11. 2018 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
... AND SAVED ME FROM BECOMING A DROPOUT THE PHONE CALL THAT CHANGED MY LIFE THE MONTHLY MUSICIAN
W ell, it’s beginning to look and feel a lot more like late fall in Minnesota, and I’m sure many of our readers are getting ready for Thanksgiving. While writing these introductions to our newsletter, I’ve come to realize that this article has become my outlet for thanking the many friends, mentors, and family members who have gotten me where I am today. There are more people to thank than this one page can contain, but in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to continue the trend by thanking someone who played a huge role in my career as a musician and a teacher. Anthony “Tony” Titus was my first guitar teacher when I attended Anoka-Ramsey Community College. At the time, I was pursuing an exercise science degree but thought guitar lessons would be a fun thing to do on the side. At first, I was no good. But Tony saw my potential even when I couldn’t, encouraging me by saying, “Hey, I think you’d be really good at this.” Now, this wasn’t Tony trying to get me to commit more time to studying with him at AR. In fact, he wanted to help me shift schools entirely in order to give me more opportunities to grow and learn as a musician. It was Tony who first encouraged me to apply to the University of St. Thomas. For a kid from the suburbs who was attending community college, a prestigious institution like UST felt far out of reach. But my guitar teacher had a plan.
The guitar ensemble at St. Thomas was made up of some truly talented musicians, and I quickly got the impression that I didn’t belong. These were valedictorians from all over the country who had been studying and practicing their whole lives in order to be there. How could a kid from Circle Pines who took guitar lessons on a whim hope to compete? Some sessions, I couldn’t even get out the first measure without “dorking it.” After a particularly bad ensemble rehearsal, I was ready to throw in the towel. I hopped into my car ready to drive home and rethink my life. I was supposed to have a lesson with Tony the next day, so I gave him a call to let him know I wouldn’t be coming. When he picked up, I said, “Hey, I’m done. I don’t belong here.” I was expecting sympathy, but Tony took a different route. “No, you’re not done.” His voice was calm but stern and almost paternal. “Other people have invested too much in you,” he reminded me. “ You’ve invested too much in you to quit now.” In that moment, I didn’t know what to say, but Tony did: “See you tomorrow.” Sure enough, I showed up to my lesson. I’m not sure if Tony even remembers this phone call or not. But without it, the Minnesota School of Music and my life as I know it wouldn’t exist. In that moment, he was the only one who could have convinced me to stick with my music education. I grew up without a father, and at 23 years old, while frustrated and feeling lost, I needed someone to stand up and speak truth to me. I’m forever grateful Tony was willing to step up in that moment and see the potential in me — even when I couldn’t.
Tony worked his contacts and arranged for me to perform several concerts at the university, which got me noticed among the school’s
Tony is now teaching as a member of the guitar faculty at St. Thomas, Metro State University, and Inver Hills Community College. His students are in very good hands.
performing-arts faculty. This led up to an actual audition and, ultimately, my acceptance to a school that I never would have dreamed I’d be able to attend. However, I soon discovered that I may have bitten off more than I could chew.
Here’s to all the people and acts of kindness we’re grateful for this Thanksgiving,
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ENJOY THESE 6 AUTUMN ACTIVITIES FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!
with each other while watching some family holiday favorites, like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” or the Thanksgiving comedy-drama “Pieces of April.” HOME-COOKED FOOD When autumn rolls around, pie and warm cider may be high on your list of tasty treats you’re eagerly anticipating. This fall, encourage your family to take part in making annual goodies and sharing them with your neighbors. Nothing warms the heart more than receiving a loaf of freshly baked pumpkin bread during these increasingly cold days. KNITTED SCARVES If you’re handy with knitting needles, now is the season to put them to work. Hand- knitted scarves are great gifts to give throughout the fall and winter, and you can also make it a family activity! Take some time to teach your kids how to knit and crochet to create scarves of their very own.
the brisk weather. If you have a fire pit in your backyard, now is the perfect time to take advantage of it by bundling up with some hot chocolate and s’mores. AUTUMN ARRANGEMENTS It’s time to get crafty! Creating your own fall arrangements will ensure that your home has the seasonal decorations you want. Making beautiful fall flower arrangements for your kitchen table or wreaths for your front door to greet guests will create the desired autumn vibe you’ve been searching for. MOVIE NIGHT Gather your loved ones in the living room with popcorn, blankets, and a great film. Make the most of your autumn evenings by cozying up and spending quality time
Throughout November, everyone is eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, but you shouldn’t let the rest of the month slip past you! Enjoy these other fall activities with the whole family. HOMEMADE CARAMEL APPLES Homemade treats are no doubt far better than their store-bought counterparts. Try your hand at making your own caramel apples for the whole family to enjoy. You can also add a number of toppings to liven things up, such as nuts, white or milk chocolate, coconut, sprinkles, or pecans. BACKYARD BONFIRE During these cold months, you may be tempted to stay indoors, but heading outside for a bonfire is a great way to spend time with your family while enjoying
ANNOUNCING OUR NEW OUTREACH SERIES CONCERT AND COMMUNITY
In the past, our school has focused on big, semi-annual concerts to let our students strut their stuff. While these large, formal concerts are a ton of fun and give our star pupils the valuable experience of performing in front of a large audience, we know that these events aren’t for everyone. Young children or students with stage fright can struggle with such sensational affairs. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new avenue for students looking to perform on a smaller scale, while making a difference. Over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of doing smaller, informal performances for members of our community. We’ve found that folks living in assisted living facilities are especially appreciative of young musicians putting on a show for them. In fact, these informal performances have spread so much joy in nursing homes and community centers that we’re going to make it a regular occurrence!
appreciative audiences to spread a little musical joy to the rest of the community. These events will be limited in scope, so parents shouldn’t plan on bringing the whole extended family to a performance. We want the focus to be on the community members who may not get the chance to enjoy live music as often as they used to. If you have any interest in involving your student in this meaningful program, please reach out to us. Our teachers will be keeping an eye out for good candidates as well. We’re excited to have a new avenue to give students real-life performance experience while doing our part to bring more music to the Minnesotans who need it most!
