Opus March, 2015

March 2015 Opus


CCM News 

Motown Party Wrapup

Teacher Spotlight: Perry Tal

Behind the Scenes: Mobile Applications and Tools for the Musician 

Why Music Matters

Area Performances

Ice cream sundae with lots of toppings!Practice for Ice Cream
We’re now well into our March “25 Days to Sundae!” challenge. Are you logging your practice time? If you practice 25 days during the month of March, you’ll be invited to our April 8th Sundae party, from 5:30-6:30. (Then you can go home and have a healthy dinner.)

Erica Hughes is busy putting the finishing touches on the Spring Musicales, where students get to meet first for a pizza party, then play for one another. The group is led by a faculty member, who engages them in thoughtful discussion about what’s been played. The Musicales are organized by instrument, age, and ability. If you’d like more information, contact Erica in the office.  Sign-ups will be available soon.

Our next couple of recital times are coming right up. They will be held on Thursday, March 19th, at 7:00 p.m., and on Tuesday, April 14th, at 7:00 p.m. Check in with your teacher and sign up to perform!

April 10th Faculty Concert Series
Please join us on April 10th as our phenomenal jazz faculty perform in the latest installment of our Free Faculty Concert Series. Come listen to Carlos Averhoff, saxophone; Ehud Ettun, bass; Brian Friedland, piano; and Jorge Perez-Albela, percussion, as they play both original compositions and jazz standards. The concert starts at 7 p.m., and it’s free and open to the public. Hope to see you there.

Concert and Lecture Series
The spring season of our Concert & Lecture Series is well underway. CCM faculty member Ehud Ettun has already introduced us to the rondo and to jazz forms; his next lecture/performance, to be held on Thursday, April 16th, features the minuet and trio. Musical selections include Mozart’s Flute Quartet in A Major (Movement II), and Bach Cello Suites—Minuet selections. Come learn more! Each concert will be preceded by a lecture on the evening’s program given by Ehud. The concerts feature performances by talented CCM faculty and guests. Visit here for more details.

Closed for April vacation
A quick reminder that CCM is closed for April vacation, from April 20-26. Some teachers hold make-up classes during that period—they will let you know about that directly. Enjoy the time off—will there still be snow in West Concord?

Motown Party!

The temperature hovered barely above freezing just outside the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum on Saturday, March 7th, but the reception indoors was much warmer, as the Concord Conservatory of Music brought an evening of Motown to the museum for its annual winter party. (Here's a link to some photos from the night--enjoy!)

The Motown Party at the deCordova Museum

Guests, many of whom dressed in 60s outfits reminiscent of the classic Motown era, were enveloped in the music-based theme as vinyl records decorating the stairs and hallways led the way to the reception area held on the third floor. The festivities began with a retro-drink cocktail party, with appetizers served on record platters. The guests socialized and put bids on silent auction offerings including fine wine collections, among many other items. “There were lots of great choices,” said board member John Hogan. “Plus it is so important to support music education in our community." 

The Concord Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005 by Executive Director Kate Yoder, promotes a strong music community through its private and group instrumental lessons, ensembles, concerts, and many community outreach programs. Yoder said “The monies we raised will directly advance our programming, increase our reach, and enable us to continue to offer financial assistance for all deserving music students.”  Yoder also commented on how proud she was of CCM’s benefit committee, “We had amazing decorations and music that set a perfect tone for the night.  The committee worked very hard to make it special.  It certainly showed—we raised $72,500 to help our work at CCM.”

After dinner, guests were entertained by David Robichaud, four-time Emmy award winning reporter from WBZ TV. The evening continued with a live auction, a high-spirited event featured several items. One, “Fighter Pilot for a Day,” enabled the winning bidders to pilot real military aircraft in several high g-force mock engagements—of course accompanied by a licensed pilot to show them the ropes. A calmer but equally exotic prize included a weeklong stay in luxury in beautiful Costa Rica. “The auction was lots of fun, and demonstrated how much people value and support CCM,” said Yoder.

You’d expect a music conservatory to dial it up for the dancing part of the evening, and CCM didn’t disappoint. A nine-piece band made up of CCM faculty and guest musicians performed classic Motown hits. A couple of selections featured long-time CCM voice student Tori Gittens, who led the band through a great rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Baby Love.” Gittens, a senior at Wayland High School, hopes to pursue musical theatre in college.

Yoder and her team are already kicking around ideas for next year’s party, which will mark the 10th anniversary of CCM’s founding.


Perry Tal’s energy is infectious. She’s both warm and efficient at the same time. Over the past week or so, we’ve been juggling quick conversations and longer emails regarding this profile.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
Coming from an art-loving family, my parents used to take me to many concerts as a young child, and I immediately fell in love with the sound of the violin. I started taking violin lessons when I was 7 years old, and it has been my greatest passion ever since.

As a young player, did you have a teacher who influenced, helped, and encouraged you? Do you have any examples of how they helped you that our students and parents could relate to?
I had three violin teachers, and all of them are incredibly influential people in my life. My first teacher, Vally, was my teacher for 11 years. When I was 17, I started taking violin lessons with my second teacher in Israel, Irina, who was extremely devoted to my studies. I had weeks with 4 lessons a week, each lesson for around 3-5 hours. My third teacher, Lucy Chapman, was my teacher at the New England Conservatory, and is an incredible teacher and person and remains a great inspiration in my life – she is a living example of how artists can combine both performance and teaching in their music careers. Creating art makes this world a place with more love, connection, and compassion, but at the same time we have to find great joy in teaching—transferring all of this incredible knowledge and passion to whomever wishes to play an instrument and make music. 

