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The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

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Extraordinary Associate of the Month December 2016: Chris Eck
By West Music Company
1/18/2017 9:43:00 AM  
We are happy to announce Chris Eck as the West Music December 2016 Associate of the Month!

Chris is being recognized for his passionate pursuit of all of West Music’s education efforts that reflect our mission to help customers play now and play for life. In the past year, Chris has led West Music’s Lesson Program to add new team members and teachers, create and refine curriculums for our group lessons and classes, and managed to teach his own lessons and classes as well! He does all this with focus, quiet encouragement and support, and active collaboration with many team members in the company and our larger musical community.

But don’t just take my word for it, other West Music associates notice Chris’s great ability to play well with others too!

“Chris is an amazing asset to West Music…It seems Chris has built meaningful relationships with every person he has been in contact with, sharing his undivided attention and care to meet their needs.”

“My mother came to town around Thanksgiving and I surprised her with her very own ukulele. I had mentioned to Chris that I had bought her a uke and he offered to give her a free lesson while she was in town. She loved every minute! She’s never played a instrument in her entire life. She’s still talking about it and she practices everyday. Thank you Chris for making her feel special and proving that you can learn an instrument at any age!”

“Chris does such a great job coordinating the Lesson Program and working with the Studio Coordinators. He is always so willing to go out of his way to help anybody in any way he can.”

- As told by Ryan West,
Senior Vice President

Congratulations Chris! Keep up the good work and thank you for making our mission a reality every day!

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Tags: chris eck, conservatory, lesson, music education,
Categories: Conservatory, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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Urbandale January 2017 Musician of the Month: Morgan Sullivan
By West Music Company
1/2/2017 3:17:00 PM  
Morgan Sullivan has studied piano with teacher Emily Walter for 1 year. Morgan is a 4th grader within the Johnston community who loves learning new things every day and sets goals to play challenging songs on the piano.

Some of Morgan’s other artistic interests involve playing the recorder, dancing, singing, and writing. Her favorite musician is Taylor Swift and she loves listening to pop music. Morgan also participates in gymnastics and soccer. Fun facts about Morgan: She was born in Milwaukee and she is left-handed.

Emily Walter referred Morgan for Musician of the Month because “Morgan always comes to her piano lesson prepared and with a great attitude! She is a hard worker and is wonderful at taking risks to learn new songs.” Morgan’s advice to other musicians: “Be patient because you need to learn the easy songs before you play the harder songs.”

Good advice, Morgan! Congratulations!

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Tags: Emily Walter, piano, des moines, gallery, lesson
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Cedar Rapids January 2017 Musician of the Month: Ian Wolverton-Weiss
By West Music Company
1/2/2017 3:09:00 PM  
Ian Wolverton-Weiss is an 8th grader in the community and is a clarinet student of Bart Yates. He has studied clarinet with Bart for 1 ½ years.

Bart nominated Ian for Musician of the Month because, “Ian was accepted to IBA (an honor band for the best 8th grade players in the state) and has been playing very well. He is also a joy to teach.”

Ian’s musical goals are to be accepted to All State Band and Choir. His advice to other musicians is to have a positive attitude. Ian is in show choir, choir and soccer. He also enjoys participating in musicals. He likes Legos, biking, skiing and Star Wars. His favorite musician is Charlie Puth and Ian likes melodic piano music.

You might be surprised to learn that Ian went to school in London once and is the least picky eater he knows. He will eat anything!

Congratulations, Ian!

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Tags: Bart Yates, clarinet, lesson
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Marion
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Coralville January 2017 Musician of the Month: Geneva Conrad
By West Music Company
1/2/2017 3:02:00 PM  
Geneva has been a vocal student in the West Music Lessons program since she was 14 years old, studying with instructor Alice Feldmann for nearly 7 years!  She frequently shares her talents by participating in community recitals, accompanied by her teacher on the piano. 

Geneva is 20 years old, and her goal is to become a United States Marine.  When she is not making music she is often at work or working out with her squad. 

Her teacher, Alice Feldmann, is very proud of Geneva and has this to say about working with her:

“Geneva possesses the widest range of any voice student I've ever worked with.  She has a whistle register that is very uncommon.  An example of this sort of register would be Maria Carey who happens to hold the World record for the widest register.  Geneva is just about 5 notes from that record. Geneva loves to sing whenever and wherever she can and has been very involved with the West Music's Weekend Warriors."

