Blog

“It was love at first sight.”  We invite you to enjoy meeting Marilyn Butler, violin faculty.

We are fortunate to have a large roster of capable, skilled, committed music faculty here at Pakachoag.


2020 Holiday Music Lesson Special

Sign up for four lessons anytime between now and January 5th, 2021 and we’ll waive the $40 registration fee.  If you choose to extend your lessons beyond the four week special,  the ‘no registration fee’ still applies.

Some in-person options available.  Lots of remote options.  For ages 6 and up.

Lessons must be scheduled to begin between December 5th  and February 15th, 2021.  Four consecutive lesson weeks (excluding the traditional February School vacation week) are required for school aged students.  This is because students need consistency to learn effectively and teacher schedules do not permit ad hoc scheduling.

For adults, we will consider an every-other-week schedule, depending upon available schedule options.

Gift Vouchers Available

We can provide a gift voucher if desired.  Your cost for four lessons?

  • 30 minutes: $120
  • 45 minutes (best for non-beginners or older students):  $220
  • 60 minutes (best for experienced students):  $300

Instruments Available

Most instruments available, subject to scheduling availability.  Includes:

  • Flute, Fife or Recorder
  • Voice
  • Guitar – All Styles
  • Trumpet
  • Cello
  • Ukulele
  • Other:  Interested in an instrument not listed here? Please email info@pakmusic.org and we can check if teacher can be available.

Not Sure About In-Person vs. Remote?

Learn more about our online Pakachoag Connect program here. Pakachoag Connect Remote Music Lessons logo

In-Person is available for some instruments, depending upon teacher availability and schedules.

Still have questions?  Please email Kristjon@pakmusic.org.  We encourage you to consider remote options.  Our remote students are progressing and enjoying lessons!  For beginners, we may encourage in-person to start.

 

Meet Connor, This Month’s Student Spotlight

Connor, Age 14, from Auburn
Two Year Piano Student of Debby Sedgwick

Connor Dion, our October Student Spotlight, is a freshman in high school who loves playing the piano. His biggest musical inspiration is Will Wood whom Connor feels “has an amazing talent and personality”.  Thanks to the Pakachoag Connect program, Connor is continuing to enjoy taking piano lessons remotely during the pandemic with his Pakachoag piano teacher Debby Sedgwick.

Connor’s mom feels that the school and his teacher have made it possible for Connor to pursue his passion and the transition to online lessons was very easy.   She has been able to observe Connor learning a couple of songs in a very short amount of time. His teacher Debby eases him during his online lessons while also not making it boring.

Connor is very proud of his performance this past summer 2020. He can continue to create such memorable performances this year too thanks to Pakachoag’s unique online performance programs. Pakachoag continues to think about student needs and strives to create a well rounded musical program for all its students during this pandemic.

Connor’s teacher, Debby Sedgwick, shares, “I always enjoy Connor’s  lessons.  He is a quick learner, eager to try out new pieces on his own.”

In the words of Connor, “Even when it’s hard or stressful, don’t give up. It goes a long way.”



We’re offering two special workshops, remotely, this Fall of 2020.

  • For string players, ‘Practice Strategies’

  • For instrumentalists and vocalists, ‘How to Record Professionally’

Practice Strategies

This four week online workshop is designed specifically for string players aged 13 through high school.

Topics include:

  • Get Inspired!
  • The science of habit formation (do’s and don’ts)
  • What to practice
  • Making the best use of your time – How to practice effectively
Details

This class is part of the Pakachoag Connect online learning Program.

How to Record Professionally

This four week online workshop Recording Professionally at Home is designed for students in grades 8 to 12 who are playing or singing music from the traditional classical, folk or jazz repertoire.

Details

Anyone, living anywhere, can learn to play online with Pakachoag Music School.

Brian Perry has been able to continue his private lessons this Fall of 2020 thanks to Pakachoag Music School’s quick adaptation to online lessons. Now in his retirement, Mr. Perry practices daily because he knows “learning to play the violin well takes time, in fact, a lifetime.”  Along with learning violin, Mr. Perry also volunteers his time serving as a board member for the Music School.

