Steinway & Sons, Jacobs Music, and Tesla Motors in Devon, PA, teamed up on February 16th to introduce the STEINWAY SPIRIO, the world’s finest high resolution player piano. Guests were treated to a Spirio presentation, featuring Steinway Spirio Artist, Andy Kahn, and the opportunity to take a test ride in the newest models from Tesla. Shown in the photographs are Kevin Heinselman, Jacobs Music Director of Spirio Marketing, with Mark Matero, Manager of Tesla Motors, Devon; George Gershwin seen performing both on screen and on the Spirio; and Andy Kahn, who performed both live and as reproduced on the Steinway Spirio. What a wonderful evening for all!

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Jacobs Music is proud to support the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and we are pleased to share the following article, which appeared in Broadway World on February 17th.


Nominations Open For Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Ovation Award, 2/20

Every participant in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra – students and directors alike – know that music makes a profound impact on a person’s life and it is often the music teacher who deserves the credit for this. Now, for the fourth year, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra is proud to present The Fourth Annual “PYO OVATION Award – for Inspiration and Outstanding Leadership in Music Education.” It is endowed by H.E.L.P.® Foundation and sponsored by Jacobs Music Company, J.W. Pepper and WRTI-90.1 FM.

Nominations open on February 20, 2017 with the deadline being March 30, 2017. The nomination process is simple. Anyone, of any age, can nominate a music teacher who has made a positive impact in his or her life. This could be a current or former student, parents, musicians – someone with fond memories of a music teacher. In 250 words or less, nominators answer this question, “How Has My Music Teacher Changed My Life.” Nominees should have imparted musical skills and knowledge, but also helped build students’ character, self-confidence, and capabilities that have impacted overall development and achievements. To nominate a music teacher for the PYO Ovation Award, essays should be submitted online at Nominees from prior years are still eligible and nominators are welcomed and strongly encouraged to nominate them again. A blue-ribbon panel of representatives from major music organizations and music departments of area universities will choose ten finalists and the award winner. All finalists win prizes with the grand prize winner also receiving a $1,000 honorarium. And, the nominator of the grand prize winner will receive a $250 gift card.

Louis Scaglione, president and music director of PYO, is very proud of this award. He said, “It is our honor to present the Ovation Award knowing that music educators do not get the recognition they deserve. As a music education institution, we at Philadelphia Youth Orchestra witness the positive impact teachers have on their students every day. They share their passion for music and inspire students to strive to do their best. We applaud all music educators and are pleased to have this opportunity to shine the light on those who are selected for this recognition.”

Each of the honorees from the past three years is unique in their own way. The first recipient of the Ovation Award, who was honored in June 2014, is Bill Cain, a music teacher and Band Director at Wissahickon Middle School in the Wissahickon School District. When he received this award he said, “This is the best recognition for an educator that anyone could ever have! Thank you for reminding all music teachers that we are not alone in this battle for music to survive and how important it is for music to stay on the daily schedule in our schools. Schools must teach the whole child and exercise both sides of the brain.” His nominator was Michael Brookshire, who knew Bill for 30 years. Bill taught him when he was the percussion instructor for Upper Moreland High School Band.

The second recipient was 83-year-old saxophonist, teacher and mentor Tony Williams. His nominator was Mark Mitchell. In his essay, Mitchell explained that Williams not only introduced him to new techniques of playing saxophone, live performances in front of an audience, and jazz music at the Mount Airy Cultural Center that Williams founded, but he also “inspired me to see the importance and desire to give back through volunteerism, he showed me examples of leadership, and he always stated that he uses music as the vehicle to unlock a young person’s potential.” When Williams was presented the award, he beamed. He later said, “Of all the honors I have received, this captures me the most. I am so amazed to be the one chosen among so many outstanding people standing around me.”

Last year, the winner was cello teacher Jennifer Jie Jin who is the Director of the Honor String Ensemble at Archbishop John Carroll High School, Co-Director of Chamber Strings Summer Music Festival, Vivace Music Competition and Vivace Orchestra. Jin’s nominator was Jessica Zhang, a private cello student who plays cello in the Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra. She not only enhanced her cello skills under the guidance of Jin, she also learned to perform in front of an audience. She said, “Mrs. Jin is a super teacher. My cello skill improved quickly under her mentorship and I was so proud to perform (annually) for a group of seniors. They all looked at me with love, like looking at their grandchild. I suddenly understood why we were here to play.” Jin was honored to be a finalist and totally surprised to receive the grand prize honor. She said, “This honor is a tribute to all music educators who work tirelessly and passionately each and every day. I know that music is more than an interest or hobby. It has a significant impact on all of life as it builds self-esteem, cultural awareness and the desire to achieve.”