Congratulations, Geneva!

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Tags: Alice Feldmann, vocal, voice, sing, singing, lesson,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Extraordinary Associates of the Month November 2016: PASIC Crew
By West Music Company
12/7/2016 3:34:00 PM  
Congratulations to the entire PASIC team for an outstanding job at the show! We had the best customer service team at show, outshining the other exhibitors. Customers noticed and were attracted to our booth, wanting to be able to test, review, and talk to our team about the products they were about to purchase. It was truly an interactive customer experience that everyone appreciated. The proof was in the sales and number of green Percussion Source bags milling around the floor, a whopping 400!

Our PASIC rookies John and Megan went through trial by fire (or should I say drumstick!) They had the hang of it in no time and were helping customers left and right. Megan rocked it by helping folks qualify for our PASIC promotions and John helped us break new ground at Bands of America, reaching even more new faces.

Eric was Master of the Stick Towers, helping find specific models and encourage testing on the snare drums (and moving some too!) Whether it be tambourine, mallet or triangle inquiries, Alex was the man, managing to keep a watchful eye over the booth at all times too! Adam made new friends and was able to connect names with faces of loyal customers who have shopped with us for years. He has quite the following, some customers have photo requests with him!

This PASIC crew was truly awesome. Everyone pitched in where needed as soon as they saw a customer in need. High five to all.

- As told by Lauren Calkin,
Percussion Source
Director of Customer Relations

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Tags: pasic, percussion, crew percussion source
Categories: Drums & Percussion, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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7 Tips for Practicing over Winter Break
By West Music Company
12/6/2016 7:51:00 AM  
7 Tips to Keep Playing


practice timeYour child just got through their first big concert of the year and is now looking forward to a relaxing winter break. The last thing on their mind is practicing their instrument. As parents, it’s hard to help keep our kids motivated while school is out, but it’s important to remember that even though concert season is over for now, music season is never over!

At West Music we have seen that students who practice their instruments over school breaks, even just for a few minutes every day, retain lessons better and develop new skills quicker. When school gets back in session, students who have practiced are less rusty and more excited to learn.

It’s sometimes hard to find the time to practice or stay motivated during school breaks, but West Music educators have put together this list of their seven best tips to help your child keep playing all winter long!


1. Break practice out into 5-10 minutes.
Finding the time to practice is difficult, especially during the holidays. By breaking up longer practice sessions into short 5 to 10 minute sprints, you and your child will be more likely to find the time to get it done!

2. Set goals.
With each practice session have a specific goal in mind for your child, even if it’s just practicing one or two cords. Setting small goals will add up to huge accomplishments!

practing at home

3. Keep your child’s instrument out (in a safe place).
Ever heard out of sight, out of mind? That’s exactly what happens when you pack up your child’s instrument in its case and put it into the closet. Instead keep it out somewhere out of the way but where your young musician will see it every day.

4. Let your child pick their practice time, and then stick with it.
One of the many skills music teaches children is self-discipline. Let them choose what time they want to practice, but once a time is chosen have them stick to it as best as possible.  Even if they have to miss a practice session or two because of holiday events, it helps build the habit of practicing regularly.

5. Be excited for your child.
If you see practice time as dull, so will your kids. Be in the room when your child practices and encourage them when they feel like giving up. When they do finally master a song, or even just a new note, show genuine pride and excitement in their accomplishments.

6. Game-ify Practice.
Many music teachers suggest making a game out of difficult passages that could otherwise get frustrating. One of the most popular games involves pennies (but M&Ms or Skittles work just as well). Put 3 to 10 pennies on the left side of their music stand. Each time your kids get the passage right, they can move a penny to the right side. Once they get all the pennies to the other side, they can finish practicing and take their reward!

7. Play with the instrument.
You don’t always need to follow the song book.  Encourage your child to make up their own song. It encourages creativity and makes learning more fun!

 

Need more advice? West Music is here for you!

Call our music experts at 1-800-397-9378


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Tags: band, orchestra, students, winter, holidays
Categories: Band & Orchestra, Drums & Percussion, Music Education
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Urbandale December 2016 Musician of the Month: Charlie LaCroix
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:32:00 AM  
Charlie LaCroix has been studying piano with Dr. Asia Grant for 2 ½ years. He is a 3rd grader in the West Des Moines community and he is preparing for his first recital in December. Along with playing piano, Charlie’s musical goals include playing percussion in the 5th grade band.