I understand you served in the Israeli military—were you able to play violin there, too?
Every Israeli citizen has to serve in the Israel Defense Force (IDF) for a few years when they turn 18 and graduate from high school. Whatever political opinions one might have, we all grow up with the strong value of giving back to our community. The army allows a very limited group of musicians, dancers, and athletes to maintain their daily practice while serving in the army--acknowledging the amount of work that we have put into our profession, and the need to keep practicing. Every year there are auditions throughout the whole country and around 15 musicians are selected as “outstanding musicians.” As an outstanding musician in the army, I played in a string quartet for soldiers throughout Israel, teaching them about classical music. I was also the founder and director of an educational outreach program for children in hospitals. I both performed and supervised small groups of musicians within the IDF, who were sent to hospitals to bring music to children. The program was designed to create excitement and joy through the power of music. 

Great pull quote from PerryWhy and when did you decide to come to the USA?
When I was 12 years old I was a recipient of grants and scholarships from the America Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) –this helped support my violin studies for years to come. The support was not only financial, but also exposed me to great musical opportunities. We were given master classes with leading teachers from Israel and the entire world. I heard about the New England Conservatory when I was around 14 through the AICF, and coming to study in the US became one of my biggest dreams. After graduating with my bachelor’s degree from the Tel Aviv University, I auditioned at NEC with the hope of creating chamber music, playing in great orchestras, and having the best possible music education in the world. I graduated from NEC a few years ago, and I can confidently say that they were absolutely wonderful years.

How did you find the Concord Conservatory of Music?
I have a few friends and colleagues who teach at CCM, and have always heard wonderful things about the school and its mission. I have been teaching at CCM since September, and I have a wonderful time here.

What’s different about CCM?
I think that CCM is incredibly special for the environment and passion that the people who work here feel. The school has such a clear vision and it feels like everyone who works here is doing their best to contribute to the school with a great sense of joy and commitment. I think that CCM manages to be not only a music school but also to serve as a community for people who are passionate about art. There are so many classes, concerts, lectures, and special events that take place at CCM and that gather all music lovers together. The special pizza or ice cream parties for students who are devoted to their daily practice are just one example of monthly excitement for the kids—who all work hard in order to meet each other at the party and get rewarded for their commitment; it’s a joy to see!

Can you tell us about any other musical ventures you pursue?
I am a member of the West Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO), conducted by Daniel Barenboim, one of the world’s greatest conductors. In just two weeks I’m traveling to play a special concert in Berlin with the WEDO. The orchestra brings together musicians from Arab countries and from Israel, to create art together and deliver the message of peace to the world. We meet every summer for two months for intense rehearsal weeks that are followed by a worldwide tour—every summer to a different place in the world. We’ve played concerts in the US, Europe, the Middle East, China, Korea, and South America—and in every place perform we are welcomed with the biggest support and love possible. This orchestra is my way of living art to the fullest. We communicate with each other through the language of sound, and deliver this connection to everyone who is there with us. For me, being able to connect and transfer both my incredible love for music and my ideologies about the world is the biggest gift possible.

IPhones are a great repository for music applicationsBEHIND THE SCENES: MOBILE APPLICATIONS AND TOOLS FOR THE MUSICIAN
With all the games, social media, and other distractions filling your kids favorite digital devices, isn’t it nice to know that there are a few apps that might actually be helpful to their musical studies? We asked the faculty, and here are a few favorites.

Tuner and Metronome
The basic tools in any musician’s digital quiver. There are lots of tuner and metronome apps—some free (these often have ads sprinkled throughout the application) and others costing a few dollars. The most popular tuning application is Cleartunes, which has an easy-to-use interface yet is versatile enough for the most demanding professional musician. On the metronome side, Tempo may be the most highly rated music application out there. It’s both intuitive and feature rich.

The Amazing Slow-Downer
This aptly named piece of software lets you slow down music (down to 20% of the original speed) and play it back, without losing the pitch or rhythm of the original. You can set repeating loops, change the key of music, and even have the playback match your mistuned instrument. A very cool piece of software that works on PCs, Macs, and most mobile devices.

My Ear Trainer
Learn to recognize intervals, chords, scales, and chord progressions. It also tracks your strengths and weaknesses and you can (hopefully) chart your improvement.

Note Perfect!
This is a fun game for the student who’s just starting to read music. It can be addictive!



Musical ScoreWhy is live music important for children?
Did you know that many young children don’t associate music coming from a stereo or radio with actual musicians? Read more about this relevant subject, and take in a concert or two!


Sarah Whitney relaxes with her violinBeyond The Notes featuring Sarah Whitney, Violin, Saturday, March 28th @ 7:30 p.m.
The Concord Art Association, 37 Lexington Road, Concord, MA
Concord native Sarah Whitney will be joined by guest Angela Pickett, violinist from SYBARITES, as they present works from Bach, Mozart, Jean Luc Ponty, and more! The event is interactive and includes conversations with the artists.

From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley, 
Thursday, March 26th @ 7:30 p.m.
Temple Beth Elohim, 10 Bethel Road, Wellesley, MA

Special recording of From The Top featuring Jewish Music and music by Jewish compsers. Works include pieces by Gershwin, Shuloff, and a Klezmer finale. Come watch talented young musicians perform in a beautiful setting.