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
MY CALLING The Story of My Musical Journey (Part 2)
When I finally switched from studying clarinet to piano at age 11, it was love at first sound. I was lucky to have Paul McCaffrey as my instructor, a deeply musical man involved in many traveling musicals, including “The Lion King.”As I tore through the beginner method books, he instilled in me the nuances of dynamics and musical expression, though these were a little difficult for me to emulate on my plastic, 66-key toy Casio. Luckily, by the time I turned 14, I had proven my fervent dedication to the ivory keys, and I was upgraded to a full-size weighted digital number, damper pedals and all. It was a revelation. I continued with Paul for years, spending nearly every free moment in front of the piano, until I got into Rochester College in 2005, studying piano performance.The college music experience is transformative for almost any musician, and I was no different. I fully immersed myself into my studies, working to learn everything I could about my discipline. In tandem with my 20-credit class schedule, I was also teaching students at Faith Lutheran Church three to five nights a week. It was a lot. This passion extended into the vocal arts, as well. Even as a freshman, I knew I loved to sing, so I auditioned for the renowned a cappella chorus, sight unseen, with no previous formal training. Unsurprisingly, my audition did not go well; when it came to vocal sight reading, I had no idea what I was doing. But, a couple hours after I left, I sent an email to the director, making my case.“I may not have experience,” I wrote to him,“but I have passion, and I’m an extremely hard worker. I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
I’m not sure if it was the email that did it or the fact that I was a music major, but he decided to let me in.That chorus was the most exciting experience of my college career.We were an excellent group, if I do say so myself, with a big, powerful sound, especially for such a small school. I started as a second alto, moved up to section leader, and by my fourth year, I was the president of the chorus— the first female president in its history. People always laugh and tell me I have a very expressive face as a choir singer, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing! When I graduated in 2009, I was ready to take on the world. I immediately started the Novi Piano Academy in my dad’s home and dedicated myself to mastering the world of business.As the academy expanded and eventually turned into Expressions, I’ve become so incredibly busy that my own musical development has mostly taken a backseat —aside from the Rochester College Alumni A Cappella Chorus, which is my latest obsession. Music is stitched into every fiber of my life. Nearly everything I do— teaching students, talking with teachers, organizing recitals— is in the service of the art. But the most powerful musical expressions come to me on those meaningful occasions where I sit down at the piano bench in my home, put my fingers on the keys, and play, devoid of expectation, pressure, or stress.These are the times during which I’m most myself.
- Jessica Schatz
Novi Location: 248-773-8364 | Troy Location: 248-845-4611 | Plymouth-Canton Location: 248-480-9108 | 1
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