heather-m-no-4Welcome Heather MacFarlane, Pakachoag Music School’s new Development Associate.

Heather has built a career in Development in the greater Worcester area over the last 15 years.  We’re excited that Heather has chosen to share her skills in support of Pakachoag.  Heather comes to us from Clark University where she has spent the last 8 years working in the Office of Alumni and Friends Engagement and Stewardship, spending her time at Clark focused on event planning, volunteer management, and alumni communication.

Prior to her work at Clark, Heather worked at Assumption College in the Annual Giving office, working to achieve yearly fundraising goals and encouraging alumni parents and friends of the college to make a financial commitment to the school.

Heather’s passion for promoting education has also led her to join the Tantasqua Education Foundation volunteer organization in school union 61 where she is the chair of the sponsorship committee.  Heather is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton, MA and has a MBA from Assumption College. Currently, she lives in Sturbridge with her husband and two young sons.

Heather will be working part-time, usually on Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays; morning and early afternoon.

Hello Parents and Students (adults too!),Big Ear graphic

You’re Invited to Take the Challenge

For our third year, we invite all of our students – new and returning – to take part in our Private Lesson Big Ear Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to listen to music every day. Surrounding our children (and adult students too) with beautiful music will inspire them (or you) and gives everyone a goal to work toward.

How to Participate:

  1. Let your teacher know at your first or second lesson* that you are planning to participate.
  2. Visit the Current Students > Private Lessons Information page here on the web site at the beginning of each week during September.

AND     Look for:  “Big Ear Challenge”

-A new music clip will be posted at the beginning of each week of the challenge, starting the week of September 12th. The challenge will run from September 15-October 15.


  1. Listen to the weekly clip at home each day (or download to your handheld device? Is that possible???)
  2. Mark on your calendar every day that you listen. See how many days you can check off for the month. The goal is to listen every day.
  3. Bring your calendar to your lesson each week, and your teacher will check in with you and leave their initials that you listened for the week.
  4. At the end of September*, turn your calendar in to Leah Zelnick, Student Performance Coordinator.

*The challenge will run from Sept 15-Oct 15, but we encourage you to begin listening now, and keep listening after!


  • If you manage to complete 30 consecutive days of listening, you will be presented with a certificate of completion at our October 19 performance class.  (We’ll also list your name in our fall Newsletter.)
  • You can attend the class to listen and get your certificate (if you are not also scheduled to perform).
  • If you prefer not to attend the class, let us know and the certificate can be presented by your teacher at your private lesson.

Download Sept calendar here: sept-2016-calendar

Download Oct calendar here: oct-2016-calendar


Ideas:  Listen to music every day!

There are many ways to listen. Include them all in your routine.

Passive Listening:  Play the recording of the pieces that your child is working on every day. Put it on in the car, during a meal or during playtime. You will be amazed at how much will be absorbed.

Active Listening:  Listen and note specific details about the music.

For example:

  • Learn the names of the pieces
  • Play a track or a small part of one, stop the recording and then sing it
  • Tap or march the beat as you listen
  • Count and name the phrases.If they are the same, give them the same name
  • Students who are reading will benefit from following along in the printed music

Inspirational Listening:  Listen to music of different styles played by the world’s great musicians to inspire yourself and your child.

Just for Fun:  Stories about music and composers are enjoyable and provide valuable information.

  • Classical Kids Collection – each recording presents a story about a composer along with lots of the composer’s music. A good one to start with is Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery
  • The Musical Life of Gustav Mole – a cute story about loving music and wanting to learn how to play an instrument
  • Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals – narrated by Leonard Bernstein, it introduces the orchestral instruments.

Happy listening!

Please join us for this special kick-off concert for the 2016-2017 season.palacios_222_312_90

Saturday, October 15, 2016
4:00 p.m.
The Great Hall at Pakachoag Church

Free.  Donations gratefully accepted for the Save The Instruments Fund.

