United Conservatory of Music February 2019




LESSONS LEARNED The Responsibilities of a Music Teacher

We don’t give our teachers enough credit. I’m not saying this simply because I run a music school and teach violin myself — If you’ve ever had a great teacher , in any subject, you know what an impact they made on your life. This is especially true when comparing teachers who were not as great to those who were really special in our young lives. The importance of a great teacher becomes all the more apparent when considering the discipline of learning music through private lessons. My experience with private lessons was pretty negative when I was learning how to play the violin. This isn’t to say my instructors were untalented, or bad people. I just rarely had a teacher who was a good fit. I have always learned more effectively whenever I have been shown, rather than told. Unfortunately, most of my instructors insisted on telling me why I should or shouldn’t do something a certain way, instead of showing me by their skill. Because I was stubborn, I kept doing things my way, making it even worse. As a result, I was a good violinist, but certainly not as good as I could have been. I wouldn’t meet my first great teacher until I was 17 years old. Her name was Faina Podolnaya, and at the time she was teaching in Oregon. I had recently decided to major in music, and I entered her studio with a violin case full of bad habits. I also had a lot of fears about pursuing a career in music, but Ms. Podolnaya worked with me: She helped me find the joy in music, encouraging me quite a bit. She had the skill and the right answers for teaching violin, and she was also incredibly empathetic. She knew what a student needed to hear, and how they needed to hear it. Ms. Podolnaya was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, and my favorite by far. “If knowing the facts was all it took to learn music, we wouldn’t have school for music, or instructors dedicated to teaching it.”

Music teachers have to do more than just educate on the details of how to read music or hold an instrument. If knowing the facts was all it took to

learn music, we wouldn’t have

schools for music, or instructors dedicated to teaching it. Music

connects with people at a deep level. It’s an extension of our emotions, a way for us to communicate when words cannot. You can’t teach that in a book. This knowledge can only be passed along by someone who understands these truths. Great music teachers possess an ability to connect with students and meet them on their level. At the school, we have many different teachers for each instrument, because it’s important for students to be able to learn from an instructor whom they connect with. All of our instructors are talented and passionate about their art. Our goal is to create an environment that is most conducive for a student’s musical growth — where students can meet the instructor who will help them improve their skill — and find joy in music every time they play.

—Christopher Scherer

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Family game night is a time when a family can forget about all of life’s commitments and bond over a good old-fashioned board game. But the old, tattered Monopoly box or worn-out UNO cards can leave something to be desired, and the classics might be getting a little dull. If you’re tired of playing the same board games over and over, it might be time to start looking for ways to change things up. Here are four tabletop games you might not have heard of that are perfect for spicing up family game night. Your family will love delving into this cooperative murder mystery game that is a mixture of Clue and Dixit. You can play as the ghost or as one of the mediums who enters the haunting. The ghost player gives each medium a clue or vision about a potential murderer, and the mediums have to guess which person, room, or weapon was used to murder the ghost player. After each turn, the ghost reveals whether each of the mediums’ guesses are right or not. If all of the mediums succeed in guessing correctly by the seventh in-game hour, they work together to find the true murderer. Mysterium FAMILY GAME NIGHT Break the Monotony of Overplayed Board Games!

What You Didn’t Know About Chocolate Fun Facts to Wow Your Loved Ones This Valentine’s Day

Laser Chess

Chocolate is a treat savored by people all over the world. What we know as the sweet, creamy decadence that sustains Valentine’s Day actually has greater historical and cultural significance. Fermented chocolate drinks have been dated back to as early as 350 B.C. The Aztecs believed it was the beverage of wisdom, and the Mayans saw it as something to be worshipped. While the history of chocolate is as rich as its flavor, there are some common misconceptions about the treat. Dutch chocolate doesn’t necessarily refer to chocolate made in the Netherlands; the name refers to a specific chocolate-making process that uses the cocoa press. Before Dutch chemist and chocolate-maker C.J. van Houten invented the machine in 1828, chocolate was only used in beverages. Dutch chocolate is chocolate that has been modified with an alkalizing agent in order to produce a milder flavor, making it a fantastic option for use in baked goods, candy, and ice cream. German chocolate actually has nothing to do with the country of Germany, either. It used to be called “German’s chocolate,” named after its inventor, Sam German, an American who made sweet chocolate for baking. Adding sugar to the chocolate made it a go-to option for bakers around the world, and the base for German chocolate cake was born. For chocolate to be classified as Swiss, it has to be made in Switzerland, as chocolate-making is considered an art form in the country. Known for its “melt in your mouth” quality, Swiss chocolate uses condensed milk to add a velvety texture. Many chocolate makers outside of Switzerland will refer to their interpretations of Swiss chocolate as milk chocolate instead.

