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2011 CSSA Winter Workshop


The CSSA Winter Workshop which took place on the 28th and 29th of January at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had a great turn out.  Parents seemed to really embrace this opportunity to make music with their children. The students were immersed in musical classes; masterclasses for advanced students, group classes, Orff, Drama, percussion classes and a new and exciting opportunity to jam with a Latin band. There were classes offered for every age and skill level.

Masterclasses with Edmond Agopian, Joanne Melvin, Murray Visscher, and Diana Nuttall allowed our advanced students to explore new ideas or interpretations and experience familiar concepts explained in different ways.  These classes were also great for the students to watch and learn from each other in a positive and non competitive environment.  The younger Suzuki students had a similar opportunity to learn from each other in their group classes. The children were put in groups according to age and book level and through games and activities explored musical and technical ideas with their teachers. Group teachers for these classes were Theresa Plotnick, Joanne Melvin and Heidi Behrenbruch.

Orff with Wendy Rae, drama with Rob Dougherty and percussion with Robin Tufts and Brent Van Dusen   were offered to Students age 4-11 allowing them to tap into their creative and improvisational abilities and sharpen performance skills.  These classes can be very useful for performance anxiety students may experience by allowing them to experiment in a safe environment that is not intimidating.  The Orff and percussion classes are a fun way to improve a child’s sense of pulse and rhythm with the possible outcome of improving reading and ensemble skills.

The jam with a Latin band made up of Stefano Valdo on Bass, Keith Smith on Guitar and Robin Tufts and Brent Van Dusen on Percussion, was a new and exciting project for the executive to organize.  This is the first year Suzuki guitar is participating in CSSA events. It was felt that this style of music would be a great way to include Suzuki guitar students, as the instrument is very common in so many types of Latin music. The Latin theme really complimented the atmosphere we were trying to create which was to foster the bringing of families, the Suzuki and musical community closer together. The music and combination of instruments for the jam with the Latin band was very inspiring for everyone. Music performed was the Serenata by Michael Mclean and Quizas, Quizas, Quizas by Edward Huwes Jones. Thank you to Diana Nuttall for such a great rehearsal with our teen participants.  A big thank you  to Joanne Melvin, Anne Scott, Andrea Hudson, Mandy Loban-Jordan and Mary Legge for volunteering their time to help make everything run smoothly during the rehearsal and for playing their instruments during the performance.

A renewed connection with our Suzuki cello students and teachers and the new addition of guitars made for an interesting day with new faces and an appreciation for different instruments. I know since this workshop there have been guitar families who have shown interest in one of their children studying violin and vice versa.

I saw families leaving the Winter Workshop with a fresh energy and teachers so inspired they wanted to get more students involved next year. This event would not have been so successful without the collaborative efforts and teamwork of the CSSA executive, our volunteers and volunteer coordinator Michele Downs, accompanists, parents, students and teachers. Thank you very much to everyone!

We are continually striving to improve our events and encourage readers to submit improvements or ideas below.


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