United Conservatory of Music - January 2020

STUDENT OF THE MONTH Shirley Rylander

Q. What do you feel are the benefits of a child studying music? A: I believe that music can be a great discipline for young students to take up; most every instrument can become a career or a lifelong skill. And it’s fun! Q: What is your favorite type of music? A: Besides classical music, my favorite type of music is definitely country music! Q: What do you like the most about teaching at UCM? A: The thing that I most like about teaching at the United Conservatory of Music is being among the faculty and staff as they are some of the most supportive individuals/coworkers I’ve ever met! Q. What are some things most people don’t know about you? A: Some things that most people don’t know about me are that I do tai chi and I’m a world traveler. I know that tai chi is associated with elderly people, but I find it really enjoyable because it helps slow things down for me and helps my posture. I say I’m a world traveler because I’ve been to six different countries! Q: What is your favorite thing about the piano? A: Shirley’s favorite thing about the piano is when she plays at home and we gather around as a family and sing the songs with her as she plays. It is fun to hear the sounds all together as she serves as the accompanist. Q: What do you like most about lessons and how long have you taken lessons here? A: Shirley’s favorite thing about the lessons is being able to get to the point of playing a song all the way through with perfection and hear the beautiful sound from start to finish. Greg is always so supportive of her practicing and learning the songs. Q: What is a favorite piece of yours that you’ve played? A: Shirley loves all the songs! Some that stand out to her are “The Dreydl Song” from her Piano Adventures book, and several from her binder, such as “Kumbayah,” “Alouette,” and “Minuet in G.” Of course, she also loves her recital piece, “Standing in the Need of Prayer.” Staff Spotlight: Elton

Q: What are some other hobbies or activities you participate in? A: Shirley is in the LIFE group at University High School, or UHS. It is a group of Christian students who come together to worship and spend time together once a week. She also participates in the Red Cross Club which brings in guest speakers to talk about pre-med topics. She enjoys working with the Interact Club, the on-campus service club. She is a member of the California Scholarship Federation as well. One of her favorite hobbies is dirt bike riding, especially at Hollister Hills. She also enjoys family trips to Magic Mountain. Q: Would you recommend UCM to friends/family? A: Shirley would “most definitely” recommend UCM to friends and family! It has a very fun and supportive atmosphere where you can work to master any instrument that you would like to play.

Elton was born and raised in Fresno, California. He began playing

the violin at the age of 10 and later decided to play the cello. Currently, he is a double major in history and cello performance at California State University, Fresno, where he is studying cello under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Loewenheim. His previous teachers include Julie Alvarado and Leo Kim. Since then, Elton has studied and performed in masterclasses for Lynn Harrell, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Emilio Colon, Thomas Landschoot, and Jonathan Ruck. He has also been a member of the Clovis North String Quartet and has performed as a soloist with the Clovis North Chamber Orchestra.

Q: What are things YOU like most about teaching? A: Some things that I really enjoy most about teaching are seeing the progress that my students make every week in their lesson and passing the traditions of music-making on to my students. Every time I see and hear my students play better than they did last week, even if it’s just playing one more note correctly, it always makes me happy because they are making progress. Being able to teach my students what I have been taught from my teachers is also something I really like because I am passing on teachings and musical traditions that are more than 100 years old! Q: How do you inspire student practice more? A: This is a really hard question as it’s not a “one size fits all” for every student. For me, I personally give my students multiple options of what piece or song they really want to work on (within reasonable capability) because you really learn a lot more when you are practicing something you enjoy or like. Not only do you learn more, but also you are more likely motivated to practice more because you simply enjoy a certain piece or song!

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