A classic game of chess is a great way to spend an evening, and it just got a little more interesting. Laser chess includes all the problem-solving skills a typical chess game offers but with a twist. At the end of each turn, a player fires a small laser beam that bounces off the mirrored chess pieces. If it hits the non-mirrored surface of a piece, that piece is taken by the player. A player wins when the opposing player’s king piece is illuminated.


Welcome to the island of Catan! After a long voyage at sea, the people in your expedition compete against other seafarers in building settlements. Enjoy the 45–90-minute game as you and your family build roads, barter resources, and race for absolute supremacy on Catan.

One NightWerewolf

Every night, werewolves prowl around the village, and it’s up to the villagers to find the werewolf once the sun rises — before it’s too late. Each person plays a unique role with different abilities to help find or conceal the werewolf. If the werewolf is caught, the villagers win the game, but if the werewolf manages to escape, the villagers lose.

Now you can bring some exciting variety into your family game nights. Don’t miss out on these excellent

tabletop games, and most importantly, have fun!

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Why You Should Exercise With Your Significant Other Each Valentine’s Day, people all over the world rush to the store to buy chocolates and all the ingredients necessary to whip up a romantic dinner for two. Unfortunately, these calorie-laden holiday traditions can undermine the fitness resolutions you made just six weeks before. Instead of throwing your goals by the wayside this February, why not make fitness a couples activity? The National Library of Medicine published a study showing that couples who focused on their health together went to the gym more often and reported feeling more connected in their relationship. These findings were corroborated by a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Scientists claimed that partners who exercised together reported higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in their relationship. If you and your sweetheart are looking for a romantic way to burn some calories this month, here are some great workout ideas for two.

Go for a Run!

If the weather is nice, the two of you can lace up and hit the pavement

together. You could even make a couples playlist to listen to as you run. If the cold temperatures

are preventing you from enjoying the great outdoors, head to the gym and challenge each other on side-by-side treadmills.

Play Catch!

Try Some Rock Climbing!

Grab a medicine ball and do some overhead passes, feet-to-feet situp passes, and back-to-back twists with each other. All of these easy at-home workouts help build a solid core.

This is a great way to get a good workout while simultaneously building trust with your partner. Most rock-climbing gyms offer classes in belaying, and staff members can give you tips to improve your form. Sign up to work with an instructor and test your personal limits together.




Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine.


• • • •

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

• • •

2 large egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract Royal icing, sprinkles, and edible markers, for decorating

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes



Heat oven to 375 F.


Carefully roll dough into a sheet 1/16- inch thick and cut into 4x6-inch cards. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake cookie cards for 6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Let cookies cool completely, decorate, and distribute.


In a mixing bowl, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add butter and combine using a mixer at low speed, until butter breaks down into small, crumbly pieces. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until butter and flour clump. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to bowl, return mixer to low, and mix until dough congeals.



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INSIDE 1 4747 North First Street STE 185 Fresno, CA 93726

What Makes a Great Teacher?


All About Chocolate Bring Variety to Family Game Night


Couples Who Sweat Together Stay Together Valentine’s Cookie Cards


The Most Iconic Super Bowl in NFL History

One for the Ages

How Super Bowl XXXIV Made an Icon Out of a Grocery Store Clerk Going into the 1999 NFL season, no one expected anything from the St. Louis Rams. When starting After going up 16–0 against the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, Warner and the Rams looked poised to coast on their way to the Lombardi Trophy, but the late Steve McNair and the Titans had different plans. The Georgia Dome was rocking after two Eddie George touchdown runs, and a field goal brought the Titans level at 16–16, with just over two minutes of play remaining. In response, Warner dropped back and found receiver Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown, bringing the score to 23–16 with 1:54 left on the clock. But the Titans weren’t done fighting. quarterback Trent Green went down with a gruesome knee injury in the preseason, ESPN The Magazine slated the Rams to be the worst team in the NFL that year. With

few options, coach Vermeil named a virtually unknown player as his new starting quarterback, humbly stating in a press conference, “We will rally around Kurt

Quickly moving the ball down the field, Titans quarterback Steve McNair found himself with a third and 5 inside the Rams 30-yard line with 22 seconds left. Scrambling around and fighting off two players trying to pull him down, McNair threw the ball to Kevin Dyson at the 10-yard line. A quick timeout left six seconds on the clock, and the Titans were one play away from tying the game. What proceeded was a play that will be forever known as “the tackle.” McNair found Dyson on a quick slant, and when he caught the ball at the 4-yard line, it appeared a touchdown was imminent. Suddenly, linebacker Mike Jones wrapped the receiver up at the hips. As he fell to the ground with the ball in his hand, Dyson extended his arm, but when he hit the AstroTurf, he was 1 yard short of the goal line. The Rams had pulled off the impossible, earning their first Super Bowl title ever.

