Olena was born and raised in Odessa, Ukraine. She began her piano studies at the age of three. She attended the Odessa Special Music Boarding School and received a Bachelor Diploma and a specialist Diploma in Music Teaching and Piano Concert Performance.
She has won many piano competitions including the First Prize in the Piano Competition “Blue Bird” in Simferopol, Ukraine ; the Third Prize in the International Competition in memory of Sergei Prokofiev; the Special Diploma in the International Piano Competition in the name of Emil Gilles; and the Special Prize in the International Piano Competition in the name of Vladimir Krainov.
Find out more or choose a class with Olena here!
Li-Ly Chang, is a pianist, composer, teacher, and chamber musician. She has received many grants and awards including MD State Arts Council, Jordan Kitts Music Teacher’s Enrichment grant, MD State Music Teachers Association and Montgomery County Music Teachers Association grants.
Her performances include the Dame Myra Hess Series, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Roosevelt Hall, Shriver Hall, Strathmore Center, Savannah on Stage Festival, Levine School, and New England Conservatory.
Her piano teachers include Sacha Gorodnitzki, Leon Fleisher, Sequeira Costa, Fernando Laires, Walter Hautzig, Jack Winerock and Ming Tcherepnin. Her composition teachers are Joe Nelson, John Pozdro and Henry Mitchell.
She has been invited to perform and teach at International School in Shanghai in 2017. She was a music panelist for the Maryland State Arts Council and is the Director of the International Young Artist Piano Competition, Washington DC. She is a faculty member at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.
Find out more or choose a class with Olena here!
Núria was born in Barcelona, Spain and began learning music theory and piano at a young age. She studied both at the Conservatori Municipal Superior de Musica de Barcelona for ten years. She also studied piano in Germany with Stanislav Rosenberg for an additional four years.
Since moving to the United States she has continued her classical piano studies with renowned Russian pianist Nikita Fitenko. Núria competed in her first Washington International Piano Artists Competition in 2017, and looks forward to competing again in 2019.
Olena has performed extensively throughout the Ukraine including performances with the Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra.
A hardworking mother of two, Nuria has been playing the piano for over four decades. She taught beginner and intermediate piano to children and adults for over 5 years before joining the Jordan Kitt’s team in 2019. Based on her students’ interests, she teaches classical, contemporary and modern styles of music.
Find out more or choose a class with Olena here!
The 2018 Jordan Kitt’s Music Piano Festiva was a big hit, with tremendous participation by area teachers and students:
Here were the winners:
Div. 2A: Ages 7-9 (and Div. 1: Ages 4-6)
Div. 2B: Ages 7-9
Div. 3A: Ages 10-12
Div. 3B: Ages 10-12
Div. 4: Ages 13-15 (and Div. 5: Ages 16-18)
National Philharmonic welcomes more than 10,000 second graders to the Music Center at Strathmore during the annual Strathmore Student Concerts from now through Thursday, Nov. 16. The purpose of the program is to expose every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to a live performance of classical music.
The students learn about classical music and prepare for the concert hall experience during the month of October.
For many young people in Montgomery County, the National Philharmonic is their first exposure to classical music. The orchestra was a founding partner in the annual Strathmore Student Concerts, a hallmark education initiative that welcomes every Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) 2nd grader to the Music Center concert hall for a live performance. The National Philharmonic, Strathmore, and Montgomery County Public Schools are shaking up the annual concerts with a new conductor, new repertoire, and new vision to better serve students.
National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau is now at the helm. She worked closely with key partners and educators to create an experience that aligns with evolving MCPS curricular goals. Gau wanted students to leave the concerts with a better understanding of how they process music and how it can elicit specific emotional responses. The lively new format explores rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and musical texture—foundational elements of the concert experience that can make a piece feel happy or sad, serious or lighthearted, contemplative or full of unbridled excitement.
To reinforce these touchpoints, Gau selected music that bridges the classical canon and new works, demonstrating that classical music is evolving. Works by Beethoven and Brahms are paired with compositions by American composers Leonard Bernstein and Jennifer Higdon, and music by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. Gau was also conscious to include gender and ethnic diversity to reflect demographics in the County and show that anyone can enjoy and be a part of classical music.
The concert also includes a new commission from Bethesda-based composer Charlie Barnett, Second Grade Second Line, a short participatory work that introduces different sections of the orchestra—woodwinds, brass, percussion, strings, and keyboard.
Students are engaged through call and response, clapping, and percussive music-making from the audience—National Philharmonic musicians even get in on the fun from stage.
Gau has maintained a relationship with National Philharmonic since 2005 and joined National Philharmonic’s conducting staff in 2010. Gau is in demand nationally as a youth orchestra festival conductor. She is also Artistic Director and Conductor of the Takoma Ensemble and Capital City Symphony, where she has written and performed annual family concerts for 20 seasons.
