Sounds Blooming in Late Spring

Jose-Luis Estrada - Sun, 2014-05-18 19:58
My most recent visit to Boston included recording solo piano at WGBH. I had a wonderful time working at the Fraser Studio and with sound engineer Jane Pipik. I am happy to share that a new album with modernist classical works will be released soon.  I'll look forward to sharing the music as well as the conceptual framework and process of bringing this deeply personal project to fruition. 

May 2014 in Boston, MA

An Inquiry into Creating Intentional Social Change through Ensemble-based Music Programs

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2014-05-15 21:44
The Fifth Class of Sistema Fellows has written this paper together as a culmination of a year of inquiring, discussing, observing and experiencing. We hope this document will be viewed as our contribution to the ongoing discussion and dialogue around using music for social change, and we see our audience... Sistema Fellows Program

805 seminario

Exploring El Sistema - Tue, 2014-05-13 12:24
Last weekend, students from the Incredible Childrens Art Network in Santa Barbara traveled to Ventura to learn alongside students from The New West Symphony Harmony Project. This seminario was the result of an ongoing collaboration between ICAN's Program Director Xochitl Tafoya (Sistema Fellow '13) and New West's Education & Artistic... Sistema Fellows Program

The Ensemble, May edition

Exploring El Sistema - Mon, 2014-05-12 15:27
The May edition of Tricia Tunstall and Eric Booth's publication chronicling the emerging field of El Sistema-inspired activity in the US and beyond is found here. Sistema Fellows Program

Year-end invitations, free and open to the public

Exploring El Sistema - Thu, 2014-05-08 10:46
Click on the image to enlarge. Sistema Fellows Program


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:22
by Suzanne Hegland Faculty Editor   The stars aligned in December of 2013. I was looking to revamp our school news­paper, and Kate Lemmon was looking for a job. Kate arrived for her initial interview armed with a portfolio of her past work and a list of great ideas for the future of The Penguin. […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:20
So it’s the end of the year already? It’s funny how time flies. It doesn’t feel like a year ago that I met with my future teacher at NEC in a Starbucks across from Carnegie Hall, still being undecided on what school to attend “next year”. The BSO was in New York City to play […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:18
Is it graduation time already? It feel like it was only yesterday that we picked up our orientation packages at the Beethoven statue, feeling completely overwhelmed by the thought of enter­ing a new school full of so many mysteries and new people. My beginning at NEC was like a comedic episode out of a TV […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:16
by ISABELLA DAWIS First-year UD Voice     One of the best parts about singing is that you get to invent a character. And now that the school year is almost over, I’ll have more time to come up with character backstories! Sometimes it helps to compile a list of questions like this: What is […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:12
by KATE LEMMON / photos by KATE L PHOTOGRAPHY Second-Year MM Flute       Mike Avitabile and I have just finished a promotional photo shoot for the group he recently founded, the Boston Young Composers Ensemble (BYCE). Coordinating a group of eleven people is no small feat, and I’m exhausted—but Mike has enough energy […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:10
After an extensive and grueling nomination voting process, these eight NEC students have emerged victorious. Give them a high Five next time you spot them in the hallway!


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:08
by KATE LEMMON Second-year MM Flute     “Did you forget your ID again?” Jake Scanlan teases me as I pop into the security desk at Jordan Hall. Admittedly, this defi­nitely wouldn’t be my first offense! I’m notorious amongst the security guards for giving them a hard time. Some of you might recall Todd’s Penguin […]


Penguin - Fri, 2014-05-02 07:06
REPUTABLE AND HONEST ADVICE FOR LASTING THE SEMESTER   BY SYD RVINSKY VOCALIST ’17       Buckle up: this Thursday marks the beginning of May and yet when we peer out our windows it looks an awful lot like it did in March. Discouraged? Aren’t we all. Times like this we find ourselves openly […]

Early Music Meets the 21st Century

CE Blog - Tue, 2014-02-25 10:47

NEC’s School of Continuing Education Professional Studies Certificate candidate Amy Kao, gave her final recital on Saturday February 22, 2014 in Brown Hall.   Amy performed works by Froberger, Handel, Bach and Scarlatti on a 1987 custom built French double-manual harpsichord  by Allan Winkler.  The harpsichord is based on the work of the Parisian builder Francois Blanchet II and was built here in Boston.

