Using music to redeem a social condition and leave the world a bit better is profoundly meaningful to me. I especially love composing music and expressing my heart’s feelings to bring social connections to my audience. Giving classical guitar concerts for nursing homes, I saw how music boosted the moods of elders by linking our souls and communicating profound feelings we couldn’t verbalize. I am very thankful to be part of the Orpheus community to do social good through music. My teacher, Dr. Klondike Steadman, has been particularly influential on my growth not only as a musician but also as a human being, as he has emphasized many times that “music is a form of social bonding, a gift we give not only ourselves, but also the world.” Over the past 12 years, he has inspired me to develop as a complete guitarist—excelling in technique, music theory, composition, heartfelt expression—and to share music with global communities. I will remain forever grateful to him and the Orpheus community for enabling me to experience life more deeply and spreading the gift of music to society.
Aylin has been a guitar student at Orpheus for twelve years, and during that time she has participated in private lessons, group musicianship, honors guitar quartet and trio, guitar ensemble, dozens of summer camps and so much more.
But it was the arrival of our greatest challenge as a music school this past March that brought out the best in Aylin. Completely on her own, she came up with several powerful ideas that have become central to our mission at Orpheus during this pandemic. Aylin wrote to me and said, “I know that Orpheus values giving the gift of music to the community. Especially during this stressful time, I think retirement homes, for example, might need us most." And, since my entire staff was consumed with moving nearly 700 students from in-person to online instruction, Aylin took the lead in crafting what was to eventually become the Musical Postcards for Seniors initiative. This program has motivated our students to invest themselves deeply in practicing music because they know that they can submit a video that will make a difference in the lives of residents of over 750 retirement homes across the US, Canada and Australia.
In addition to starting and running the Postcards program, Aylin also started our "Practice Buddies" system -- all this while applying to college (she already has early acceptance to the UT Neuroscience Department!), keeping straight A's, and helping out with the Orpheus Guitar Ensemble. Aylin truly exemplifies what it means to be a member of this community through her own learning and service to others!
"I want to thank Mr. Benjamin for nominating me for Orpheus Academy's student of the month. I like Mr. Benjamin because he is always encouraging me. My favorite part of the piano lesson is practicing rhythms. My goal is to be able to play any song that I like. "
"He started learning piano this year and he has demonstrated incredible discipline and curiosity towards music. He always comes prepared and sometimes even does the extra things I did not ask him to do. He is attentive and very observant in the lesson, it is always a joy to work with him."
I love to play guitar because it is an activity that I strive to get better at and is very calming. I like the multitudes of ways you can play, and how every piece is a different challenge to play and perfect. I also really appreciate that Mr. Turner has taken on the challenge of teaching me fingerstyle, which is a very difficult style to teach correctly. It makes the lessons so much more enjoyable because he really knows what I want to achieve and learn.
Tal came to me already a competent player, and I could very quickly see how I could help him become an even better all around musician. He is one of my hardest working students and I can really tell how much work he puts into practicing every single week. One of the great things about teaching Tal is that he has always had a vision of where he wants to be musically, but that does not get in the way of being open to anything I'd like for him to try to get him to where he wants to be and beyond. I look forward to every lesson with Tal not only because he comes so prepared and motivated, but also because his lessons truly challenge me to come extra prepared as both a teacher and performer to best aid him in attaining his goals.
"I love listening to music because it energizes me. When I listen to good singers I think to myself what did it take for them to get where they are now.
I love my piano and voice lessons, they are fun and sometimes challenging. I feel proud of myself when I master a piece."
"He is very talented boy.
He complete his Musical Journey Test Level 3 without mistake.
Ron is taking piano and voice class as well."
"I love music my entire life and my teacher Mrs. Mackenzie is a great teacher to me. I started violin two months ago. I love to dance and sing but most of all I love to play violin."
“I am excited to nominate Abby as student of the month. Abby has only been taking lessons with me since August, but has made incredible improvements in her playing. When we first began, Abby struggled to use her bow effectively. Now, she is playing beautiful Detaché and Martelé strokes with ease and is on her way to becoming a true master of her bow! I always look forward to Abby’s tenacious attitude and inquisitive spirit in lessons. Thank you Abby for allowing me to guide you in your Musical Journey, and thank you to Mom, Lisa, for playing a pivotal role in Abby’s achievements as well.”
Pieter Vanden Bout
My favorite thing about learning guitar is playing for other people. I loves his lessons with Jesse!
Pieter has been a dedicated student of mine for nearly two years. His joy and energy is always present during his lessons and his ability to produce beautiful tones from the guitar is simply amazing. He surprises me regularly with his uncanny memory and his unique imagination. I am happy and honored to have him as a student and excited to nominate him for student of the month.
Navya is a 2nd grader. A 7 year old who acts like 11. She has the most fun and fights with her best friend, her sister Shriya. Navya loves singing, dancing and being silly. Navya has an infectious laughter and her carefree and easy attitude makes her so much fun to be around.