The PYO organization is one of the nation’s oldest and most highly respected youth orchestral and college preparatory music education institutions for gifted and talented students. The Ovation Award is endowed by the H.E.L.P.® Foundation, which was established to assist non-profit community-focused endeavors. Gary Frank, CEO of H.E.L.P.® Foundation and LCG, Ltd., and member of the PYO Board of Trustees, is pleased with the legacy of this award. He said, “It is our honor to again endow the Fourth Annual Philadelphia Youth Orchestra Ovation Award, recognizing the finest music teachers in the Delaware Valley. We are delighted to honor these talented individuals who are devoted to educating youth, and we share their inviable passion and commitment to the musical arts.”

Three renowned music organizations with historic ties to the Philadelphia community are partnering with PYO as sponsors of The Ovation Award: Jacobs Music, one of the nation’s most respected piano merchants and the Tri-state region’s exclusive representative for new and authentically restored Steinway & Sons, Yamaha and many other fine pianos, J.W. Pepper, one of the leading sheet music merchants in the world and WRTI, broadcaster of the region’s most comprehensive classical and jazz radio programming. Chris Rinaldi, President of Jacobs Music Company and member of the PYO Board of Trustees, is happy to continue their support of the PYO Ovation Award. He said, “The tremendous life-changing impact of a music education on every facet of a student’s development has long been documented. We are very pleased to have this opportunity to show our appreciation for the invaluable contributions of the many outstanding music teachers who make this possible. Jacobs Music has been honored to support the PYO Ovation Award since its inception; as a new PYO board member, it is especially meaning to me this year.”

For more information and to access the Ovation Award application, visit, or email questions to the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra at

(Photo Credit: PYO Facebook)






SINCE 1853, Steinway & Sons has built the pianos by which all others are judged, and Jacobs Music is proud to celebrate the founding of this iconic American brand and an indelible piece of American musical history by offering multiple musical events throughout the region at each of Jacobs Music’s seven locations.

There will be classical and jazz concerts and workshops for pianists and music educators plus a special screening of the award-winning documentary by Ben Niles: Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037.   

Friday, March 3rd
Whitehall; Music Teacher Workshop with Dr. Patricia Powell @10:00 am

Saturday, March 4th
Cherry Hill; Piano Master Class with Veda Zuponcic 11:00 am
Ephrata; Note By Note Documentary Movie Screening 11:00 am
Ephrata; Steinway Artist Recital, Dr. Eric Fung, pianist 2:00 pm
West Chester; How It’s Made in the USA: Secrets of Steinway 11:00 am
Whitehall; Piano Jazz Workshop with Andy Kahn, pianist 11:00 am
Featuring Steinway’s New Spirio Piano

Sunday, March 5th
Philadelphia; Young Artists of the Delaware Valley Concert 2:00 pm
West Chester; Steinway Artist Recital, Meral Guneyman, pianist 2:00 pm
Willow Grove; Concert featuring Stormin’ Norman Seldin, pianist 2:00 pm
Featuring Steinway’s New Spirio Piano

There is no charge for these events but seating is limited. To RSVP and for more information on each event and the participating artists and educators, please click on each event.

 STEINWAY & SONS was founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway in a Manhattan loft on Varick Street. Over the next thirty years, Henry and his sons developed the modern piano. They built their pianos one at a time, applying skills that have been handed down from master to apprentice, generation after generation, ever since. The Steinway piano became the choice for ninety-eight percent of concertizing artists, none of whom are compensated to endorse the instrument. The Steinway earned a reputation as an investment for the owner in the legacy of future generations. The very first Steinway & Sons patent was granted in 1857, and since that time, the company has been granted more than 125 additional patents, positioning the Steinway as “the piano by which all others are judged” and “the instrument of the immortals.”

Dear Mr. Steinway, I am very happy to have the opportunity of using your pianos

for my concerts. I consider them to be perfect in every way. Faithfully yours,



The company’s latest innovation, the Steinway & Sons Spirio, is the world’s finest high resolution player piano. A masterpiece of craftsmanship, technology and artistry, SPIRIO provides an unrivaled musical experience, indistinguishable from a live performance.

“Incredible, what this piano can do! To sit and hear myself — without playing.

The contrast is amazing; it’s a real performance.”



Every Steinway grand and upright piano is a masterpiece of handcrafted precision and a consummate work of art—painstakingly built by experienced artisans with unending passion for their craft. And today’s Steinways are the best Steinways yet, supported by generations of expertise and state-of-the-art technological advances. The company is known for its legendary grand and upright pianos as well as the new Steinway Spirio, and Steinway-designed Boston and Essex grand and upright pianos, ensuring that buyers will find the right piano for every need and budget.

