News At CCM

Eric Mrugala’s new role as MAP Coordinator

Eric Mrugala

CCM faculty member Eric Mrugala steps in as the new MAP Coordinator and has already planned some outstanding programs for students of all ages. CCM’s Music Achievement Program, known as MAP—the free private lesson enrichment program, will be bringing in some guest lecturers in addition to CCM faculty presenting great lectures and workshops. New this year are the international and movement electives. We want every private lesson student to take full advantage of the educational opportunities available to them. MAP sign-ups have begun, and students are in for an enriching year!

West Concord PorchFest, Saturday, September 25 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm

Join CCM musicians and the community at a free, grassroots town music festival this Saturday. Enjoy some local fare, grab a map to guide you around West Concord, to hear live music throughout the afternoon.

Our CCM Adult Clarinet Ensemble will play music for everyone at the West Concord Union Church Labyrinth from 1:00 – 2:00, including some folk, rag, tango, pop, and classical. CCM faculty member Max Anderson’s Acoustic Trio will perform folk songs, classic country covers, and some originals from 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Max returns from 4:00 – 5:00 pm to play with his bluegrass group Pretty Saro.

CCM’s Ukulele Taster

CCM faculty member Aaron J. Myers led a group of enthusiastic soon-to-be ukulele players as well as a few Ukulele Taster 2021 experienced ukulele players during the CCM Ukulele Taster on September 9th. It was an informative and fun evening that has motivated some to start playing the ukulele!

Now equipped with some basic chords and with one tune under their belt, they are ready for the next step: joining the Ukulele Crash Course or the Ukulele Club.

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CCM’s Social Strings Experience: The West Side Strings Program

The West Side Strings Program

Just as soccer greats Pelé, Messi, and Ronaldo practiced their dribbling and shooting skills solo, eventually, they joined their teammates on the pitch to achieve preeminence. And it’s so much more fun to practice and play together rather than running up and down the field alone. The same goes for learning and playing an instrument, especially when it comes to the violin, viola, and cello!

Of course, young musicians need one-on-one attention as well as encouragement, tips, and strategies on practicing from an instructor to get them started. But by playing with others with the same abilities—even when just starting—they learn much more quickly while having fun. Our West Side String (WSS) musicians are more engaged with practicing and develop listening and ear-training skills without realizing it.

Participating in the WWS Program gives kids advantages when learning. As CCM faculty member and West Side Strings instructor Nicole Parks says, “It helps them develop skills that are much harder to attain on their own, including intonation, rhythm, and listening skills.”

Nicole likes to point out that playing your instrument with others is fun. It’s why she does what she does.

Nicole declares, “If I only played alone all the time, I would never have become a professional musician or a teacher. West Side Strings Students Not only does playing with a group help you with musical and technical development, but it also helps us as humans. Ensembles are about cooperation and collaboration. Students learn how to interact with their peers in a respectful and accepting environment in the WSS program. The music pushes us to find solutions together to create something that none of us could do alone.”

Seeing the transformation of musical and technical elements of students playing through rehearsals and performances is so rewarding for Nicole, and she goes even further to say, “But seeing personal relationships develop and continue is something I will never get tired of! Helping young people cultivate mature and healthy relationships with each other through music helps our community thrive. As they age, these relationships continue, and we end up with sensitive and thoughtful community leaders.”

The WSS students receive individual instruction and a group lesson each week. With shared learning experiences, music provides a motivating social environment that reinforces the work done in lessons. It challenges students in ways private instruction cannot.

Read more on the West Side Strings Program.


CCM Board Welcomes Jodi Gernon

Jodi Gernon

After time away from Concord, Jodi Gernon and her family returned to town in 2010 and were first exposed to CCM at the annual open house. She decided to go back to her musical interests that she left long ago and took up the piano for the first time here at CCM.  When asked about the role of music education in our daily lives, she responded, “Music in our community is a great way to bring people together through a common appreciation of beautiful sounds. With so much strife and divisiveness in the world, we can begin to bridge that divide by common experiences such as listening to a piano concerto or hearing a new Rock Band or listening to an amazing singer.”

She added, “So much of life today is spent online. There is such a push to learn technical skills that the Arts are getting a bit lost in the shuffle and sometimes pushed aside. I feel strongly that music education is even more important than ever and should be supported to its fullest extent. After all, where would we get all these amazing rock stars and pop divas from if we didn’t support music in the early years?”

Jodi wants people to know CCM is more than just a music school. It is a place where an unparalleled slate of world-class musicians teach anyone interested in learning music. “While it may seem daunting to be called a conservatory, its doors are always open to those who want to try something new and build a skill that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.”

Jodi is the Director of the Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Electrical and Biomedical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Jodi is an advisory board member for Harvard’s Office of Tech Development and WPI’s Fosse Innovation Center, the Nantucket Conference (the premier East Coast Forum for scaling founders), and Focus Maine (dedicated to bringing Life Science companies to Maine) and is an advisor to several startups.  She lives in Concord with her husband and has three children off in college.


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