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Cedar Falls March 2018 Musician of the Month: Bo Wayson
By West Music Compay
3/1/2018 6:47:00 AM  
west music drum lessonsBo is in first grade and has been taking drum lessons with Kip Roelfsema for 2 years. Upon nominating Bo for Musician of the Month, his instructor had the following to say:

"Bo has the patience and perseverance of a Buddhist Monk! In addition, he is also a quick learner. Being a quick learner is nothing without patience and perseverance. Bo possesses all 3 qualities in equal measure. Mr. Bo also has a warm personality, and a smile that lights up the entire studio!"

Bo hopes to play the trumpet and flute one day, and his advice to other musicians is to practice daily and to “work until you get everything perfect”. He loves the tone of music and that it makes him feel good.

In addition to music, Bo also enjoys building with Legos, playing football, and building snow forts. Above all, he likes to play instruments and believes you can do anything if you work hard. He also expressed that his favorite musician is Led Zeppelin. Finally, Bo said that we would be surprised to learn that he sings at his church!

Congratulations, Bo!



Tags: bo wayson, kip roelfsema, drums, percussion, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Coralville March 2018 Musician of the Month: Prabhas Gupta
By West Music Company
3/1/2018 6:34:00 AM  
west music piano studentPrabhas is in 2nd grade. He has studied piano with Dorothy Thomas in the West Music Lesson program for over a year, and is making great progress on his instrument!

His teacher has this to say about working with him: "In this year of piano, Prabhas has been able to learn to sight read and does so well on new music. He works at piano daily and is able to learn new songs and concepts weekly. He seems to have extra ability to plan out the playing so he succeeds in good timing." 

Prabhas loves the feelings and emotions you get from music. He wants to be his best in piano playing and he wants to become a composer. His advice to other musicians is to be consistent, a trait he shows wonderfully in his lessons.

His other interests include tennis, basketball, kickball, swimming, and soccer. His favorite musician is Jeffrey Jackson, and he loves the "Creepy Crocodile." He also enjoys apples, oranges, foods with jaggery, and Indian foods.

Congratulations, Prabhas!



Tags: prabhas, dorothy thomas, piano, lessons, coralville
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Chuck Michaelson
By West Music Company
2/27/2018 4:56:00 PM  
chuck michaelsonChuck Michaelson started piano lessons at age five with his father, Samuel Michaelson, who was a private piano instructor and church organist in Minneapolis. Chuck attended Wartburg College and York University in Canada studying with Eugene Hudson and Reginald Godden, respectively. He graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from Wartburg 1977.

He married Barbara Eggers in 1977 and the couple attended the University of Iowa, both studying with Kenneth Amada. Chuck received his MFA degree in 1979. While at the University, he gave a series of performances and workshops throughout Iowa as part of the Arts Outreach program. Chuck has performed in the Cedar Rapids area as a duo piano team (with Julia Titus) accompanying the Theater Cedar Rapids production of “Side by Side by Sondeheim” and as the accompanist for “Nunsense” with the Old Creamery Theater. Chuck has also been in recital at Jacksonville University in Florida and Bethel College in the Twin Cities. Chuck more recently appeared on the college stage at the Iowa City Jazz Fest in 2007. His continuing education has included the jazz combo with Steve Grismore at Iowa and private jazz piano lessons with Steve Shanley.

Chuck teaches musical keyboard and piano to students ages 8 and up. To learn more about taking lessons with Chuck and schedule your first class online visit Looking4Lessons.com, or contact our lessons department at 800-373-2000.



Tags: N/A
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Cedar Falls February 2018 Musician of the Month: AJ Fitzgerald
By West Music Company
2/7/2018 3:32:00 PM  

aj piano studentAJ is in second grade and has been taking piano lessons with Virginia Lee for a year and a half. When nominating AJ for this recognition, Virginia said the following:

"AJ is such a delightful and dedicated pianist who is well prepared for her lessons. AJ’s quiet personality allows her to listen, observe, and retain her musical knowledge throughout the year and apply that to her music. Recently, she performed at [my] piano studio recital. Not only did she memorize her pieces, her stage manner was outstanding. Her parents have also been very dedicated in encouraging her to do so well."

