United Conservatory of Music September 2019





Lessons in Life- Changing Choices

Scientific — Once you solve a problem, you should be able to replicate the solution, like a scientist conducting an experiment. If you can’t duplicate your results, you haven’t solved the problem.

In 2013, I received a scholarship for $5,000. The scholarship was awarded in cash, and it was the most money I’d ever held in my hand at one time. That summer, I had a choice to make. My girlfriend and I talked about all the fun things we could do with that money. It was meant to go to my musical studies, but no one would have known if we’d used it to go on a trip or throw a big party instead. I spent the summer thinking about what I would do with the money. Around this time, I heard about Cyrus Forough, a violin professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Mr. Forough is a highly respected violinist. When I did a little research, I quickly learned he had studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with David Oistrakh, one of the greatest violinists of all time. That made the decision for me. At the time, I was studying at the University of Oregon because that’s where I lived. Instead of partying, I used the scholarship to pay for my flight and take a few lessons with Mr. Forough. Mr. Forough spent that summer as a faculty member at the Bowdoin International Music Festival. That’s where we met for the first time, and we really hit it off. He was an excellent teacher who helped me a great deal with my understanding of music. Mr. Forough also shared with me a lot of valuable wisdom that extended beyond music alone. Whenever I faced a problem, Mr. Forough would always say, “Remember CAST, Christopher.” CAST was his strategy for problem-solving: creative, artistic, scientific, and time.

Time —You must give yourself time to improve with any problem. You don’t become a master overnight. You have to invest the time to learn and get better.

In addition to teaching me how to solve problems, Mr. Forough really emphasized the importance of never giving up. That might be the most important lesson he taught me. You won’t solve every problem every time. It’s okay if you need to make a strategic retreat and come back when you’re better prepared. The important thing is that you come back, and you don’t give up. Mr. Forough’s lessons helped me a lot as a musician, and they continue to help me as Director of the United Conservatory of Music. That moment of choosing to go to Carnegie changed my life. I didn’t just find an amazing teacher; going to the East Coast that year is also how I met Leo Kim, my business partner. If I didn’t meet Leo, I wouldn’t have moved to Fresno and become the Director of UCM.

Creative — Every problem can be solved with creativity. If there’s a wall you need to scale, you can find a ladder, dig a hole, or make a rope and climb over.

Artistic — Everything we do in life has an artistic element. This is pretty obvious in music, but think about how having an artistic eye makes a difference in other areas. I have an iPhone on my desk today because Steve Jobs was able to merge artistic beauty with technology. At the time, technology was all dull and clunky- looking. Jobs recognized the value of making tech aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, and it paid off.

Going to meet Cyrus Forough was one of the best decisions of my life. It ultimately brought me to a place where I can make a genuine impact in the world.

—Christopher Scherer

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THE 4-LEGGED HEROES OF GROUND ZERO Honoring the Canines of 9/11

If you feel like you’ve hardly seen your kids since the school year started, you’re not alone. Americans are way too busy — from childhood onward, we’re always running hither and thither, packing in as many after-school activities, work-related meetings, and social engagements as possible. It’s a problem so pervasive that it has a name: time scarcity. Families feel time scarcity keenly after school starts in September, when children’s schedules explode with engagements. But all hope for close ties isn’t lost; there are ways to stay connected with your spouse and kids, even in an increasingly busy world. Here are some ideas from counselors, teachers, and psychologists who claim to have mastered the art. Rituals make up the backbone of individual families and society at large. Most people wouldn’t dream of abandoning their holiday traditions, so why forgo the smaller rituals that bring families together? Whether it’s eating dinner at the same table each evening, watching a movie together every Thursday night, or going on a monthly getaway, make sure these traditions aren’t canceled. If your family doesn’t have many rituals, a great way to connect is to start some. STAYING CONNECTED Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World REMEMBER YOUR RITUALS

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets to clear rubble, offer supplies, and search for survivors. It was a powerful act of resilience in a deeply trying time, and while most of the individuals helping with the disaster stood on two feet, more than 300 canines also answered the call to service. Dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, including search and rescue dogs, police dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs, were brought in to help find and care for survivors in the wake of the destruction. They worked tirelessly alongside rescue crews as they searched through the debris. Search and rescue dogs and their handlers worked 12–16-hour days, searching for survivors and victims. They worked through dangerous conditions: Many dogs burned their paws as they dug through hot rubble, and both handlers and canines inhaled toxic dust. The task was both physically and mentally exhausting for the dogs during their shifts. Some dogs that found deceased victims refused to eat or interact with other animals. Search and rescue dogs became increasingly stressed and depressed the longer they searched without any results, mirroring their handlers. It wasn’t uncommon for handlers to stage mock “findings” of survivors to keep the dogs’ spirits up.

