Expressions Music Academy Sep 2017

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Melody The Monthly

NOVI LOCATION: 43370 West 10 Mile Rd Novi, MI 48375 TROY LOCATION: 4000 Livernois Rd Troy, MI 48098 PLYMOUTH-CANTON: 9357 General Drive Suite 101 Plymouth, MI 48170

LEVELING UP New Releases and the Very Best Students

This month, I’m thrilled to announce Expressions Music Academy’s new “Level Up” achievement program, a totally free, app-driven system designed by yours truly to motivate students to practice, while making it easier than ever for teachers to assign tasks and keep parents in the loop on their child’s progress. Before I get into that, though, I’d like to share some background — the “why” behind this exciting new development. During my early teens, as my mother struggled with her mental health and my sisters and I went through our ramshackle “homeschooling,” it fell to me, the oldest sibling, to keep everyone on track. I took it upon myself to build systems, charts, and checklists in order to task out chores, make sure my sisters were doing some semblance of schoolwork, and keep them motivated. If it sounds weird for a 13- or 14-year-old to be managing so much, it was, but I actually found it sort of fun. I had an aptitude for that kind of work early on, organizing haphazard circumstances into a coherent system. And, of course, it felt good to help out my younger sisters in the midst of such a difficult time. As I later became a teacher, a business owner, and a mentor to my staff and students, my deeply ingrained fascination with motivational psychology only grew. I’ve long felt that people, regardless of their station, are capable of so much more than they’re typically accomplishing in life, imbued with endless potential that just isn’t realized due to lackluster motivation. Because of this, one of my favorite parts of teaching music has always been to figure out ways to encourage my students to practice more. It became clear early on that the best way to instill a drive and passion in my students was to create a structured program that could establish accountability, as well as markers for their progress, just as those charts and checklists did for my sisters years back. To this end, I launched the Black Belt Achievement Program at Expressions in 2012. Just like in martial arts training, the program was separated into color- coordinated levels — like belts — and went from beginner to expert in 10 levels. To advance and gain rewards, students needed to complete six customizable challenges (e.g.,“Play all 12 major scales across one octave at 80 BPM”) and three

songs of their choice from a list of pieces at their level. The program worked great for motivating students, whether they had their eye on the challenging black belt songs or were more interested in the trophies and wristbands that came with progress. Black Belt, though, wasn’t quite enough. Though we promoted the system and encouraged teachers and students to use it, only a small subset actually fully integrated it into their lessons. So, alongside a team of expert software developers, I’ve built the Level Up app, which digitizes the leveled structure of the old Black Belt system, while adding a ton of new features and improvements. With two different components for teachers and students/parents, the system gives instant feedback to students and parents alike, while allowing teachers to assign songs and challenges at the touch of a button. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Features include a place where students can view all the songs for their instrument in all 10 levels, a leaderboard for parents and students to gauge their standing compared to other students, a practice schedule calendar (complete with notification reminders), and a (still-in-progress) section where students can listen to all songs included in the program on their instrument, so they can hear an ideal performance and select the piece they want to learn. Level Up has been a massive undertaking, and I’m over the moon about how it’s turned out. I could go on and on about all the amazing things the app can do, but I’ll save that for next month’s newsletter. For now, download the Level Up app for free from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, and see what it can do for your student’s potential!

- Jessica Schatz

Novi Location: 248-773-8364 | Troy Location: 248-845-4611 | Plymouth-Canton Location: 248-480-9108 | 1


So, your adult child is almost finished with high school. You’re helping them along as they begin the laborious process of college applications when they break it to you: They want to major in music! What do you do? Many parents panic when they hear their child express this kind of aspiration. They wonder how their child will make money in the real world equipped with nothing but musical expertise. But the truth is, a musical college education teaches students invaluable lessons a more “practical” degree simply cannot — especially if they’re not passionate about it. As Forbes contributor Liz Ryan puts it, if you force your child down the “safe route,” you’re telling them, “Our fears for your future outweigh your desires and your confidence in yourself.” Music majors are, by nature, tough and dedicated. How could you not be, after practicing hours and hours every day and competing in endless, daunting competitions? Not only that, but music students spend years perfecting the art of focus, prioritizing their art over frivolous pursuits in order to reach their long-term goals. It’s not uncommon for music majors to shoulder ridiculous numbers of credits, putting all their AMusic Degree May Seem Like a Big Risk SHOULD I LET MY CHILD MAJOR IN MUSIC?

Srushti Gubbi of Michigan is an incredibly talented budding singer with an amazing voice. Srushti was only 2 years old when her parents noticed their little one singing in perfect tune, memorizing entire songs. Since then, they encouraged her to perform at the family gatherings and community events to boost her confidence. Srushti’s powerful voice

