Minnesota School Of Music - May 2020

05. 2020 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



her relentless positive and determined attitude got ALL of us through this. No matter the challenges that came her way as we endured this crisis, she never threw in the towel. She coordinated so many of the school’s changes, and on March 19, we were thrilled to host our first online student lessons. (The very next day, March 20, my baby Eli was born safe and healthy!) Thank you so much, Kelly, for everything you do! I also want to take a moment to thank all of our parents and students directly, whether they’re still taking classes or have stopped for the time being. It’s completely understandable that some people have had to leave our school at this time — that’s why those of you who are continuing to pursue your music education with us mean so much. Whether we see you online or in-person, your time with us is very special. Music is one of the things that can’t be taken away from us, and so is the experience of music education. These connections to people and music often last our entire lives, so once again, I thank you all for your support and business. Lastly, I’d like to thank the staff of The Newsletter Pro. Unfortunately, because of these hardships, we have elected to suspend our newsletter. They have been great to work with, and I’ll miss communicating with you all through their wonderful service!

I hope this newsletter finds you and yours well and healthy. I miss seeing all your faces back in the office! I have many, many thanks to give to all of you. Teachers, parents, students: I am very grateful for the incredible community we have at Minnesota School of Music. To give a proper appreciation for all of you, I need to talk about the timeline of events. Otherwise, it’d be hard to express the immense flexibility of my staff and students and the contributions that everyone has made to allow our school to keep running. Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, our school had nearly reached capacity; we had the largest number of staff and students we’d ever had. We were planning future events, and my wife and I were preparing for the birth of our fifth child, Eli. It was busy, but we knew, more or less, what to expect of the upcoming months. That sense of certainty seemed to change overnight as schools began to shut down. Admittedly, I initially thought that we could continue classes hygienically at our location and keep everyone safe while keeping our doors open — but, with encouragement from my staff, I knew we had to move to distance learning via Zoom.

I’m very glad that we did, and I want to thank all of our incredible teachers and staff who’ve made our online learning program possible with their ongoing flexibility and passion for their work. Up until mid-March, I had only used Zoom for occasional meetings. I certainly didn’t know how to scale it to host hundreds of students and teachers. While every single person in our team helped give feedback to make the transition easier, there’s one person who I couldn’t have done this without: Kelly, our front desk assistant. Kelly was hired on March 2. She was supposed to go through two weeks of training under my direct supervision, but as you can imagine, between the rising crisis and prepping for my fifth child, I couldn’t give her the direction that she deserved. When two teachers left the school shortly after Kelly was hired, I took on both of their full-time schedules myself, and I worked mostly as a teacher rather than a director. So, instead of her promised training, Kelly was often left alone. She was answering calls several hours a day for a music school she barely knew and providing tech support for a brand- new online program we’ve never done before, and she didn’t know much about Zoom herself. However,

We will see you all again soon.

–Eric Nehring

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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!


At Minnesota School of Music, we are SO excited to have you all back in the office. We miss your faces and giving our talented musicians pats on the back for all their accomplishments and hard work. At the time of writing, we don’t have an official location reopening date, but we still have information to share regarding the future operations at our school. In preparation for our reopening, we have some great news: In the future, you’ll be able to choose whether you want to see us in-person or online! Despite the initial bumps in our learning process, we’ve had unexpected results through our distance learning process — many teachers, parents, and students love it. Our location will stay open for in-person classes, too, of course. Our school is not going completely digital, but we’ve found that for some, online learning works well. For instance, some parents were making a 40-minute commute to our school, but they appreciated our education so much that they were willing to do it. However, online learning has proven to be a great option for them. It’s also a

great opportunity for students with busy schedules who want to continue to expand their musical expertise.

As we transition back to in-person lessons again, we’ll continue to offer distance learning as an option for people who prefer that platform. If you’d like regular lessons online, you can choose to stay with that option. You have the choice! We’re always going to be here for you. That’s not all: We’re also going to offer distance learning in the event of weather emergencies. Traditionally, we’d schedule missed music lessons during a student’s spring or summer break. Unfortunately, that causes great inconvenience for students and teachers alike. Our teachers need vacations, too! Thus, in the event that we have to close the school for any reason in the future, lessons can continue to be held online.

Our whole team appreciates your passion for musical learning. We look forward to seeing you all again soon!

