News At CCM

CCM Student in the News: Felicia Wei

Congratulations to Felicia who won first place in the Little Mozart International Competition and had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall! The competition is hosted by the Crescendo International Competition. Their competitions allow performers to maximize their potential, and serve as a professional setting for aspiring musicians to showcase their talents at prestigious concert halls worldwide. Felicia received an invaluable experience and gained the confidence to perform on a major stage in New York City. Well done Felicia!




The list for your summer listening is coming soon.  Remember to use your Listening Journal to find thought-provoking questions to think about while listening to the music. It’s a great way to start insightful conversations with your family, friends, or music instructor!

Take these shortcuts to your summer playlist: YouTube or Spotify

What do Fidelity, Raytheon, and State Street have in common?

They have matching gift programs.

If your employer matches tax-deductible charitable contributions, you can double the impact of your gift to CCM! Concord Conservatory recognizes and thanks to both donor and employer for this generous gesture!

Won’t you please consider giving the gift of music today?

Are you a CCM friend yet?

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Rhythmic Solfège: Let’s start at the very beginning, Do-Re-Mi

You surely remember the governess Maria Von Trapp (aka Julie Andrews) teaching the seven kids of a widowed naval captain, Do Re Mi, in the movie The Sound of Music. Most people don’t realize that this song introduces the basics of Rhythmic Solfège!

So, what exactly is Rhythmic Solfège?

It’s about sequential programming in music that provides the necessary building blocks to achieve success with any instrument, including your voice, by assigning syllables to different notes. Let’s explain it further, so it’s easy to understand and see why it’s so important to learn at a young age.

The first three notes are, Do-Re-Mi

“Do” is easier to sing than just a letter. Kids find it easier to hear and sing the note while internalizing it. Solfège helps students gain a greater sense of rhythmic timing and musical phrasing. Of course, they soak it up without even realizing its full impact.

However, the power of Solfège doesn’t stop there. In addition to building skills, it inevitably deepens a love of music—all great reasons to introduce Rhythmic Solfège to kids. If you were to major or minor in music, you would be taking a Solfege class as part of your core curriculum; it’s that important to learn. 

Composer Richard Rogers knew and understood the magic of Rhythmic Solfège, so much so that he introduced it to the world with his song. Although Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do was around much earlier than 1959. It was created by the Italian musician and theorist Guido d’Arezzo toward the end of the 10th century. Needless to say, it’s been around for a very, very, long time. Yet still highly relevant today, we rely on Solfège to build comprehensive musicianship for students.

How Rhythmic Solfège creates a love of music

We want our kids to enjoy making music while getting the most out of their lessons. Rhythmic Solfège is the key to achieving this. Whether they are singing, playing, moving to a melody, or discovering how to use their bodies as an instrument to sight-read, Rhythmic Solfège helps them develop a better sense of rhythm. They’ll be that kid who always keeps a beat, knows how to stay in pitch, and can learn a new tune more easily.

As CCM voice faculty member Jay Lane explains, “Rhythmic Solfège helps students feel the music in their body. It develops their awareness of intonation, rhythm, and phrasing on a deep level so that they not only think about these things but feel them inside as they are making music.”

Rhythmic Solfège classes foster learning and creativity in a social and supportive setting. When learning Solfège happens in tandem with private instrument lessons, the learning experience is catapulted to the next level. CCM parent Peilin Reed sees the difference in her daughter’s development, “The things we love about Rhythmic Solfège class is that Lian learned how to play and feel the beats of the music through body movements and singing. This greatly complements and supports her private piano practice. We are so grateful that CCM offers such a wonderful experience!”

National Association of Music Education Member Walter Bitner believes Rhythmic Solfège is an essential tool for music literacy, “I found solfège to be an ideal and malleable tool for every grade level, not only enabling my students to become proficient at reading notation and understanding music theory, but (for singers) for refining pitch accuracy, intonation, and vowel placement. It is easily adaptable to the (often on the spot) creation of exercises to address specific technical issues in a simple system easily understood by students.”

CCM faculty member Angel Valchinov says, “Learning rhythm and pitch are incredibly important building blocks for musicians. Especially for string students!” Albeit, all musicians can benefit from learning Rhythmic Solfège.

