much experience talking to business people – I was officially representing CMC and had to be professional. After the first few places I visited, it started to become much easier – by the end of an hour of meetings, I had talked to a number of business owners who were happy to host a chamber music group’s performance during the festival week. One business even offered to host a small fundraiser and donate a portion of the profits to support CMC. I learned that it is as important to be able to represent yourself and make a name for yourself as knowing how to play your instrument; talent and skills will not mean much when nobody knows about you. Being engaged with musicians but not actually performing made me think of other career choices I might like if it doesn’t work out with cello performance. I have thought about other career choices and I found that I would enjoy other subjects, such as teaching theory or becoming a music critic. When the festival started, I would take a group to downtown Worthington everyday at lunch to play in front of a local business. Of course, since the program was mostly made up of younger musicians, Graeter’s Ice Cream became the favorite place to play. This year CMC celebrated its 20th anniversary, but there were still people from the community who had never heard of the program – they quickly came to enjoy the “Classical Music – Ice Cream Afternoon Special”.  I also got a chance to coach a chamber music orchestra, which was very interesting. I haven’t had much experience coaching young musicians before, so I had to adjust and find ways to make the rehearsal interesting and productive.

The whole experience of being an alum, as well as being a part of CMC, but not as a performer, definitely made me feel more professional and responsible. My task of promoting CMC may not have been a difficult one, but it was very rewarding. I had to make decisions, take charge, and be on time – all tasks worth having as a performer. I am very happy that I had an opportunity to challenge myself this way and have such a productive summer.

2 years ago | |
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Music is amazing when you are working on it, but it is so much more rewarding when you know that there are people who can simply appreciate all the longs hours you put into practicing.

Flutist Karen Baumgartner (Show 250), A From the Top Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist, believes that “music has the power to bring people into a story and draw them into a performance”. It was this very belief that inspired her to visit the residents of the Johana Shores Assisted Living Community – a group of people who otherwise have limited access to live concert experiences. In addition to meeting some lovely new people, Karen gained an even broader view of what it means to be a musician.

We asked Karen some questions to learn more about her visit to Johana Shores…

FTT: What made this visit memorable?

Karen: I absolutely loved connecting with the residents and staff in the nursing home. I got to the nursing home a little early and was able to play some card games with a few people there. It was fun to tell them that I was going to be performing, and to then see how much they enjoyed the music. Everyone was so appreciative to have me play and were all very engaged.

FTT: Did you learn anything new from the experience?

Karen: It made me love being a performer even more than I did before, and made me realize how much people can appreciate music. It was fun to play at such a close and personal level because I got to hear feedback after every piece. At a formal recital, you hear the applause but don’t get to hear people’s comments and questions . . . at the nursing home, so many of the people were interested, and I was happy to talk to them about my musical background and plans. It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of performing and hearing the applause but it was nice to have the routine shaken up for a change and get positive feedback right when the piece was done. Playing in the nursing home made me remember that the reason I can hope to make a career out of music is because there are people who love to listen to classical music just as much as I love to perform it.

FTT: Were there any surprises?

Karen: After one of the pieces I performed, I was able to talk about my amazing opportunity to appear on From the Top and play at Carnegie Hall. I expected most people to know what Carnegie Hall was, but it was fun to see some of the people perk up and talk about how they listen to From the Top. I also talked about my performances on Minnesota Public Radio, and found out that the residents listen to it everyday at lunch. I wasn’t expecting to be able to help them connect something they hear on the radio to someone they can see in real life; I was happy that I could be that connection.

FTT: What does being an “arts leader” mean to you? 

Karen: It means that I will make an effort that isn’t always the easy choice, such as performing in classrooms at a school, or trying to get my friends to understand what I love about classical music so much! Being an arts leader means that instead of focusing on myself and being a better player all the time, I will focus on sharing my talent and the impact it has on others around me. I will not just show off my talent at recitals and performances, but will try to connect with people and help them see why music is so important to me.

2 years ago | |
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October was a busy, but wonderfully energizing, month. The weekend after our Troy, New York, show, we were back at our home base, New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall in Boston for a taping that featured a diversity of kids who expressed all sorts of new ways of looking at things.