We at Jacobs Music feel deeply honored and privileged to represent Steinway & Sons, truly an American treasure. We hope that you will join us for the 164th Anniversary Celebration taking place at all Jacobs Music locations, March 3rd, 4th, and 5th. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!


The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Steinway Artist, Jonathan Biss, explore Composers’ late in life works. We are pleased to share this article by Peter Dobrin, which appeared in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pianist Jonathan Biss is one of the creative forces behind “Departure & Discovery: New Directions at the Apex of Creativity.” BENJAMIN EALOVEGA
Pianist Jonathan Biss is one of the creative forces behind “Departure & Discovery: New Directions at the Apex of Creativity.” BENJAMIN EALOVEGA


Departure & Discovery: New Directions at the Apex of Creativity

Concerts at 8 p.m. Thursday and March 6 and 13 at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater, Broad and Spruce Streets. Thursday’s event is preceded by a free panel discussion at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets: $25 each; $10 for students.

Information: or 215-569-8080.

Was it a nightmare, insanity, or death that Schubert meant to evoke in the second movement of his D. 959 Piano Sonata? Who did Beethoven think would ever be able to understand his last piano sonatas, or the Grosse Fuge, Opus 133?

Sharp eyes will notice the late opus numbers on these works, and even sharper ears may detect something they have in common. The concept of “late style” has long been a preoccupation of musicians and writers, and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society is putting its arms around the concept starting Thursday with a monthlong series of concerts, panel discussions, blogs, and podcasts.

“Departure & Discovery: New Directions at the Apex of Creativity” looks at the phenomenon of composers having something special to say at the end of their lives. What that particular something was varied. For some, like Verdi with Falstaff, it was clarification and economy of musical language. Others, like Beethoven, were entering new realms.

Pianist Jonathan Biss, one of the creative forces behind the festival, says that if there was a quality shared, it was the sense that after a lifetime of working with a duty to utility, many composers finally reached a point of being able to say exactly what they wanted to say.

Brahms, Biss says, had been “incredibly burdened by the preoccupation that he should become the next Beethoven.” In the early and middle parts of his career, “you can hear the music and know this is someone who is conscious of doing what was expected of him. And in terms of late pieces, they are first of all no longer concerned with grand structure, but also personal, so willing to be extreme.”

He says that the Opus 118 Klavierstücke — which Biss will play on the second of the festival’s three concerts — “makes no concessions to its audience in terms of wanting to be lovable. It’s incredibly moving, of course, but moving by virtue of Brahms baring his soul. Brahms is an interesting case. He wrote the Opus 111 String Quintet, and then he retired. And everything that came after was a new level of writing purely for his own fulfillment.”

Bach, Britten, Kurtág, Schumann, Gesualdo, Mozart, and Schubert all are represented by a mixing and matching corps of musicians made up of tenor Mark Padmore, violist Hsin-Yun Huang, and the Brentano String Quartet. A panel discussion that includes Harvard University musicologist Christoph Wolff explores the question of late style.

Biss has written a forthcoming Kindle Single that allows listeners to make connections to what he is actually putting into practice as a performer.

“The first time I wondered what it might be like to die, I was 13 years old,” he writes in the essay. “The occasion was not the death of a loved one, or a gruesome news story, or aQuentin Tarantino movie (each of which I had experienced previously), but rather my first encounter with Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 111.”

Biss plays the work Thursday, in the first concert in the series.

Whether or not Schubert knew he was writing his last music when penning the D. 959 Sonata, Biss hears that terrifying second movement as a depiction of “the nothingness that comes with death, but also the terror at not knowing what death is and yet being forced to face it.”

The festival promises to raise more questions than it answers. As for why Schubert ends the piece with the carefree, liberated music he does, Biss says: “I don’t understand it. But I really don’t think I’ve ever not shed a tear when that movement arrives.” 215-854-5611

Pianist Jonathan Biss is one of the creative forces behind “Departure & Discovery: New Directions at the Apex of Creativity.” BENJAMIN EALOVEGA

International Recitalist,Yevgeny Morozov, To Present A Solo Concert for the Greater Princeton Steinway Society on Sunday, February 19, at Jacobs Music of Lawrenceville

Yevgeny Morozov
Yevgeny Morozov, a prize winner in many prestigious international competitions in the U.S. and Europe, will present a musicale for the Greater Princeton Steinway Society.
Sunday, February 19th at 3 p.m.
Jacobs Music
2540 Brunswick Pike (U.S. Route 1)
Lawrenceville NJ
A social hour with refreshments and conversation with Mr. Morozov will follow his performance.