AJ’s musical goals are to also learn the flute and violin. She loves that music is soothing and calming, as well as that it makes her happy. Her favorite musicians are Mozart and Tchaikovsky and her advice to other musicians is to practice. “Practice makes perfect”, she says.

In addition to music, AJ enjoys creative writing and reading. She says that we would be surprised to learn that she wants to be a Doctor of Chemistry when she grows up and that she loves Star Wars!

The West Music Lesson Studio and Mrs. Virginia Lee congratulate you on your achievements, AJ!




Tags: aj, virginia lee, piano, lessons, cedar falls
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Rapids January 2018 Musician of the Month: Skylar Dudley
By West Music Company
1/6/2018 2:16:00 PM  

skylar dudleySkylar has been learning the guitar with Billy Lee Janey for 2 and ½ years and drums with Matt Bernemann for only 3 months! Skylar is in the 9th grade.

Skylar’s musical goal is to release his own E.P. by the end of 9th grade. His advice to other musicians is to look up to anyone who is currently making a living from their artistic work. Some may have had no idea what they were doing at some point.

He loves playing music because it creates a deeper connection and understanding of the subject. Anyone can listen to music and enjoy it but creating and interacting with it is something special.

Skylar participates in “A Few Good Men” which is a select choir at school, the Oakland Church Youth Band and Prairie Point 9th grade Band.

Some of Skylar’s hobbies include playing video games and writing stories. He listens to a variety of alternative music from My Chemical Romance to Dodie Clark to Slipknot and Twenty-One Pilot.

You might be surprised to learn that in 8th grade Skylar stuck a paper clip in an electrical outlet.

Congratulations Skylar!




Tags: guitar, drums, Billy Lee Janey, Matt Bernemann
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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Cedar Rapids Teacher Feature: Ian Draves
By West Music Company
1/5/2018 3:10:00 PM  

ian dravesIan Draves picked up his first electric bass at the age of ten. Starting middle school Ian took upright bass lessons and played in orchestra and jazz band. In 2007 he continued his education at Washington High School learning from Natalie Brown (Orchestra), Steve Stanley (Band/Jazz Band), and Dr. Gerald Kreutzer (Choir). While taking private lessons from John Hall and Richard Wagor, Ian performed in every ensemble he could get into.

Ian attended Kirkwood Community College and started taking private lessons with Jeanette Welch. During college, he started leading and arranging for his school’s Jazz combo and vocal jazz combo and winning multiple soloist awards at multiple festivals.

Currently, Ian works at West Music as a String Sales Consultant, while managing a local 9-piece Soul/Funk Band Soul Sherpa. Along with these activities, he performs in many musical ensembles in the area: Theater Cedar Rapids Pit Orchestra, Cedar Rapids Big Band, and multiple jazz combos to name a few.

Learn more about taking lessons with Ian or any of our music instructors. Call West Music at 800-373-2000, or learn more at Looking4Lesson.com and schedule your first class online! 




Tags: ian draves, orchestra, bass guitar, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Jessica Saunders
By West Music Company
1/5/2018 2:58:00 PM  

dr jessica sauders vocalDr. Jessica Saunders is a performer, teacher, and director. Jessica has been performing since she was seven and teaching privately since 2007. She is currently an adjunct professor of voice at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City. She has also taught voice major courses at Waldorf University in Forest City, Iowa and taught as a TA at the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa.

Jessica is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and is comfortable teaching both classical voice and musical theater styles to students of varying skill levels from ages 8 to adult. Current and past students have performed in Young Footlighters, City Circle, Nolte productions, and have placed in competitions such as the Bill Riley Talent Search and the NATS regional and state auditions. Dr. Saunders’ teaching philosophy is “Building Confidence a one a note at a Time!” She strives to work with each student to explore their individual skills and talents!

