2014 Celebration of Excellence

A lovely time was had by all at the Music Development Program Celebration of Excellence! The evening featured a recital by students who had earned top marks in the state of California on Practical assessments, remarks by Dr. Janet Lopinski who came all the way from Toronto for the occasion, and a presentation of certificates to all those who earned top scores in Practical as well as Academic subjects.


Congratulations to Diana, Rebecca and Sarah who earned top scores in California on their piano assessments last year, and to Riona and Julianna for earning top scores in California on theory assessments!

Studio News: Hooray for Theory!



A big congratulations to the five students who took Royal Conservatory Music Development Program Academic Assessments last winter session. The exam scores are in and everyone earned First Class Honors with Distinction! What an achievement!

Sophie and Kelly earned First Class Honors with Distinction on their Intermediate Rudiments Theory Exam.

Liam and Diana earned First Class Honors with Distinction on their Basic Rudiments Theory Exam.

And an extra huge congratulations to Sarah who not only earned First Class Honors with Distinction on Basic Rudiments, but had a perfect score! WOW!!!

The Achievement Program

Royal American Conservatory Examinations, National Music Certificate Program and now, The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program.

Click here to meet the shiny new face of the Royal Conservatory Program in the US. I think this brand is finally a keeper! The association with Carnegie will certainly boost the organization’s national profile—there has already been a New York Times article! The new website is well organized, informative, integrates a way to purchase materials and generally gives a better picture of what the program is all about. My hope is that the system will really begin to take root deeply in the US.

My students have been participating in the exams over the last five years and I cannot say enough about how much I love the curriculum. It is built to facilitate the growth of a complete musician. Children are not just learning to play a few songs—they must develop their ear-training, sight-reading, and technique skills. The theory, harmony, analysis and music history components of the program are deeply thorough and assure that young people are looking at music from many angles. The publications that are focused toward this curriculum are high quality, well edited and fresh. There is a great spirit of energy and creativity in the community of teachers who are a part of RCM programs. Just in this last year I have discovered great new teaching tools like Tonic Tutor and Ultimate Music Theory, both rooted in the RCM system.

One of my favorite things about the organization’s new face is their new slogan:

“Inspire the Desire to Aspire”

I love this. It epitomizes my purpose as a teacher. Regardless of what a student’s long-term musical goals may be, I believe that it is crucial to strive for excellence. Achieving challenges and working at a high level are extremely motivating to a child.
Piano lessons are a long trek. Every child will cycle through ups and downs, periods of motivation and weeks of feeling stuck. The breakthroughs come when students discover the value of their work and are able to see their own progress, understanding that it is a result of those hours of practice. They feel strong, capable and inspired to achieve even greater levels of mastery, in all areas of life!