When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, we flipped all lessons to remote and cancelled our spring recitals.  This year of 2021, spring recitals are also cancelled although we are hosting remote performance classes for most of the winter/spring season.

The disruptions of COVID-19 meant that we never found an opportunity to recognize and congratulate our five and ten year students in 2020 and will again miss this traditional recognition for milestone certificates and graduates this spring of 2021.

I wanted to provide here a little background on why we award milestone certificates.  I usually mention this when we are together at an event and award certificates.  Also to ask for your ideas for celebrating this spring.

Why Milestone Certificates?

Certainly, talent can be found.  Just like an Olympic swimmer benefits from big feet, musicians also benefit from physical and mental characteristics like large hands for pianists, structure of the palette for vocalists and flute players, lung capacity, perfect pitch, etc. etc.  But while some of these traits occur naturally, many of these physical and mental attributes can be developed over time.

Much more important to achieving success in music is hard work.  That includes practice in combination with guidance from a knowledgeable and skilled instructor.

Work ethic, time and time again, is huge in how we progress in our learning and work lives.  Further, it would never be appropriate for us to judge a student’s “talent”.  Talent may not be seen immediately or may reveal itself at different ages.  Every student is unique.  For all of these reasons, this is why we celebrate milestone years (rather than level of achievement) on the journey to becoming a musician.

Becoming a musician does not happen overnight; nor even during the course of one school year (although you can learn a lot in one year).  Becoming a musician takes sustained effort over many years.

In the life of the music school, we celebrate when students have been taking five years of lessons.  That sustained effort is huge!  I am always known to say in advance of handing out a certificate for achieving the five year milestone:  “Congratulations!  There is NO going back now.  You are in this and must continue.”  Occasionally, our five year students don’t continue through the end of high school, sometimes narrowing their focus in other directions, but most of our five year students keep going through the end of high school.

Even more exciting is when we can celebrate the Ten Year Milestone.  Students obviously need to start young to reach 10 years of private lessons by end of high school.  But each year, we usually have a few students that reach the ten year milestone.

How Can We Celebrate in 2021?

In Spring Spring 2021, we will not be together in-person.  I had hoped that we could do an in-person catch up to acknowledge last year’s milestones as well as this years.  Instead, we will be acknowledging our five and ten year students and graduates in our e-news and print news.

If you have an idea for how we can celebrate in some way that is meaningful, please let me know.

We could have a zoom ice cream party?  but are we so tired even ice cream over zoom feels fatiguing?  As parents, you may know better than I what would be most meaningful for your child.  Please let me know if you have ideas.

Thank you for making music available to your child – or if you are an adult, thanks for making it available for yourself!  Or, if you are a donor, thank you for making music available for our community!

Music is a gift that lasts a lifetime.  Seeing our students grow over time is the biggest thrill for myself and Kristjon.  It is what drives us to keep going!

Sincerely,  Sarah

(Executive Director)