Warner, and we’ll play good football.”

Five years before his start, 22-year-old Kurt Warner was stocking shelves at a Hy-Vee grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, for $5.50 an hour. However, he had amassed a whopping 16 snaps in the NFL prior to taking the reins for the 1999 season, and what proceeded to transpire on the field was utter pandemonium, giving the Rams the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf.” This improbable season and the resulting MVP award for Warner set the stage for one of the most dramatic games in Super Bowl history.

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STUDENT OF THE MONTH Congratulations, Christin! Q: What is your favorite thing about the violin? My favorite thing about violin is that I’m given many musical opportunities that allow me to perform in different environments. Q: What do you like most about lessons? One of the best things about my lessons is how my teacher and I bond over the music. I also like how I get a new piece right after I finish another. Q: What is your favorite piece that you’ve played? My favorite piece that I’ve played is definitely the Seitz Student Concerto No. 3 Op. 12. Q: What are some other hobbies or activities you participate in? I participate in dance at my church, volleyball, cheer, and I play two other instruments: piano and cello. Q; Would you recommend United Conservatory to your friends? Yes, I would ​ABSOLUTELY ​recommend any of my friends to the United Conservatory! I have actually recommended two, and they are very interested.

SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH Congratulations to our office manager, Grace!

What do you like most about working at UCM? I believe music is vital for a well-rounded education! I grew up playing piano, and in fourth grade decided to switch to cello. Although I don’t plan on being a master cellist, music has been a huge inspiration, and factors in my overall success not only as a student, but also as a person. Music schools like UCM teach so much more than just the music; they’re teaching discipline, perseverance, stage presence, problem-solving skills, math, language, and so much more! I love working at UCM because we are working to make our future better and brighter one musician at a time! We only see you at the school! Do you live here? I do spend a lot of my time here, but I do have a life outside UCM! I ama collegeministry intern formy church,TheWell, andwe get to host and put on various events eachmonth to create a safe and healthy space for college students to have fun. I also serve atTheWell in their youth groups and on the worship team from time to time. I also ama full-time student at Fresno State and amworking to earnmy bachelor’s inTheories of Communication andMass Communication and Journalism! I plan to graduate Fall 2020.

How do you balance all the different activities and programs you are a part of? Honestly, I have no clue! Google Calendar is great. Not only do I get to organize my schedule, but I also get to color- coordinate each activity. It makes planning fun. Whats something about you that people don’t know? Most people don’t know that when I was 15 I raised over $230,000 for a nonprofit here in Fresno; Mental Health System’s Hacienda Campus. They are a nonprofit based out of San Diego, and specifically, their campus here has a rehabilitation program for women who have been released from prison. They have parenting classes, educational and job training classes, and most importantly they provide an opportunity for the women to be reunited with their children. I went on a tour of the facility and saw their “childcare center” and was shocked. I set out on a mission to help make a place where every child could play. Three years later, with the help of every Rotary Club in Fresno, Wells Fargo, Rabo Bank, and countless volunteers, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony opening up Grace’s Place to the children living on the Hacienda Campus.

Musical Ladder Achievements Here are just a few of the wonderful students who received a music ladder award recently. Congrats, guys!

Follow our Facebook and Instagram page to see more!

Please contact the office for details regarding available lesson times. Chris C. (Violin, Piano) Wednesday: One slot left Jason A. (Voice, Piano, Guitar) Thursday: One slot left Luis M. (Guitar, Piano) SOLD OUT Maria G. (Piano, Clarinet) SOLD OUT Is Your Teacher SOLDOUT? Spring Break —CLOSED Monday, 4/15/19–Sunday 4/21/19 Memorial Day —CLOSED Monday 5/27/19 Upcoming Dates To Note: Nicole S. (Violin) SOLD OUT Katie L. (Voice, Piano) SOLD OUT


PLEASE WELCOME THE NEW STUDENTS WHO ENROLLED IN DECEMBER! Mari K. • Jazzlyn A. • Antonio H. • Sariah Y. • Maria M. • Enzo H. • Tye H. • Elena S. • Gabriel S. • Andrea G. Alyana M. • Ntxhee-yee V. • Lucas G. • Dante T. • Lillian P. • Diana V. • Trenton H. • Stephan M. • Olivia M. Emma M. • Lyla C. • Sofia C. • Koa R. • Kira P. • Brian P. • Cienna S.

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