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Every learning experience presents unique challenges, and distance learning has been no exception. While our teachers and staff have been working as hard as they can to make the online learning experience great, we can’t help but admire the ways parents have stepped up to the challenge as well. What have they been doing? We’re here to share the tips we’ve all been learning along the way! NO. 1: STAY PRESENT DURING THE LESSON. Teachers don’t just show kids what to do or how to do it. Their power actually comes from their ability to connect and support the student in-person. Luckily, parents can do the same thing! Even if you don’t know anything about music, sitting near your child while they’re practicing and giving them the verbal and visual encouragement they need to keep up the good work can help tremendously. When a student is physically isolated from their teacher while taking online classes, it can be harder for them to feel like they’re being listened to while playing — one of the best parts of making music. NO. 2: MAINTAIN A GREAT PRACTICE ENVIRONMENT. Try to make sure your musicians have a good practice area where they feel comfortable and keep the right posture. For example, we’ve seen students put their sheet music on the floor. That’s very stressful and impacts both their reading ability and their poor neck! Make sure their music is propped. Students who have their pencils, books, and a metronome (it can be an app!) within reach tend to succeed in an online learning environment. Practicing close to your router can also be a big boon to a smooth lesson! NO. 3: CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION. Let’s be real: Internet providers don’t always give you the speeds that they promise. It’s important to double-check your internet speed! Just Google “internet speed test,” and you’ll find multiple websites that offer one for free. After checking whether your speed matches your internet plan, contact your provider for adjustments, if necessary. Thank you, parents, for being so flexible throughout this process! We’re learning new things every day to make distance learning easier for everyone. We’ll see you online. 3 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR ONLINE LEARNING EXPERIENCE!




GRILLED PRIME RIB Inspired by Primal Palate Who says the cookout has to ruin your diet? Try this paleo-friendly recipe for a main dish that’s worthy of your next barbecue.


• • •

1 1/2 lbs beef rib roast 1 tsp Himalayan salt 1/2 tsp black pepper


1. Take rib roast out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to grilling. 2. Season roast with salt and pepper and allow it to rest for 10 minutes while you heat a gas grill to 600 F. 3. Sear roast for 3–4 minutes on each side. 4. Turn off the grill but continue cooking the steak, flipping every 4–5 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 125 F. Remove from grill. 5. Allow the roast to rest — its internal temperature will continue to climb — for 5–10 minutes. Slice and serve.

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3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 763-432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



A Huge Thank You to Staff, Parents, and Students What Is Gardening Good For? What’s the Future of Online Lessons? Grilled Prime Rib 3 Tips to Boost Your Online Learning Experience!

Have You Heard of the Interrobang?


It’s a punctuation mark that’s over 50 years old, but you may not have heard of it before. It’s an odd-looking squiggle that denotes a common inflection, but many experts argue it has no place on

while it was used in magazine and newspaper articles for several years, it wasn’t meant to last.

There are a few explanations for why the interrobang never took off, but the most prominent one says that as writing styles changed, there was less use of rhetorical questions in writing, especially formal writing. Because the interrobang was originally intended to denote rhetorical questions, it faded from use. Today, using the two punctuation marks that make up the interrobang is still popular, especially in nonformal writing like social media copy. Any variation of “!?” denotes a sense of excitement, urgency, or disbelief in the form of a question, rhetorical or not. But the reason people don’t use the interrobang to serve the same purpose is simple: It’s not a key on keyboards. There are still certain fonts that are equipped to display the nonstandard mark, but if you want to use it, you have to go digging for it. It’s just much quicker to write two punctuation marks than search for a single one.

paper. In an age when thoughts are limited to 280 characters, wouldn’t a single punctuation mark that does

the job of two be valuable? Some say yes, others say no thank you. So what is this mystery punctuation mark? It’s the interrobang! In 1962, advertising agent Martin K. Speckter believed ads would look better if rhetorical questions were conveyed using a single mark. He merged the question mark, also called an interrogative point, with the exclamation point, known in the jargon of printers as a “bang,” and the interrobang was born. In the first few years of its existence, the interrobang made some mild headway, appearing in some dictionaries and even on some typewriters in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. And

But who knows what the future will bring? Language is in an ever- changing state, and the interrobang may rise again. Or will it?

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