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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.

Blogs by West Music Coralville

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Coralville September 2014 Teacher Feature: Cathy Hirsch
By West Music Coralville
8/27/2014 4:52:00 PM  

Cathy Hirsch is a piano teacher at West Music Coralville. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa with additional graduate classes at St. Ambrose University.

Cathy began teaching at West Music in 2004 following a career as a human resource professional. Catherine specializes in teaching adult students, both beginners and those with previous piano experience. Her experience developing training programs for adult learners has helped her create an effective and popular program for adult students.

Catherine says, “I appreciate the joy that music can bring to people’s lives. I believe that no one is too old to begin playing the piano if motivated to do so.”

Cathy's oldest beginner student started at age 70 and 6 years later is still advancing and enjoying every minute of her experience. Cathy customizes lessons based on each student’s musical interests, abilities, and available practice time. Students typically learn a variety of styles including contemporary, classical, and jazz. She says, "The goal for each student is to play music he or she enjoys, regardless of the level."


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Tags: Cathy Hirsch, Coralville, Teacher Feature, piano teacher
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville August 2014 Teacher Feature: Tianna Streeter
By West Music Coralville
8/4/2014 12:16:00 PM  

Coralville August 2014 Teacher Feature: Tianna StreeterTianna Streeter is a saxophone teacher at West Music Coralville. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Music and then went on to earn her Masters of Music in Instrumental Performance from Western Illinois University’s School of Music. Aside from teaching lessons, she also works as a Merchandise Manager at West Music. Tianna enjoys playing piano and spending time with her friends, and is a founding member of the Oliver Quartet.

Tianna has played nationally and internationally with the WIU Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Jazz Studio Orchestra. She also was 1 of 200 saxophonists chosen world-wide to play for the 2010 Adolph Sax Competition in Dinant, Belgium. She specializes in classical saxophone pedagogy and literature and focuses on helping her students become true musicians. Tianna will be teaching the upcoming Musical Moments Class and is very excited to start!

Sign up for lessons with Tianna for 1/2 price during the month of August!


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Tags: Tianna Streeter, Coralville, Teacher Feature, saxophone teacher
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville July 2014 Teacher Feature: Shivhan Dohse
By West Music Coralville
6/26/2014 10:31:00 AM  

Shivhan Dohse is an instructor at West Music Coralville. She holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Flute Performance from the University of Northern Iowa, along with a Master’s of Music in Flute Performance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She's also the National Marketing & Sales Director for Miyazawa/Hammig USA, and owns a private studio out of her home, where she continues her work as a freelance flutist.

Shivhan has peformed extensively with many groups, including the professional flute duo In Sterio with Erica Peel (www.insterio.com), the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra and the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band as principal flutist, flutist and piccolo player with the Jim McDonough Pit Orchestra, and as a first call substitute with the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Iowa and Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. Her recent accomplishments include a performance with In Sterio for the Piccolo Spoleto Music & Arts Festival in Charleston, SC, in addition to a performance with In Sterio as guest artists for the Florida Music Educator’s Association Convention – for an audience of 3,500 band directors. She also rode a day of RAGBRAI.

She's currently publishing original In Sterio duos as well as writing music to record and release their second CD. She enjoys biking, traveling, staying healthy & live music.

Sign up for lessons with Shivhan at half price through the month of July!


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Tags: Shivhan Dohse, Coralville, Teacher Feature, flute teacher
Categories: Conservatory
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Coralville July 2014 Teacher Feature: Bart Yates
By West Music Coralville
6/25/2014 10:21:00 AM  

Bart YatesBart Yates holds a masters degree in woodwind performance from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in clarinet performance from Drake University. He began teaching in 1983 in the preparatory department at Drake, and has since taught at Boston College, the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, the Boston Conservatory special programs division, Wartburg College, and in several public school systems throughout New England and eastern Iowa. In 2012, five of Bart's students were accepted for the Iowa All-State Festival. On bass guitar, Bart specializes in blues, jazz, and funk music, but enjoys teaching all genres.

Bart works as an instructor for the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Currently, Bart performs with Nica’s Dream, a local jazz duo.

Bart enjoys reading, cooking, eating, wine-tasting, biking, and hiking. He is also enjoys writing and has had a few of his novels published.

Bart recently returned from a summer trip to Italy, which he enjoyed immensely.

Click here to sign up for lessons with Bart at half price through the month of July!


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Tags: West Music Marion, West Music Coralville, Clarinet Teachers, Clarinet Instructors, Electric Bass Teachers, Electric Bass Instructors, Saxophone Teachers, Saxophone Instructors, Bart Yates
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville November Teacher Feature: Forrest Heusinkveld
By West Music Coralville
11/7/2013 9:05:00 AM  
Forrest HeusinkveldForrest Heusinkveld is a drum and percussion instructor at West Music Coralville. He holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Music from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in percussion & jazz studies. Currently, Forrest manages two live music venues in downtown Iowa City, and he also gigs, tours, and does session work with a variety of different local bands. Forrest is an active member of three bands: The Uniphonics, the Diplomats of Solid Sound, and Black Forrest Ham. When not performing or working, Forrest loves to participate in martial arts. He also loves teaching and relaxes by reading.

Sign up for lessons with Forrest here.

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Tags: Teacher feature, lessons, conservatory, west music coralville, forrest heusinkveld,
Categories: West Music Coralville
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Coralville October 2013 Musician of the Month: Emma Grace Shoppa
By West Music Coralville
9/29/2013 11:39:00 AM  

Emma has studied with Ms. Alice for 5 years, since she was in first grade. Emma attends Borlaug Elementary and just started sixth grade! Last year, Emma started competing in the NMFC Iowa City Piano Festival. She’s gotten blue ribbons both times.

