United Conservatory of Music - May 2020

MAY 2020



GO BEYOND The Role of Music During a Crisis

I n March, Italy became the epicenter of Europe’s COVID-19 outbreak. The entire country was put on quarantine, and people were isolated in their homes. It was a difficult time, but many Italians found ways to keep their spirits up through music. You’ve probably seen the videos of musicians playing on their balconies, singers serenading their neighborhoods, and entire towns singing together. These lovely performances highlighted how music can create a sense of community, which is something we’ve always strived for at UCM. In 2008, UCM’s founder, Leo Kim, had only been teaching music for a brief time when the financial crisis began. Though not the same situation as this pandemic, the 2008 financial crisis overturned life and sent everyone into a state of uncertainty. It seemed like even the arts were in jeopardy, as many major music schools lost major portions of their endowments, and many of even the largest symphony orchestras went bankrupt. But Leo was still getting calls to teach music. Even in the midst of the financial crisis, people who wanted music lessons for their children still wanted them. They had a very clear idea of what music was to them. The financial system might have been in chaos, but they remained committed to music because they knew that music lasts beyond any crisis. Things are difficult right now, and there are new challenges we face that were not present during the financial crisis. As a result of the canceling of orchestral concerts and the closing down of almost all performance venues, many of our music instructors have lost an important source of income. At the same time, our students have lost the routines of their academic schooling and other

extracurricular activities as California follows a state-wide shelter-in-place order. UCM is very fortunate to have the resources to transition online and offer music lessons remotely, keeping our instructors employed and giving our students some continuity of normal life.

As we work through this difficult time, we are also taking this opportunity to improve some areas of our operations. Our director, Christopher Scherer, has put a huge focus on improving communication. The remote lessons and additional sessions we’re offering online can only be successful if there is proper communication between

instructors, students, parents, and staff. Remote lessons, while not optimal, force our teachers and our students to work harder, so when students are able to return to their lessons in person — ideally at our new offices that we’ll be moving into in May — UCM will be stronger than ever.

Music is a way for people to express themselves. Being able to perform or even just listen to music can help us stay calm when things are challenging. Music goes beyond the current moment and allows us to find the strength to look ahead. Times are tough, and we are thankful to our instructors and staff, as well as to our students and their parents, for trusting us to get through this crisis together. Though we cannot gather together physically, we are still able to maintain our community through music.

—Christopher Scherer —Leo Kim

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HOW TO STAY IN TOUCH WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS While Following Social Distancing Guidelines

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging communities across the U.S. to practice social distancing. While this will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, it also means that social interactions will be minimal. In addition to impeding many industries and businesses, this has significant impacts on families and friends who can no longer visit each other in person. Luckily, the technology we have today allows us to stay in touch while still practicing social responsibility. SPRUCE UP EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES. Hopping on the phone or your laptop to video chat is a great way to reach out and catch up with loved ones. While folding laundry or doing other mundane chores, give a friend or your parents a call to idly chat; it can make your tedious tasks much more enjoyable. Video calls are also beneficial if, for example, you’re missing out on your daily workouts with a friend. Hop on a video chat to practice yoga, cardio, or other simple exercise routines together. LET YOUR KIDS CHAT WITH FRIENDS. Kids can benefit from video chatting by staying in touch with their friends while school and other activities are canceled. Letting your kids connect to social media is a pretty big step, so consider signing them up for Yoursphere or Kidzworld, kid-friendly networks that let them keep in touch with their friends while you can monitor their activity. Get in touch with other parents to set up virtual play dates over video chats for your kids. They can even watch a movie or TV show together.

HAS BREAKFAST IN BED GONE OUT OF STYLE? WHAT MOMS REALLY WANT ON MOTHER’S DAY Serving breakfast in bed to moms, especially on Mother’s Day, has been a widespread tradition for years, but have you ever wondered if it’s what your mom really wants? Here’s a look at the Mother’s Day breakfast in bed tradition and some recent insight into the popular trend. According to Heather Arndt Anderson, author of “Breakfast: A History,” the popularity of breakfast in bed became widespread during the Victorian era, but only for married, wealthy women who had servants. Those women would enjoy their first meal of the day in bed, and then their servants would handle all the spilled scone crumbs and messy breakfast residue. In 1914, President WoodrowWilson dubbed Mother’s Day a national U.S. holiday, and a few years later, the aristocratic English tradition of breakfast in bed sailed across the pond to America. By the 1930s, food and bedding companies capitalized on the tradition and the new holiday by running ads in magazines and newspapers encouraging children and fathers to serve their matriarchs breakfast in bed. Since then, serving mothers breakfast in bed has become a popular Mother’s Day ritual around the world, and it remains so today. However, there is one group whose voice has been left out of the breakfast in bed conversation: mothers. In a recent study conducted by Zagat, a well-known dining survey site, researchers found that only 4% of moms polled want breakfast in bed. Yes, you read that right. When you factor in the mess of syrup, crumbs, and coffee spilling over clean sheets, it’s understandable. Today’s mothers usually don’t have servants to clean up afterward. The study also revealed what most moms prefer to do for breakfast on Mother’s Day: 53% of mothers like to go out, and 39% prefer brunch instead of breakfast. While breakfast in bed seems like a nice gesture, statistics show that it’s probably the last thing your mom wants to wake up to on May 10. This Mother’s Day, show your appreciation for your mom or the mother of your children by asking her what she would like to do. She deserves the holiday morning she desires, whether that includes a full breakfast in bed or carryout from her favorite brunch joint.

