UNITEDCONSERVATORY NEWS &NOTES
FROM THE DESK OF Christopher Scherer
Dear UCM Family,
We would like to welcome the 80-plus new students who signed up in June and July! We are truly growing in leaps and bounds, and we are so happy to see all the new and returning faces! Starting up again soon is our chamber music program, and Leo will be in touch with everyone involved to start setting up groups and meeting times. Professor Michael Chang, who has recently joined the faculty at Fresno State, will be here to also coach groups on a more consistent basis, so we look forward to seeing the awesome progress of our advanced students. Our first Chamber Music Festival and Diana’s Cello Camp were wildly successful! I saw many kids clearly having way too much fun playing music and making new friends. I was also delighted to see so many cellists in one place and enjoyed listening to the soothing sound of their music. What a great instrument! Also worthy of note is that we have started a new music program right next door to us at Loretta’s Little Miracles, which specializes in day care for medically fragile children. We are excited to see where this partnership leads us.
With school right around the corner, you might be thinking about taking your kids out for a bit of fun before the school year starts. If you’re fresh out of ideas on what to do, here are a few activities for your family this month. Take Your Kids to the Movies There were many great kids’ movies released this summer that you and your children can see as a family. “Incredibles 2” came out on June 15, 14 years after the first “Incredibles” movie. This time, watch as the character Jack-Jack explores his many superpowers. Several other films were released just last month, such as “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” in which the Count and his family go on a cruise. “Teen Titans GO! To The Movies,” also came out and includes the teen heroes experiencing their very first movie. This month, enjoy “Christopher Robin,” which will be released on Aug. 3, and the adventures of beloved Winnie the Pooh and his friends. While taking your kids to a family-friendly film is fun, it doesn’t have to be the sole reason to get out of the house. Before or after the movie, you can take them to a local park to enjoy the playground or a pool. FAMILY-FUNACTIVITIES Enjoy the Last of the SummerWeather
Let’s keep making music!
–Christopher Scherer Director
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Have a Picnic Going on a picnic is an excellent activity for the whole family. Not only does it give you quality time with the kids, but they can engage in the activity from start to finish. While preparing for the picnic, ask the kids what they would like — create a list of food that everyone suggests. Take the kids to the grocery store and let them help you pick out the items on the list. Teach them what to look for in ripe fruits and fresh vegetables. While packing for the picnic, let the kids wash the vegetables and fruits and help put smaller foods into zip-close bags or containers. Traditional sandwiches and juices can be on the list, but it’s more fun to include an assortment of foods. Create your own unique trail mix — combine everyone’s favorite dried fruits, salted nuts, and other small snacks. You can also make a homemade fruit salad by combining bite-sized fruits.
under a hot sun. Also, make sure your family has applied enough sunscreen and that everyone has sunglasses to keep the sun out of their eyes. Go Camping in Your Backyard Preparing for a camping trip can be stressful and even expensive. Backyard camping can be a fantastic alternative for the family. Not only can you enjoy the pleasures of a campfire, cooked food off the grill, and s’mores, but you are also just feet away from a fully functioning bathroom and refrigerator. This activity can be a family bonding event and a chance to let the kids learn a few important values. Work together to set up the tent, and while starting the fire, take the opportunity to teach your children about fire safety. Play games in the backyard, tell a few campfire stories, and let your kids come up with a few tales of their own. After the sun sets, take some time to stargaze. Encourage your kids to see if they can spot constellations and point out the ones you know to them.
Give your kids a last hurrah before they head back into the classroom. Don’t let this August slip through your fingers!
When you get there, find a shaded place to set up your picnic — no one wants to sit
3Ways to Mentally Prepare Your Kids for the School Year It may not feel like it yet, but summer is coming to a close, and summer break is ending along with it. Soon, the kids will be back to early- morning breakfasts before the school bus arrives and late-night study sessions. Thankfully, there are some steps your family can take during these closing weeks of summer to ensure your kids hit the ground running this school year. Set an Early Bedtime yet, can be a great opportunity to help them prepare a study schedule. Ask the following questions to help them get started: “Do you want to dive right into homework when you get home? Do you need to accommodate for a sport or extracurricular activity? Do you work best when doing your assignments in one large chunk, or would you prefer taking breaks in between assignments?”
Your kids may find that last year’s schedule doesn’t work for them this year. Emphasize that this is okay; part of growing up is learning how and when you work most effectively. Don’t be afraid to help them switch things up as the school year progresses. Ask Your Kids How They Feel Maybe your kids are excited about the school year. Maybe they are anxious, or perhaps they’re just disappointed to see summer vacation come to an end. Starting a dialogue about the aspects of school your kids are looking forward to and those they’re dreading can help you dispel myths and identify problem areas. More than anything else, this can help your kids feel at ease about the coming year.