Let’s review the key benefits of Rhythmic Solfège:

  • Provides the building blocks fundamental to creating and understanding music
  • It helps students recognize patterns, chords, and scales used in music—more than simply notes on a sheet
  • Spurs creativity and improvisational skills
  • Enables students to have a more positive learning experience with less frustration
  • Students achieve success with their instrument while having fun!

CCM expands a student’s connection to music-making with Rhythmic Solfège classes. We’re encouraging our kids to be active listeners through CCM’s Triple Crown: private lessons, Rhythmic Solfège, and the CCM Listening Project! Keeping kids thoroughly engaged with their music and helping them develop their coordination between their ears, voice, and body provides a motivational learning experience that lasts a lifetime.

The Rhythmic Solfège class is a full-year program for kids ages 6 through 11. They’ll learn about tones, rhythms, scales, and octaves with their own metallophone to play.

Power up your kid’s musical journey with a Rhythmic Solfège class!

Rhythmic Solfège I, Tuesdays, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Rhythmic Solfège I, Thursdays, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Rhythmic Solfège II, Tuesdays, 5:00 – 6:00 PM


Faculty Spotlight: Michael Dinallo

Good Folk: CCM Guitar Instructor Michael Dinallo Specializes in Communal Music Experiences

Sometimes it’s best not to overthink things. Take, for example, CCM guitar instructor Michael Dinallo and the two courses he has created, “Shufflin’ the Blues” and “The Hootenanny.”

“When I realized what CCM had in mind — an acoustic guitar teacher who specializes in folk, country and Americana — it seemed like such a perfect fit for me that my response was, ‘Well, duh.’ ” Michael laughs. “Literally — that’s what I wrote back to Björn Wennås,” CCM’s guitar department chair.

Paying Dues As Well As Tuition 

That refreshing level of informality typifies Michael’s approach to teaching. “In my opinion, music shouldn’t be overly academic,” he says. “It should be more about expressing and experiencing emotion, and what the individual gets out of what they’re playing, whether it’s on guitar or fiddle or piano or xylophone or whatever it is.”

So while Michael has the academic resume you would expect from a CCM instructor — “I took every arranging class you could take at Berklee,” he notes — what truly qualifies him for his current role is his street cred. And again, that applies in a literal sense. In a blog post, he recounts playing in Memphis with a band called Chuck Morris and Sidewalk Blues, “working Beale Street for tips on a late afternoon with a chilly mist blowing in off the Mississippi River.”

If you’re going to teach classes about traditional American music, it helps to have experienced it firsthand. And from his earliest days of performing live as a teenager in jazz and blues clubs around Cleveland, to winning the Boston Battle of the Blues Bands with The Radio Kings, to his stint in Nashville with The Dinallos (with his wife, Juliet Simmons Dinallo), Michael Dinallo has been steeped in the American music tradition.

Just Plain Folk

None of which is to suggest that Michael sees himself as having reached an exalted status. “I never go into any situation, whether with a band or in the studio or a teaching experience, with the idea that I’ve somehow got something over on everybody else,” he says. “I’m not up on a pedestal — these classes are very interactive. It’s communal. We all learn something every day, and that includes me. When you get players with different backgrounds and levels of experience playing together, that’s going to inspire people and make them better players.”

He called one of his classes “The Hootenanny” because — well, duh. “In the ‘50s, with folk music, country music and bluegrass music, people would just get together and play,” Michael says. “Those sessions were called Hootenannies.”

His course captures that same spirit. “Yes, I’m the instructor,” Michael says, “but at the same time I’m learning something because the students give something back to me. The best music is usually a communal experience, whether it’s a band onstage or in the studio or a group of people being led through a Woody Guthrie song by their instructor.”

Digging Those Roots

Both classes showcase masters of the craft. There’s a reason folk musicians like Woody Guthrie became masters in the first place. “The song choices I use rely heavily on seminal figures, particularly in acoustic music from the beginning of the 20th century,” Michael says. “The Carter family, Jimmy Rogers — they’re largely responsible for creating what became country music.”