A prize winner in many prestigious international competitions in both the U.S. and Europe, Yevgeny Morozov has been described by the press as a “talented virtuoso concert pianist with the transcendental technique and fine musicianship”

Mr. Morozov made his nationally televised debut at the age of 15 in Kiev, performing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Ukrainian State Symphony Orchestra. He has since appeared in solo and chamber music recitals on such notable stages as Carnegie Hall, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Kimmel Center Concert Hall in Philadelphia, Sprague Memorial Hall at Yale University, Slovak Philharmonic Hall in Bratislava, and the National Opera of Ukraine in Kiev. He has also appeared frequently as a piano soloist with such orchestras as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava, Royal Scottish Academy Symphony Orchestra, and Odessa National Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. 

Mr. Morozov’s numerous awards include a Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe Scholarship Award in London in 1996, a semi-final prize at the Guardian Dublin International Piano Competition in 1997, and the Dorothy Mackenzie Artists Recognition Award in 2001. He is currently serving on the piano faculty at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, where he is completing his doctoral studies. He maintains a teaching studio in East Windsor.

Scotland’s Courier Review described Mr. Morozov’s technique as “stunning, beautifully weighted and eloquent. His Prokofiev’s Sonata was an account of color and fire…with the formidable technical demands apparently presenting no problems for this pianist.”

His Steinway Society program will feature works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin.

Admission $18 individual nonmembers, $10 full time students.



by Eleanor James, President, Tri-County Concerts,  February 9, 2017

Join us on Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m. at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA for pianist Fei-Fei Dong’s Philadelphia area debut.  A Van Cliburn finalist who was featured in the PBS documentary Virtuosity about the 2013 competition, Fei-Fei Dong has been praised for her “natural musicality and beauty of tone” (Cincinnati Enquirer) and her “tremendous technical facility” (Palm Beach Arts Paper).  For our concert, Fei-Fei will perform Mozart’s Piano Sonata No. 18, Schumann’s Papillons, Liebermann’s Gargoyles, and Chopin’s 24 Preludes, Op. 28.  In my interview with her, Fei-Fei talked about her program, as well as her background and her future.

EJ:  What first sparked your interest in playing the piano?

FFD: My elder sister started on the piano first. The piano teacher used to come to our home to give her lessons every week. As my parents recall, during her lessons I was always trying to peek behind the door. The teacher saw me doing that and was so kind that he started to give me free 20-minute lessons after my sister’s. After a few times, my parents started paying him for his graciousness, which marked an official start to my musical journey.

EJ:  Who do you consider to be most important in your development as an artist?  Why was that person or teacher important?

FFD: I’m very fortunate to have studied with my two teachers–Mr. Ying-Hong Chiu in China, with whom I studied for 10 years before coming to the U.S., and my mentor at Juilliard, Ms. Veda Kaplinsky. When I was taking lessons from them, they were the people who I saw the most regularly besides family. They influenced me profoundly not only with their musicianship and artistry but also with their immense personality, integrity, discipline, and charisma. They have constantly inspired me to think that music goes so much beyond the staves on the sheet in front of me. Playing the piano is not just playing the notes, it’s playing who I am. Like a mirror, music reflects what’s inside of me.

EJ:  When did you come to the United States?  What differences and/or similarities do you find between life in China and in the U.S.A.?

FFD: I came to the US in 2008 to go to Juilliard. Surprisingly, I did not experience much of a culture shock. I often imagine that if I had gone to a university instead of a conservatory, I might have had more difficulties fitting in. The language spoken at Juilliard was music, which helped ease the language barriers.  Also, New York and ShenZhen, my hometown in China across from Hong Kong, share amazing similarities. Both are typical immigrant cities; both are culturally referred to as melting pots; both have countless high-rises and extremely fast pace.

EJ:  You were a finalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and were featured in the PBS documentary Virtuosity about it.  What was special about the Cliburn and what did you take away from it?

FFD:  The competition was exceptionally rigorous with extremely high pressure and a demand of large repertoire. The competition offered an authentic taste of what it is like to be a full-time performing artist. As part of the prize, the competition provides a three-year concert management to its six finalists.  It has since opened so many doors for me and my performing career has begun to blossom. After two years working with the Cliburn Foundation, I won the Concert Artists Guild competition in New York and have since joined its roster.

EJ:  Who is your favorite composer and why?

FFD:  For a long time, Chopin has been my all-time favorite composer. His music has such a special place, I believe, in all pianists’ hearts. He devoted his life writing almost only piano music. The inexhaustible poetry and beauty in Chopin’s music speaks to my heart and never ceases to move me in a deep way.

EJ:  Could you tell us about the repertoire you have chosen for this concert?  What makes these pieces meaningful to you?  How do you see the pieces working with each other?

