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Coralville June 2016 Teacher Feature: Rebecca Bressanelli
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Violinist Rebecca Bressanelli has performed across the Midwest, Germany, France and Belgium. Her summer experience with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, MI led to an orchestra tour to Europe in 2011 where she was Principal Second Violinist of the International Youth Symphony Orchestra. While a staff member at Blue Lake, Rebecca also performed in the Staff String Quartet and in the Blue Lake Festival Orchestra.

As a student at Western Illinois University, Rebecca had the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of artists, including the rock band KANSAS. Ms. Bressanelli received a Bachelors of Music in violin performance from Western Illinois University under the instruction of Julieta Mihai. Currently, she is continuing her studies at the University of Iowa as a student of Katie Wolfe.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Rebecca Bressanelli through June!




Tags: rebecca bressanelli, violin
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Cedar Rapids June 2016 Musician of the Month: Paige Justason
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Paige Justason is a flute student of Laura Phillips here at West Music Cedar Rapids. She is in the 10th grade at Independence Jr/Sr High School. She has studied with Laura for two years. Paige was a candidate for All-State her freshman and sophomore years and her musical goal is to make it in her junior and senior years as well. Another onel of Paige's goals is to improve herself as a musician and continue music throughout the rest of high school and college.

Her advice to other musicians is to practice and try your best, take on the musical opportunities given to you and have fun!

She loves playing music because she gets this feeling of satisfaction when she gets a piece together. The she plays it non-stop while enjoying each note and rhythm the piece contains. Paige plays flute in concert and marching bands and guitar in jazz band.  She likes science, reading and horse riding.

Paige enjoys classical music and some of her favorite composers are Tchaikovsky, Bach, Debussy, and Shostakovich. It often surprises people to learn how involved she is in music.

Congratulations, Paige!



Tags: Laura Phillips, marion, all-state, lessons,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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Coralville June 2016 Musicians of the Month: Joshua and Joseph Kennedy
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Joshua and Joseph Kennedy were nominated as musicians of the month by their piano teacher Dorothy Thomas.  These brothers are 3rd and 4th graders at Coralville Central elementary and have been studying piano with Dorothy for five months.  Joseph also studies guitar with Chris Dimond.

Their musical goal is to learn to play and worship in church with their instruments.  They love playing music because it is fun!  Their favorite genre of music is Christian contemporary and instrumental. 

Joseph’s other interests include guitar, soccer, basketball and football.  Joshua likes sports video games and also playing sports and reading.

Their instructor has this to say about their nomination:

“The Kennedy brothers deserve recognition for their work in past studies as well as in lessons with me.  They practice and come to lessons prepared, and they always sound very musical.  They listen to what they play with an ear to improve.” 

Congratulations, Joshua and Joseph!



Tags: Dorothy Thomas, Chris Dimond, lessons, guitar, piano
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Quad Cities June 2016 Musician of the Month: Don Kappaert
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Don Kappaert first tried guitar when he was very young.   Eventually, his parents encouraged him to join band instead.  He tried clarinet and could not stop thinking about that guitar.  He loved it.  As time went on, he went about his life as most people do.  He works at John Deere as an IT manager, runs triathlons, does woodworking, kayaks, bikes, swims, and anything else that keeps him moving.  His passion for acoustic guitar was reinvigorated and he encouraged his two sons to take guitar lessons.   About a year and a half ago, after they had lost interest, he decided to take out his very first guitar and have at it.  "I'm finishing a challenge...I know I can do it if I work hard enough." So he enrolled with lessons with Dana Starkell. 

Don's passion and hard work is why we have nominated him for Musician of the Month.  Every week, he shows up a half hour to an hour early to practice in the hall or in a studio or wherever he can sit and play.  It's truly amazing.  Even with a full time job at John Deere, running five miles every day and everything else he does on the daily, he still manages to find time to practice at least an hour and a half each day, and on weekends up to three hours in a day! 

When asked what his advice to other musicians is, he responded with "You just gotta love it.  If you don't love it, don't do it."  
His musical goals are to really focus on the musicality and "Go as far as I can as fast as I can."  He is incredibly driven and his favorite part is learning the bare bones of a song or a technique and turning it into a song.  He finds it easy and worth while to find time to practice because he sees how all of it pays off.  

"With the energy and curiosity of a teenager his 1/2 hour lesson seems to fly by in about five minutes. Don’s a shining example of what can be achieved with true determination and passion. Within a relatively short amount of time he has gone from beginner to musician."

Congratulations, Don!



Tags: guitar, lessons, Dana Starkell,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Quad Cities
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Cedar Falls June 2016 Musician of the Month: Frances Jackson
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Frances Jackson is a student in the studio of Andrea Alert at West Music Cedar Falls. She has been with Andrea for one year, taking lessons on the violin.

Andrea has nominated Frances because she plays with a joyful heart, is not afraid to start new pieces, and loves to compose her own music.

