PI Parent Info Docs

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. mdonegan16@gmail.com

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: Of Sound Mind- MIT Press
You can listen to an NPR interview with Nina Krause here: https://www.npr.org/2021/10/15/1046460029/how-do-we-make-sense-of-the-sounds-around-us

“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.


Finding Your Way in the Portal

Fall 2019 – For Private Lesson Families

Quick Screen Print of the entry page to portal.pakmusic.org

Pakachoag is now using an online registration system that ties directly to our internal database.

If you are using a payment plan, you will need to log in to check dollars coming due.  We’ve included some notes below to help explain the process.

Move to Registration-Account Portal

We no longer send out invoices prior to payment due dates, but will send a reminder to log in.

Here are the steps to retrieve your payment due information.    Please note that accounts are tied to the PRIMARY (usually the primary parent or adult student) e-mail in our system.

If you are unable to access a computer for log-in on a permanent basis, please let us know and we’ll assist.

Please log in no sooner than one month prior to due date (this ensures any prior payments have been processed).

  • Click the button above or below to move to the payment portal.
    • If you have previously logged in, enter your user name and password.
    • If this is your first time logging in, click “forgot” and the system will send you a pre-existing, auto-generated, user name and password to the primary email on file.
  • Under the tab for “Account Balance” you can view your current registration(s) and related payment information.
  • To view any dollars due and outstanding as of the date your are logging in, look in the “Balance [current date] ” box .
  • To view dollars due on a specific payment plan due date, for instance as of November 1, click “See Balance Due on Different Date” and enter 11/1/2019 (or enter an alternate upcoming payment plan dates as desired).
Please Note:
Credits applied to a registration, from payments made during summer pre-registration deposits or from pre-existing credits in our system, do not appear in the payment history found under the “Payments” tab. This means dollars “paid” to date vs. “balance” may total less than the “Total” noted for your registration.
Browser Note:
The portal will NOT work correctly if using Firefox as a browser.  We suggest using Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari.

Hello Parents and Students (adults too!),Big Ear graphic

You’re Invited to Take the Challenge

For our third year, we invite all of our students – new and returning – to take part in our Private Lesson Big Ear Challenge.

The goal of the challenge is to listen to music every day. Surrounding our children (and adult students too) with beautiful music will inspire them (or you) and gives everyone a goal to work toward.

How to Participate:

  1. Let your teacher know at your first or second lesson* that you are planning to participate.
  2. Visit the Current Students > Private Lessons Information page here on the web site at the beginning of each week during September.

AND     Look for:  “Big Ear Challenge”

-A new music clip will be posted at the beginning of each week of the challenge, starting the week of September 12th. The challenge will run from September 15-October 15.


  1. Listen to the weekly clip at home each day (or download to your handheld device? Is that possible???)
  2. Mark on your calendar every day that you listen. See how many days you can check off for the month. The goal is to listen every day.
  3. Bring your calendar to your lesson each week, and your teacher will check in with you and leave their initials that you listened for the week.
  4. At the end of September*, turn your calendar in to Leah Zelnick, Student Performance Coordinator.

*The challenge will run from Sept 15-Oct 15, but we encourage you to begin listening now, and keep listening after!


  • If you manage to complete 30 consecutive days of listening, you will be presented with a certificate of completion at our October 19 performance class.  (We’ll also list your name in our fall Newsletter.)
  • You can attend the class to listen and get your certificate (if you are not also scheduled to perform).
  • If you prefer not to attend the class, let us know and the certificate can be presented by your teacher at your private lesson.

Download Sept calendar here: sept-2016-calendar

Download Oct calendar here: oct-2016-calendar


Ideas:  Listen to music every day!

There are many ways to listen. Include them all in your routine.

Passive Listening:  Play the recording of the pieces that your child is working on every day. Put it on in the car, during a meal or during playtime. You will be amazed at how much will be absorbed.

Active Listening:  Listen and note specific details about the music.

For example:

  • Learn the names of the pieces
  • Play a track or a small part of one, stop the recording and then sing it
  • Tap or march the beat as you listen
  • Count and name the phrases.If they are the same, give them the same name
  • Students who are reading will benefit from following along in the printed music

Inspirational Listening:  Listen to music of different styles played by the world’s great musicians to inspire yourself and your child.

Just for Fun:  Stories about music and composers are enjoyable and provide valuable information.

  • Classical Kids Collection – each recording presents a story about a composer along with lots of the composer’s music. A good one to start with is Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery
  • The Musical Life of Gustav Mole – a cute story about loving music and wanting to learn how to play an instrument
  • Peter and the Wolf/Carnival of the Animals – narrated by Leonard Bernstein, it introduces the orchestral instruments.

Happy listening!