May, 2010

The azaleas have bloomed, roses are flourishing, and kids are wearing flip-flops to lessons – which means summer is fast approaching! We thank all our wonderful MusicLink teachers for bringing music and mentoring to our special kids. We know they enjoyed performing in studio and school recitals. Thanks to all of you!

Each year we ask our MusicLink teachers to reflect on progress through student evaluations before kids head off for vacation. With 18 years under our belt, these evaluations have added up and we plan to start research on findings these forms will provide on student commitment, progress, and trends in learning music over many years of training. We will follow up with interviews of past and current students who have studied over 5 years, along with their parents and teachers to see what type of impact MusicLink lessons have made in their lives. It will be eye-opening to see how many of our “kids” have grown into responsible adults.

MusicLink Playathons are a BLAST!

Minnesota Work Crew - Farthest to Closest:
Patsy Bode, Sue Krebsbach, Sue Wege, Jean Hendrickson

Our first National Playathon Weekend was a success, with events in Minneapolis, Virginia, and Tucson. Contributions of donors who sponsored young performers totaled over $8,500. Not only were these events successful fund-raisers, but they were just downright FUN for all concerned. Students had a chance to play at a mall on a grand piano with no judges – just for FUN. Teachers joined in to keep the music going, and passer-bys showed genuine interest by stopping to listen and talking to students and parents. Kids realized their performing can help other kids learn to play and perform through MusicLink lessons. Tote bags or back packs were given to students raising $25 or more and IPOD shuffles were awarded to students raising over $250 for MusicLink. Photos in this eLINK feature students who raised over $100 for MusicLink in these events. Playathons can take place anywhere and anytime with a bit of planning and interest from any community or music organization. Performers can be young to adult, rock to classical, just making music for others to enjoy and help our kids. A great summer project. Interested? Download ideas from our homepage or contact Sue Wege for planning details and forms:

MINNESOTA: Sue Wege, MusicLink Midwest Regional Coordinator worked with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association to host a two day event at the Mall of America, which featured Miss Minnesota as emcee and singing to the crowd. Schmitt Music provided a grand piano for the event. Thirty two teachers entered 112 students in the Playathon with 17 students raising over $100. Justin Lees, Sydney Ruhland and Jenifer Meles were awarded IPOD shuffles and Kristin Brynsvold received a Schmitt Music gift card for their extra efforts in raising $250 or more. The event raised $5,303 for the MusicLink Foundation.

Jenifer Meles and teacher

Justin Lees

Sydney Ruhland

Martha Smith

VIRGINIA: Executive Director Joanne Haroutounian and board member, teacher, coordinator Martha Smith worked with the Northern Virginia Music Teachers Association to bring together 60 students representing 16 studios for a Playathon at the Tysons Corner Center in Vienna VA, with the Steinway Gallery providing a grand piano for the event. The event even featured Chinese harps, which captivated the mall audience. Students and teachers performed all day Sunday, May 2nd, bringing over $3,200 in sponsored donations for the MusicLink Foundation. Kate Priester was awarded an IPOD shuffle for raising over $250 from her sponsors for her performance.

Chinese Harps

TUCSON: A MusicLink Benefit Recital was held in the Steinway Gallery in Tucson, featuring students of Nancy Ostramencki and Mika Inouye. Our thanks to Phil Renaud for renting the space for this recital. The $115 in funds raised by the recital will benefit Arizona MusicLink students.

Nancy Ostromencki and Carly Brown

MusicLink Partners with
Early Childhood Programs

We are thrilled to expand our partnership organizations to include early childhood programs to benefit teachers who are reaching out to youngsters through reduced cost or full scholarship lessons in their studios. We have started adding a number of early childhood teachers to our roster of MusicLink teachers in the last month, thanks to these partnerships. Musikgarten will offer family materials to MusicLink students that are receiving early childhood instruction in Musikgarten classes taught by a MusicLink teacher. Music Together offers 20% off the cost of one-day or three-day teacher training workshops. We anticipate lots of “little music makers” joining our MusicLink family through these partnerships.

MusicLink Networking News

FACEBOOK: We invite you and your colleagues, family, and students to become “friends” on our MusicLink Facebook page. We try to keep updated with new videos and photos of MusicLink students in action. If you have any to add to our Facebook page, please contact Nancy Carter,

MINN POST: The Minn Post has featured MusicLink in connection with our new partnership with Newell Hill’s Keys 4/4 Kids program, which provides pianos for MusicLink students in the Minnesota area. Click the link below to read all about it.