Emma wants to finish all of her lesson books, eventually learn how to play “Let it Be” by the Beatles, and learn how to play the guitar or ukulele!

Emma participates in an after-school music club called “Orff Club” – about 30 students meet and prepare more challenging xylophone pieces. The club has performed at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts! Also, September marked Emma’s ninth year dancing with the Nolte Academy. This year she’ll be taking ballet and modern dance. Even though she stays very busy with her activities, her little Bichon/Shih-Tzu, Ursa, is always there to greet Emma when she gets home.

In her free time, she likes to draw, run, swing, and play in her tree house. When she gets to junior high she hopes to be in Cross Country.

Emma’s two sisters, Caecilia (older) and Katherine (younger), also take piano from Ms. Alice, and Emma’s mom played piano when she was younger.


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Tags: piano, west music coralville, musician of the month
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Gayla Drake
By West Music Coralville
9/29/2013 11:25:00 AM  

Gayla DrakeGayla has been playing guitar since age 4, fiddle and mandolin since age 10, and began her career as a professional performing musician at age 9. Her work as a music journalist for several prestigious guitar magazines, including Fingerstyle Guitar, Fingerstyle360, Acoustic Guitar and Premier Guitar, give her a depth of knowledge that encompasses playing, composing, guitar construction, gigging and recording.

Gayla performs regularly around the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids areas.  Look for her billed as "Drake and Johnson", "Natalie Brown and Gayla Drake", "Drake and Waite", "Aunt G and the Stone City Nephews", and "Bruner, Drake, and Johnson".

Gayla has a wide interest in many styles of acoustic and classical guitar including bluegrass, folk, fingerstyle, open tunings (particularly DADGAD). Gayla also teaches songwriting, mandolin, and fiddle for students who want to learn bluegrass, old-time, Celtic fiddling, and even blues, country-blues and rockabilly. Drake has vast experience leading and teaching songwriting workshops both privately and at several Midwestern colleges, and will gladly work as a songwriting teacher/coach one-on-one.

When she’s not teaching, Gayla enjoys writing, sewing, beading, and studying ancient Celtic history (anthropology and mythology).

Gayla recently completed a new CD of all-original music with Aunt G and the Stone City Nephews.

Click here to sign up for lessons with Gayla!

See Gayla in action!


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Tags: Gayla Drake, Coralville, Teacher Feature, guitar teacher, violin teacher
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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November 2012 Extraordinary Associate of the Month: Nathan Cox
By West Music Coralville
12/3/2012 12:24:00 PM  

At West Music we strive to provide extraordinary service to every customer that comes through our doors, gives us a call, or we call on in schools.  Because of that we want to share with our customers one of the many extraordinary associates that exemplify our commitment to service and customer satisfaction.  Read below to learn about this month’s featured associate and we look forward to providing you with an extraordinary experience the next time you see us!

Our West Music Extraordinary Associate of the Month award for November 2012 goes to Nathan Cox, sales associate at West Music Coralville. Store Manager John Feldman describes Nathan as a "work horse", and points out that along with completing his manager in training assignments and managing the string department in Coralville, he's never called in sick for a single day in his tenure.

"It is so exciting to experience the whole spectrum of musical players that come through our store. I get to work with 4th and 5th graders who have never touched an instrument and need to pick one for the first time as well as working with professionals who are looking for their lifelong instrument. Having these interactions with our customers has had a profound impact on how I view music and its impact on others." - Nathan Cox

Stop by West Music Coralville to meet this extraordinary associate!


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Tags: nathan cox, west music coralville, extraordinary associate of the month
Categories: Company Culture
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Coralville Musician of the Month: Annie Hartley
By West Music Coralville
11/27/2012 2:14:00 PM  

Annie Hartley, a sophomore at City High School, has been taking violin lessons for 7 years. The past 5 years she has been taking lessons from Tara Dutcher and has also studied orchestra repertoire with Andrew Uhe. Annie recently made All-State Orchestra and sits third chair in the City High Orchestra. She also plays in the Jazz Band and the Chamber Ensemble. Other activities that Annie takes part in include school and club swimming, track and field, and individual speech. Annie plans to minor in music in College. Her brother is a flute performance major at UW Madison and her father plays guitar.


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Tags: Annie Hartley, Coralville, Musician of the Month
Categories: Conservatory
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Valerie McNally
By West Music Coralville
11/27/2012 2:03:00 PM  

Valerie McNally teaches alto saxophone, clarinet and flute at West Music Coralville. She went to Drake University for two years then graduated from the University of Iowa School of Music, where she attained her Bachelor of Music degree. She then continued her studies with over 56 hours of graduate level courses at the American Band College, Lewis and Clark College, and Portland State University in Oregon.

Valerie is a member of the Iowa City Community Band, the South East Iowa Bandmasters Association, the Iowa Bandmasters Association, and Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional International Music Fraternity for women. She frequently plays the Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, and saxophone in area musical orchestras. Valerie enjoys swimming, reading, and playing her clarinet.

Recently, after 35 years, Valerie retired from public school teaching where she taught elementary band and now enjoys teaching private lessons West Music. She enjoys working with students of all ages and loves helping each individual attain his or her personal goals. She incorporates music theory, ear-training, music history, and musicianship along with a fundamental approach to woodwind playing.

To sign up for lessons with Valerie, click here!


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Tags: Valerie McNally, Coralville, Teacher Feature, alto saxophone teacher, clarinet teacher, flute teacher
Categories: Conservatory
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