Michael will also include lesser-known influences like the Mississippi Sheiks. He traces the evolution of their song “Sitting on Top of the World” from the original version, recorded in 1930, up to the present by playing different renditions of it from through the years. “It’s not just about playing the music,” Michael says, “it’s also about learning the history behind it.”

Students can then apply what they’ve learned and add their own strands to the vibrant fabric of American folk and blues. “That’s the whole idea,” Michael says. “It’s about taking a song and letting everybody have a chance to interpret it in their own way. There are times when somebody in class will do something that makes me go, ‘Whoa! I never thought of that! That’s really cool.’ That’s how I want these classes to run.”


Top 10 Local Music Summer Experiences

We encourage you to hear live music this summer, especially when so many of our talented faculty members are performing locally. Check out these music events happening in our community!


Southern Italian Folk Music by CCM faculty member Björn Wennås and his band Newpoli!


Hinge Presents: World Premieres by HUGHES and KIRCHOFF

June 11, 2022 at 8:00pm

Featuring world premieres by CCM piano faculty member Keith Kirchoff and Curtis Hughes along with Julia Wolfe’s Lick. Also featuring a set by bass clarinet ensemble Improbable Beasts. Boston Conservatory at Berklee, 132 Ipswich Street in Boston.


Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston is an innovative, musician-run orchestra that brings a creative mix of classical and new music to the concert stage while truly reaching out to the community. Included in the orchestra is CCM viola faculty member Susan Gottschalk.

Pro Arte is one of New England’s only professional cooperative chamber orchestras. Its players are among the area’s finest free-lance musicians, and they perform regularly with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Boston Ballet, Handel and Haydn Society, and the Boston Lyric Opera.

Ticket details


Walden Brass

Listen to Bach, Ewald, Holst, and more when CCM faculty member and trumpeter Margaret Romero performs with Walden Brass on Sunday, June 19 at 4:30 PM.

Performance to take place on the Keresztur Patio at the First Parish Church located at 20 Lexington Road in Concord.

It’s free and open to the public!


The Concord Band Summer Concert Series

James O’Dell, Music Director, Wednesdays at 7:15 PM: June 22 and 29 & July 6 and 13 at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard (gates open at 5:00 PM)

Bring your blanket, lawn chairs, and picnic basket and get ready to listen to timeless music, including pieces memorializing historic events, show tunes, holiday favorites, and more. Plus, you can even bring your dog!

Ticket information



Sunday, June 26 at 2 PM in Maynard at the Bull Spit Brewing Company 

Michael Glabicki and Dirk Miller of Rusted Root will be on stage for a Sunday afternoon filled with great music! This is a free show, and seating is on a first-come basis. Come down with the family to listen to the songs that dominated the 90s and 2000s!

You’ll recognize his song, Send Me On My Way, featured in the movies Matilda and Ice Age, on the TV show Chuck and New Girl, and in ubiquitous commercials for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, which built an ad campaign around the song.


Award winning Italian vocalist, songwriter and dancer Carmen Marsico hails from the mountainous and wild region of Basilicata. She has immersed herself in the traditions of the south of Italy and tirelessly dived deeper into research of the origin of sound. Together with the group, she has created a new bold direction, a crossroad between the old and the new, between history and imagination. The group crosses time and boundaries and incorporates traditions from all over the Mediterranean with a focus on the folk traditions of Basilicata as well as Gypsy migration patterns.

Playing with Carmen and a member of the band Zafarán is CCM guitar faculty member Björn Wennås.



2022 Rockabye Beats Concerts Hosted by the Concord Free Public Library


Southern Rail featuring CCM banjo faculty member Rich Stillman

July 4 at Concord’s Picnic in the Park at Emerson Field. Music starts at noon! Check out their other local concerts and get ready for some high-energy bluegrass!


The Fat City Band at The Sanctuary in Maynard

July 9 at 8 PM

Now in their 5th decade, The Fat City Band gives us their own unique style of Blues, Roadhouse Rock, Jazz, and New Orleans Style R&B. You just have to love a band that promotes the motto: Music Should Be Fun!


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