For instance, 18-year-old recorder aficionado Bryan Duerfeldt  proved without a doubt that the recorder wasn’t just an instrument for elementary school classrooms! He talked about the perceptions people have about the instrument, and not only performed a gorgeous baroque piece, but also a contemporary jazz piece. Something that didn’t make it into the show was that, in part of the jazz piece, Bryan played two recorders at the same time! It was totally unexpected and cool, and of course, I made sure to catch it on video. Make sure to check our website when the show goes live to see him in action.

Another young musician whose story struck me was William Su, a teenage baritone originally from Beijing. He talked about having been kicked out of his school choir in China because his loud, low voice didn’t blend well with the others. This experience, while initially crushing, eventually led him to attend Walnut Hill School for the Arts, where his outstanding voice is now being appreciated and nurtured.

15-year-old Pianist Vanessa Haynes gorgeously performed the third movement of Beethoven’s “Appasionata” Sonata and then entertainingly went head to head with Chris O’Riley in a game of identifying film scores, and 13-year-old Sebastian Stoger, with his wonderfully infectious smile, performed Tchaikovsky’s Pezzo Capriccioso.

At the close of the show we were introduced to perhaps the teeniest musician who we’ve ever featured – 9-year-old violinist Elizabeth Aioki who played Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantelle. She played it on a quarter-sized violin, but you would never know it by the huge sound!

Check out the sneak peek below, and make sure to tune in when this show is broadcast in mid-December.


2 years ago | |
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From the Top’s broadcast for Show 257 was taped at the Chautauqua Amphitheater of the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York on Friday July 20, 2012. We asked our performers to tell us about the music they performed on the show:

Laura Park, 18, violin
Waltz-Scherzo, Op.34
By: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

I think that the Waltz-Scherzo is a very cute and enjoyable piece. The waltz aspect gives it lift and charm, while the scherzo aspect makes it entertaining and easy to listen to. The hardest thing about this piece would be that it needs to stay light. It’s easy to accidentally become heavy and sound like a march. Therefore, I have to always keep aware of the piece’s character.

Post-Show Reflection: My favorite memory is during the actual live show taping when all of us were upstairs in the dressing room just hanging out and having fun and supporting whoever left to perform and congratulating whoever came back in after performing. The show itself was so much fun because the audience was very warm, laughing at all of our jokes and giving standing ovations, and the staff members were all super chill and friendly. The time spent on stage seemed to just fly by.

I believe music has the power to bring a group of people together that otherwise might not meet each other.

Xavier Jara, 18, guitar
?Sonata in D Major, K.53
?By: Domenico Scarlatti

My favorite part is when the voices in the bass and treble are jumping back and forth while the haunting arpeggios play in the middle – it gets me every time.

Technically, this is by far the hardest piece I’ve every played. It’s got just about everything that guitarists fear. This is also a big reason why I play it – it really shows off just what the guitar is capable of doing.

Franz Zhao, 18, composer/piano
(performed with From the Top alum Alli Switala, 18, violin)
?By: Franz Zhao

My piece, “Ideas”, originally started out as several thoughts or emotions, each of them embodying its own musical fragment. Each of these fragments were embedded into the piece, allowing for each thought to be expressed to the audience – the opening, a slow introduction consisting of a question and answer-esque line can be seen as mysterious; the somewhat quicker main theme can be interpreted as or shocking, and the rapid-paced middle section can be described as rampaging. Personally, the part I enjoy playing the most in the piece would be the quick, main theme section in 4+3/4 time. Keeping communication and staying together between the musicians is always fun, exciting, and enjoyable.

The main thing that I would consider special about playing “Ideas” compared to other works I have played would be that it was one of my own works. Though I have written many works, I rarely get a chance to perform in them. Also, what made learning my own piece “special” was that I was able to interpret it any way I deemed proper or appropriate.