Fortunately, the sacrifices these dogs and their handlers made did not go unnoticed. Many dog owners were inspired to earn their search and

rescue certifications after the events of 9/11, promising to aid in future disasters and hopefully lessen the impact of such catastrophes.


As cliche as it sounds, when you don’t have much time together, it’s crucial to be present for every minute of it. If you have a rare half hour at home with one of your kids, make a point to spend it in the same room and try to start a conversation. If you squeeze in a romantic dinner with your spouse, turn off your phones before the food comes. Listening to each other without distractions will strengthen your relationship.

After 9/11, various researchers conducted many studies

examining the effect this kind of work has on animals, both physically and mentally. Many of these studies wouldn’t be possible without the AKC Canine Health Foundation, so if you’re


Physical contact is vital for closeness. When you get the chance, hug your kids, hold hands with your spouse, and do physical activities as a family, like hiking, biking, or even playing group sports. It’s been scientifically proven that physical closeness leads to emotional closeness, so if you’re low on time, take advantage of that shortcut!

looking to give back this September, visit them at their website to see how you can help: AKCCHF.org.

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STOP THE SPREAD Prevent Colds and the Flu With Kid-Friendly Teaching Tools

School is back in session, but your child may be bringing home more than just random facts. Germs and bacteria that spread the common cold and flu are most prevalent in schools, but while these illnesses are strong, prevention is simple. Teach your kids how to prevent the spread of bacteria this season with these helpful tips.

one sneeze. (According to research, sneezes can travel anywhere

from 19–26 feet at 100 miles per hour!) For crafty kids, let them


Kids learn more by watching what you do rather than listening to what you tell them to do. Get in the habit of covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and then wash your hands. Make hand sanitizer and facial tissues readily available in your home and be sure to wash your hands before every meal. In addition, stick to healthy habits when you do feel sick. Drink fluids, get plenty of rest, and seek medical attention when it’s warranted. If your children see you taking care of yourself, they will be more likely to do the same for themselves in the future.

decorate tissue boxes or hand sanitizer containers

to give hygiene some flair. Soon

enough, you’ll find them being smarter about their health.

AHH ... AHH ... ACHOO!

As kids pack into classrooms this fall, germs will fly faster than this past summer did. Prevent

Hand washing and nose blowing are about as fun as …well, just that. It’s no wonder children don’t want to take time out of their busy play schedules to combat nasty germs. Instead of making these important steps a chore, make basic hygiene fun. Use fun songs to teach the proper way to cover a sneeze, or do a science experiment to teach your children about the germs that are spread through just

the spread of the common cold and flu by learning more tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention online at CDC.gov.



Inspired by Bon Appétit


6 oz pasta, ideally spaghetti or bucatini

3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and divided

1/3 cup finely grated pecorino cheese

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt, for pasta water and to taste


1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook, stopping 2 minutes short of desired doneness. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. 2. In a large pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add pepper and cook until toasted and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. 3. Transfer pasta and remaining butter to pan and reduce heat to low. Add Parmesan cheese and cook until melted, tossing pasta throughout. Remove pan from heat and add pecorino, continuing to toss until cheese is melted and sauce coats pasta. 4. Transfer to bowls and serve.

Solution on Page 4

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INSIDE 1 4747 North First Street, Ste.185 Fresno, CA 93726

How to Solve Any Problem


Keep Your Family Close in a Busy World Honoring the Canines of 9/11


Teach Your Kids Flu Prevention Cacio e Pepe


The Vibrant Colors of America’s National Parks


Have you ever wanted to experience the colors of a Boston fall while enjoying the peace and tranquility of the great outdoors? Autumn

colors in full effect, take a drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard, and watch the sun crest over the vibrant leaves. To fully experience fall in the Northeastern U.S., Acadia National Park is a must-see. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina Further south, the autumn colors of the Smoky Mountains are no less breathtaking than those in the Northeast. This park offers many scenic lookout points accessible by car, so don’t worry about hoofing it into the forest if that’s not your thing. Park wherever you like and watch the warm colors of ancient maples, oaks, and cedars change before your eyes. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming While the West might typically be associated with evergreen pines, the deciduous trees of the relatively small Grand Teton National Park pack a colorful punch starting around the third week of September. It’s also breeding season for elk in the area, and their high, eerie whistles can be heard in the evenings. Popular destinations in the park include the Christian Pond Loop and String Lake. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to abandon your favorite national parks until next summer. The natural beauty of America can be experienced at any time of the year, so start planning your next autumn outdoor excursion!

leaves are a universally appreciated sign of the

changing seasons, and there’s no better place to see those vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds on display than in one of America’s national parks. So, if you’ve got some free time this autumn, here are some parks worth seeing.