In what we’re calling our “Outreach Concert Series,” we’ll be selecting students we feel are ready to perform for small,
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This month, we want to focus on another of the “Four R’s of Routine” — reach. Reaching for goals is an important part of any discipline, whether you’re a musician or a football player. But unlike football, music doesn’t come with yard lines and end zones. That’s why it’s important to help aspiring performers set SMART goals. A popular acronym in the world of business, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. These five SMART elements are the key to making activities like rehearsing more productive. Here’s how to put them into practice. SPECIFIC A student may want to get better at guitar, but what does that look like? There are so many different elements that go into guitar playing that focusing on improving them all at once would be impossible. By identifying a specific area a student wants to improve — say, their chord progressions or their rhythm — you instantly give your student something tangible to focus on. That’s why our teachers end every lesson by asking, “So, what do you want to work on next?” MEASURABLE Even when a student knows what they specifically want to improve in a practice session, they need to have a way to track their progress. Thankfully, music is no stranger to measures. After a student tells us what they’d like to work on, we help them set a benchmark for what success looks like. Maybe that’s getting up to 80 beats per minute or playing a piece without mistakes. ATTAINABLE AND REALISTIC In setting these specific, measurable goals, students need to be careful not to overreach. A new pianist trying to master Chopin will be just as frustrated and directionless as a student practicing with no clear goals at all. That’s why it’s important to work with a music teacher who understands your student’s abilities and can set goals that will challenge and engage them. TIME-BOUND A goal can be specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic, but without a deadline, it still may never come to fruition. Setting firm but realistic timelines for meeting goals is important because it ensures practice time will be used effectively. Taken together, this SMART approach has worked wonders for keeping our students engaged. We always encourage parents to sit in on lessons, talk to their children about their practice, and journal how they are keeping up with their goals. WANT TO KEEP MUSIC PRACTICE ENGAGING? GET SMART!
WELCOME NEW STUDENTS
Noah L. Leila S. Emma H. Caroline H. Julia H. Wyatt D. Sophia D.
Sam P. Bella P. Ben P. Lucy L. Andrew B. Margaret P. Atmos Y. Elizabeth S. David S.
Daniel S. Malachi F. Emma G. Logan M. Jayla U. Nick M. Manee V. Rashmita L.
Emily O. Kelsey P.
IS YOUR TEACHER If you’ve tried to make a schedule change recently, you’ve seen firsthand how full our teachers’ schedules are. If you are looking to make an upcoming schedule change, please read below to see if your teacher is sold out. Note: Teacher availability is subject to change based on enrollment. Please contact the front desk at (763) 432-9713 for up-to-date schedule information. SOLD OUT?
Mr. Barrett - SOLD OUT
Mr. Norell - SOLD OUT
Mrs. Gagnon - SOLD OUT
Miss Schwefel - SOLD OUT
Mrs. Hansen - SOLD OUT
Miss Taft - SOLD OUT
Miss Matejcek - SOLD OUT
Mrs. Wiering - SOLD OUT
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3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
The Phone Call That Changed My Life Caramel Apples, Knitting, and Bonfires Announcing Our New Outreach Series
Welcome New Students The SMART Way to Keep Your Student Practicing
3 Movie Locations to Captivate Your Eyes
WHYWATCH THE FILMWHEN YOU CAN SEE IT WITH YOUR OWN EYES? 3 FAMOUS MOVIE LOCATIONS YOU NEED TO VISIT
CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL
Movies captivate audiences partially because of their ability to transport you to a different place. The heart yearns to be taken places,
Harry Potter captured the imagination of the world. There are multiple sites across the United Kingdom where you can get lost in the adventure that shaped a generation, but there is one spot at the top of almost every fan’s list. Hogwarts is a magic castle in J.K. Rowling’s books, but in real life, its film location is a functioning cathedral in Oxford. Take one step onto the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral, and you might begin to wonder when the next Quidditch match will begin.
and cinema facilitates that journey. But what if you could immerse yourself in those fantastical worlds by visiting the destinations that you’ve seen on the big screen? Here are three places that are worth the trip.
TIKAL NATIONAL PARK
The only aspect of “The Lord of the Rings” that is more compelling than the fantastical journey of Frodo is the alluring, untamed countryside and quaint towns that make up Middle Earth. The Green Dragon Inn, Bilbo’s house, and the rolling hills of New Zealand make for a backdrop that will transport you straight into the life of Middle Earth’s smallest people — only these houses aren’t small at all. And you don’t need large, hairy feet to enjoy them.
When George Lucas witnessed a poster of this famous archeological site, he didn’t see an ancient culture — he saw Yavin IV, the perfect location for the Massassi Outpost, a rebel haven found in the first film of Star Wars. Though the movie paints a futuristic look at the region, walk through Tikal National Park, and you’ll experience it as a trip through history.
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