For many kids, summer schedules are flexible. They may have become accustomed to sleeping in and staying up late without any obligations. Getting back into the rhythm of the school year can take some getting used to. In fact, according to psychologist Cherie Valeithian, it can take upward of two weeks to properly adjust to a new sleep-wake cycle. So why not give your kids a head start and ensure they begin the school year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? Outline a Homework Schedule
Resuming a homework regimen can be a difficult transition for some kids. Late summer, when they don’t have assignments to worry about
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STUDENT OF THEMONTH Congratulations to Kevin Lianos! (Cello)
Q. What got you into the cello? I’ve always wanted to learn an instrument, but never had the time to. I think cellos are fascinating, versatile, and beautiful instruments. I was inspired to try it out by watching cellists such as Steven Sharp Nelson (the Piano Guys) and Sebastian Freij.
Q. What do you like most about your lessons at the United Conservatory? I like to learn, and I’m motivated to do so knowing I have a lesson every week. It pushes me to keep growing. Q. How do you like your teacher? Leo is an excellent instructor, correcting my many mistakes patiently and pushing me to grow. He sees potential in me that I don’t see and encourages me greatly. Q. Would you recommend the United Conservatory to your friends? I would definitely recommend the United Conservatory to anyone interested in learning an instrument.
Q. What do you do for a living? I am a police chaplain.
Q. What type of music do you like to listen to? I mainly listen to Christian music, including lots of different genres (gospel, contemporary, and rock), but I also really like instrumental/ classical music, which is one of my inspirations for wanting to learn the cello.
TEACHER OF THE MONTH Congratulations to Keegan Bamford! (Cello) He is the winner of the 2018 Concerto Competition at Fresno State!
Q. What are the things you like most about teaching? Teaching is a form of giving back to the community and moving information from one generation to the next. I love teaching cello because I get to share what I do and see students grow from the experiences that music brings. Music is a way to express ourselves, and it is truly amazing to see the copious amounts of expression an individual can have on their palette. Q. How do you inspire students to practice more? Students should treat practicing like anything else in life. We always are striving to be better in all respects, whether it is in school or even in general conversation. Why not have the same attitude toward the instrument at hand? I teach my students to try to find practice habits that keep them moving and make them enjoy the process of learning. Self motivation is the best because doing what you couldn’t the day before is a greater reward than anyone can give you. Q. What do you feel are the benefits of a child studying music? Music is an art form. Art helps express the basic ideas within our thoughts without even speaking a word. Thus, it helps hone the mind and makes us much more efficient human beings, due to the stress of learning an instrument, since it is an uphill battle from the beginning. Kids learn perseverance, patience, critical thinking, etc. from music! Q. What is your favorite type of music? My favorite kind of music? Hmmmmm. This is tough. I listen to music all the way from underground rap to indie rock. Classical music is great and is
of the highest level of intellectual music-making, but I do enjoy listening to some Modest Mouse or Watsky when I’m not in the mood for Beethoven. Q. What do you like most about teaching at United Conservatory of Music? UCM is about building a community of musicians right here in Fresno. I have lived here all my life and wished someone had this kind of program. All I had was school orchestra and the YOOF orchestras, but I absolutely love chamber music! Plus there are so many students running in and out, it would be hard not to make a friend here and there. Q. What are some things most people don’t know about you? I am a huge Star Wars fan, I play video games when I have time, and I enjoy playing and performing new music by living composers.
We’ve been voted one of the best music schools in Fresno!
REFER A FRIEND AND GET A $25 GIFT CARD!
If you have a friend who might like to take lessons, refer them to the Conservatory! If they sign up, we will give both you and your friend a $25 dollar gift card! IMPORTANT DATES: LABOR DAY Monday, September 3rd THANKSGIVING Monday, November 19th-Sunday, November 25th CHRISTMAS Saturday, December 22nd-Wednesday, January 2nd
PLEASE WELCOME THE 57 NEW STUDENTS WHO ENROLLED IN JUNE!
Max A. • Annie G. • Natalia V. • James V. • Letitia R. • Mateo R. • Abby S. • Laila G. • Ani G. • Iona G. • Ian G. Katya N. • Misha N. • Alexa N. • Mary R. • Katelyn R. • Gaby R. • Noah M. • Evelyn D. • Elaine D. • Elaine DJ. EJ DJ. • Valerie H. • Aileen V. • Camryn C. • Diuya L. • Aaron V. • Manya G. • Sophia S. • Jose A. Nathan R. • Radnika K. • Karan K. • Jesus A. • Amy S. • Philip D. • Aaron D. • Rebeca S. • Anahi S. Sunem E. • David R. • Sidney F. • Jaylah M. • Samantha T. • Jamie B. • Kiera B. • James V. • Mawuli M. ElormM. • Madelyn B. • Lauryn M. • Camila R. • Presley A. • Jasmine B. • Sofia B. • Alesin B.