FFD:  I always like to include a variety of styles in my programs. If I were to pick one key word for this program, I’d say it’s “journey.” In the first half, we will take a brief journey through the music history from Mozart’s Classical time, to the 19th Century Romanticism with an exploration of the beautiful Papillons, and finally to the American modern day Gargoyles by Lowell Liebermann. Chopin’s complete cycle of 24 preludes, planned for the second half, were written during his vacation in Majorca, Spain. I see these twenty-four miniatures as musical diaries of the composer. This masterful set offers us an opportunity to embark on a journey to live through some of Chopin’s days and to steep ourselves in the abundant poetry and sweeping emotions.

EJ:  Besides performing as a soloist, you are a member of the Aletheia Piano Trio.  Tell us a little about the trio. What do you enjoy about chamber music? 

FFD:  The other two members of the trio are violinist Francesca dePasquale and cellist Juliette Herlin. We started to play together four years ago when we met at Juilliard. Aletheia is the Greek concept of sincerity, which celebrates our approach to realizing musical works, as well as our connection with each other and our audiences.

I am in love with the incredible wealth of chamber music repertoire. Playing chamber music brings me tremendous joy, infinite inspiration, and new discoveries that could not be found elsewhere. To me, the process of rehearsing and performing a chamber piece is microcosmic of real life – it’s about bonding with the other players on both artistic and human levels, listening and responding to each other with immense love and care, making challenges and compromises, sharing ideas and unifying conflicting voices into one, and looking for constant inspiration from what surrounds me. If I may contend that music is a most idealistic form of self-expression, then playing chamber music, to me, is an exchange of our deepest selves among the group; it’s an intrinsic communication from heart to heart, from soul to soul.

EJ:  What are you looking forward to now, in the immediate future and long term?

FFD:  I look forward to seeing many of you next week! 🙂

For the foreseeable future, as I have recently been selected as one of the top ten young Chinese pianists to tour in China in the upcoming season, I tremendously look forward to returning to perform in my motherland. In the long term, I believe that the quest and search for a voice that’s true and unique to the artist is a constant quest and a life-long devotion. I firmly hope and strive to become the best musician I can be. One of my goals is to play in all fifty states in the U.S. and on all continents; I’m half way there!  I’m grateful that music is taking me around the globe to see many beautiful parts of the world and to share my love of music with the world. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to live the dream. I look forward to many more musical encounters and adventures. I also hope to do more outreaches bringing classical music not only to the concert halls but also to communities where people have rarer exposure.

EJ:  Thank you so much for talking with me today.  We very much look forward to your concert on our Emerging Artists Series.

Sunday, February 19 at 3 p.m. at Eastern University’s McInnis Auditorium, St. Davids



From the launch of the All- Steinway Campaign to its momentous completion, Jacobs Music is very pleased to have partnered with Bucks County Community College on its quest to attain this prestigious designation, which represents the College’s uncompromising commitment to musical excellence.  Please enjoy the following article from the Bucks Local News:

MUSIC TO THE EARS: Bucks County Community College earns prestigious ‘All-Steinway School’ designation


image005 (5) Digital First Media

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> The Bucks County Community College, whose nationally accredited music program has been launching creative careers for more than 50 years, has been designated an All-Steinway School by the legendary American piano maker, college officials announced.

Bucks earned the designation by acquiring 10 Steinway pianos over the last several years, making it the only community college in the nation that is both an All-Steinway School and an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

“Our goal is to seek excellence in everything we do,” said Stephanie Shanblatt, Ph.D, president of the public, two-year college. “Partnering with Steinway and Sons in this endeavor continues our college along that path.”

Professor Edward Ferdinand, who trained on Steinways at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School, launched the effort in 2009.

“I am thrilled that this project I began eight years ago has become a reality for our students and faculty,” said Ferdinand, who teaches piano, music fundamentals, and ear training at Bucks.

Ferdinand worked with the Bucks County Community College Foundation to write grants and launch a fundraising campaign to make Bucks an All-Steinway School. In addition, Professor Steven Bresnen, DMA, the head of the Music Area of the Arts Department, and Department Dean John Mathews lent their support.

“By investing in Steinway pianos – high-quality instruments that are prized for their superior craftsmanship and design, reliability, longevity, and persistent value over time –

Bucks has provided its music program, students, and faculty with a product of exceptional pragmatic and artistic merit,” said Bresnen.

“Having world-class pianos in virtually all of our teaching spaces will benefit every student in the pursuit of musical and academic success,” Bresnen added. “We are most appreciative of the college’s commitment to excellence.”

“Bucks’ All-Steinway School status signifies the substantial investment that the institution has made in its generous support of the Arts Department and in our current and future students,” noted Mathews.