HOST A MOVIE NIGHT. Speaking of movies, Netflix developed a unique way for people to watch movies

and shows together: Netflix Party. If you have a desktop or laptop with a Chrome browser, visit

NetflixParty.com to download the application. Once downloaded, open the movie or TV series you’d like to watch, create or join a “party,” then relax and enjoy the show while chatting with friends.

These are only a few examples of how we can stay in touch during these concerning times. Talk with your family and friends and see what

other creative ideas you can come up with together. Even though you may be apart from loved ones right now, virtual communication has

never been easier or more plentiful.

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THE STORY OF GRANDPA MASON How a Feral Cat Came to Care for Orphaned Kittens

When cats are orphaned as kittens, they don’t get the chance to develop all the skills needed to become successful cats. Just like human children, kittens need older role models too. The most famous cat role model had a rough start in life but became an inspiration for kittens and humans alike. His name was Grandpa Mason, and during the last years of his life, he stepped up and gave love, care, and guidance to the orphaned kittens that lived with him.

The Canadian animal rescue group TinyKittens rescued Grandpa Mason in 2016 from a property that was scheduled to be bulldozed. The poor feral tabby was suffering from many health problems, including severe dental issues, a badly injured paw, and advanced kidney disease. Since TinyKittens is a no-kill rescue organization, euthanization was out of the question. Given his health conditions, veterinarians predicted the battle-scarred Grandpa Mason didn’t have long to live, so TinyKittens’ founder, Shelly Roche, took him in and provided him with a comfortable place to sleep, plenty of food, and time to relax in the last months of his life. Grandpa Mason had a hard time adjusting to domestic life and would often shy away from being petted. In an interview with The Dodo, Roche described him as “an elderly gentleman [who] lived his whole life a certain way, and then, all of a sudden, [was] forced to live completely differently.” After Grandpa Mason grew accustomed to his home, Roche took in several foster kittens, and those new roommates completely altered Grandpa Mason’s behavior. Roche expected him to hiss, swat, or growl at the kittens when they invaded his space, but he didn’t. Instead, he allowed them to crawl all over him and appeared to enjoy it when they licked his ear. Suddenly a playful, affectionate, and gentle personality came out of Grandpa Mason as he played with, bathed, taught, and cared for the orphaned kittens that Roche welcomed into her home. Potentially due to the kittens’ influence, Grandpa Mason surpassed his prognosis by more than two years. During the last few years of his life, Grandpa Mason passed on important lessons and good manners to the kittens he looked after and adored, as a true grandfather should. He passed last September, but he spent his last night in his ultimate happy place: snuggling in his bed surrounded by kittens.



Inspired by Bon Appétit




In a blender, purée garlic, ginger, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, honey, rice wine, chili oil, oyster sauce, and toasted sesame oil until smooth.

2 heads garlic, cloves separated

3 thumbs ginger, chopped

1 cup hoisin sauce

3/4 cup fish sauce


Reserve and chill 1 1/2 cups for later use.

2/3 cup honey


In a bag, add the remaining mixture and pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 8 hours. Using a convection plate on the grill, cook pork until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 140–145 F. In a large saucepan, simmer brown sugar, molasses, and reserved marinade for 6–8 minutes. Baste the pork with the brown sugar glaze for 2 minutes before serving.

2/3 cup rice wine


1/2 cup chili oil

1/3 cup oyster sauce

1/3 cup toasted sesame oil


5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, flattened

Solution on Page 4


3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp molasses

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559.869.8263 www.unitedconservatory.org Mon-Fri: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat-Sun: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


INSIDE 4747 North First Street, Ste. 185 Fresno, CA 93726


How Music Goes Beyond a Crisis Has Breakfast in Bed Gone Out of Style? Technology Saves the Day The Best Grandfather a Kitten Could Have Sticky and Sweet Pork ‘Ribs’ What Is Gardening Good For?