The 2nd grader student concerts represent a $185,000 investment in public education, with sponsorship provided by The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, GEICO, and Jordan Kitt’s Music.
via Mongtomery Community Media. Read more here…
This past Saturday, October 14th, Jordan Kitt’s Music presented the William J. McCormick Jr. Teacher Grant Awards to four area teachers. These grants are designed for the continuing music education of the teacher, or as a scholarship opportunity for a student in need.
The awards were presented at the annual MSMTA Conference at the University of Maryland this past weekend, and recipients were:
The award is funded by Jordan Kitt’s Music as a way to help foster the continuance of excellence in music education in the Washington Metropolitan area, and is named after the modern founder of Jordan Kitt’s Music, William J. McCormick Jr.
(pictured left to right: Cynthia Cathcart, President of the MCMTA, Ray Fugere, CFO of Jordan Kitt’s Music and Alice Ma, President Elect of the MCMTA.)
Jordan Kitt’s Music was pleased to have been recognized by the MCMTA (The Montgomery County Music Teachers Association) in appreciation of recent service to the their education community.
Jordan Kitt’s has worked closely with the Montgomery County Music Teachers Association for years in helping to provide its teachers and students with special resources, including the use of its 10,000 square foot piano sales and Music Education Center on Parklawn Drive in Rockville.
The MCMTA is a non-profit organization of independent music teachers representing private music teachers of all instruments and is affiliated with the Maryland State Music Teachers association (MSMTA) and the Music Teacher National Association (MTNA). Membership in MCMTA is available to all members of the state organization.
MCMTA was founded in 1965 with 25 members as a local chapter of the MTNA. With a current membership over 225 teachers, MCMTA is the largest chapter in Maryland.
For more information about the MCMTA, visit here…
Music is part of everyone’s life. It is all around us, all the time. It can be heard on the radio, in vehicles, at the grocery store and in our homes. It can be used to calm or to excite, and it can even be used to help the learning process. When a child becomes engaged in learning through the use of music, it stimulates them in more ways than just being easy on the ears.
Tiffany Wibbenmeyer, a band instructor at Perry County School District No. 32, said that music positively affects students, and thata musical education can contribute to other areas of their learning.
“There are very few things that literally every single culture, in any era, shares, and music is one of them,” Wibbenmeyer said. “Music engages the entire brain. It’s so good for the growth of young, and even older, minds. Music invokes emotions; to hype people up, or to make people laugh or cry.”
Many years of research have discovered that music facilitates learning and enhances skills that children use in other areas of their life. Making music involves more than just singing or playing an instrument with your fingers; learning through music makes children use multiple sets of skills at the same time.
Through the use of music they learn to work their body, voice and even their brain together. Just by practicing an instrument, children are improving their range of motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, much like playing sports.
Children love to imitate what they see and hear around them. As the child copies things they see, they pay attention to try and imitate everything from actions to songs and words. According to the Children’s Music Workshop, the effect of music education on language development can be seen in the brain. Studies have shown that any kind of musical training helps to physically develop the left side of the brain, which is the part where language processing occurs.
Children who are musically involved, versus those who are non-musical, also show signs of a higher neurological development and activity over time. By learning to read music and identify patterns, they are constantly using their memory to perform, even by reading from sheet music. It also promotes craftsmanship and discipline, such as dedicating time to learn how to plan an instrument or a piece of music.
“Sometimes making up silly songs to go along with new material in a classroom helps students memorize things better in school,” Wibbenmeyer said.
“Even very young students use music to memorize things, just like The Alphabet Song. If you want to make something better you add music to it. I can remember songs I haven’t heard in years because the music helped me to remember the words.”
Listening to music has been proven to help young children detect different elements in sound, like an emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have a better auditory attention to pick out patterns and sounds from surrounding noise. By understanding music and how it works, children are taught to visualize the different elements and how they perform together. This can train skills in the brain that are used to solve multistep problems often found in math, art, gaming and even computer work.
Students also have been seen to improve test scores more than other students not involved in music. In a study published in 2007 by Christopher Johnson, professor of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas, students from an elementary school involved in a superior music education program scored about 22 percent higher in English and about 20 percent higher in math on standardized tests. Another report indicates higher SAT scores from students with musical experience.
Via CBS News
These days, as Michelle Miller is about to show us. thousands of elementary school students are hitting all the right notes:
The Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School sits in a New Orleans neighborhood stressed by violence, poverty and the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. But don’t tell that to the music teacher.
“Ooh, everybody has such a beautiful smile this morning! Good Morning!”
Pat Sylvain-Little’s music class is a world apart. And she says there’s a lot more going on here than just a piano lesson.