Acadia National Park, Maine While the maple, birch, and poplar trees of Acadia begin to change color in September, mid-October is the best time to witness autumn in full swing. The park is crisscrossed with unpaved trails that date back to a time of horse-drawn carriages, preserving an idyllic setting. If you want to see the

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Musical Ladder Achievements Here are just a few of the wonderful students who received a Music Ladder Award recently. Congrats, everyone! Follow our Facebook and Instagram to see more! www.instagram.com/unitedconservatory www.facebook.com/unitedconservatory

WE LOVE YOUR REVIEWS AND REFERRALS! Write us a review on Google or Facebook and we will put you in our review raffle. Every time you refer a new student, you and your friend will both receive a $50 gift card! We will be raffling off an Apple Watch this month! Refer your friends today for your chance for the big prize. We will be announcing our winners this month, so be on the lookout to see if you won!

Here’s a special offer from Rita’s! Bring this page to your local Rita’s to redeem your free offer!

If you have a business you would like to promote with us, email cscherer@unitedconservatory.org for more details.

PLEASE WELCOME THE NEW STUDENTS WHO ENROLLED IN APRIL! Addis R., Ramon V., Daniel W., Emily L., Brooklyn L., Sophia M., Amayah S., Leslie R., Barbara C., Alexia G., Shirley R., Aron G., Charlize P., Selah T., Ani H., Renee C., Keria C., Bonnie B., Belen P., Nicholas G., Aquielo D., Zach A., William R., Christopher L., Marysol G., Candelaria G., Clark M., Sean T., Ziggie C., Sophia B., Kalia J., Sydney P., Naomi L., Noah C., Amelia C., Nastassja P., Samreet M., Sophia B., Aanya P., Ezri L., Lazarus R., Evan O., Mia N., Giovanni N., Vito N., Jennifer F., Joshua T., Jane F., and Natalie P.

STUDENTS OF THE MONTH Vladimir, Nikita, and Lazarus!

Q: What are your favorite things about the instruments/singing? Vladimir: My favorite thing about learning to play guitar is when I learn new chords, songs, and music theory. Nikita: My favorite thing about learning violin is that I can play music, and it helps me improve my memory. Lazarus: My favorite thing about learning singing is that singing makes me happy. Q: What do you like most about the lessons? Vladimir: I have a great teacher who helps me improve in every lesson. Nikita: Learning new songs. Lazarus: Singing! Q: What are your favorite pieces/songs that you’ve played/sung? Vladimir: “Yankee Doodle” Nikita: “Song of the Wind” or “O Come, Little Children” Q: What are some other hobbies or activities you participate in? Vladimir: Basketball, chess, reading Nikita: Reading, photography, and math Lazarus: Play Legos

Nikita, Lazarus, and Vladimir

Teacher of the Month: Kevin Misakian

Kevin is a member of the Wind Symphony of Clovis and the Howland Clarinet Choir. He’s also a graduate assistant with the Bulldog Marching Band and is getting his master’s in instrumental conducting at Fresno State, studying under Gary Gilroy.

Q: What are the things you like most about teaching?

A: I love those lightbulb moments when something clicks and a student suddenly understands a complicated concept. I also really enjoy listening to students rave about something music-related that they recently discovered. Q: How do you inspire students to practice more? A: The hardest part of practicing is always just starting. When students are still new to their instrument, I try to encourage them to practice at least five minutes a day. That gets them playing regularly, and they usually keep on going past those first five minutes. For students who have been playing for a while, I encourage them to explore their passion by listening to the music they like, learning the pieces they like, or just reading or watching videos about musicians they admire. Practicing can be incredibly dull and frustrating if we lose sight of the things that made us passionate about music in the first place. Q: What do you feel are the benefits of a child studying music? A: Learning an instrument requires a fair amount of discipline. When a student learns a new song or feels that they’re improving on their instrument, they are learning first-hand that hard work pays off. In addition, students who play in an ensemble setting like band or orchestra learn a lot about teamwork and responsibility. Q: What is your favorite type of music? A: I’ve enjoyed playing in orchestras, and I have a lot of respect for the “classical masters,” but I’m a band geek through and through. There are so many new, exciting, and accessible works being composed for wind ensembles/concert bands/symphonic

bands right now. I also have a soft spot for ska and punk rock music from the ‘90s and early 2000s. Q: What do you like most about teaching at United Conservatory of Music? A: The staff are personable and professional, and the teachers are knowledgeable. Some of the best musicians I know teach lessons at UCM. Q: What are some things most people don’t know about you?

A: In addition to being a band geek, I’m also a sci-fi geek. I’m a double-threat when it comes to being interested in things that very few people care about. Do you need to know about the conductor who formed the Eastman Wind Ensemble? I’m your guy. Are you having trouble remembering the names of all those actors on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”? Look no further. Kevin’s my name, “accidentally” spending an entire day watching “Battlestar Galactica” is my game.

Labor Day: CLOSED Monday, Sept. 2, 2019

Thanksgiving Break Nov. 24–Nov. 30

Upcoming Dates to Note:

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