Game Night Goes (Really) Retro THE OLDEST GAMES YOU CAN PLAY TODAY
Backgammon A blend of luck and strategy, backgammon originated in the Middle East around 5,000 years ago. Possibly an evolution of the ancient Mesopotamian game, the Royal Game of Ur, backgammon has players take turns rolling the dice to move their pieces off the board while trying to outsmart their opponent. Backgammon grew in popularity, spreading from the Middle East to the rest of the ancient world, and is still played by many today. Go Originating in China around the 5th century B.C., Go — or “weiqi,” as it’s called in China — focuses on the virtues of balance, discipline, and focus. Two players go head-to-head, placing their pieces on the board to claim as much territory as possible while simultaneously capturing their opponent’s pieces. Go is likely the oldest board game still being played today, with an estimated 40 million players worldwide. Though the rules are simple, the strategies take a lifetime to master. These are a just a few games that people have been playing around the world for centuries. If you’re ready to add something new to family game night, try something old instead!
People love to play games. When you play Angry Birds while waiting in line at the grocery store, you are actually participating in a long history of gaming that dates back to the earliest civilizations. Through the discovery of ancient game boards, archaeologists learned that the ancient Egyptians played a game called Senet in 3500 B.C. The rules were lost to time, but fortunately, there are plenty of other ancient games we still have the rules for! Snakes and Ladders Sometime during the 2nd century A.D., people in India started playing a board game associated with aspects of traditional Hindu philosophy — namely, the contrast between karma (destiny) and kama (desire). A dice was rolled to navigate a game board where good virtues, represented by ladders, allowed players to move up
on the board, and evil vices, represented by snakes, would drag pieces back down. The phrase “Back to square one” is believed to have originated from this game. Snakes and Ladders made its way to England before being brought over to the United States, where it was introduced as “Chutes and Ladders” by none other than Milton Bradley in 1943.
Take a Break!
SUMMER GRILLED HALIBUT
4 boneless, skinless halibut fillets, about 5 ounces each 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 cup hearts of palm, drained
Basil leaves, for garnish
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 pounds mixed tomatoes, sliced
1. Lightly oil grill grates and heat grill to medium. 2. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon zest onto halibut fillets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
4. In a mixing bowl, combine
tomatoes, hearts of palm, juice from lemon, and oil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Garnish salad with basil. Spoon salad over grilled halibut. Serve.
3. Grill halibut, turning just
once, for about 5 minutes on each side.
Inspired by Bon Appetit Magazine
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United Conservatory of Music
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Christopher Scherer PAGE 1 Enjoying Summer Vacation to the Very End PAGE 1 How to Prepare Your Kids for School PAGE 2 Have You Played the Oldest Games in the World? PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Summer Grilled Halibut PAGE 3 Sleep Better and Feel Great PAGE 4 A good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mind and body. One study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research found that the quality of your sleep is much more important than the quantity — that is, if you want to feel rested. And we all want to feel rested. So, what can you do to improve the quality of your sleep and get the rest you need? Listen to your body. This, above all else, is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Your body knows when it’s time for bed. Generally, you want to go to bed when you feel tired, whether that’s at 8 p.m. or 1 a.m. Whenever your body tells you it needs rest, you should make a habit of going to bed then. The more consistent you are, the better your sleep will be. Wake up naturally. Jolting yourself awake with an alarm or radio isn’t doing your brain and body any favors (it can be stressful on the body and even elevate blood pressure,
HOW TO ACHIEVE A MORE RESTFUL NIGHT’S SLEEP
which is not good first thing in the morning). If you do need an alarm, consider a wake-up light. Wake-up lights mimic the sunrise, slowly brightening the room, waking your body in a natural, gentle way. Kick the screen habit. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again: Looking at an electronic screen — a TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone — before bed is detrimental to sleep quality. Light from these devices is disruptive to your brain’s suprachiasmatic
nucleus (SCN), which helps regulate your circadian rhythm, and screen time before bed can throw off normal SCN function. Put your excuses for staying up too late to bed. Say no to “one more episode.” And all those emails? They can wait until tomorrow. Not getting enough quality sleep is harmful to your mental and physical health. When you get into the habit of following these three tips, you’ll find yourself feeling rested and refreshed in no time.
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