To commemorate this milestone, the college invites the public to “Unrivaled Sound: A Celebration of Steinway Excellence” at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 6 in the Kevin and Sima Zlock Performing Arts Center on the Newtown campus. The concert, which is free and open to the public, features music students, faculty, ensembles, alumni, and guests performing on a special Steinway piano in celebration.

The concert takes place during the college’s annual Arts at Bucks celebration. Although admission is free, ticket reservations are requested at The Zlock Performing Arts Center is located inside the Gateway Center on the campus at 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., where there is ample free parking.

The Music Area of the Arts Department offers a two-year associate degree in music, designed to prepare students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. To learn more, visit, email or call 215-968-8425.


3 Awful Things That Happen When Children are Denied Daily Arts Instruction in Schools

By NAfME Member Tony Mazzocchi

Article originally posted on The Music Parents’ Guide


Regardless of the social and economic circumstances of our time, the arts have an essential place in the balanced education of our children.

In all the education discussion I hear and the literature I read, the arts are consistently given little to no attention. At the same time, a large portion of our population is tired of having to plead to make the case for arts in schools. We all want an education system that delivers a broad-based curriculum that takes into account the continuing and varied needs of our children — not a system obsessed with academic learning alone.


Tim Pannell/Fuse | Thinkstock

Tim Pannell/Fuse | Thinkstock


While many in our world still think that the arts are for a chosen few and that “artists” are simply “born that way”, I believe that our narrowed thinking of creativity is more due to a lack of contact time of creative subjects in schools. To get people to think about the issue of arts in a child’s school life, I start with a basic question:  What would happen if any subject was delivered only once a week in school?  And doesn’t that mean that there aren’t more creative people in our world simply because we do not cultivate that creativity in school on a daily basis?

Here are three awful truths about the adverse effects from a lack of arts in schools has on our children:

A vicious cycle of killing creativity continues.  How would our children develop — and therefore be perceived — if they had math, english, or science only one day a week for a half hour? Would they be seen as “dumb” by the time they were in middle school? The answer is, of course, yes — and that is exactly what happens in regards to creativity. Creativity is, in fact, taught out of us in school due to little or no contact time, so by the time children are teenagers, they often think of themselves as “not creative”. I’m not necessarily talking about children becoming artists, dancers, or musicians; I am talking about empowering a generation to be non-conforming, imaginative people.

The inequality with arts instruction exists simply because of the school schedule. Blame it on time or blame it on money, the truth is clear: when you deliver one day of arts instruction in schools, you are leaving it to the family (or lack thereof) to continue to support the child’s instruction at home. We all know this leads to severely uneven results, and most kids will become frustrated and quit. This attrition is not due to the myth that only a few children are artistic, rather that there’s a shortage of time spent in the arts during the school day. If arts instruction is delivered five days a week, we would not only see more children realize their true passions, we would see a new generation of great, creative, and innovative thinkers emerge from the public school system.

Children participating in and learning through the arts, especially in approaching cultural studies across the curriculum, is more powerful than any textbook can muster.

The Achievement Gap widens. When students come from families with financial means, they have the ability to overcome unbalanced school curricula by spending money on tutoring, lessons, summer opportunities, etc.  It’s generations of financially disadvantaged youth — mostly students of color — who will never reach their potential as creators and innovators and who will never realize their passion due to a narrowed curriculum in schools.

A lack of the arts also has a profound effect on multi-cultural schools. The arts provide a profound vehicle for schools to take into account their own cultural settings and embrace them by developing “arts festivals” and other innovative cultural exchanges. Children participating in and learning through the arts, especially in approaching cultural studies across the curriculum, is more powerful than any textbook can muster.

Another generation grows up believing people are born creative. All the brain research in the world will not convince someone who has grown up without rich arts instruction that they really are talented and have simply missed the boat for reasons beyond their control. This “lost” generation will find it increasingly difficult to navigate the ever-changing workforce; they will become teachers and school leaders who aren’t creative and who don’t value arts in their schools; and they will have children who they believe are not artistic simply because of genetics — a perpetuation of a damaging falsehood that we must bring to a halt.

Does this all sound too dramatic? It’s not. If we stop a moment to reflect on our school curricula, we actually will see that our loss of creativity in schools has been slow and subtle — a cut here and a cut there, and here we are: barely hanging on to the arts in our child’s school day.

In order for our children to meet the profound challenges and changes in our world, our schools must embrace the power, values, and processes of teaching and learning that the arts provide in our education system. To value the arts in school curricula is to say loud and clear that the practice and appreciation of the arts will benefit our children — and therefore our society — in ways that are immeasurable by our current standards, yet more powerful than anything we have collectively experienced before.