Making Music For Life
Guest Alumnus Concert

Martin Palacios, Violin

Kamilla Isanbaeva Irving (Faculty), Piano

  • Partitia No. 2 in D minor J. S. Bach
  • Concerto in B minor Camille Saint-Saens
  • Five Pieces for Two Violins Dimitri Schostakovich
    With Maxim Korn, Faculty Emeritus

Martin returns from Memphis, Tennessee where he plays as a member of the Jacksonville Symphony and is completing an MM degree (in Suzuki Pedagogy) at the University of Memphis.

Hello Suzuki Program Parents,

I hope that you are all enjoying the summer. Our fall semester starts in two weeks!

Here is information about upcoming events.

Upcoming Events

Back to School Play In/Parent Discussion

  • Monday, August 29th
  • 5:00 to 6:15 in Auburn

Parents and students of all playing levels are invited to join us for this fun get-together.

Students – Play music with friends!

Our Pakachoag Suzuki faculty will lead you through some of your favorites.

Parents – Get organized and inspired!

Amy Matherly will discuss plans for the year, Suzuki education,and practice strategies. Please come prepared to share a practice idea that has worked for you.

Please RSVP to Amy Matherly at

New Parent Orientation

  • Monday, August 29th
  • 6:30 to 7:30 in Auburn

Both newly registered and interested parents are invited to this event to learn about the Suzuki approach and the Pakachoag Suzuki program

The Big Ear Challenge Begins on September 1st

Let beautiful music inspire you! The goal is to listen to the Suzuki recording every day.  Full details and a calendar to keep track will be coming soon.

 Start dates for classes and groups:

  • Private Lessons  – Tuesday, September 6th
  • Group Lessons – Monday, September 12th*

I have send out notices about group class assignments. If you have any questions about this please let me know.

The Allegro group (Tuesday) will start on September 6th*

Beginning Parent Training

  • Thursday, September 8th
  • 7:00-8:00 in Auburn

Suzuki Program Performance Class

  • Monday, September 26th
  • 6:30 in the Fellowship Hall

This will be a ‘Back a Book’ performance. Performers are much more comfortable and confident when they’ve had a long relationship with a piece.

Students should prepare a review piece – at least one Suzuki Book level back from where they are currently working. Those in late Book One can choose a piece from early Book One.

If you want to participate, consult with your teacher about what you will play.

Teachers, please let me know which of your students will be performing and what they will play

Recognizing those Suzuki Milestones – The Twinkles

Congratulations to Varsha Sambasvian, student of Madalyne Cross, who completed the Twinkle Graduation requirements last spring!

A reminder about what this means:

In order to be awarded a ‘Twinkle Pin’ students must:

  • Submit a video of all of the Twinkle Variations and the Theme performed with accompaniment, demonstrating good violin position, tone, intonation and tempo This recording will be viewed by both the student’s teacher and the Suzuki Program Coordinator
  • Perform a Variation and the Theme in a performance class or recital

Students will then be publicly congratulated and awarded a pin. This program is not meant to be a competition, but an individual process, and it is completely optional.  Only students who are motivated by this should do it.

Please write to me if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Sincerely, Amy Matherly
Suzuki Program Coordinator
Pakachoag Music School

PakRec-5-15-16-600pix-AW1_1800_optThis month we congratulate piano student Matthew of Shrewsbury.  Matthew was awarded a “Ten -Years of Music Lessons Milestone Certificate” at our May 2016 student recital.

For our May recital,  Matthew played Bagatelle Op. 110, No. 3 by Beethoven and a lovely rendition of Poetic Tune Picture by Grieg.

The photo is from the end of our Sunday recital session one, when Matthew’s teacher Inna Muravnik shared her reflections on Matthew’s commitment and progress as we presented his certificate.

You can hear Matthew’s performance here.

Matt shares:

Pakachoag Music School has provided me with a positive learning environment, where students are taught not only how to play an instrument, but learn the art of performing.  It has allowed me to explore the intricacies of playing the piano, and has also allowed me to express myself through different genres of music.  Being a member of the school for 10 years has been one of the greatest experiences of my life, and given me a talent that I know I can use for many years to come.



You can hear Matthew play as a younger student by clicking here.

