Blog

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

Need a break from life? from COVID? from Netflix?  Enthusiastic Pakachoag Students are sharing their harmonies from home.  Roughly 12 students will be featured in our fourth streamed recital scheduled for

Direct to YouTube

Students range in age from about 12 to 18 and represent the towns of Boylston, Shrewsbury, Sturbridge and Worcester.

Invite your friends and listen for the future!

Dear Music School Friends,

As a not-for-profit, Pakachoag Music School is called to fulfill our mission in a way that contributes to community. A number of emails have gone out in the last few days related to the current circumstances facing both our local community and the country as a whole. We would like to add briefly to that conversation as related to our mission.

Like so many of you, we at Pakachoag Music School are disturbed and upset by the murder of George Floyd. Injustice toward Black Americans continues today after decades of hurt and efforts to do better. We also understand that to put an end to the discrimination and victimization of our friends and neighbors of color, “systemic racism must be unveiled and dismantled.”

It is our desire that Pakachoag always be a place that is welcoming to all and where every voice can be valued and heard. We are working to listen and learn, as an organization and individually, from those who live with injustices.

If any within our community see a way for us to do better with our language and actions – we’re here to listen and learn. We stand together, as an organization, to create, through constructive action, a community, country, and world devoid of oppression and division.

May the music we make together bring us hope, inspire us to think deeply about how we can help create change, and be used as a tool for peace, understanding and kindness.

Sincerely,

Sarah Smongeski, Executive Director

Kallin Johnson, President of the Board

COVID restrictions getting to you? Feeling isolated or down? We’d like to invite you to hear the future!

Harmonies From Home will feature over 40 students of Pakachoag Music School in three streamed recitals. And, we’ll have an extra treat with selections by the Worcester Children’s Chorus.

We’re inviting everyone to join us (at home). Bring your tea (or a cocktail), your lunch or supper, invite a friend to join you remotely, and listen for the future.

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

  • 1:00 pm
  • 7:00 pm

Sunday, June 14, 2020

  • 5:00 pm

Each recital will feature roughly 15 students, and last 30 to 45 minutes (we think – information still being compiled at this time).

You do to need to be a facebook user to view the recitals.  When visiting Facebook, you can by-pass the pop up page asking you to join by looking toward bottom page and clicking ‘not now’ or ‘join later’.

Visit our Facebook Page at the designated times to join us.

At Pakachoag, we know that Music is for Life! Every skill learned, every hour of practice accompanies a music student through life, as they work to pursue their dreams in school and beyond.

We’ll be streaming via our Facebook page on Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14. Each performance includes beginners to advancing students, aged 6 and up.   Join us for any one, two or all three of these events.

Harmonies from Home is our way of sticking together, finding inspiration, and sharing music with community, as we move through COVID-19 and beyond.

 

May & June 2020 Music Together /
Early Childhood Special

Whether you are a former student or new student, you can sign up for a free demo class for Music Together Online, ages birth to five years, between May 22 and June 13.  Please email info@pakmusic.org for details.  Please book 2 to 3 days ahead.  For Spring MT Schedules view our MT Calendar.

What Other Parents Are Saying

 What do You like the most about Spring Music Together Online?  “My daughter is 2 and loves seeing Miss Julie every week. Week 1 was tough keeping her engaged but once she got familiar with the songs, the following weeks were much better…  The props [recommended for use at home during class time] definitely draw her into the songs (teddy bear, sticks, scarves, etc…) so that’s been great. She loves the MT songs and participates almost the entire online class which is impressive for a two year old!”
– Anonymous Music Together Parent, MA Spring 2020

“I cannot thank you enough for pulling together such an impressive and inspiring online curriculum. We’ve been skeptical of distance-learning activities for our daughter P., as she’s 2.5 years old and doesn’t really grasp the concept yet, and she has not enjoyed some of the other online classes for her age group. However, last Sunday was our first Music Together class (via Zoom), and we loved it! Thank you again for what your community has done for our families during this unpredictable and unprecedented time.”   -Music Together Parent, CA

What to Expect:  Active & Interactive !

With Music Together® Online or one of our Summer Samplers Online, you’ll have access to the same high-quality music and movement curriculum loved by millions of families and teachers around the world—from home!

Like all our classes, Music Together Online is designed to teach the way young children learn: through play. During each online music class, our teacher will lead music activities for the whole family to sing, play, and jam along to and show you how to make everyday items like dish towels, pots, and stuffies into musical props. Even though your teacher is on the screen, each class has been designed as an active music-making experience for little ones and their grownups.

Classes are appropriate for children under 5, but the entire family is welcome (and encouraged!) to participate in the musical fun.


Online Lessons, Classes, Early Childhood

Summer Special for Lessons:  3 for the Price of 1

Pakachoag Music School now offers the opportunity to take music lessons and most classes online.