What made this recital even more interesting was that Amy’s entire performance was done without sheet music.  Instead, she chose to use a tablet computer with a foot pedal mechanism to turn the pages of the music which had been scanned into the tablet computer.

A special congratulations to Amy on a great performance and we wish her all the best in the next stage of her musical journey!

      NEC School of Professional Studies Certificate Graduate Amy Kao

Early music meets the 21st century


French double-manual harpsichord by Allan Winkler (notice the tablet computer and foot pedals)

Amy Kao pictured with NEC Faculty John Gibbons (center) and Allan Winkler (craftsman of harpsichord).



NEC Professional Studies Certificate

CE Blog - Thu, 2014-01-30 16:29

A special congratulations to our Professional Studies Certificate in Jazz student, Lisa Witwicki, who gave her final recital on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.

We wish her all the best in the next stage of her musical journey!

To learn more about our certificate programs and how we can help you achieve your musical goals please visit our Certificate Programs page.

Caustic: An amazing music creation tool!

CE Blog - Fri, 2014-01-17 16:42

“Caustic is a music creation tool inspired by rack-mount synthesizer/sampler rigs. Everything is real-time and optimized for mobile devices.”

We love this blog!

iPad and Technology in Music Education 

Check out the iTunes store for more info and how you can start using this tool in your music classroom!

2014 Grammy Awards

CE Blog - Thu, 2014-01-09 11:46

Lorde, Katy Perry, Robin Thicke added to the lineup!

Here in the SCE, we love checking out all the different kinds of music happening out there! Just like us, many others will be tuning-in to CBS for the 56th Grammy Awards on January 26th. In addition to the awards show this year, CBS will be presenting “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles,” celebrating the Fab Four’s debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show” 50 years ago in 1964. The Beatles themselves were awarded seven Grammy’s throughout their career, so it’s going to take several talented artists to honor the unforgettable group.

According to the Grammy’s official website, “scheduled to perform are four-time GRAMMY winner Annie Lennox and GRAMMY winner Dave Stewart reuniting as Eurythmics for one night only; 14-time GRAMMY winner Alicia Keys with nine-time GRAMMY winner John Legend; three-time GRAMMY-winning group Maroon 5; and seven-time GRAMMY winner John Mayer with four-time GRAMMY winner Keith Urban.”During the special these artists will be covering Beatles classics. In addition, original footage will be played from their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “various presenters will help highlight and contextualize the musical, cultural and historical impact of the group and this legendary performance.”

Producer Ken Ehrlich reports that “Don’t Let Me Down” will be performed by John Mayer and Keith Urban, and “Let It Be” will be a collaboration between Alicia Keys and John Legend. A dozen acts are reported to be performing.

This commemorative special will air on February 9th at 8pm on CBS, exactly 50 years after the original event. Be sure to tune-in!

Huffington Post

Physical Therapy/Injury Prevention Clinic for Musicians at NEC

CE Blog - Mon, 2013-12-09 13:42

This past Thursday, December 5th, NEC’s Student Activities Center hosted a physical therapy/injury prevention clinic. This clinic served to educate musicians on how to avoid playing with injuries in the first place, how to practice effectively and cautiously while injured, and how to help one’s self heal as quickly as possible after getting injured. At NEC, this clinic couldn’t be more helpful. It is common knowledge here at NEC that the pianists and string players spend hours and hours on end hidden away in a practice room perfecting their craft. For some people, this works just fine, but for others, sometimes their fingers, hands, wrists, arms, shoulders, etc. just can’t keep up with that intense of a practice session, but more often than not, the players keep on playing. This is a horrible habit considering these musicians have their careers resting on those hard working hands!

Of course, injuries can happen to any instrumentalist, and injury prevention can be just as effective for a trombonist as it is for a jazz bass player. I only use string players and pianists as my example because of how many cases of tendonitis, broken fingers, and stress fractures that my friends have experienced in this past semester alone! I, being a singer, don’t really have to deal with this much stress on my body when I’m practicing; the occasional crick in my neck, sure, shoulder tension, you bet, but that’s nothing that a little massaging and stretching can’t fix! I couldn’t even imagine how devastated I would be if I hurt one of my ribs, or a lung, or worse… if I got nodes!

