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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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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!

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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Extraordinary Associate of the Month: Flute Authority Repair Team
By West Music Company
12/20/2017 2:58:00 PM  

flute authority repair teamFlute Authority is a division of West Music Company, Inc. that specializes in the sale and maintenance of professional level flutes. West Music’s involvement in professional level flutes date back to the 1950’s when our founder Pearl West designed and built the first Westwind flute. Since then, Flute Authority has become the North American distributor of several important brands including Trevor James Flutes, Sankyo Flutes, Miyazawa, and lefreQue sound bridge.

One aspect that sets Flute Authority apart is that all repairs happen in-house at our Coralville, IA location. In preparation for being temporarily short-handed the Flute Authority Repair Team – Tonya Adams, Lauren Carr, and Erik Swanson – went to great lengths to coordinate schedules and worked extra hours so that they could meet our stock needs.

They all consistently demonstrate great teamwork, and on top of that are always willing to help with whatever is needed! At one point, Erik and Lauren even tag-teamed setting up a flute in record time so that it could still be shipped that same afternoon (not our typical protocol!).

Speaking of going above and beyond, Lauren took time away from the repair bench and traveled to Judy’s Flute Party (yes, it is a real thing!) with record-setting sales at that annual event. Thanks for always working hard, Flute Authority Repair Team!!

As told by Cathy Miller,
V.P./Director of Flute Authority

Tags: flute authority, repair, lefreque, tonya adams, lauren carr, erik swanson
Categories: West Music Coralville, Extraordinary Associate of the Month
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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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Coralville December 2017 Musician of the Month: Sofia Steele
By West Music Company
12/6/2017 3:00:00 PM  

sofia steeleSofia has been in voice lessons with Jessica Saunders for 3 years. She is in the 9th grade and also plays clarinet and piano. She is involved in her school show choir and band.

Her teacher has this to say about working with Sofia:

Sofia is an excellent student in every way! She is willing to try many different things in her lessons, including languages, styles, and difficult vocal technique. She asks very insightful questions and has such an inquisitive spirit. It is always a pleasure working with her and I look forward to what we can accomplish together!” — Jessica Saunders

Sofia’s musical goals are to both improve on her current instruments and also to learn to play some new ones! Her advice to other musicians is to “go outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself with some difficult pieces of music. It is an awesome feeling to succeed at something you once found so difficult.”

She loves the feeling of accomplishment that learning a new skill or mastering a new piece gives her, and how fun it is to make music for herself and for others to hear. Sofia also loves to read and write stories, watch movies and listen to music. Her favorite styles of music are pop and alternative, but she “tends to listen to a little bit of everything.” One of the non-musical activities she loves is Kyūdō, Japanese archery, in which she shoots a bow that “is quite a bit taller than me (and I’m 5'10")!”

Congratulations, Sofia!

Tags: voice, Saunders Vocal Studio, clarinet, piano
Categories: West Music Coralville
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Coralville November 2017 Musician of the Month: Lydia Evans
By West Music Company
11/6/2017 2:51:00 PM  

lydia evansLydia Evans has studied piano in our West Music Lessons program for 5 years. She began her studies with Alice Golden, and continues with Sarah Beckelheimer. Lydia is in the 4th grade and also plays the violin. She plans to play in her elementary orchestra next year, and currently participates in a community group violin class.

Her teacher has this to say about working with Lydia: “Lydia is a hard worker at piano. She gives a great effort during each lesson and is willing to challenge herself with several songs every week.

She is enjoyable to teach and a sweet girl with a great sense of humor.”

When asked for advice to other musicians, Lydia wisely suggests that you “always practice and you will get better. Listen to different music and try new things.” She loves how different music can put you in different moods. “It’s fun to be creative when making up music!”

Lydia is half Turkish and has been to 13 different countries. Lydia loves art, reading, traveling, plants, and animals. She enjoys her two parakeets! One of her favorite musicians is Sarah Tucker, and her song “Believer.” We’re very proud to work with her in our Lessons program!

Congratulations, Lydia!

Tags: violin, Alice Golden, Sarah Beckelheimer, lessons, student
Categories: West Music Coralville
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Coralville October 2017 Musician of the Month: Helena Mounce
By West Music Company
11/1/2017 5:08:00 AM  

Helena violin studentHelena is 6th grade student in our West Music Lessons program. She has studied flute with Rose Bishop for 2 years, ukulele with Chris Eck for 2 years, and violin with William and Donald Gentzsch for 4 years. She enjoys band, orchestra and aerial dance. Helena is a dedicated musician and an exemplary student!