While away from the piano bench, Charlie can be found playing basketball, reading, and writing stories, as well as supporting his sister, Anna, who plays violin. Dr. Grant nominated Charlie for Musician of the Month as “he is exceptionally dedicated and a very quick learner.”

Congratulations, Charlie!

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Tags: piano, lessons, des moines, urbandale, piano gallery, Asia Grant
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Piano Gallery
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Cedar Rapids December 2016 Musician of the Month: Lauren Miller
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:26:00 AM  
Lauren is a piano student of Alice Lindsey. Alice nominated Lauren because she says, ”Lauren is a relatively new student but already she is in Lesson 6 of Book One. She practices, brings well prepared lessons, and accomplishes much during the lesson.” 

Lauren is a 5th grader in Cedar Rapids. She loves that you can encourage others with playing music and that it is fun. Her other interests include: gymnastics, volleyball and she also plays the clarinet!

She listens to all different kinds of music and likes them all.

Great job, Lauren! Keep up the good work!

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Tags: piano, lesson, Alice Lindsey, cedar rapids, marion
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Marion
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Cedar Falls December 2016 Musician of the Month: Emma Schaffer
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:20:00 AM  
Emma Schaffer is currently a senior in high school. She has been taking piano lessons with Virginia Lee for the past two years. Emma says she plays music because it clears her head and it makes her happy. She plays up to two hours every day because it just makes her feel good!

Emma plays both the piano and guitar, and her goal is to learn the ukulele before high school graduation. Emma also volunteers at Covenant Hospital and is a host at LJ’s. Her favorite musicians are the bands Twenty One Pilots and the Chainsmokers. Something that might surprise others to hear is that she is pretty good at playing by ear and memorizing music compared to reading music. Her advice to other musicians is to practice and find a teacher who motivates you to improve.

Virginia Lee appreciates Emma’s positive personality and constant smile. She is prepared for her lessons so accomplishes quite a lot in a short amount of time. Emma’s motivation and enthusiasm for learning also inspire her as a piano teacher to keep her lessons fresh and new every day.

Way to go, Emma!

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Tags: piano, lessons, Virginia Lee, cedar falls,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Coralville December 2016 Teacher Feature: Caleb Lambert
By West Music Company
12/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
A native of Olympia, Washington trombonist Caleb Lambert began his studies on baritone in the 5th grade and later took up trombone in the 6th grade on the advice of his band teacher.  After moving to Chicago in 2007 Mr. Lambert earned both a bachelor’s degree in trombone performance and a master of music in orchestral studies from Roosevelt University where he studied with Jay Friedman and Peter Ellefson. In addition to his duties as 2nd trombone for Orchestra Iowa, Mr. Lambert is also a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa where he teaches undergraduate trombone lessons in addition to coaching various brass ensembles. As an active performer he has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque symphony, South Bend Symphony, Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, New Chicago Brass, Chicago Arts Orchestra, and many others.

Just as comfortable on valves as he is with his slide Mr. Lambert was the Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Chicago Brass Festival’s Solo Competition on euphonium and can often be seen performing on euphonium and bass trumpet in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. 

As a former member of the Axiom Brass Quintet Mr. Lambert taught classes in chamber music and trombone pedagogue at some of America’s leading music conservatories including the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, New England Conservatory, University of the Pacific, Southern Oregon University, University of Las Vegas, Western Illinois University, California State University, Sacramento, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and many more.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Caleb Lambert through December!


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Tags: trombone, baritone, lessons, teacher, coralville, caleb lambert, brass, low brass
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and wordwide customers.

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Extraordinary Associate of the Month December 2016: Chris Eck
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Urbandale January 2017 Musician of the Month: Morgan Sullivan
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Cedar Rapids January 2017 Musician of the Month: Ian Wolverton-Weiss
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Coralville January 2017 Musician of the Month: Geneva Conrad
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Extraordinary Associates of the Month November 2016: PASIC Crew
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7 Tips for Practicing over Winter Break
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Urbandale December 2016 Musician of the Month: Charlie LaCroix
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Cedar Rapids December 2016 Musician of the Month: Lauren Miller
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