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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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Cedar Falls November 2016 Musician of the Month: Autumn Borkowitz
By West Music Company
11/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Autumn Borkowitz has studied violin and piano at West Music for five and a half years with her teacher Louann Flaherty.  She is a homeschooled 8th grader who loves music, reading, playing games, crafts, and sports. She participates in Northern Iowa Junior Orchestra and Hoover Orchestra.

Her teacher has this to say about working with Autumn:

“Autumn loves music and is always willing to try different styles. Autumn comes to lesson prepared and pays attention to details in the music.”

Her advice to other musicians is to “do the best you can do and don’t compare yourself to other musicians.” She loves instrumental music and her musical goal is to go to All-State! She also enjoys old TV shows, like I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, and Wonder Woman.

Congratulations, Autumn! Keep it up!

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Tags: lessons, violin, teacher, conservatory, piano, Louann Flaherty
Categories: West Music Cedar Falls
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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!

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Tags: lessons, Andrea Alert, violin,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Falls May 2016 Teacher Feature: Virginia Lee
By West Music Company
5/1/2016 8:05:00 AM  
Virginia is a graduate from the University of West Chester in Pennsylvania with a BM in piano performance. She has been teaching piano lessons since 1990 working with both children and adults at varying levels of playing.

Virginia’s teaching philosophy focuses on fostering each student’s potential in technical development, diverse music appreciation, and self confidence through performance. With her 26 year teaching experience, she actively researches new pedagogical methods to enhance and individually tailor the learning experience for piano students of all ages.

While Virginia enjoys music of all forms, her favorite composer is Beethoven. Apart from piano, Virginia enjoys gardening, reading, exercising, and traveling to experience different cultures.



Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Virginia Lee through May!


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Tags: virginia lee, piano, cedar falls
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Falls May 2016 Musicican of the Month: Delaney
By West Music Company
5/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Delaney is currently in 10th grade at Cedar Falls High School. She has been taking piano lessons with Virginia Lee for the past ten years. Delaney is a motivated student and an enthusiastic learner. When she first started playing, she didn’t like to practice, so her parents encouraged her to practice. Now, she practices every day on her own and she loves it. It has opened many other musical doors in her life, and her advice for other musicians is to stick with it!

Delaney loves being able to express herself through music and bring her passion forward when she plays. In addition to playing the piano, Delaney is involved in orchestra, concert choir, art and writing. She also likes composing music and writing lyrics. Her favorite musicians are Buddy Holly, Aimee Mann, and Death Cab for Cutie, to name a few. Her favorite genres are indie, alternative, and jazz. Some might be interested to find out that she is very interested in fashion and design.

Virginia Lee acknowledges Delaney’s perseverance, enthusiasm and her determination to keep on practicing, and she has enjoyed watching Delaney progress so well over the years.

Way to go, Delaney!

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Tags: Cedar Falls, virginia lee, piano, lessons
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Meet Our Repair Team - Jay Ramsey: West Music Cedar Falls
By West Music Company
4/11/2016 2:28:00 PM  

Jay Ramsey works in the Band & Orchestra Repair Department at West Music Cedar Falls. Call Jay at (319) 277-1000 for all your band & orchestra repair needs!

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Tags: Jay ramsey, band, orchestra, repair, maintainance, cedar falls
Categories: Band & Orchestra, West Music Cedar Falls
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Meet Our Repair Team - Tim Oldre: West Music Cedar Falls
By West Music Company
3/2/2016 3:19:00 PM  

Tim Oldre is a Band and Orchestra Instrument Repair Specialist at the West Music Cedar Falls location. He's a 2005 graduate from Northwestern College with a Bachelor degree in music. Tim is also a 2006 graduate from Minnesota State Technical College with a degree in instrument repair. Tim repairs band instruments in Cedar Falls with an emphasis on brass instruments. As a trombone and tuba player, Tim has kept active in the community playing his horns. Tim is also active in his church helping with the sound system.