Post-Show Reflection: My favorite memory from the experience would probably have to be our time backstage during the show – the atmosphere was a perfect mix of nerves, tension, and excitement. Filming our introductions was also a very interesting memory – the endless giggling, face-palming and inability to keep a straight face made it quite the experience. Since it was my first experience with anything of the sort, I did not know at all what to expect from performing on the show; I have been listening to the show for several years, but the procedure was very new to me, nevertheless. In addition, I was not expecting an audience of nearly 5,000 people, and seeing the endless sea of spectators gave me quite the rush when I first walked out. Though my nerves did not affect me much during the actual performance of my piece, they returned to me when I walked up to the microphone for my “interview”. Thoughts such as “What line do I say now?” or “I hope my voice doesn’t sound too squeaky today” rushed through my head as the interview began.

I believe that music has the power to change people’s feelings and emotions. Listeners will often subject their emotions or feelings to match those which are coming from the music. For example, Schumann’s “Scenes from Childhood” can be described as yearning and nostalgic, and it is easy for someone to envelop these emotions while listening to it, while other works such as Tchaikovsky’s “Trepak” from “The Nutcracker” and be described as very upbeat and lively and have a much happier influence on a listener.

Emily Helenbrook, 18, soprano
?“O luce di quest’anima” from Linda di Chamounix
?By: Gaetano Donizetti

It is my favorite piece to sing. I think about the thing that makes me happiest at that given moment. So it changes, but what doesn’t change is the text and context of the aria in the opera – so I just think of whatever is most exciting, like going to Italy in August or something! I think of sunshine, good-looking men, and getting flowers when I sing this.

The best and most special thing about this piece is the fact that Renee Fleming suggested this piece for me. She told me that it would fit me well, so I learned it immediately! Also, I wrote all of my own embellishments, so it is always to show them off!

Post-Show Reflection: I loved spending time with the other performers, especially hearing them perform for the first time and then waiting backstage with them before the show. I also enjoyed being with the staff…they are all so fun and kind! I felt deeply honored to be on the same program as the other kids who were SOOOO talented. And, the audience was appreciative and responsive which was amazing!

I believe music can change people’s lives, as it does mine; especially in times of grief. I believe that if it can bring even a moment of peace or happiness, that music has all the power in the world.

Ho Joon Kim, 13, piano
Hungarian Rhapsody, No.12 in C-sharp minor
By: Franz Lizst

This piece seems to be the most dramatic work out of all the pieces I have played. For some reason, the Hungarian Rhapsody brings the impending feeling of war, and basically victory in the stretta. I can see the symphonic nature Lizst tried to imitate, and the capriciosso nature of the rhapsody resembles the gypsy-like theme.

This piece is, so far, the most challenging piece I have ever played. Not only does it demand technical virtuosity, but also profound thought on ways to play the piece. It sounds like a written-out improvisation, so making the piece sound “naturally improvisational” was difficult. Also, it was difficult to play every single note in the runs of the stretta.

2 years ago | |
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October is a busy month here in From the Top land. Last week we taped a show in Troy, New York; this past weekend we taped one in Boston; we’re off to Greensburg, Pennsylvania in a few days, and then we round out the month in Davis, California! But will I manage to post my blog in a timely manner during this mad rush of shows? That, my friends, remains to be seen.

Coolest cello case ever! It was hand-painted by cellist Miriam Liske-Doorandish.

But let’s start out on the right foot with a blog about our recent show in Troy! It was an all-cello extravaganza taped at the stunning Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. In addition to four phenomenal young cellists, we had the pleasure of featuring one of the master cellists of our time, Matt Haimovitz. He and Chris O’Riley are great friends and collaborators, and the two of them have been touring the country this year performing together. They also recently released an album called “Shuffle.Play.Listen.” which I encourage you to check out as it has quickly become one of my faves.

Like Chris, Matt is well known for stretching the boundaries of classical music, and he regularly performs in unexpected places to reach new audiences. In the spirit of that, we set up an impromptu performance at a local bookstore during lunch hour on the day of the show. Matt and the four young cellists surprised customers at Market Block Books with an electrifying performance of John McLaughlin’s “Open Country Joy” arranged for five cellos! We caught the whole thing on video, of course, and will post it when the show goes live. You definitely don’t want to miss it.