Frances plans to play in school orchestra, and also plans to learn the ukulele and piano.  What Frances loves most about music is that it is something she can share with her brother who plays the saxophone. Frances' advice to other musicians is, "If the music is hard to learn, play something easy that you enjoy to play, give your mom a violin lesson, then go back to the difficult piece and do it slowly." 

Frances' favorite musician is Niccolo Paganini.

Frances also loves to write and illustrate her own stories, play Legos with her brother, spend time with friends, and downhill ski. Something about Frances that may surprise you is that she has a miniature Rex bunny named Prissie who is all white and has beautiful, big black eyes. 

Congratulations on all your hard work, Frances!



Tags: lessons, Andrea Alert, violin,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Extraordinary Associate of the Month May 2016: April Humphrey & Katie Senn
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Discover opportunities through change is one of the core values of West Music. This dynamic duo embraced this value as they planned, prepared, and implemented our new band and orchestra rent-to-own program.

April Humphrey and Katie Senn have been the champions of our new customer-centric campaign. They took the time necessary to research beginning school music programs from some of the top retailers around the country. Then they took this detailed information and workshopped concepts with an internal cross-functional team to create our new and comprehensive program. Once the program was outlined, April and Katie worked together to create valuable training materials for all West Music associates and display helpers that interact with customers in our communities.

Finally, they spent traveling to all locations to train and re-label all student-level inventory. I can confidently say that West Music is now well prepared for a successful spring rental season, in large part to April and Katie’s efforts.

Thank you April and Katie for all you continue to do to help our customers play now and play for life!

As told by Robin Walenta,
President/CEO



Tags: rent-to-own, students, band, orchestra
Categories: Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Coralville June 2016 Teacher Feature: Danny Oline
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Bassist Danny Oline studied music at the University of Northern Iowa under the incredible care of Dr. Robert Washut and Christopher Merz. While there he performed with the nationally acclaimed University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One and had the opportunity to play with many jazz greats like Dick Oatts, Bobby Shew, Peter Erskine, Ray Anderson, and Byron Stripling.

Recently Danny has been playing with the Grace Leong Quintet and adjudicating for the 2015 SEIBA Jazz Festival.

Danny plays all styles of music, but jazz and Latin American music remain his biggest influences. He can currently be seen around Iowa playing with Orquesta Alto Maiz, Jim Dreier’s Ritmocano, and many other local jazz musicians.

When not actively playing, Danny finds great joy in helping students of all ages explore music.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Danny Oline through June!




Tags: danny online, bass, teacher, lessons, Grace Leong Quintet, Orquesta Alto Maiz
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Quad Cities June 2016 Teacher Feature: Cole Guillien
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Cole Guillien has just recently moved to the Quad Cities area, and he is very excited about the opportunities and adventures that are available in the area.  Cole is a performer and teacher who also plays the viola da gamba and baroque cello. He has served as Teaching Assistant for Dr. Janina Ehrlich, Associate Professor of Music at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. In this position, he maintained a private studio from 2006-2010 utilizing various pedagogies including Suzuki method as well as several other music teaching systems. He studied music history at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music and had the opportunity to work with the Noyse Merchants, Catacoustic Consort, and the Cincinnati Bach Ensemble playing both baroque cello and the viola da gamba.  He has been a recipient of the Catacoustic Consort’s Early Music Scholarship. 

In the fall of 2015, Cole gave a lecture recital at Augustana College performing and describing examples of music for the viola da gamba.  It was music written hundreds of years ago for musicians to play in solitude for their own enjoyment.  Cole says "It reminded me of the joy music brings when you play it for yourself and no one else". Cole also enjoys cooking and baking.  He loves to discover the new flavors and the culture that comes with cooking different styles of food.  

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Cole Guillien through June!




Tags: cole guillien, cello, viola, baroque,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Quad Cities
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Cedar Rapids June 2016 Teacher Feature: Andrea Alert
By West Music Company
6/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Andrea has a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University and a Master of Music in Viola Performance from the University of Northern Iowa. She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in Indiana, working primarily with middle school and high school band and orchestras, as well as elementary, intermediate, and junior high general music.

Andrea performs with the Dubuque Symphony and Orchestra Iowa as a substitute violist. She has also been a member of the Elkhart Symphony Orchestra in Elkhart, Indiana for eight years and a member of the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra at UNI for three years. She was the Assistant Co-Principal on viola in 2009 with the La Porte Community Symphony Orchestra in La Porte, IN.

Andrea enjoys film music, especially The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. She loves to ride her bike on local trails and stays active with Zumba at home and with local groups. She has friends from several different countries and enjoys eating the authentic food they prepare. She teaches West African Drumming at the UNI Community Music School and she enjoys doing outreach programs and clinics in music. She also helps with the UNI Children’s Choir and is teaching a new program at the West Music Cedar Falls Lessons program for young children called Sing & Play & Learn Today!

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Andrea Alert through June!




Tags: andrea alert, viola,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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