Keys 4/4 Kids Team - Left to Right:
Dave Erb, Dr. Dennis Walston, John Work, Newell Hill

Minn Post Article 1

A second Minn Post article features a very talented MusicLink family of string musicians – Alastair , Imala, and Nygel Witherspoon of Minneapolis, MN. These students study with Lucia May and David Holmes. They have received string instruments and camp scholarships from MusicLink to help support their growing talents. Click the link below for the full story:

Minn Post Article 2

MusicLink Alumni

Every so often, we wonder what happens to MusicLink students who have moved out of the program because of family circumstances, moving to another state, etc. We were pleased to read this inspiring story in the Washington Post, which features Mario Bonds, a blind George Mason University graduate who found strength in life through his musical talents. He began lessons years ago working with a blind MusicLink teacher who just happened to be a graduate student at George Mason University.

Mario graduating from GMU

Michelle Weill, Kara Benham, Mario Bonds

Washington Post Article

MusicLink Teachers & Coordinators of
Distinction - 10 Years of Service

The strength of our national MusicLink organization relies on the devotion of its teachers and coordinators. We currently have over 30 teachers or coordinators who have devoted over 10 years to the program. We have over 50 teachers or coordinators who have been in the program 5 years or more. Their stories explain their rationale for being part of our MusicLink professional “family.”

Carole Gauthier and Emily Gallagher

MD: Carole Gauthier: I began teaching the Gallagher girls in 1998. Bridey was in third grade and her sister, Katelyn, was in fifth grade. They each studied piano with me until they graduate high school and went on to college. In 2001, the twins, Clare and Colleen begin lessons. For a number of years all four Gallagher girls studied piano. Colleen took lesson for a few years. Clare, who began lessons in fourth grade, is graduating from high school this year. They have all been wonderful students and very musical performers. I have seen the "Gallagirls" grow up to be fine young ladies as well as gifted pianists. It is sad to see them leave but then there is Emily Gallagher, who began lessons in 2006, in the first grade. She is following in the tradition of her sisters. She is a great student, eager to learn and to do well. This year she won first place in the Carroll County Music Teachers Association Scholarship Competition. The girls come from a family of nine who have mostly been home schooled. Their parents who are both very musical, have been active in our community for many years. It has been a blessing to teach this lovely family.

MN: Sr. Virginia Houske NCTM: MusicLink is a wonderful idea and I am happy to be a part of it. I am very glad that other teachers are joining because I believe that music education is a ministry, not a business. As a Benedictine Sister, I have always taken a few qualified students for reduced fees because I believe that music lessons are for everyone who really wants lessons. I am also proud to call myself a Suzuki teacher because Suzuki philosophy (“talent is not inborn but every child acquires musical ability through experience and repetition”) is in harmony with MusicLInk.

VA: Martha Smith NCTM (teacher, coordinator, board member): “Teaching MusicLink students enables me to convey the musical heritage I received growing up to a new generation of eager learners. Accepting less than half my usual rate for MusicLink students reminds me of all the teachers who were generous with me. I love seeing students discover the joy of making music. As they learn skills and pieces and perform in public, their confidence in other areas grows significantly. Among my former MusicLink students are an epidemiologist, an architecture student and a nurse—all of whom still play the piano. As local instrument coordinator for MusicLink, it has been my privilege to place almost forty donated pianos into the homes of MusicLink students.

WA: Marcia Wilke (teacher, coordinator): Reasons I am a MusicLink teacher: To help spread the love of music to those who are talented but can’t afford to take private lessons; to see the determination to learn a new concept or physical movement; to see the joy on a child’s face when they hear the beauty of music as it reaches his/her soul. I am delighted when I receive a registration form for a new ML student, knowing that another child will have the joy of making music!”

Playathon Students Raising $100 or More

Brianna Vossen

Emma Spence and
Jacqua Yeomans

Mary Jo Daisin

Kristin Brynsvold

Matt Rockwell and Peggy Newhall

Nina Verduzco

Bryce Goodwin

Orestes Hadjistamoulou

Kaitlin Yang

Laura Meissner

Gabby Bulask

Wesley Poole and Lai Lan Ko

Michelle Bergh