The taping that night was so exciting and full of truly remarkable cello playing, not to mention cello “drumming” (you’ll have to check out “Open Country Joy” to see exactly what I mean). Enjoy this week’s sneak peek – and don’t forget to tune in when the show airs the first week of December!


2 years ago | |
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From the Top alumni are doing amazing things! This summer, it seemed like every time we fired up the old internet-machine, we saw news of another From The Top alum making waves in the world of music and beyond. In the coming weeks, we’ll be updating you on a plethora of From the Top alumni. This week, we start out with our alumni who can be found on the piano bench:
Michael DavidmanMichael Davidman (Show 234, Virginia Beach, Virginia) was awarded the following awards over the summer:

Grand Prize in the LISMA Foundation 9th International Music Competition in the 17-23 year old category at 15 years  old.
First Prize in both Solo and Concerto in the Ithaca College School of Music Piano Competition and will be performing Saint-Saens Piano Concerto in G minor, No. 2, op. 22with the Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra, February, 2013.
And he was awarded the Chopin Foundation of the United States Piano Scholarship! Way to go Michael!

Pianist Umi Garrett (Show Umi Garrett211, Santa Barbara, California) recently won the 13th Osaka International Music Competition in Osaka, Japan and also won 1st prize in the Chopin International Piano competition in Budapest, Hungary.

She said of the competitive experience in Osaka: “I know that there was a lot I should have done better, but it meant a lot for me because it was my first competition in Japan, and lots of people helped me to get to this competition. I wanted to do well to show them my appreciation.” Well done, Umi!

Kimberly Hou (Show 232, College Park, Maryland) was awarded 1st Place in the 27th IYAPC (International Young Artist Piano Competition) as well as the Chinese Performance Prize. She was also chosen as a 2012 US Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She says of this wonderful opportunity: “Having the opportunity to collaborate with artists from all different disciplines for the Kennedy Center performance was so eye-opening and inspiring!”

Brian Ge (Show 187, Boston, Massachusetts) just won another concerto competition in Aspen on July 2, 2012. He performed the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K. 467 with the American Academy of Conducting At Aspen Orchestra on July 10 at the music tent. Brian is one the concerto competition winners from last year and performed Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with Aspen Concert Orchestra.

Congratulations to all of our outstanding alumni, and check back for more updates next week!

2 years ago | |
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[Music] is such an underrated resource, yet people use music every day. We have it in our cars, on our phones, in the grocery store – it is everywhere we go and it is used to alter or encourage our own moods. My hope is that people will be able to recognize music not only as an art form, but as a tool to help others overcome obstacles in their life.

Having seen music’s restorative power through her own experiences, bassoonist and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Alexandra Nelson (Show 243) wanted to explore ways that music can inspire others beyond the concert hall setting. She decided to connect with several music therapists from her hometown, and wrote the following essay to share her experiences:

What Music Can Do 

It was once said that music is what feelings sound like. For the average person, we would all agree that music can transform our attitudes, change our perspectives, set a mood, help us from feeling alone… the list goes on. But how does music affect someone who has mental or physical disabilities?

This has been something that I have been more interested in as I have grown older. Given my own difficult family situation, I used music as an escape. Practicing became a way to disappear out of the discomfort in my household and focus on something beautiful. What about people who are uncomfortable in their own body or their own mind? I soon began to question if music would have the same effect on people other than me, other than just musicians.

Music therapy embodies this very idea. On the website for the American Music Therapists Association, it is defined as, “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” These goals can be anything from opening oneself up emotionally to distracting someone from intense pain to encouraging verbal communication. Therapeutically, the benefits are endless. I have quickly learned that, not only is music enjoyable and mood altering, but it is a growing resource for therapists dealing with people who suffer from any type of disability or disorder.