About the author:

2014; CART; CALI; faculty; music, Anthony Mazzocchi, Grammy Nominee

GRAMMY® nominated music educator, NAfME member Anthony Mazzocchi has performed as a trombonist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New Jersey Symphony, San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera, Riverside Symphony, Key West Symphony, in various Broadway shows and numerous recordings and movie soundtracks.

Tony has served as faculty or as a frequent guest lecturer at The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, New York University, and Mannes College of Music. He has taught students from K-college, and has served as a district Director of Fine and Performing Arts in theSouth Orange/Maplewood School District.  Tony has been a consultant for arts organizations throughout the NY/NJ area.

Tony blogs about how to be a successful music parent at The Music Parent’s Guide, and the book by the same name can be bought here. He has written a method book for music teachers called The Band Director’s Method Book Companion.

Tony is currently Associate Director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University in New Jersey.  He is also Executive Director of the Kinhaven Summer Music School in Weston, Vermont. Tony is a clinician for Courtois – Paris.

Brendan McAloon, Marketing and Events Coordinator, June 7, 2016. © National Association for Music Education (

PLAYING THE PIANO KEEPS YOU YOUNG! An Interesting Article from the Daily Mail:

Want to stay alert as you get older? Learn how to play the piano, scientists say

  • Reaction times are known to decrease in old age due to a breakdown in the brain
  • But learning to play an instrument could help keep adults alert, scientists found
  • Experts discovered musicians have faster reaction times than non-musicians

Pensioners should revive their youthful dreams of becoming a rockstar, new research suggests.

Learning to play an instrument could prevent their brain succumbing to the effects of old age, scientists claim.

A study found musicians have faster reaction times than those who are unable to play the piano, drums or a guitar.

Alertness is known to decrease in old age, but experts say picking up the skill could keep their brain healthy.

Learning to play an instrument could prevent their brain succumbing to the effects of old age, scientists claim

Researchers from the University de Montreal, Canada, decided to see if there was a way to prevent the negative effects of aging on the brain.

They compared the reaction times of 16 musicians and 19 non-musicians.

The musicians had started playing between the ages of three and 10, and had at least seven years of training.

There were eight pianists, three violinists, two percussionists, one double bassist, one harpist and one viola player.

All but one also mastered a second instrument, or more.

They were sat in a quiet, well-lit room with one hand on a computer mouse and their index finger of the other on a vibro-tactile device – a small box that vibrated intermittently.

A study found musicians have faster reaction times - which decline in old age because of a breakdown in natural brain processes

They were told to click on the mouse when they heard a sound from the speakers in front of them – known as audio stimulation.

While they were also asked to click when the box vibrated – referred to as tactile stimulation.

And when both happened, it was called audio-tactile. Each stimulation happened 180 times.

The subjects wore earplugs to mask any buzzing ‘audio clues’ when the box vibrated, in the study published in the journal Brain and Cognition.

They found significantly faster reactions times with musicians for all three sensory stimulations.

Study author Simon Landry said the findings suggest that long-term musical training keeps people alert.

He added: ‘The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times.

‘As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower.

‘So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them.’

A Very Interesting Interview with Mitsuko Uchida

The Telegraph
Mitsuko Uchida

Clustered at the very top of the piano-playing profession are a handful of players everyone agrees are supreme. Mitsuko Uchida is one of them. She has a limpid perfection of touch and phrasing, and a way of creating a unique sound-world for each composer.

Other musicians have nothing but praise for her. Tenor Ian Bostridge marvels at how she can find the thread that ties a set of songs into a whole. Her long-time colleague, pianist Richard Goode, is struck by the way she combines that iconic perfection of sound with spontaneity.
Mitsuko Uchida

Uchida doesn’t like to give interviews, yet when we meet she’s all smiles and offers me a cup of her favourite very expensive brand of roasted brown Japanese tea. “Very healthy, no caffeine,” she says. I ask if Japanese food in general is healthier. “That’s a complete myth,” she says scornfully. “Everything is packed with monosodium glutamate. After a few weeks there I get sick.”

Young pianists are pushed, pushed, pushed – there is such pressure to be a star instantly

Uchida has to be careful about her health, since persistent vertigo caused by an inner ear problem left her unable to play for months. “I had to abandon my Beethoven Diabelli recording,” she says. “That’s now scheduled for 2020.” Why such a long wait? “Because now I am busy working on Schubert sonatas, and that’s a completely different sound-world. You cannot go instantly from one to another.”