Mr. Perry is inspired by American Folk Violinist Hanneke Cassel, telling us that he “wants to play like [her].”  We are inspired by Mr. Perry’s dedication to his music and his community, as he strives “to play Irish and Scottish Fiddle Music well enough for people to dance to my tunes.” Reminiscing on playing live in our recitals, Mr. Perry says the applause and encouragement are “the proudest, happiest feeling.”

We have a diverse student body at Pakachoag Music School, and we are grateful that Mr. Perry brings his unique background to our music community.  Now that we are offering remote lessons, Mr. Perry excitedly says “anyone, living anywhere, can learn to play on-line with Pakachoag Music School.”

One final piece of advice from Mr. Perry: “I suggest adults who are approaching retirement age or are already retired ask yourself ‘what can I do for one hour every day that is fun and stimulating?’  It’s music! There are so many cognitive, social, and personal benefits of playing a musical instrument I can’t describe them all here.”

Hearty congratulations to Pakachoag violin students Mia and Kamden, of Shrewsbury.  Following COVID-19 shut-downs in mid-March, and as the summer arrived, Mia and Kamden decided they would challenge their “musical selves”.  They committed, together, to complete 100 consecutive days of practice.

Mia practices while camping

Mia practices while camping.

The 100 days spanned most of the summer (a little over 14 weeks).   Teacher Amy Matherly reports:  “Stories of their determination include remembering that they hadn’t practiced yet after putting their head down on their pillow at night and dragging themselves up to practice before the clock struck 12.  They also insisted on bringing their violins on camping trips.”

Mom writes, “They started in mid June. Everyday they picked a piece they’d like to either review or sight read on top of the regular practices. We then recorded the name of the pieces on the spreadsheet. Kamden went the extra mile by recording a short video of each piece, each day and posted on his Instagram account. We’re very proud of their accomplishments! ”

Both Mia and Kamden will perform at the School’s first official event of the new school year:  The annual Suzuki Program Book Review recital on October 6th.   Amy notes, “We look forward to hearing the results!”.  Me too!

Well done Mia and Kamden.  Challenging ourselves, without external twisting of arms, is a great way to learn and excel.

Music Together® Facebook Live

Thursday, September 17, 2 PM EDT
with Dr. Lili Levinowitz and Susan Darrow

Making music as a family brings you closer together and naturally supports your child’s development in so many ways. That’s why as a Music Together® licensee, we say Music Learning Supports All Learning®!

Social distancing and remote work and school mean that a lot of us are spending more time together at home these days, so you might be looking for new family activities that are easy and fun for everyone. (Bonus if they are also educational!)

Playing musically with your little ones checks all the boxes, and Music Together Worldwide is going live on Facebook to give you the know-how you need to make music a part of your day.

Join us live on the Music Together Worldwide Facebook Page (@musictogether) at 2 PM (EDT) on September 17, for a conversation with Dr. Lili Levinowitz, Music Together® Coauthor and Director of Research, and Susan Darrow, Music Together Worldwide CEO. Lili and Susan will talk about the impact of music on early childhood development. They will share lots of family music activities you can try at home to support your child’s learning — plus tips on how music can help YOU through pandemic parenting!

New to private lessons with Pakachoag?  Sign up for school year lessons now (by September 24th) and we’ll waive the $40 registration fee.

Our featured instrument for September is the Fife.  A great way to get started, for ages 7 to 10.  If you want to play in band next year, fife lessons will give you a head start.  We’ll teach you how to blow, finger, listen and some basic music reading.  From Fife, you can move to the flute, to clarinet, sax, or a brass instrument.  Fife is particularly great for pre-flute, as the way we blow is very similar to playing the flute.

Kiki, in the photo, began Fife lessons in Fall of 2019.  She is now off and running with her flute!

Fife lessons are offered remotely until at least January.  Because we are remote, we ask that a parent be on hand for the lesson so you can guide practice between lessons and assist with some of the physical “set-up” (positioning for holding and blowing) when getting started.

We have a few different scheduling options.

Our teacher is Alice Daugherty.

For more information, please submit this inquiry form; or email info@pakmusic.org.

Thank you!