If you have an instrument in need of repair, contact Tim at West Music Cedar Falls by calling 800.248.7004 or 319.277.1000!

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Tags: Tim oldre, repair, cedar falls, trombone, tuba, brass, Minnesota State Technical College,
Categories: West Music Cedar Falls, Company Culture
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Cedar Falls February 2016 Teacher Feature: Kip Roelfsema
By West Music Company
2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Kip Roelfsema teaches drumset and snare at Cedar Falls Conservatory. Working with beginners through all levels of study Kip has a number of students playing in bands. Growing up in Steamboat Rock, Kip attended UNI and was a Social Studies Major. Although he is an accomplished teacher Kip continues to be a dedicated student of percussion studies and has continued his education on the drum set through clinics, workshops, independent study, and master classes.

Kip lives in the country near Denver, Iowa with his wife Jill, son Alex, and their pet cats and dogs. He is an outdoor person and can be found fishing, camping, or hiking when he takes vacations and he has visited several national parks. When Kip isn't out performing he enjoys attending concerts and live local music events. An evening out can find him enjoying a meal at a local Mexican restaurant and then catching a show afterwards.

Beyond teaching drums Kip has played in a handful of bands for over 9 years. He was with the rock band BadDog and now currently plays for the blues rock band Fat Cat. He has been strongly influenced by Stevie Ray Vaughn, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan, and Rush. In the past Kip has performed a couple of Rush songs with friends at studio recitals showing his students what is possible with practice. On November 26'", 2011 Fat Cat opened for Brett Michaels at McElroy Auditorium.

Kip uses an individualized lesson program based on the student's level and interests. Beginners start with the proper technique and the basic rhythm studies, to include sight reading. He accepts students from ages 5 to adult. He offers recitals but they are not required. Kip works to find a student's motivation and encourages them to be successful. Kip is a well respected teacher who is loved by his students not only for his teaching but his sense of humor-keeping lessons fun.

Click here to get 50% off lesson registration with Kip Roelfsema through February!


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Tags: Kip Roelfsema, Cedar Falls, Teacher Feature, drum teacher, percussion
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Falls February 2016 Musician of the Month: Amina Mehmedovic
By West Music Company
2/1/2016 8:00:00 AM  
Amina Mehmedovic 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 Amina because of her dedication and commitment to learning over the past year. In addition to studying the violin, Amina is learning to play the ukulele in her free time. She is currently in 5th grade at Lou Henry Elementary.

Amina’s advice to other musicians is “Don’t think too hard, and dont give up when it gets hard!” When asked about music, Amina says “What I love about music is that it doesn’t have limitations.”

Amina is involved in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) club after school. She is bilingual, likes to sing, and is good at drawing.

Congratulations, Amina!

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Tags: andrea alert, violin, lessons, instruction, teacher,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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Cedar Falls December 2015 Teacher Feature: Terri Brandt
By West Music Company
12/1/2015 8:00:00 AM  
Terri is a piano and vocal instructor at West Music Cedar Falls. She has been teaching piano since 1980 and is the choral director at Hoover Middle School in Waterloo, where she's taught for 30 years.

Terri started piano at age 6, it was her first instrument. She graduated from UNI with a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance and Music Education. She also has a Masters Degree in Music Education from UNI.

Aside from teaching, she plays accompaniment for the music department at Union Community Schools, and has volunteered for many years at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. She enjoys accompanying Union’s Show Choir and traveling with them to competitions.

In her free time, Terri likes to quilt and bicycle. Both she and her husband enjoy traveling.

Terri says her favorite moments in teaching come when the student has that “Ah-Ha” moment – everything comes together. When a student performs well – they connect with the music and feel good about what they are doing. "My teachers nurtured music in me and I hope I can help students to grow musically as I did."

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Tags: Terri Brandt, Hoover Middle School, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, Union Community Schools, UNI,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Cedar Falls
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