We have been very pleased at how well [my child’s] online piano lessons have been going and that she still has the opportunity to take good quality lessons in this time of social distancing. Thanks for giving us a way to keep music in our lives!”  Anonymous Parent Survey Response

We can’t stress how important music has been to our child and family’s spirits during this crisis. Thank you to the Pakachoag administration and teachers for their dedication. We love you!”  Jen from Charlton, MA

I cannot thank you enough for pulling together such an impressive and inspiring online curriculum. We’ve been skeptical of distance-learning activities for our daughter P., as she’s 2.5 years old and doesn’t really grasp the concept yet, and she has not enjoyed some of the other online classes for her age group. However, last Sunday was our first Music Together class (via Zoom), and we loved it! Thank you again for what your community has done for our families during this unpredictable and unprecedented time.  Music Together Parent

Summer 2020 Online Music Learning Specials

Private Music Lessons: 3 For The Price of 1; Save $80!

  • If you are new to lessons with Pakachoag, sign up between May 12 and June 25th and you can get 3 lessons for the price of 1.
  • For 30 minute lessons, that means you pay $40 and save $80.
  • Most Group Classes:  A $10 deposit will hold your space.

For more information…

Summer Lessons Early Childhood Other Summer Classes

Spring 2020 Music Together / Early Childhood Special

Whether you are a former student or new student, you can sign up for a free demo class for Music Together Online, ages birth to five years between May 13 and June 13.  Please email info@pakmusic.org for details.  Please book 2 to 3 days ahead.  For Spring MT Schedules view our MT Calendar.

How Online Music Learning Works

A harp student (L) works with faculty member Susan Howland (R on-screen).

Online Platforms Preferred:

  • Zoom (available as a free download; usable on all devices)
  • Skype or Face Time may also be available

90% of our private lesson students opted to continued lesson remotely in March.  We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents and students regarding the transition and experience.

About the Online Experience

I can’t think of any improvements. It has gone really well. And I have to admit, there are times when I really like that we don’t have to get in the car to rush to her lesson!
Anonymous Survey Response

 What do You like the most about Spring Music Together Online?  “My daughter is 2 and loves seeing Miss Julie every week. Week 1 was tough keeping her engaged but once she got familiar with the songs, the following weeks were much better…  The props [recommended for use at home during class time] definitely draw her into the songs (teddy bear, sticks, scarves, etc…) so that’s been great. She loves the MT songs and participates almost the entire online class which is impressive for a two year old!”
Anonymous Music Together Parent, Spring 2020

Do I need special equipment?

Usually no.  Depending on your age, background and level, we may recommend some additional items to support online learning.  This might include headphones or a stand to position your device optimally.  If you have internet access and a smart phone, we can help you get started.  A chromebook, other type of pad or laptop works a little better.  We can offer tech support around simple ways to improve internet connectivity if needed.

For our early childhood program, the screen is for mom or dad; or grandparent.  You will be the teacher/role model for your child, guided by our Pakachoag early childhood specialist.   Everyone sings, shakes things, jumps up and down, etc.  No experience or special skills needed!

When Can I start?

For summer programs, classes begin at different times.  This includes start dates in June, July and August.  For lessons, you can begin anytime.  Our summer session officially kicks off on June 15.  As soon as we can connect regarding schedule options and learn more about your needs, we can help you get registered and  started.

How Do I pay for Online Music Lessons or Classes?

We can set you up to pay online with credit card or you can mail in a check.  Additional information is available on the summer program pages and our summer registration overview page.
We offer financial aid for families with limited annual income, as funding permits.

If you have additional questions, please contact our registration team:

Can Music Help?

None of us at Pakachoag is licensed as a mental health care provider nor as a Music Therapist. Most of us are professional musicians (teaching artists) and/or educators. But we do know that for teens especially, anxiety can creep in – and sometimes it is hard for a young person to express what they are feeling.

For parents, it can be hard to understand what is happening. When parents occasionally confide with us, I am quick to share that anxiety or depression is much more common than we usually realize.

Sometimes, music lessons can help.  They offer a routine of daily practice, require focus and concentration, and bring a sense of accomplishment once a skill or piece is mastered.  Music can also offer an outlet for self-expression.  Sometimes the ability to express through music can happen quickly into the learning curve (depending on instrument and age); sometimes gradually, over time, as one becomes more adept.  We also know, through research, that engagement in the arts contributes to lifelong health and well-being.
The Mass. Cultural Council is currently working on a new grant program called CultureRX – specifically because care providers often write prescriptions for an arts activity when emotional support is needed. Research shows that engaging aging adults in the arts can also reduce health care costs.
We encourage you to consider whether music lessons or a class for a younger child could be a worthwhile investment at this time.  Depending on specific needs, we might recommend seeking out a music therapist who is trained to specifically work with those who have special learning needs or need therapeutic support.
At Pakachoag, we offer music lessons as a way of life.  Lessons require hard work, focus, sustained commitment, and daily practice.  If you or your child enjoy listening to music, learning to sing or to play an instrument can also bring happiness and satisfaction – not overnight, but over time.
For young children, birth to age five, we’re focused on providing a high quality foundation for all children to feel musical and to enjoy making music on day-by-day and weekly basis.  The skills learned through music and rhythm during the formative years of development transfer to skills needed for success in school and lead to greater success in learning to play an instrument once a child is school-aged.