Her teachers have this to say about working with her:

“Helena was one of the hardest working, most outgoing students I have ever taught. She is a joy to work with!” - William Gentzsch, Violin Instructor

“It’s a privilege to be Helena’s teacher and to see her expressing herself so well through music. She has a natural aptitude and love for music, and always works hard. I’ve been very proud to play with her at her school talent show and West Music recitals.” -Chris Eck, West Music Director of Lessons & Ukulele Instructor

“Helena is one of the sweetest and most caring flute students I have ever had. She is passionate about learning and works hard every week to perfect her assigned music. Her positive outlook and creativity makes her one of my favorite students to work with each week!” -Rose Bishop, Flute Instructor

One of her main goals on violin is to finish all of the Suzuki books. She likes that music can change your mood and how when you practice “the outcome is really cool!” Helena offers this advice to other musicians: “Keep practicing. I almost gave up on violin, but I kept going, and now I’m pretty good!” Her favorite musician is violinist Lindsey Stirling.

In addition to music and dance Helena likes puzzles, board games, hiking, and Roblox. When asked what someone might be surprised to learn about her, she confesses that “I really like potatoes!”

Congratulations, Helena!

Tags: coralville, flute, violin, ukulele, student, chris eck
Categories: West Music Coralville
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Coralville Teacher Feature: Saul Lubaroff
By West Music Company
10/15/2017 1:53:00 PM  
Saul LubaroffExcelling as a professional saxophonist, clarinetist, and flautist, Saul Lubaroff stands as a central cog in the Eastern Iowa music scene. As a performer of jazz, blues, soul, klezmer, classical, and pop music, Saul is a veteran in some of most successful bands of the area. He performs with The Fez, a 15-piece Steely Dan tribute band, The Johnny Kilowatt Blues Band, and Shade of Blue, a local soul band.

Saul has shared the stage with George Clinton and PFunk, Liquid Soul, Clark Terry, Michael Woolf, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, and Alex Foster of the Saturday Night Live band, and has performed locally with Orchestra Iowa, the Band Salaam (Persian and Mediterranean music), The Blue Band, Brass Transit Authority, local big bands, funk bands, and his own quartet.

Saul is currently accepting new students ages 8 through adult for saxaphone, clarient, and flute lessons at West Music Coralville. He also teaches music composition.

Schedule Your First Lesson with Saul!

Tags: saul lubaroff, The Fez, Johnny Kilowatt Blues Band, Shade of Blue, orchestra iowa,
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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Alice Golden - A Teacher and a Friend
By West Music Company
8/28/2017 12:39:00 PM  
Alice GoldenChris Eck is the Director of Music Education at West Music. He worked with Alice Golden for many years before her recent passing. He offers these words in memoriam:

"West Music would like to express what a privilege it was to know and work with Alice. She was a true leader in this educational community, sharing her gifts and expertise with hundreds of lucky people. She was a music teacher for over 30 years, half of which were right here in our Lessons studios at our West Music stores. Before her retirement earlier this year, West Music was a second home to Alice.  We’re so grateful for her incredible partnership in our mission. We will be working closely with her family and colleagues to honor her memory and the legacy of her amazing life. 

On a personal note, like many of you reading this my heart is very heavy with the news of her passing. Alice always had a smile and showed her tremendous heart to everyone she met. I’ve never known a teacher who gave so much caring attention and encouragement! She gave the same love freely to those she worked with, met on the street, talked to at the coffee shop, friends…a uniquely bright and naturally giving person who can never be replaced in this world. We miss and love you, Miss Alice."

Alice F. Golden, 71, of Iowa City, passed away Wednesday, August 23, 2017. Alice was born on July 24, 1946 in Iowa City, the daughter of Delmar and Goldie (Miller) Bender. Alice received her B.A. in vocal music from Goshen College. She taught vocal music, worked as a children’s librarian, and then taught piano to many beloved students at West Music for many years. Alice loved nature. She worked at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, Indiana for many years; Alice taught groups of children about insects, birds, maple syrup gathering, swamps, trees, flowers and all nature in general. She treasured those years. She loved the woods and often took long walks in them, surrounded by nature.

She loved music of all kinds, playing piano, playing French horn, and singing. She loved concerts, plays, musicals, dance and all of the arts. 

Alice was a devoted mother and grandmother. She loved her family and friends deeply. She loved reading, especially children's literature. She loved going to The Java House and was great friends with the baristas there, as well as other friends she met there. From the Manifesto she wrote in 2015, "she loved dogs, friendly people, children, babies, smiles, clouds, blue skies, stormy skies, trees, flowers, grass, making bouquets, good authors, good books, seeing beauty in small things and the grandeur of large things like sunsets and sunrises, songs of childhood, cicadas, spring peepers, holidays, and when people say, 'I love you.'"

Alice is survived by her loving children: Susanna Golden, Kirstin Golden and Peter (Christine) Golden; her three grandchildren: Zoe Rogers, Ethan Maltes and Penelope Golden; her siblings: Ginny (Ken) Rew, John (Cathy) Bender, Les (Kathy) Bender and Laurie Bender; her nephew, Brad (Bridgette) Rew and their child, Madeleine Wehmeyer; and her niece, Molly Rew and her children, Rosalía and Jesús Escalera Rew. Alice is also survived by numerous friends and extended family. She was preceded in death by her parents, Delmar and Goldie Bender. Memorials may be directed to the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. 

Tags: alice golden, chris eck
Categories: Conservatory, West Music Coralville
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