By Kaila Allison
When you come into our studio, you’ll hear many sounds. In one room, a piano student will be blazing through scales; in another, a rock band will be plugging in and tuning up. Each day at Music in Chappaqua, students come to relax to an environment where they can express themselves freely.
I first arrived at Music in Chappaqua as an anxious ten-year-old and started piano lessons with Justin Jacobs, a faculty member since 2001. Shortly after, playing the piano became a necessary calming force for me. Justin summed up perfectly what music means to him, saying simply, “It’s life.”
That’s exactly what music is for the students here. However, the goal of the school is not to create perfect performers, but to foster musicianship and encourage students to use music in the way it will most benefit them.
Another long-time member of the faculty, Danny Golub, explained to me how music kept him out of a lot of trouble as a kid. “If it wasn’t for music, I wouldn’t be good at much else,” he said. Danny is adored by his students, who feel his unique attention pushes them to do better. His caring nature goes beyond just the students’ musical accomplishments, but extends to all aspects of their lives. Our faculty has also been responsible for motivating students to practice effectively and feel confident about their skills in development.
Part of what solidifies the students’ musicianship is their participation in a variety of performance opportunities at different venues throughout the year. One such performance was our most recent concert on March 21st at MTK Tavern in Mt. Kisco (the pictures you see here!), featuring our rock workshop bands. Live Pirrotti, who performed, told us that music means more than just performing for fun, but also for a bandmate’s cause: “At our recent show we were able to bring awareness about the rare genetic disease, GSD, to people through music. Jake’s Dad wrote up information about GSD, and I made a speech before the last song (“My Hero” by the Foo Fighters) telling people about GSD and the need for donations to help fund the research for a cure. The Foo Fighters inspired Jake, and so our Band wanted to inspire others to help the cause… I’m very thankful to be able to be in an amazing band and to play shows. I’m truly my happiest when I’m singing on stage.”
The students here are impressive to say the least. They balance a full schedule of after school activities including plays, sports and academic clubs, while simultaneously maintaining their love and devotion to musical improvement.
Taylor Chiola, a high school senior and student at Music in Chappaqua, says, “All of the teachers have guided me in different ways and taught me valuable skills I need for my career as a musician.” Taylor says that her experience at the school has inspired her to want to become a music teacher herself. She is looking forward to interning at the school in May.
Tori Robinson, who plays piano, bass and sings in rock workshop bands at the school, says, “Music has given me a way to express myself in a way not a lot of people can.” Expression is a hard thing for many children, who are faced with difficulties going through school and adolescence in general. However, music can ease this journey.
As private lessons and rock workshops continue, Music in Chappaqua is getting ready for our popular summer day camp, The New York Rock Academy.
Zach Munowitz, 16, says,“Music allows me to express emotions in a way that isn’t possible through words.” He started rock workshops at Music in Chappaqua in 2009 and attended the New York Rock Academy for five summers, even working as an intern and teaching lessons of his own. His time at Music in Chappaqua has given him the skills required to form his own band and ignite his interest in music production and audio engineering. He was then able to design an electronic music course at his school. It’s this kind of success that drives Music in Chappaqua to continue its growth.
All of this and more is what music means to us. What does music mean to you?
For more information, visit www.musicinchappaqua.com