We can’t take all the credit, but the science confirms that when you make music for a sustained period of time, your brain literally grows!

Bridgette O’Leary is one student currently excelling as she finishes up her Bachelor’s degree at Johns Hopkins University with accolades, community service, and dreams for the future in place.
Bridgette is double majoring in Writing and Language.  That includes studies in four languages: Spanish, French, Russian, and Hebrew.  Bridgette has also been writing plays for the Witness Theater at Hopkins and is now serving on the executive board for the group.  Her plays have been selected for performance on an annual basis.  Bridgette has also tutored middle school children in creative writing, on-line during COVID.

Her mom reports:  “She is TEFL certified and was recently invited to join the Beta Circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa National Honor Society for her high academic achievement and  leadership.”

And the future?  Bridgette hopes to live in France next year while teaching English (application now underway), wants to spend a year working for AmeriCorps, and then move on to graduate school.  Her long term plan is to secure a Doctorate in Linguistics and a Masters in Library Science. How’s that for a plan? !!

We are happy to know that Bridgette is working very hard and, as her former flute teacher, I like to think that flute practice skills (like lots of repetition for technical mastery and all those other good goal setting practice strategies) have contributed to her success in college.  This photo is from 2014.  We played a duet for a December recital.  Bridgette graduated from Marianapolis Preparatory School in Thompson, CT in 2018.  She is originally from Leicester.


For Ages 5 to 7 years/K,Gr.1and2

This semester, your child will learn to drum, sing, move to new rhythms, work in ensembles, conduct, improvise, and play dynamic music games!

More Details here.

The Tree Frog Collection contains energetic triple-meter rhythms inspired by Japanese Taiko drumming. We’ll explore these patterns in “Suzume Odori” (Sparrow Dance), as we adapt the intricate steps danced in festivals throughout Japan. “Canta Coquí” (Singing Frog) has two distinct song phrases that evoke the abundant Puerto Rican tree frogs singing and hopping everywhere! We’ll celebrate the beautiful rivers and mountains of Japan in “Tree Frog Song,” while learning a delightful Japanese hand-clapping game. And “Tree Frog Night” will give us a chance to experience a night in the life of a tree frog!

All 22 song selections have been chosen and arranged specifically to support your child’s music development.

Schedules, details and a registration link can all be found on this Rhythm Kids program page.

Hello Friends,
Plans for our September 17, 2022, 40th Gala at Tuckerman Hall are well underway!
I (board member Melanie Donegan) am still in need of loyal supporters of Pakachoag Music School to help with decorations and interesting graphics for event displays and the evening’s program.
Our event will truly be a Gala with lots of entertainment, delicious hors d’oeurves and honors bestowed.
Please consider being a part of this wonderful event as we celebrate 40 years of music for Greater Worcester.
Contact Melanie Donegan, board member and event chairperson, for more info or questions.
This Fall, we’re introducing 16 children, grades 3 to 5, to the Ukulele at Worcester’s Elm Park Community School.
We extend thanks to School donors and grantors whose support is making it possible for us to invest in this program. Grants are currently pending in hopes of continued and expanded partner-based outreach programming in 2022.
Elm Park Principal Lucas Donahue, music teacher Danielle Maldonado, and Jeanne Gohary, School Administrative Assistant, have all been instrumental in helping get the program started.
Guitar /Ukulele teacher Michael Stubblefield is at Elm Park on Thursdays for 1 1/2 hours.  Kristjon Imperio, Director of Programs and Community Engagement, is spearheading the project.
What is this unusual space where the students are meeting?  It is Elm Park’s Hogwart’s School library!  Featuring all things ‘Harry Potter’.   Elm School librarian has created an engaging, calm space that includes pleasant aromas, things to touch, and lots of things to read.

Meet (or Catch Up With!) Joy O’Connor Miller, 2006 Graduate
Artist and Art Teacher

When the Lessons of Music at Pakachoag Keep Giving

Joy took flute lessons through middle and high school.  She is originally from Auburn,  MA

This fall, Joy joined our Harmony Fund family with her first gift.  Joy now lives in Mississippi*.  She graduated from Ann Maria College in Paxton, MA.
I asked Joy if she is still playing her flute. Joy says not so much, but she does have some reflections to share about the impact of music learning in her daily work.

I have a poster in my classroom that reads “Practice makes Progress.” That’s definitely an idea I grew very familiar with through my lessons and daily flute practice throughout middle and high school. I was never a perfect flutist, but I definitely witnessed a lot of progress, which was so rewarding that it then fueled more practice and more progress. I hope to convey the importance of progress over perfection to my art students: they don’t come to my classes because they already create perfect art, but because they want to learn and develop into better artists.

The impact of music lessons becomes broader and deeper over time. What we do is about music, but so much more, like improving reading and memory skills for beginners to lots of analytical thinking involved in mastering technical challenges for older, advancing students; and definitely, as Joy well knows, instilling a life-long understanding of the importance of hard work through practice – for progress, not necessarily the illusive idea of “perfection”.