and passion for music made her parents consider getting their child formal music lessons. Since she was too small for voice lessons, she started with piano lessons at Expressions Music Academy; two years later, she also joined for voice, and then recently added guitar lessons at Expressions. Srushti can sing in nine different languages. She can adopt her voice to different genres with no preferences, but with perfection. Srushti’s determination and regular practice are helping her evolve into a wonderful singer. In 2016, Srushti won singing reality show “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs,” hosted by Indian National Television ZEE TV, after the grand finale at Madison Square Garden, New York. At age 10, Srushti was the youngest contestant to win the show. Srushti also went on to win the Katyar to Kajrare international singing competition in 2016, organized by an eminent academy in India called Shankar Mahadevan Academy. Srushti became the winner of the CMA elementary division singing competition, organized by the Columbus Music and Art Academy in 2016. She also won the Audience Favorite Performer Award out of all winning performers from the elementary, intermediate, and senior divisions. Srushti was announced as the winner of National Singing Star after performing at the grand finale earlier this year. She donated her prize money to Beaumont Children’s Hospital, saying “Those kids out there need this money way more than I do, so I would like to give this back to the hospital.” Organizers and audience members were mesmerized by this gesture. Recently, Srushti went on to win the American Guild of Music classical championship, and she is very thankful to her teacher at Expressions for helping with beautiful Italian song to finish the championship. Srushti has a huge dream of becoming a well-known performer, traveling around the world, and spreading peace through music. Srushti has set some goals to accomplish, so she wants to audition for “America’s Got Talent” this fall, and her teachers at Expressions are helping her with preparations. Finally, Srushti wants to thank her family, her friends, Expressions Music Academy, and producer Debi Lewin from National Singing Star for all the encouragement and support. Watch it on youtube by searching for “Srushti Gubbi Whitney Houston” in Google.

time into their craft. And they’re excellent at receiving and incorporating feedback in order to improve. Perhaps most importantly, a music degree shows a degree of passion, confidence, and tenacity that few other degrees can parallel. All of these considerations are huge across the job market. Whether or not your child lands a position in a symphony orchestra right out of college or decides to move into the business world doesn’t matter. In today’s world, what you choose to

study rarely has much influence on your actual career path. But you can be sure that a music degree will be an excellent crash course in preparing for the constantly changing job market.

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Know someone itching to learn a new instrument? Between the months of September and January 2018, refer them to Expressions, and have them tell us you sent them our way. For every referral we receive, you’ll get another entry to win a Kalahari package valued at $1,000, including two nights stay at the resort for two adults and up to four children, and a $100 gift card for use at any of the resort restaurants! The package can be used at any time and doesn’t expire for a year. When you refer a friend, it shows us that you loved learning from us, and there’s no higher compliment we can receive.This contest is one way of showing our appreciation for each and every one of our wonderful students.

For every student you refer to any of our three locations, you and your family will be entered to win an all-inclusive trip to the thrilling Kalahari Waterpark Resort in Sandusky, Ohio!

Expressions Music Academy is

thrilled to announce our big referral contest!

The winner will be selected on Thursday, February 1, 2018 .

Laugh Break

Recipe of the Month: WINNING APPLE CRISP


• • • •

1 cup all-purpose flour

• •

1/2 cup butter, softened 4 cups chopped, peeled apples

• • •

1 cup water

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon vanilla extract Vanilla ice cream, optional

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch


1. Heat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press half of mixture into a greased 2 quart baking dish or a 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with apples. cornstarch, water, and vanilla. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thick and clear. Pour over apples. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. 3. Bake 60–65 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm, with ice cream if desired. 2. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar,

(Recipe courtesy of

Novi Location: 248-773-8364 | Troy Location: 248-845-4611 | Plymouth-Canton Location: 248-480-9108 | 3



43370 West 10 Mile Rd Novi, MI 48375


Shaping My Students Into the Best Musicians They Can Be

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Why You Should Let Your Child Major in Music

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Student Success Stories

Win A Trip —On Us!

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Winning Apple Crisp

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The Museum of What?


Museums are a staple of vacations no matter where you travel. Everyone has heard of the Louvre and the Smithsonian, but you might be surprised to learn about some of the stranger museums around the world. For nearly every passion, there is a building somewhere dedicated to it. Take a look at some of the weirdest.

history and culture through an examination of the ways a society flushes (or doesn’t).

ramen has evolved into a beloved dietary staple from Japan to Jamaica. The museum named after its creator offers you the chance to look at some of the strangest versions from around the world. As an added bonus, you can even design your own packaging. Bring along some chopsticks, as there are plenty of samples to slurp up.

The Museum of Bad Art Dedham, Massachusetts

There are plenty of museums dedicated to exceptional artwork from history, but only one dedicated to less-than-successful artistic endeavors. The Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA, promotes itself as the home of “art too bad to be ignored.” A trip to MOBA will leave you smiling, laughing, and feeling a little better about the fact that you’re not Picasso.

Sulabh International Museum of Toilets Delhi, India

The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum Rush County, Kansas

A functioning toilet is something everyone takes for granted until they don’t have access to one. In India’s capital, you can explore the fascinating history of commodes. From primitive examples you would never use today to gold-plated bathroom thrones from palaces across the world, the variety of toilets on display is staggering. Divided into three sections — ancient, medieval, and modern — you’ll be shocked at how much you can learn about

Plenty of museums are hands-off, but that’s usually to protect the precious objects held within. At the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, not touching the exhibits is just sound advice. The development of barbed wire was instrumental in settling the American West, and this museum pays tribute to the ingenuity of those farmers who wanted to make sure their cattle stayed on their property and thieves stayed out.

Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum Osaka, Japan

It’s not just college students and video gamers who love ramen. Since the invention of the instant noodles by Momofuku Ando in 1958,

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