Injury prevention is such an important topic for musicians and I am so glad that NEC is able to hold a clinic like this! Productive practicing is NOT just spending hours in a room playing the same phrase over and over. Productive practicing is being aware of your body while you’re playing; how does it feel? Does it hurt when you reach for that note? Do you feel confident of the music within your body?

Be engaged and aware fellow musicians! We need you to help keep our art alive!

Stay healthy my friends!
Lizzie Wendt
SCE Workstudy

Elizabeth Wendt
School of Continuing Education Office Assistant
Phone: (617) 585-1701

The ultimate remote? Control your classroom computer with your iPad!

CE Blog - Tue, 2013-12-03 10:28


Great blog!

Originally posted on iPad and Technology in Music Education:

 Actions for iPad is a remarkably simple way to control your classroom computer from your iPad. The best thing? You set it up the way that you need it to work. I wish tis was the way professional development worked at our school…. The english department gets the info they need while us music teachers get something meaningful and directly related to our classroom teaching! Wait, I get sidetracked…. sorry!

BONUS – AS OF TODAY THIS APP IS ONLY $0.99 – the Cyber Monday deal of the day! Get it now! Usual price is $3.99

The other Deal today is NoteShelf today is $4.99 (on sale from $8.99) I use this app every time we work on music theory in class. Best app I have found yet for using like a large notepad on the projected screen during rehearsals! There are all sorts of different “paper” you can write on built into this app – allowing me to have a blank background, lined, graph paper and of course for the music classroom there is staff paper! But again I get sidetracked…. back to Actions for iPad!

View original

Embodied Music®: the Feldenkrais Method for Musicians

Cello Bello Blog - Mon, 2012-05-14 14:03

Before discussing what the Feldenkrais method is and how it can help you make better music without injuring yourself, let me start by asking a few questions.

Have you ever observed how very young children respond to music – with rhythmic movement, with sounds, with all sorts of other movements? Do you remember how you felt as a child, when you wanted to make music? Do you ever feel something akin to ecstasy when you hear a piece of a performance you really love? Is the sense of ecstasy only a thought or is it a feeling also in your body? Where in yourself do you feel it? Do you feel the rhythm? Can you feel that sometimes music makes you feel light and sometimes heavy, sometimes it is a swaying feeling and sometimes you want to jump? Sometimes tall and wide when the sound fills up the universe and sometimes all stops and there is just a minimal movement, like very quiet waters?

Do you realize that all these states have to do with your body, with different muscular states and a different organization of the skeleton? That your muscles feel different when you feel speed, and different when you feel swaying? What would you think if I told you that the feeling in your body of a particular phrase will create just the right muscle tone needed to play the phrase – not more and not less? Would you consider the thought that ignoring the physical feeling of music might contribute to injury and frustration?

Why do many of us lose that embodied feeling of music we had when we were children? Is it possible to keep the ecstasy of music alive through the whole process of acquiring the techniques to express it? And not only to keep it alive, but use it to find the right movements to express it? I constantly hear from students, after our lesson, variations on this phrase: “Wow, I remember now why I wanted to do it in the first place. I forgot!” The spontaneity and unity of hearing, doing and listening, is suddenly available again and the music is a pleasure to make, even when it needs improvement. Quiet, simple breathing resumes and the sense of the body’s weight returns. It is a moment of relief even to very accomplished players.

When one remembers this natural feeing of music and realizes how much of it is dormant, the next question is how to reclaim it.

The Feldenkrais method provides tools which use the language of movement to do just this. Dr. Feldenkrais created thousands of movement lessons which address every movement needed to live and to play. As a result, injuries are prevented and alleviated and one discovers new options of sounds which in turns enrich the musical imagination.

After many years of working with musicians and realizing how little information and help they get from their own body, I developed a way, which I call “Embodied Music”, to apply the Feldenkrais Method to musicians.

I use four formats in teaching:

1. Group movement lessons
2. Private sessions where I work with my hands, addressing specific problems of a student, sometimes with and sometimes without the instrument.
3. Master Classes
4. Workshops, combining all formats.

In the next installment, I will explain the tools and the theory used to help you express your music without hurting yourself.  In the last installment I will direct you through a series of movements so you can experience the efficacy of this Method.