“It’s something about the keyboard,” Sylvain-Little told Miller. “You have so many things you have to do at once. You’re playing with two hands. You’re trying to read the music. You’re trying to count the rhythms, all at the same time. And what researchers have found is that it sparks the brain.”
Sparking the brain of a child is what motivated Lisha Lercari to create this course that’s now being taught in 14 schools in New Orleans, and 130 in New York City.
Lercari is a music teacher on a mission.
“I think children need to read music,” Lercari said. “I want to raise the bar high for them. I want them to be thinking beings while they’re playing and not just play it. It’s making it a process of thinking about it. It’s a process of using their brains.”
The education program Music and the Brain aims to instruct young people far beyond the rudiments of music.
In 1996, Lercari read a Newsweek cover story about children’s brains and how they develop; how exposure to music rewires neural circuits; how, in one experiment, music lessons improved the abstract reasoning of preschoolers.
She then spoke to scientists and researchers, and asked herself: How could she translate what was happening in laboratories back into the real world?
Miller asked, “Why is this necessary?”
“It’s necessary because children don’t have music in their lives,” Lercari replied. “But it’s also necessary because of what it does in other areas of education. We have seen their literacy improve, we’ve seen their language skills in other ways improve. Music sticks. It enhances memory skills. It helps with attention. It helps them focus.”
Decades of budget cutbacks had led to the gutting of art and music classes, so Lercari got funding from various foundations, devised her own program, and called it “Music and the Brain.”
“You’re doing it. Very good job! I love it. You’re doing a great job. Keep up that singing!”
At PS 71 in Queens, New York, Claire McIntire has been teaching the course for 12 years, mostly to kindergarteners and first- and second-graders.
“I don’t want to be a music teacher where it’s taught like ‘drill and skill,’” she told Miller. “Like, ‘Let’s go. You gotta do it again! Again!’ and make it boring.
“When the kids come in the room, I want them to walk in with a smile. I want them to leave with a smile. I want them to feel good about it. Mistakes happen every day, and I want them to know that’s OK.”
Most schools discover the program through word of mouth. And when they do, Lercari arrives bearing gifts: “Keyboard lab with piano, music stands, and keyboard stands and headphones, piano books, teachers’ manuals, theory papers, posters that go along with every page of every book, CDs that are instructional, and CDs that are for fun listening, and rhythm CDs as well.”
Here’s how it works: Students first sing the melodies — classical, world, folk and children’s songs.
Next, they learn the rhythms. Then, the notes. Along the way, teachers add the history, geography and languages associated with the music.
And finally, practice at the keyboard. One or two times a week, 30 to 45 minutes at a time.
Miller asked, “Can anybody teach this?”
“Yeah, if they’re willing to work at it!” Lercari laughed. “I would say the only people who can’t teach this are people who probably shouldn’t be teaching at all.”
Lercari is in constant contact with her music teachers. If a technique works in one classroom, she believes it will work in another. But in all the schools, the key is finding teachers who care as deeply as she does — teachers like Pat Sylvain-Little.
“Pat is one of the most beautiful teachers I’ve ever worked with,” Lercari said. “So many kids in New Orleans need a way out of ‘No Way.’ And she makes sure they find it. Nobody fails in her hands.
“I can tell you she saw every child every day. And we watched the ranking of this school go straight up. Her kids can do anything.”
Sylvain-Little says, if it weren’t for these classes, most of her students would never play the piano … let alone have one at home.
“Parents will say, ‘I didn’t even know my child was studying the piano,” she said. “I have some children that have told me, ‘I practice on the kitchen table.’ You know, they sing the letters and go through the music. And so a keyboard is wonderful, but if you don’t have it, it doesn’t stop you.”
Claire McIntire said, “A lot of the parents will come to me and they’ll say during parent-teacher conferences, they’ll ask me, ‘Miss McIntire, should I buy a keyboard?’ And I always tell them, ‘Listen, it’s better than video games. It’s better than watching TV. And your child really loves it. So why not?’”
Lercari plans to expand Music and the Brain into many more schools.
She’s ready for battle.
This past Wednesday 7/13, Jordan Kitt’s Music was proud to host “Technology to Improve Student Motivation” featuring clinician Linda Christensen, Ph.D.
There was a great turnout from teachers looking to stay engaged with students during the summer months using modern technology to keep them practicing, even while on vacation.
Linda Christensen received her Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, where she studied pedagogy with E.L. Lancaster and Jane Magrath. After over 20 years as a Professor of Music and Music Technology, she is now the Institutional Sales Director for Maryland/DC for Jordan Kitts Music in Rockville, Maryland. She is a frequent presenter for MTNA, NCKP, and many other national and international conferences.
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