HEALTH BENEFITS OF FAMILY GARDENING Give Your Kid the Gift of a Green Thumb

Springtime often means nicer weather and more time spent outside, but it also means it’s gardening season. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and play in the dirt. If you’ve been searching for a way to get the kids away from technology and engaged with the real world, gardening is the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy. Not only is it fun, but it’s also beneficial for your kids’ development. For example, gardening can improve your children’s analytical abilities. As Dr. Wendy Matthews says, “Gardening exercises important reasoning, initiation, planning, and organization skills.” Furthermore, several studies, including one at Texas A&M University, suggest that gardening improves a child’s attitude toward fruits and vegetables and may make them more likely to choose them as snacks. Gardening helps kids identify with where their food is coming from, and nothing tastes better than a freshly picked strawberry or pea pod they grew themselves. Jack Gilbert, a scientist at the University of Chicago and a parent himself, and his co-author, Rob Knight, emphasize the health benefits of garden time in their book, “Dirt Is Good: The Advantage of Germs for Your Child’s Developing Immune System.”The two found that exposure to different microbes, like those found in a garden, strengthens a child’s immune system and makes them less likely to develop allergies.

If this is your first time gardening, you don’t need much to get started. Grab a few shovels, a pair of gloves for each family member, and fresh potting soil, and you’ll be set. Then, you can decide together which plants you’d like to grow! Carrots are fun because of the surprise factor — just imagine your child discovering that the part they eat grows below the ground! Peas are tasty and fairly easy to grow, as are strawberries. The options really are endless. Depending on the growing season in your area, you can choose to buy seeds or opt for rooted plants.

Last but certainly not least, the best part of gardening as a family is the healthy, fresh produce you’ll get to enjoy all summer long!

4 • unitedconservatory.org

Published by The Newsletter Pro • www.NewsletterPro.com


Q. What is your favorite thing about the piano? I love the sounds that I have learned to play on the piano.

Q. What do you like most about lessons and how long have you taken lessons here? Nicholas is the best piano teacher. He is really nice and really good at playing the piano. I have been taking lessons from for 13 months. Q. What is a favorite piece of yours that you’ve played? My favorite piece of music that I have played is what I’m playing now: “Minuet in G Major.” I also like my recital piece “Hakuna Matata.” Q. What are some other hobbies or activities you participate in? I play baseball, soccer, football, and wrestling. Q. Would you recommend UCM to friends/family? I would recommend UCM to people, especially Nicholas. I have learned to read music and to play music.

Staff Spotlight: Mr. David

David holds a B.A. in Music Education from CSU East Bay and an M.M. in Jazz Composition from the University of Oregon. David has been regionally and nationally recognized as a performance artist and as a composer. He currently teaches piano in Fresno, California, at the United Conservatory of Music and at Roosevelt School of the Arts.

Q. What are the things you like most about teaching? I really love listening to a person play the piano, at any level. It’s magical! Q. How do you inspire students to practice more? By freely sharing knowledge and passion for music. I give them a lot of praise, as well. Q. What do you feel are the benefits of a child studying music? Learning to play an instrument is a great preparation for any career in science, technology, or medicine. It’s also great for the soul, particularly as a person ages. Many adults say to me, “I would love to be able to play the piano, I wish I hadn’t quit music lessons!”

Q. What is your favorite type of music? Anything played by a symphony orchestra.

Q. What do you like most about teaching at United Conservatory of Music? The people! Chris and Leo have selected a fantastic administration and teaching staff. Q. What are some things most people don’t know about you? I’m studying law, which is an intense intellectual challenge I wouldn’t be prepared for without my training in music. I also love cooking, watching sunsets, and listening to people’s life stories. One day I’ll walk down a sunny country road, holding a glass of iced tea, while an oboe plays in the background.

We’ve moved to our new location on 6759 N First Street, Fresno, CA 93710!

We’re having virtual recitals! May 30 and 31, 2–5 p.m. You can watch via Zoom! Check our website to sign up. Our teachers and staff will be on hand to help with the sign-up process.

We love your referrals! Refer a friend and we will give you and your friend a $50 gift card as a THANK YOU!

PLEASE WELCOME THE NEW STUDENTS WHO ENROLLED IN FEBRUARY! Daniel V., Jeremy C., Esther T., Nathan T., Ever L., Isaiah A., Jeremiah F., Abram O., Ava H., William L., Nicholas R., Charlie J., Kira G., and Naomi R.

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