February, 2008

MusicLink would not exist without the dedication of our wonderful teachers who provide hours of instruction each year to MusicLink students on partial to full scholarship. They choose to be part of MusicLink to bring music into the lives of deserving students. We receive "thank you" calls from them for our role in linking them with these very special students, like the students featured in this issue. Together, we "create musicians, one student at a time."

The MusicLink Foundation thanks the many donors who gave to our mail campaign in December. As we head towards our camp scholarship and grass roots/teacher reimbursement grant season, we hope to raise funding as well as spread the word about MusicLink through a simple "charity badge" widget campaign. You can place the charity badge in this issue in any blog or website of people who share interest in bringing music lessons to student in need. Donations are a click away and another click can place this badge on your own personal blog or home page. A simple way to help bring lessons to hundreds more kids this year. Try it!

MusicLink Student Wins Scholarship from Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Vanessa Woodard, a 12-year-old MusicLink student of Brandy Pancoast of Colville, Washington, is our second recipient of this year's Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar Award. In her own words:

After weeks gathering and compiling information to complete the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars application, the foundation scheduled a phone interview. "I was so nervous, I fumbled for answers and thought for sure I bombed the interview and any chance of being chosen." Months later, she received a large large, stuffed envelope. "My mom opened the parcel and read the enclosed letter to me. My mom started screaming, 'You got the scholarship; you were chosen as a Young Scholar!' I couldn't believe I had actually been chosen out of all those applicants," Vanessa immediately e-mailed her friends and posted it on Facebook. She found herself wondering "...what opportunities were awaiting me?" Vanessa has studied piano with Brandy Pancoast for 5 years. "I love the piano. I play whenever I get the chance; it is so relaxing and peaceful. There are so many, many, many pieces I am longing to learn. Brandy Pancoast said, "I am thrilled for Vanessa. She is the type of student who works extremely hard and you are excited when that effort is recognized and rewarded. This scholarship will open up many possibilities for her that would not have been possible without the extra financial help. This is a wonderful gift for her."

MusicLink Receives Grant
from MTNA Foundation

The MTNA Foundation Fund Development Committee awarded the MusicLink Foundation a grant of $5000 to develop a new Student Showcase CD and revise its current promotional DVD. The purpose of the grant is to assist in reaching the next level of major support from donors, businesses, and foundations.

Earth Wind and Fire Guitar Auctions

We are thrilled to be one of three charities supported by Earth Wind and Fire. We have auctioned a total of six guitars autographed by the band on EBay that raised over $8,000 for MusicLink. The guitars were donated by the Gibson Foundation.

Giving Back Through MusicLink

Without the luxury of piano lessons, my first public performance was at the 5th grade talent show where I played "Valse Sentimentale," a beautiful Chopin-like waltz by George Dudley Martin, and "The Old Piano Roll Blues." As a result of this small town public exposure, my parents somehow had to find money for piano lessons. I learned fast and excelled quickly, earning a piano scholarship to the University of Idaho. Once away at college, I turned from my natural talent and love of piano because I wanted desperately to be financially successful, not yet fully understanding that the field of music was much broader than my young mind could fathom. I stayed active in music throughout my adult life, including teaching part time for personal enjoyment.

After a full and satisfying career in Corporate Accounting, I decided to teach piano full time. I quickly had more students than could fit into a full time schedule. I never forgot my upbringing and saw myself in my students when finances were an issue, and wanted to offer relief to families who had had trouble paying throughout the year.

The real test for me came when two very talented sisters, Stephanie and Emily Duong, underwent more than anyone should have to endure, with both parents incurably ill, significant financial problems, and the children needing to rotate through other relatives' homes for adequate care. Although I sometimes questioned my decision while I was driving to teach them in their relatives' homes, often commuting for two hours as they had no transportation, I know my sacrifice and volunteerism in teaching them over the last 5 years has been truly worth it. They love learning and love music, and that is a lifelong gift - for them and for me.

At an annual MTAC convention, I was thrilled to discover MusicLink Foundation whose mission is to work with professional teachers to provide lessons to financially disadvantaged children. This resonated deeply within me. Through MusicLink, I found out about the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship and applied for Stephanie, whose family so desperately needed the help. We learned in November 2007 that Stephanie won the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholars Award, This scholarship will pay for her piano lessons throughout her high school years and provide individualized mentoring to give her the life and opportunities she deserves.

Additionally, MusicLink has generously supplied violins for my students who were intensely interested in studying violin. In order to help fund these additional lessons for my students, I joined in as a student too! We have been taking group violin lessons together with another MusicLink teacher, which has been a tremendous amount of fun for us all and gives us yet another reason to be thankful for MusicLink.

Stephanie continually reminds me that she wants to pay me back for everything when she grows up. I simply respond: "After you've grown up and are financially successful, and we know you will be, your job is to be ready when someone wants to learn piano but cannot afford it. That's how you can pay me back."

      -- Nancy Buck - Corona, California


MusicLink would like to recognize the following teachers who for five years or more have dedicated their time and talents to instruct deserving students.

Coila Robinson graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Music in Choral Music with Secondary Education Option. Along with vocal and choral studies, she studied piano with Irving Wasserman. Coila joined Utah Music Teachers Association (UMTA) and Music Teachers National Association in 1973, and has been active through the years. She served as President of the Walla Walla, Washington, MTA chapter for three years and has held several UMTA positions, including state historian during which she helped compile Through the Years, a 50 Year History, published in 2006. Coila belongs to National Federations of Music Clubs and the International Association for Jazz Education. She was a UMTA annual conference presenter in 2001 on seasonal and ensemble music. Coila is currently a church choir director. Other interests include various forms of needlework, quilting, family history, photography and reading. She and her husband love to travel, and Coila has thus far visited 35 states and territories of the USA, and two provinces of Canada, taking pictures and compiling scrapbooks of their travels.

Solveig Englund

"The reason I enjoy teaching through MusicLink is that it makes music lessons available to everyone. I have taught four MusicLink students over the years and have learned a lot from them -- everything from finding time in a challenging schedule to practice to practicing on an instrument that had challenges of its own. My students and their parents have been so appreciative of what they are receiving and that has kept me motivated. It's a wonderful program."

MusicLink Applauds the
Oregon Music Teachers Association

The Oregon Music Teachers Association celebrated its 10-year affiliation with MusicLink by recognizing and honoring our Oregon MusicLink teachers and coordinators at the OMTA Portland District meeting in May 2007. Each teacher was presented with a certificate for their dedicated years of service to the program. Coordinators Lisa Marsh and Mary Hulme have served as coordinators since 1997 -- the beginning of MusicLink's national program.

OMTA Teachers

OMTA Coordinators

New Business Partners

Support from local music dealers helps provide instruments, music, and discounts for MusicLink teachers and students. We welcome the following new business partners to MusicLink:

Keys to Imagination (MN), Santa Monica and Culver City Music Centers (CA), Heirloom Piano Co. (UT), Jacobs Music (PA), Piano Trends (IL), Adams Music (CA) and the Old Piano Shop (IN).

Paul Fernandez and
Bethany Rubin, LA MusicLink Coordinator

Tim and Bobbi Paul, Marie Ann Vos,
Crystal Lake, IL, MusicLink Coordinator

Jack Kent Cooke
Young Scholar Deadline

Do you know of a talented 7TH GRADER in financial need who may qualify for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Scholar Award? Students do not have to be enrolled in MusicLink but must meet the JKC qualifications.

Contact Jennifer Kitchin
for details or log onto

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