Mitsuko Uchida

After a career of more than 40 years, Uchida is still at the top of her game, which she ascribes to her slow rise. “Nowadays young pianists are pushed, pushed, pushed,” she says. “There is such pressure to be a star instantly. Everything has to be instant, because of this social… social… what do you call it?” Social media? “Yes exactly. They think this is something to do with “sharing”, telling the world what they had for breakfast. That is not sharing, that is advertising. Sharing is what happens in a room with a few people at a concert, everyone focused on something they love.”

Playing Mozart on a quiet antique piano in a big space like Wigmore Hall? You must be bloody joking!

The neatness of the house, and ornaments bearing Japanese script on shelves, suggest that Uchida still feels a cultural loyalty to Japan. But she resists my suggestion that “deep down” she is Japanese. “I did not choose to be born in Japan,” she says very firmly. “Of course, I love to speak the language, and I love to visit, but it is not where I choose to be. I did not choose Vienna either, but I loved it,” she adds, referring to the city she lived in from the age of 12 when her father was appointed Japanese ambassador there. Her talent was spotted immediately, and she became a pupil at the Vienna Academy of Music.

But even when she won a competition at the age of 15, Uchida still wasn’t sure that she wanted to be a pianist. “My teacher was furious with me for saying so, but I felt it was the only honest thing to say, because I did not know what it meant to be a pianist.

“It took years to understand that it is not enough to play the piano – it is a task for a lifetime, to understand how music really works. Also I was not so interested in the piano. I loved the opera. Oh my God, it was so great to be in Vienna is those days, and hear singers like Mirella Freni!” she says, looking up as if receiving a beatific vision. “In fact none of my musical gods were pianists. I loved the violinist Joseph Szigeti, when I heard his recordings of Mozart I was moved to tears. And the cellist Casals. The great piano God in Vienna at that time was Wilhelm Backhaus. I didn’t like him at all, but you couldn’t say that.”

When her father left Vienna, the 16-year-old Uchida stayed on alone to study. Courage is one thing she has never been short of, and that paradoxical combination of stubborn pride and humility, a quality she shares with one of her musical heroes, Arnold Schoenberg. Five years later Uchida won the Beethoven competition in Vienna, and six years later second prize at the Leeds competition.

Mitsuko Uchida

But even then she wasn’t sure of her talent. “You have to have your own sound,” she says. “Think of the pianist Rudolph Serkin. He could play on the worst upright with strings missing, and within a few bars you would know it was him. He was the pianist who really brought tears to my eyes. And that is why I am so happy to be associated with Marlboro,” she says, referring to the famous music summer school for gifted young musicians in Vermont, co-founded by Serkin in 1951. Uchida became co-artistic director of the school with Goode in 1999, and since his retirement in 2013 has run it single-handedly. “I love it so much, but it is such hard work! I have to be mother to them all,” she says.

So when does Uchida think she found her own sound? “When I was in my late twenties,” she says. “I switched on Radio 3, heard someone playing the piano and I thought, ‘My God, that’s me!” By now she was living in London, which she still adores. “I think of myself as a Londoner,” she says, “and I absolutely love the language – it has a special kind of music, more fluid than German, which I also love.” What attracts her to England? “The same reason that Isaiah Berlin liked it. You can be yourself, you don’t have to conform, there’s a great intellectual tolerance.”

The affection has been returned. Uchida was a made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2009, some years after she became a citizen. She’s built a self-contained, orderly life, centred around her obsessive need to be playing all the time. “My back and shoulders get tired, but my mind and fingers, never,” she says. In the adjoining house is Robert Cooper, her partner of more than 25 years and a special adviser to the EU on Burma. Over the road is the mews house where her three Steinways live, plus the occasional short-term piano tenant, when Uchida decides it’s time to try out an 18th-century Square piano or a Viennese Graf.

Mitsuko Uchida

The illness and death of close friends and of revered colleagues Pierre Boulez and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, made 2016 a difficult year for Uchida. “It made me reflect on things. I have reached the age where I can step back. I don’t have to run around giving 120 concerts a year – 50 is enough for me. I don’t need things; I don’t need a big house in the country. The trouble with possessions is they end up possessing you, if you are not careful.”

Her latest project is a partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with which she recently played Mozart piano concertos in London as a curtain-raiser to her three-year residency at the Southbank Centre. Mozart has always been dear to her, and she has firm views about the fashion for playing him on antique 18th-century pianos. “Well of course I love to play these old instruments in private. But do you think I am going to play one of these old instruments, which are so quiet, in a big space like Wigmore Hall? You must be bloody joking!”

She’s also taking time off, but to do what, she isn’t sure. “I might study some Beethoven sonatas,” she says. When I express surprise that she doesn’t learn a new language or travel, she says this isn’t an option. “I can never leave my passion behind. Of course, if I take an interest in other things … this is only a pleasant diversion. For me music is all-consuming.”