Dear Matthew,

We are thrilled to know that this has been such a great experience for you.  We commend you on sticking with it, and with balancing music alongside your other priorities like playing golf and keeping up good grades.  We look forward to hearing your latest, new pieces at future performance classes and recitals.


Sarah Smongeski and the Pakachoag Faculty

You can pre-register for private lessons and musical theater starting in July and continuing through August and September, as spaces remain available.
For Music Together classes, we begin open registration for new families on August 1st.
We’re preparing for a new on-ling registration system. Please visit our registration page for more information.


to all our friends and supporters for votbaystatebestlogo-7bd12fcding Pakachoag Music School:

BayStateParent magazine’s Best Music School (for 2016).

We’re thrilled to receive this acknowledgement; and also extend thanks to the entire Pakachoag Faculty for working hard to always provide the best in quality music education and enrichment.  With your support, we will continue to make Music for Life!


Friday, June 3rd

Two Sessions:

6:30 to 7:15

7:30 to 8:30

Featuring mostly piano, violin, trumpet students and  suzuki groups, our tag-on Friday evening recitals are our final rally for the School Year until we gather again in November.

Hello Parents,

It’s hard to believe that the school year is coming to an end. The wonderful performances given in the April and May recitals were evidence that a lot of music has been learned this year and a lot of progress made.

Congratulations to all of the performers and many thanks to Janeen Baker for providing the accompaniment!

Enjoy this video from the May recitals, which contains a sample from each group’s performance:

Allegro lead by Madalyne Cross, playing Long, Long Ago
Eva Knorr, Mai Caslowitz, Annika Cranson

Andante lead by Madalyne Cross, playing May Song
Varsha Sambasvian, Mia Carll, Okko Kleino, Lila Caslowitz

Encore Two lead by Amy Matherly, playing March of the Elephants
Alan Liu, Dylan Burke, Beckham Chouinard, Abram Engelhardt

Encore One lead by Madalyne Cross, playing Lightly Row
Addison Sobiech, Ethan Most, Alaia Phillips

Debut Two lead by Amy Matherly, playing Boil Them Cabbage
Daniel Lee, Miah Carrascal, Matthew Ferullo

The Presto Group and the Fiddle Band will be performing on the June 3rd recital, which begins at 6:30. We hope you will join us.

Thanks to parents Gary Phillips and Phuong Hang for the videos.

Summer Lessons and Groups

Madalyne and I are leaving for Minneapolis this week to attend the Suzuki Association of the Americas’ Conference.  I know we will both come back inspired and full of energy and ideas.

Don’t miss the opportunity to benefit from this! Sign up now for summer lessons.  Take as many or as few as you are able – but do take lessons. Many find that the simplified summer schedule allows more time for music.  If this is not the case for you, sign up for at least some lessons to maintain skills and enthusiasm.

Here is the link:

Let me know if your child would like to attend some group lessons this summer. If we have enough interest, I will schedule some.

Book Graduation Party
Monday, June 13th from 6:00 – 7:30 in the Fellowship Hall

Although the goal for all students is to play whatever music they are working on beautifully, rather than rushing from piece to piece,it is exciting to have learned all of the music in a Suzuki Book and move into a new one.

To celebrate this milestone, we will have a Book Graduation Party.  At this event we will play selections from the books completed with piano accompaniment and then enjoy ice cream sundaes.  If your child has completed a Suzuki Book this year, and you would like to attend, let me know.

Fall Schedules

Information about fall group class assignments will be sent to you within the next two weeks.

Have a fun and relaxing summer,

Amy Matherly
Suzuki Program Coordinator
Pakachoag Music School

Saturday, May 14Pakachoag Honors 600px 3-12-16-750_9736
1:30 to 2:30 pm
3:00 to about 4:15 pm

Sunday, May 15
1:00 to 2:00 pm
2:30 to about 3:45 pm

The Great Hall at Pakachoag Church
203 Pakachoag Street, Auburn

We’re happy to be gradually winding down the school year by winding up for our May Student Recital Weekend.   Everyone is practiced, rehearsed and ready to go!

Receptions, courtesy of Pakachoag parents, follow each session.

Everyone welcome.