Private Lessons Inquiry Form (Summer or School Year)

Please complete and submit this form as Step 1 of your summer inquiry or registration.
  • For adult students, you are welcome to enter 01/01/1920 if you prefer not to be specific about age.
    Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Please tell us your or your child's desired instrument of study, including voice, or feel free to note 'not sure'.
  • If you are requesting assignment to a specific teacher, please note teacher's name here.
  • Many of our students, both new and continuing, enroll for additional lessons during the summer months. Please tell us what is most important to you with regard to summer lessons (we'll also ask you about school year separately). This information can help us consider needs/interests and teacher availability. During the SUMMER, I prefer.....
  • Whether you are interested in school year or summer, by understanding more about your school-year needs, we can consider summer options in light of avoiding a teacher change in the fall. We recommend avoiding teacher changes when possible as it takes time for each teacher to establish knowledge around a student's needs and learning style. During the SCHOOL-YEAR, I prefer....
  • Note: If you already play an instrument, you may be playing out of a Suzuki Method Book. Whether you participate in the Suzuki program is based on weekly participation in both a group class and a private lesson rather than on which method book you use.
  • If you have any more specific requests surrounding in-person or online, please feel free to add notes here.
  • Please tell us the name of your day school - elementary, middle, Jr. High, High School or College. Or, please note 'none' or 'home-schooled'.
  • Scheduling Information

  • Time Schedule Availability

    Even if you already know the assigned time of your lesson, please provide the time information requested. This helps us assess options in the event that a schedule change is needed.

    Please provide as wide a time range as possible; a minimum 90 minute time frame is requested.

    If you do not yet know the day of your lesson, please provide information around general availability.

  • Please answer according to the student's general availability on weekdays.
  • Please tell us the earliest possible time you can arrive for a lesson when school is in session (in the event that your summer lessons begin prior to the close of the school year). If you do not yet know day of lesson, what is the earliest possible time you can usually arrive?
  • What is the latest possible end time you can be on hand during the school year. If you do not yet know the day of your lesson, please answer according to 'usually'.
  • Your response is appreciated. This information is used for aggregate reporting to grantors and similar, and remains confidential. Do you primarily identify as….
  • Contact Information

  • Would you prefer receiving text messages, if texting becomes available?
  • Your response is appreciated. This information is used for aggregate reporting to grantors and similar, and remains confidential.
    Do you primarily identify as….
  • Please let us know if you would like additional information regarding...
  • Feel free to select as many as are applicable.
  • Do you give Pakachoag Music School permission for yourself and/or your child(ren) to be photographed and/or videotaped during school functions for school purposes and for such photos or videos to be used commercially by the school, including postings on the School web site.
  • Please review our Program Policies prior to completing registration, and confirm your acceptance below. This includes information regarding make-ups, withdrawal, weather, and student supervision.

    For Summer, go to: Summer Policies

    For School Year, review here: School Year Policies

Fall 2020 Preview:  Why / How Remote Music Learning is Different

Dear Friends,

We hope you remain well. As public school openings (or “remotings” ) take shape, we’re ready to confirm our plans at Pakachoag.

Fall 2020 includes our new Pakachoag Connect Remote Learning Program as well as some limited in-person options.

If you are not already enrolled for fall, before you retreat from the idea of additional remote learning, I encourage you to consider how MUSIC learning is by nature different from core subject matter learning; and, in particular, with regard to the remote experience.

1) When teaching, our focus is on sound -melody, harmony and rhythm.  Not only are we using our ears, we’re also using our physical “self” to feel rhythm and develop the physical techniques needed for successful musicianship.  For our youngest learners, rhythm is tied closely to movement. For the vast majority of our online offerings, teacher and student are focused on listening, creating and feeling music; less on reading, dictation and conversation.

2) For private lessons, we don’t spend a lot of time looking at each other on the screen and talking. Rather, we’re playing music.  As teacher, we coach and demonstrate; together we play back and forth, and listen.

3) For lessons and school-aged classes, we’re checking in on how practice, in connection with weekly assignments, is going.  For 6 out of 7 days, online music learning is actually NOT ONLINE at all. Its independent study [aka practice] with weekly teacher ‘check ins’ that include coaching and goal setting/assignments for the upcoming week.

4) For early childhood classes and sometimes Rhythm Kids, mom or dad or grandparent is the teacher (not the screen) as you, the adult role model for your child, take cues (visually and aurally) from our teacher.

This very interactive / active nature of music learning, which in every case benefits from independent music-making (and listening) at home between class or lesson time, means screen fatigue is a little less prominent than with traditional subject matter.