Many thanks to all, including Joy, who support Pakachoag as volunteer, donor, grantor, community member.  Your support helps make Music for Life.

*Oops.  I (Sarah S.) mixed up my state abbreviations and translated MS earlier as Missouri.

Many thanks to all who keep the music playing at Pakachoag, year-to-year, decade-to-decade.  Here, you can view/download a pdf copy of the Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report.

Annual Report for 2021

Students from the after-school Black Excellence Academy enjoy a music class with Pakachoag faculty member Christon Carney. Chris visits BEA once a week again this fall.

21 Ways to Harmony:  Feature No. 6

Join Pakachoag Music School online for Feature No. 6 (of 7) for the online 21 Ways to Harmony Series.

Presented in collaboration with Worcester County Poetry Association.

Intersecting Through the Arts

Sunday, December 12

6:30 pm Premiere via YouTube

Apologies from our host Kristjon Imperio.  Extra communications related to COVID tracking and some technology challenges required a delayed release from the original release date of November 20.

What To Expect

Why do we combine or overlap art forms?  Do creatives lose the merit of the original when doing that?

Kristjon Imperio, host, will explore the history and value around arts collaborations from the perspectives of both artist and audience; from theater to opera to cinema; music, dance, poetry and visual arts.

Kristjon will be joined by editor and poet Rodger Martin, current President of the Worcester County Poetry Association, as we look more specifically at intersections between poetry, music and art.  We’ll uncover Rodger’s creative process using his poem “Buoyancy” part of an art collaboration currently on display in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

From the perspective of Mr. Martin: “We are a social creature, and art is a positive way to deal with that social need… it can bring us together in a way that nothing else can.  If we are going to progress as a human race, I think we need art to help get where we need to go.”

What do you think?  As audience members, do we have a role in the conversation?  As creators, do we disrupt, in a good way or bad way, our creativity when collaborating?

To view prior features, check the links available on our Special Events page.

Too Much Noise?

“Hearing Too Much in a Noisy World: Even ordinary levels of background din can drown out the meaning our brains seek from sound.” From an op-ed by Nina Kraus in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Nina Kraus, Professor of Audiology at Northwestern University, has dedicated her research life to understanding the power of sound, and how sound is processed in the brain.

That lifetime of exploration around sound is now available in an interesting, entertaining read: Of Sound Mind: How Our Brain Constructs a Meaningful Sonic World.
As Dr. Kraus’ book explains, sound plays an unrecognized role in both healthy and hurting brains. Kraus explores the power of music for healing as well as the destructive power of noise on the nervous system.

Not Only for The Music Together Community

Dr Kraus’ book complements the large body of research upon which the Music Together early childhood curriculum is based.  In a letter to Music Together Worldwide CEO Susan Darrow, Dr. Kraus wrote of the book: “It is my love letter to sound, how sound connects us, its biological impact on making us…us, and how it affects the society we live in. I hope and like to think this book will have something to offer Music Together.”
Definitely, as parents or caregivers of young children, the more we understand about sound and music learning,  the better for our children.  But of course, all of us here at Pakachoag believe engaging with music brings value that lasts throughout life.  This book can give us additional insight into the importance of music in learning as well as on-going health and well-being.

More About ‘Of Sound Mind’

Neurologist and author Dr. Nina Kraus“Making sense of sound is one of the hardest jobs we ask our brains to do. In Of Sound Mind, Nina Kraus examines the partnership of sound and brain, showing for the first time that the processing of sound drives many of the brain’s core functions. Our hearing is always on—we can’t close our ears the way we close our eyes—and yet we can ignore sounds that are unimportant. We don’t just hear; we engage with sounds. Kraus explores what goes on in our brains when we hear a word—or a chord, or a meow, or a screech.”  From MIT Press, from where the book can be ordered:
You can listen to an NPR interview with Nina Krause here:

“Nina Kraus is a brilliant communicator in her explorations of music and the brain. Of Sound Mind is an engaging and entertaining read. With lively analogies and diagrams, the book is accessible for those just getting their ‘ears’ wet, but has much to offer for musicians and researchers as well.”  Renée Fleming, world renowned Soprano and arts and health advocate.


Registrar & Office Manager

Open for Applications starting October 20, 2021

Part-time, 30 hours per week.

We’re looking for someone with strong organizational ability to manage program registrations and the School office.  You’ll need good customer service skills, bookkeeping and database experience.  Two years minimum office experience required. Candidates should be comfortable working in a fast paced environment.

The position averages 30 hours per week.  Core work hours are 1:00 to 6:00 pm, 5 days, Monday to Friday; Saturday hours desired in lieu of a weekday.  Final start/end time and schedule of days to be negotiated.

NEXT STEP:   Please send NOTE of interest by email, to  With subject line:   Registrar / Office Manager.

We will provide more detailed information.