PARENT TESTIMONIAL:
My daughter has had a great experience at Saunders Vocal Studios at West Music. Through her sessions with Jessica, she has not only learned about music theory and singing technique, but also how to perform. In turn, my daughter’s confidence in singing and performing has grown. Jessica is both professional and personable, and she individualizes her lessons for each unique student. Her passion for singing is inspiring and contagious.”
— Parent of a 10-year-old

Jessica has performed with City Circle Acting Company, Revival Theatre Company, Druid City Opera Workshop, University of Iowa Opera Theatre, Southeast Iowa Symphony, Wartburg Opera Ensemble, Wartburg Choir, University of Northern Iowa Opera Ensemble, and with Opera Quad Cities. She holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts Degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Iowa. She also has a Master’s degree in voice from the University of Northern Iowa, and her Bachelor’s degree from Wartburg College.

Learn more about Saunders Vocal Studios and taking lessons with Jessica.




Tags: jessica saunders, vocal, teacher, instructor, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Cedar Falls January 2018 Musician of the Month: Davis Schmidt
By West Music Company
1/5/2018 2:32:00 PM  

davis pianoDavis is a 7th grader and has been taking piano lessons with Louann Flaherty for 3 years. Her musical goal is to become the best pianist and singer that she can be. She loves that music is relaxing, beautiful, and that she feels accomplished when she perfects a piece.

Her advice to other musicians is to try their hardest, practice, and love music. Her favorite classical composer is Beethoven and she enjoys pop music a lot. As for non-piano activities, Davis enjoys participating in volleyball, piano, and women’s choir. In addition, she enjoys math club, science club, skiing, and hanging out with friends.

We would be surprised to learn that Davis has lived in five different places, which includes Germany for 3 years.


You can take piano lessons at West Music just like Davis! Learn more at pianos.westmusic.com/lessons.




Tags: Louann Flaherty, piano, choir
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Rapids January 2018 Musician of the Month: Chris Diemerly
By West Music Company
1/5/2018 1:40:00 PM  

chris dimerlyChris Diemerly is an adult guitar student of Billy Lee Janey. He has been studying with Billy for 2 years. Chris also plays piano (38 years), clarinet (36 years), and the french horn, violin, and harpsichord while he was in college.

Chris works at Novolex Packaging.

Billy nominated Chris for Musician of the Month because he is an accomplished pianist as well as a guitarist, and they have a lot of fun together during lessons. One of Chris’s goals is to play guitar in a band. His musical advice to other musicians is to practice! He says there will be hard days and times when it’s a struggle but it will get easier. The things he loves most about making music is it entertains him and others. He also likes writing music that sets the mood.

He plays locally in the Marion Community Band on the clarinet in the summer time. Chris has several favorite musicians that include: ZZ Top, Dire Straits, Chicago, John Williams, Danny Elfman, James, Horner, Aaron Copland, Antonin Dvorak, Hector Berlioz and of course Weird Al Yankovic!

Someone might be surprised to learn that Chris has composed a full requiem mass in Latin!

You can be like Chris and learn a new instrument as an adult! Learn about West Music's wide varity of classes & lessons.




Tags: guitar, billy lee janey, marion community band
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Chris Dimond
By West Music Coralville
12/10/2017 5:13:00 PM  
chris dimond

Move over Neil Diamond  Here come Chris Dimond!

Chris Dimond is a guitar instructor at West Music Coralville. He studied Guitar Performance/Film Scoring Studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Jazz Guitar Studies at Freies Musik Zentrum in Munich, Germany, and holds a B.A. with Jazz Studies Emphasis at University of Iowa. He's also a guitarist for local groups ranging from folk, rock, blues, jazz to worship teams. Chris plays with the Jazz Vespers Group headed by Prof. John Rapson at Trinity Episcopal Church in Iowa City.

When he's not teaching or playing, Chris enjoys working in his vegetable garden, and cooking with fresh produce from the garden. He also enjoys spending time outside with his wife and daughter and practicing his guitar and writing songs. He recently took his family to visit his mother in Bavaria, Germany. While he was there he loved hiking, biking, and swimming in the alpine region and enjoying the Bavarian festivities.

Learn more about taking lessons with Chris or any of our music instructors. Call West Music at 800-373-2000, or register online for lessons with Chris!




Tags: Chris Dimond, Coralville, Teacher Feature, guitar teacher
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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