Minnesota School Of Music - December 2018

12. 2018 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com


H appy Holidays to all of our readers! I hope this newsletter finds you well and that this month is filled with comfort and joy for you and your loved ones. Now, this wouldn’t be an edition of “The Monthly Musician” if I didn’t share a parable from my own life. Thankfully, I have a seasonally appropriate story — one including nutcrackers, forgotten stockings, and a young Eric learning the meaning of teamwork. A lot of people have this perception that I’m a guitarist first and foremost. In reality, singing was my first great love in the music world, one I’ve stuck with throughout my life. I got my start in the church choir at age 5, where I honed my skills until I was eventually accepted into the prestigious Metropolitan Boys Choir (MBC). If you’re unfamiliar with the exciting world of choral singing, I can only describe getting into MBC as being akin to making a competitive sports team. We had a busy practice and travel schedule, and we were able to perform on some of the biggest stages in Minnesota and beyond. One of the most important of these performances was the Joffrey Ballet’s traveling production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at the University of Minnesota. At 13 years old, I was one of the few choir members cast in this Christmas production. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement. I was going to get the chance to perform in front of thousands of people and join the “pit” with some of the finest musicians in the United States. To return to the sports metaphor, this was my Super Bowl. And I couldn’t have gotten there without a great coach. Much of the credit for my musical and personal development at MBC goes to the choir’s founder and director, Bea Hasselmann. Chances are you’ve already heard of Hasselmann, considering that her work bringing choir singing to the Minnesota Correctional Facility has made national headlines. But even back in the ‘90s, she was a giant in the music world,

orchestrating the pregame performance for Super Bowl XXVI and teaching students of all ages to be the best singers they could be. Ms. Hasselmann’s kind but firm approach to teaching had a lasting impact on how I approach music teaching today. Of course, it meant learning a harsh lesson about socks. As I mentioned, I was beyond ecstatic for my part in the Nutcracker performance, and in that excitement, I forgot to bring my black dress socks to opening night. “What’s the big deal?” I thought. “They’re just socks.” Director Hasselmann was having none of it. If I wasn’t matching my fellow singers, I wasn’t singing — end of story. As you could imagine, I was mortified that I couldn’t go on stage that night. It felt like being the player who fumbled the football on the opening kickoff. As a consequence of this embarrassing blunder, I spent the rest of the night alone in the green room. This was, however, a valuable lesson. I’d been so caught up in my performance that I forgot to consider the big picture. In music, as in life, every role is important, from the leading role to the triangle player. This humbling experience of my forgotten socks sticks with me to this day. No one person is bigger than the production. Teamwork is key. The spirit of this sock experience is carried into how we run things at the school. While other music institutions use private contractors to save on costs, our teachers are full employees, giving us the unique ability to standardize our operations. We have processes in place to ensure all of our instructors “bring their socks.”

As Director Hasselmann taught me all those years ago, no socks, no sing — the show must go on.

–Eric Nehring

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Sometimes we get a little too much of the sweet stuff. Between Halloween and New Year’s Day, candy is everywhere. It’s at home, at work, and on store shelves. Then, as the year comes to an end, many people start thinking about eating right and losing weight. When those are your New Year’s resolutions, you have to do something about all the leftover candy so it’s not around come Jan. 1. 3 Ways to Use Leftover Candy DURING THE OH-SO-SWEET HOLIDAY SEASON

BAKE WITH IT. Whether you have an excess of candy corn or candy bars, you can bake with your sweet leftovers. The next time you make chocolate chip cookies, swap out the chocolate chips for candy corn. Or the next time you make brownies, chop up leftover candy bars and add them to the batter. From peanut butter cups to mint patties, there are so many different types of candies that can take traditional baked goods to the next level.

Here are a few ways to get rid of your leftover candy ASAP.

DONATE IT. While you may have an abundance of sweets, not everyone does. Consider donating wrapped and packaged candy to your local food bank or other nonprofits, including local homeless or women’s shelters. You can also look into donating candy to nearby schools. Many teachers will gladly take candy off your hands to reward students (or themselves) with treats throughout the rest of the school year.

good way to moderate your holiday treat intake is to store your leftover sweets in the freezer. That way, you can pull a little from your supply each month to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. That said, be sure to check the expiration dates on all candy you save.

STORE IT. Although not great for you, candy is fine to eat in moderation. A


Registration for our 2019 concert series is right around the corner! Our “Bravo” red carpet showcases will take place: Sundin Music Hall — Hamline University Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. We love these shows because they let us celebrate our pupils’ accomplishments, and more importantly, it lets them gain invaluable experience performing in front of a huge crowd! Students interested in starring in these professionally produced concerts can apply at the front desk starting Dec. 17 ! Be sure to register early so friends and family can plan on attending. Remember, this is a red carpet event, so be sure to dress your best!

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Over the last several months, we’ve featured the 4 R’s of Routine — repeat, reach, reward, and relax — and how each is a vital element in keeping your music student excited about their practice plan. This month, we want to round out the discussion by talking about the last, but certainly not least, element: relax . Just as professional athletes need to give their bodies and minds a rest after working hard at practice, so do young musicians. The most zealous of students might become so absorbed during their practice sessions that they don’t think breaks are necessary. But even if they feel physically strong and mentally focused after practicing for prolonged periods of time, their muscles, tendons, vocal folds, and lips still need time to recharge. In fact, if musicians don’t give their tissue the break it needs, it can become microscopically strained, which can lead to severe injuries over time. While taking frequent pauses from practice is necessary in order to preserve a child’s physical longevity, taking mental breathers is just as important. If students push themselves too hard during practice, they will only end up experiencing burnout. This leads to frustration and might even cause them to view the art of playing music as an obligation rather than a hobby. There are three types of mental breaks they can take to avoid burnout: active, diverting, or restorative breaks. When taking an active break, your student should set down the instrument but still keep their mind focused on the task at hand by visualizing the sound or even tapping out some tricky rhythms. When taking a diverting break, your student should leave the practice room entirely for a quick mental reboot. They could go for a short walk or grab a snack. When taking a restorative break, your student should focus on breathing meditations and long body stretches to revitalize their minds and joints. When breaking down a routine, we understand the impulse to focus solely on practicing, but taking the time to rest and relax is equally as important — especially during the holidays. So when your young musician is home for Christmas break, encourage them to pause, breathe, and restore both their body and mind. THE FOUR R’S OF ROUTINE HOW TAKING BREAKS NOW WILL HELP IN THE FUTURE



Jenny C.

Elise B.

Lucy H.

Ava M.

Alexa H.

Victoria B.

Ethan M.

Jaxson L.

Ava N.

Sophie N.

Sean K.

Mae P.

Emma N.

Cole S.

Landon B.

Melissa I.

Lydia T.

Winston B.

Lance I.

Megan K.

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

Mrs. O’Neill - SOLD OUT

Mrs. Gagnon - SOLD OUT

Miss Pliam - SOLD OUT

Mrs. Hansen - SOLD OUT

Miss Schwefel - SOLD OUT

Miss Matejcek - SOLD OUT

Miss Taft - SOLD OUT

Mr. Norell - SOLD OUT

Mr. Wolff - SOLD OUT

(763) 432-9713 • 3

3533 88th Ave. NE, Blaine, MN 55014 (763) 432-9713 www.mnschoolofmusic.com



How a Holiday Misstep Taught Me Teamwork

The Best Ways to Use Leftover Candy Our Bravo Concert Series Is Almost Here!

Welcome New Students The Four R’s of Routine: Relax

Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas


an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore.

It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing


It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly-sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!

stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that

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