Navya comes to her lesson prepared and eager to sing! She is organized and self motivated. At every lesson, she asks lots of questions and makes sure that she understands weekly assignments. She then returns to her lessons with improved technical skills and a better understanding of her music. I am happy to nominate Navya for the student of the month award!
I love to play and listen to music, as it makes me very happy. I love that Ms. Beth teaches me new songs (especially the Disney ones). I have a lot of fun playing them.
Sharanya has been a piano student at Orpheus for about one year. She is very involved and has participated in performance classes, recitals, and Postcards for Seniors. Sharanya practices diligently and is so excited when learning a new concept or song! I am proud of her hard work and truly enjoy teaching such a talented young lady!
Our son Nathaniel has improved in his guitar skill last year. Mr Jeremy is a great teacher and has connected with Nathaniel in special way. His teaching skills and methods are efficient
Nathaniel has continued to show his work ethic and enthusiasm in every lesson through his preparation and musical personality. He takes great attention to detail in the clarity and musicality of his pieces alongside demonstrating a high level of technique and tone. The progress that he continually makes every week demonstrates his perseverance and love for the guitar. Nathaniel’s curiosity and strive for excellence will bring him far in anything that he tries and I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with him.
I am very excited to nominate Caden as Student of the Month! Caden is the type of student that will surprise you each and every lesson. Some of these surprises include learning a new challenging song on his own, learning WAY more than I had planned for lessons, or playing a piece I didn't even know he knew in a performance class (I was speechless in said performance class)! He recently passed his Level 2 test only one semester after passing the Level 1 test! It has been my pleasure working with Caden, and I look forward to our continued collaboration in the future. Nice job Caden!
Ever since I was 6 years old my favorite type of piano genre was probably classical music, classical somehow makes me intrigued to try harder to complete the piece. Not only has Orpheus introduced me to more amazing genres of music, but its pushing me to be the best that I can be.
Natalie is a very hard worker and has been practicing so much during these last few months. She loves to take on a challenge and figure out how to accomplish her goals. Every song I assign, she learns in record time - she is always ready with a song to perform! Keep up the great work, Natalie!
I have played piano for 2 years and I now know that it is so fun and joyful. My teacher is Ms. Valeria. I like her so much because she is so patient and nice. My favorite thing about her is not just music but that I can talk to her about everything! Some times learning music is frustrating and it makes me cry but after playing it for many days I feel so good. Music is like a power that brings me joy.
Lyla is a very musical and joyful 7 year old student In the last months, she has overcome her fear of making mistakes and now she is able to learn from them. She is willing to always listen to constructive comments and is eager to keep learning new songs! I am proud of all her progress, I enjoy teaching her very much as well as listening to her exciting stories she has to share! Congratulations Lyla! Thanks to her parents for being very supportive of her musical journey!
My name is Eliana. You can call me Ellie. I am nine years old and I sing. I love music because it shows a lot of feeling. When, I have had hard feelings before, music always helps me get through it.
I have had such a blast teaching Ellie and watching her grow over the past year and a half. She brings a super positive attitude and enthusiasm to all her lessons, is a great listener, and is always ready and willing to try new things. She is committed to working hard on our weekly lesson goals, and has made incredible improvement as a result. I also admire how she worked to overcome her fear of performing, and now she owns the stage every time she gets up there and is eager to perform at any chance she can get! Thank you, Ellie, for sharing your beautiful voice with the Orpheus Community!
My name is Noah and I enjoy playing the piano. One of the reasons I enjoy playing the piano is because of the unique sound it has. I also love music and it’s fun to be able to play the songs I like listening to. I love when I've been working on a complicated piece and then I play it correctly. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment. When I play the piano, everyone in the house can hear me play, which is really fun. One of the coolest features about the piano is that you can open up the top of the piano and see all the moving parts.
Noah practices diligently and is always prepared for his piano lessons. He is motivated, and challenges himself to learn new concepts and techniques. I was very impressed with his recent CD project because he prepared and recorded 17 songs! Noah is an excellent pianist, and I am grateful to be his teacher.
I like music because it always makes me feel happy when I am sad. I enjoy it because when I play on my guitar to people they have fun, especially my brother and sister. When i play to myself I always feel like I am getting better and better, and I like it!
Ayala has been studying with me at Orpheus for about a year and a half. In that time, I've seen her consistently improve as a guitarist and musician. She always brings a positive attitude to our lessons, and she always comes ready to play her best and learn more. Ayala shares her love for music with her family - her father Yarden often attends our lessons to support her and learn more about guitar himself, and her younger sister Avigail helped to present Ayala's first concert and host a bonus interview on Ayala's debut album.
Ayala just recently completed recording her first album entitled Deep In The Heart of Texas. Ayala sings and plays a variety of pieces on the album from a diverse array of musical cultures and styles, including selections from famous movies, pieces by great classical composers, and raw blues and folk music. This album features collaborations with professional musicians including cellist Sara Bravo and guitarist Michele Cotrufo, and was produced collaboratively by me and Yarden Mazor through the online digital audio platform, Bandlab.