I totally get that some moms and dads, primarily our younger families, are opting to wait until we can be in-person. But I hope you will take a few minutes to consider all of the benefits music has to offer, no matter whether in-person or online.

This year, it also makes sense that we highlight how artistic engagement supports mental health.  As one of my own adult students mentioned in her remote lesson this week, ‘My lessons are my anchor right now; practice brings a routine to my day, a predictability.’

As teacher and musician, I like to add: “Yes!! it also helps us block out the outside world for a bit and immerse ourselves in the music.”

With wishes for good health, let’s stay connected with music – no matter if in-person or online.

Sincerely, Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director


Fall 2020 Preview

We’re Listening:  Technology Sustainability and Transformation

Thank you to parents who responded to our Online Learning Assessment earlier this summer. We heard you loud and clear and are investing time and resources to kick off the School’s new Pakachoag Connect Program.

The new PCP Program is a long-term commitment to remote learning.

PCP expands access geographically and to those with health concerns, eases transportation and schedule challenges, and ensures safety during COVID-19.

For the long-term we’ll be offering both in-person and remote lessons, or a combination option.

For group classes, some will be designed to be remote-only; some will be in-person only; and some groups will similarly offer either/or options in the future.

Check Out Pakachoag Connect

Look for the PCP logo above on webpages to quickly identify programs being offered remotely.

PCP options for FALL include:

Details for our Two Most Popular Programs

Music Together Online:  Registration Now Open

Music Together Online Registration Opens TODAY!

Save $15 now through Friday, September 8th

Fall classes are currently planned for online. We’ll be singing and dancing with ‘Bongos’!

Some classes will remain online for the full year. We hope to be able to resume some in-person classes when circumstances change with regard to COVID-19.

Summer families have enjoyed seeing each other each week and taking a few minutes to say hello on-screen. Then, we’re off and hopping, skipping from home.

Materials will be mailed home starting September 17th or within 2 weeks of receiving your registration thereafter.

Early registration greatly appreciated so we can confirm classes in a timely manner.

Private Lessons – Remote and Some In-Person Opportunities

We’re registering! Whether you are looking for remote only, in-person only, or a combination we may be able to help.

We’re handling plans on a case-by-case / teacher-by-teacher basis.

Some of our safety plans include:

  • HEPA-13 medical-grade filters in studios to circulate and clean air every 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Plexiglass barriers to curb flow of air between teacher and student.
  • Open windows when possible.
  • Sanitizing of key surfaces between lessons.
  • Masks and social distancing

We can provide a COVID-19 Safetey Guidelines Handbook upon request. We will ask anyone enrolling to sign a waiver of liability.

For lesson information please e-mail our Director of Programs & Outreach Kristjon@pakmusic.org

Take a tour, remotely, with Pakachoag Music School and the Worcester Children’s Chorus

Learn about some exciting new program offerings and discounts with the Chorus and Pakachoag.
Hear from parents & teachers.
Learn about remote vs. in-person: how it works;
and more.

Dates: Choose

  • Wednesday, August 12 or
  • Tuesday, August 25

Registration for 8/25 is open until 4 pm 8/24.
Please submit your registration at least 24 hours in advance so we may plan ahead.  Thank you.

Times:  Pick

  • 12 noon or
  • 4:00 pm

Please complete the quick registration form below by the requested deadline, so we can send you a private, secure link in advance of your selected date/time.

What to Expect

  • Meet faculty and parents to hear about our fall programs
  • Remote v. In-Person: How it Works
  • Enjoy student performances
  • Tour the Music School and Chorus remotely
  • Ask your questions
  • Learn about discounts and registration

Plan for 30 minutes for our remote tour.  If you have additional questions, we’re happy to set up a follow-up meeting.

Music for Fall Open House

  • Will you have anyone else attending with you?
  • Please submit by clicking below. We'll follow up with a zoom link (your link will include a password as part of the link) in advance of your selected Virtual Open House date.

    When you click to enter meeting, you'll be held in a waiting room until our host confirms entry.

  • If you need any guidance on how to set up zoom, you can let us know here.

Want to know a bit more ahead of time?

Meet the Chorus’ Phil Montgomery, Associate Director, and Pam Mindell, Artistic Director, here.

Meet Phil and Pam

Or, hear a little music from one of Pakachoag’s private lesson students with teacher here.

Enjoy Grieg for Four Hands Piano