When I sought out the music therapist, Eve Montague, at the South Shore Conservatory in Duxbury, I was just looking to have her shed a little light on this topic. She was able to share many stories with me: a patient with serious physical problems regaining use of her fingers and toes, a premature infant’s heart and breathing rate stabilizing immediately after birth, a burn victim becoming seemingly immune to the pain while having his dead skin removed – all through music therapy. It seemed unreal. I knew that music was powerful, but could it really have that much of an effect on people? I’ve experienced it myself, but never to this degree.

In my excitement, I began to participate in an adult chorus with Eve at the Conservatory, working with mentally delayed adults to sing and make music once a week. It was a place where people could socialize, learn about music, and most importantly, grow as a person. There was a woman who was nonverbal but still able to make sounds. Throughout the year, I soon realized that she was mouthing the words and actually quietly singing along. A young boy who shyly kept to himself before chorus was a new person when it came time to sing – yelling the words, jumping for joy at the climax of a song. This was all through music.

Another therapist who works with Eve, named Kari O’Brient, travels to several locations offsite for her therapy sessions. When I asked to observe her at a local elementary school, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to see music therapy first hand, in all of its glory, to better understand how it really works in an everyday setting.

I traveled to the Hatherly School, an elementary school in Scituate, one afternoon with Kari to work with two special education classes. We arrived, signed in at the office, and headed down the hall, our arms full of drums and scarves, with a guitar on Kari’s back and a bag filled with who-knows-what hanging off of my shoulder.

When Kari walked into the room ahead of me, the room erupted. The kids could no longer focus on their math or reading – it was music time! We headed into one corner of the small room with a bright colored rug, bulletin boards creating a space around us, and a chair for each of the students, Kari, and me. I sat down anxiously and waited for the therapy to begin.

Instead, Kari quietly took the guitar case from off of her back while asking the kids how their vacation was. However, after a soft bitter mumble from the few kids around us, Kari laughed off their negative reaction and started to strum. Soon, her chatty words turned to song, “Why hello there, you guys! I know I’m happy to be here. Hmm mmm, hello, hello!” The energy in the room suddenly shifted back to excitement. We all sang the hello song, each of us having a chance to say our own name and say hello to the rest of the class. Not only was this song encouraging friendly greetings, but it was teaching the kids to say their name and “hello” loudly and clearly. For anyone with a social disorder, such as autism, even saying hello to someone can be a challenge. Kari, though, with her bright smile and upbeat guitar playing, had everyone doing this with ease. The next song was a variation on “Head-Shoulders-Knees-and Toes,” with Kari’s own musical spin. The students stood, did the dance moves, and some even took a turn leading the song.

I really noticed at that point that, despite the necessary therapeutic value these songs had for these kids, they really enjoyed this! It was a break from their school day. Especially for someone with disabilities, even the simplest of tasks can seem daunting and overwhelming. Music therapy was a care free and light hearted time set aside where they could simply be themselves, but still be absorbing necessary lessons like verbal skills and physical coordination.

The lessons continued – more songs, more dancing, more swaying back and forth, more singing – the fun went on, and so did the therapy. The next class was more of the same – excited children, each eager to listen and play while still taking part in the therapy. I left the school feeling excited, rejuvenated, and encouraged at the idea that music had such an impact on these kids. Not only did they have a great time playing and singing with Kari, but they were reclaiming themselves as fun-loving children, able to let go of whatever troubles they were having in school earlier that day, and just enjoy the therapy for all that it was.

Despite all of my wonderful exposure to music therapy, there is just one problem that I always come across when I leave the conservatory atmosphere: no one I know seems to respect music as a valid source of therapy. I learned quickly that this was because they didn’t understand it, but that’s no reason to dismiss it.

This is why I am writing this piece today: through my own experiences, I have learned and will continue to learn more about music therapy so that I can share it with my peers. It is such an underrated resource, yet people use music every day. We have it in our cars, on our phones, in the grocery store – it is everywhere we go and it is used to alter or encourage our own moods. My hope is that people will be able to recognize music not only as an art form, but as a tool to help others overcome obstacles in their life. As the author Berthold Auerbach said, “music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” no matter what that dust may be.

Alex is currently pursuing a dual degree in Bassoon Performance and Music Education at Northwestern University.

2 years ago | |
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