May 21, 2014
We are pleased to announce that we will be holding our very first Music Fair! This event will help parents and their children identify additional free and affordable opportunities to study and make music in New York City.
We want our young musicians to discover the best options for continuing their musical development. At our Music Fair families will get to meet and talk with representatives from a variety of excellent music programs and organizations, including public schools for the performing arts, youth orchestras, music summer camps, and community music schools.
The Music Fair will be held on Wednesday, June 4th, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the CUNY Murphy Institute: 25 W. 43rd Street, 18th Floor.
If you’re a parent and you and your child are interested in attending, please RSVP at info@HarmonyProgram.org by May 28th.
May 2, 2014
Here’s Harmony Program teacher, Laura Sacks, sharing one of the lessons she used in class to prepare her students for an upcoming performance.
April 16, 2014
This weekend, Harmony students from Washington Heights and Brooklyn joined members of the New York Youth Symphony for a chamber music reading of Handel’s Music for Royal Fireworks. Our young string players fit right into this advanced youth orchestra, demonstrating how far they have come in just a couple of years of study. Check out a bit of their rehearsal:
April 11, 2014
Angela Shankar has taught with the Harmony Program since 2013. In addition to her work with us, she is the Director of Performing and Educational Events for InThePocketNYC and is also on the faculty of the preparatory division at Mannes College.
How did you start teaching music?
I started teaching private clarinet lessons in high school to young clarinet students and I was hooked immediately. I went to college as a clarinet performance major but quickly added a music education minor during my freshman year. I am so glad that I did! Having the opportunity to teach music is an incredible gift.
How does teaching with Harmony compare to other teaching experiences you’ve had?
Harmony is a very special program and unlike any other teaching experience I’ve had. Because the students have so much concentrated instruction time after school, I’m able to challenge them and watch them grow at such a rapid pace. Often times you only get to see your students once or twice a week, but with Harmony at PS129, the students are able to study music every single day. It’s incredible!
“One of the most rewarding moments in teaching is witnessing a student feel confident and excited to share what they’ve worked on with the class during our group lessons.”
Can you describe your classroom environment?
We are like a big clarinet family in our classroom. The students encourage each other and work together to improve. They know that it’s okay to squeak or to make mistakes and that correcting mistakes is an important part of learning new music. We focus on the process more than the end result– though we look forward to the concerts very much!
How do you encourage your students to practice at home?
I often encourage my students to practice very specific parts of the music that are challenging for them. Sometimes it may only be 2 or 3 measures long. With a specific objective in mind, they take their instruments home and they are able to successfully achieve their goal. One of the most rewarding moments in teaching is witnessing a student feel confident and excited to share what they’ve worked on with the class during our group lessons.
April 8, 2014
This weekend, Harmony Program students from across the city came together once again at the United Palace Theatre for a day of rehearsals and performances with musicians from the New York Philharmonic and West Point Band.
A Master Class is essentially an open rehearsal. In workshops throughout the day, students work with professionals to strengthen a variety of skills – from posture and technique to performance and interpretation. The event gives our students the opportunity to dig deeper into the details of the music they’ve been working on all semester, but also provides an opportunity for families and supporters to witness what goes on every day after school in Harmony Program classes.
This was our third master class, and our kids sounded better than ever when they closed out the day with a side-by-side orchestra performance with the pros.
CBS Evening News was there to capture the day for a feature that aired on Saturday night:
Thanks again to the musicians, partners, supporters, and families who made the day such a success. Make sure to check out more photos on Facebook and, if you haven’t already, sign up for the Harmony Program email list to find out about upcoming special events.
March 20, 2014
Last night, Harmony Program students at the United Palace took part in the UPCA’s second “Young People Perform” event, which brought together students from a number of arts programs in the Washington Heights and Inwood communities.
The Harmony Program string orchestra, featuring both beginners and second-year students, sounded awesome. Here they are performing a French folk song.:
Performing as an orchestra gives our students a unique perspective on the music they play. Here are three of our violin students, Chris, Mauricio, and Alex, describing their performance of Dvorak’s “Humoresque.”
February 28, 2014
Last week, we welcomed Dr. Susan Davis, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Music Education at Brooklyn College, to work with our teachers at our mid-semester training workshop. Dr. Davis, who is a performer as well as an educator like many of our teachers, stressed the importance of creating “flow” in the classroom, specifically as it relates to student rehearsals and warm-up activities.
“Flow,” a concept originally proposed by psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a state of heightened focus, or “the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.” Dr. Davis discussed strategies and techniques to encourage this sort of high-level engagement in students, and collaborated with our teachers to develop effective classroom management and preparation techniques, addressing specific situations that teachers have encountered during the year so far.
Thanks again to Dr. Davis for taking the time to share some of her insights and experiences. If you’re interested in learning more about the concept of “flow,” check out this video: