BY LAURA BETH JOHNSON
ISSUE NO. 24 | FEBRUARY 2021
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF MODERN DAY MUSIC SCHOOL
Showcases allows students to show their friends and family what they've been learning and working on in lessons. We were so excited to try out this safe, socially distanced take on a traditional showcase. It was a huge success!
The show was led by me (Laura) and my sister in law, Chelsea Johnson who teaches piano. We both love coaching our students for performances and had a ton of fun popping in to introduce each category and adding junk food to our growing stash of viewing snacks. Many of the youngest students focused on instruments. Andrew F. charmed with a great drum cover of Superstitious!
Last month, MDM hosted our first Virtual Showcase on Facebook Live. Our students were invited to send in a performance video around two minutes in length. MDM’s amazing Manager, Cailin Schneider, worked her editing magic and we all got to watch the show together from the comfort of our homes.
A VIRTUAL VICTORY
Riley M. rocked out on her pink ukulele and many awesome students showed their incredible skills on piano. We have so many talented youngsters at our school! We loved seeing adult students participating in the showcase as well. We have quite a few adult students and they totally brought the heat! It’s inspiring to see everyone coming together to celebrate and share what they’ve been working on in lessons.
Many students collaborated with their coaches which was so fun to watch. Elena played a piano duet with Charlie G. and Tony played guitar and sang backup for Patrick V. who played ukulele and sang lead. Chelsea and I sang harmony with a number of our students. I also played guitar and piano for my vocalists.
Some students are learning to accompany themselves. Rylie H. and Ava T. belted out their songs while playing piano. Emelia E. sang and played “Today and Tomorrow” on ukulele. Kayra M. dazzled with her whistle tones in Ariana Grande’s “My Hair” as she played chords on piano! Mary S. performed a wonderful cover of “New Year’s Day”. “Lost Boy” was played on piano by Lola S. as she and Chelsea harmonized. We love seeing students learn multiple instruments and become self-sufficient as accompanists! As you can see from many of our older students, learning voice and an instrument together is extremely beneficial.
One of our performers at the showcase was just accepted to Berklee College of Music! Elvita F. performed her audition song, a powerful cut of “Zombie”at the showcase. We’re so proud of you, Elvita! Also, congrats to Lucas M. for working diligently to perform “Maple Leaf Rag”! Your hard work does not go unnoticed.
Quite a few students write songs with their coaches. Gabriella F. sang a song we wrote together called “New York City'' about living in the city around Christmastime. She wanted to write something urban in the style of Taylor Swift so that’s exactly what we did! Khloe P. and I wrote a song called “The Lost Dancers” which we will be recording in the MDM Studio in the coming months. Khloe is a vocal student who also plays ukulele. You can learn more about her journey with songwriting in the Student Spotlight section of the newsletter.
There were a few surprise performances from coaches as well as Madison VandenBurg and Moriah Formica! Madison premiered her cover of pop sensation “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo. We loved seeing her perform so well in American Idol and she just keeps rocking on! Her cover was powerful and moving. Piano Coach, Deb, wowed us with a beautiful classical piano piece. Chelsea and I even got in on the fun and shared a pop cover. We were really happy to also include a special cover by Moriah Formica of the band, Plush. Mo is such a good role model for our younger students. She’s the real deal. Be sure to check out Plush’s single release on Feb. 9th.
It is so exciting to see all the diverse talents of our students. From jazz to classical to pop to rock and everything in between, we love seeing you all grow. Tori B. beautifully sang a musical theater piece, Shasha W. delivered some alt indie vibes, and Colette M. crooned a rock standard. The showcase is a great reminder that our community has so much talent!
Congratulations to every student who participated!
Khloe P. (13) is a songwriter, a ukulelist, and a vocal student of Laura. The two have written two songs together including “The Lost Dancers” which they performed during the Virtual Showcass on January 24th. They will be recording it in the MDM Studio in the coming months.
Here they are in conversation:
L: Tell me more about “The Lost Dancers”.
K: This song is about losing contact with someone you really want to keep in touch with.
L: What inspired the song?
K: Initially, a love song about unrequited love. But then I thought about how COVID affected relationships. I lost touch with a couple friends and it really makes me sad so I wanted to put that into the song too.
L: Yeah, there were a few moments while writing that I remember both of us going silent and we were just sad together.
K: Yeah, it’s real, like the emotions in it are real.
L: And I think that part of what makes it such a strong piece. Now, we wrote this song on ukulele. How did you get started with that instrument?
K: I saw a ukulele for the first time when I was in first grade and I thought to myself “I'm going I do that when I grow up.” It really clicked with me and I convinced my parents when I won a drawing prize. I colored an owl and won a $100 gift card so I bought a ukulele.
L: That is an epic origin story.
K: I know!
L: I’m really impressed that you’re self taught on uke. That takes a lot of dedication.
K: Thanks, yeah I wanted to learn mostly so I could start accompanying myself when I sing.
L: How’d you get started with singing?
K: I’m Filipino and in our culture music is something that brings everyone together. We always sing karaoke at parties and my mom is always singing around the house. That’s something I remember from when I was really young, my mom singing just because she loves music so much. Sometimes
it's what wakes me up on the weekend.
L: I love that. My mom sings a lot too! Tell me about your writing process.
K: Well, writing is really new to me. This is only my second song. But even before I wrote full songs lyric ideas came to my mind. I never understood how to weave them into something until you taught me.
L: You’ve picked up a lot already. We’ve only got the two songs under our belts and you’re doing great. People don’t realize that to write songs you need skills in like six or seven different areas. My job is to let you take the lead in the ones you have strengths in and then I just talk you through how to fill in the rest.
K: Yeah, it was really cool to write with you because you let me take the reins, but would help whenever I got stuck.
L: That’s the dream. Actually the dream is that eventually you won’t need me at all. What inspires you to write?
K: Definitely hearing awesome songs by other artists. I've been finding a lot of inspiration lately from analyzing lyrics and listening and exploring different kinds of music. Right now I’m really into 80’s Rock.
L: Really? That surprises me cus you love a lot of that easy listening stuff.
K: Yeah mellow songs are nice, but I need something to pump me up to wash the dishes. Lately, it’s been Nirvana.
L: That’s very cool. You are cool. Thanks for chatting with me about this.
K: You’re welcome!
L: Next week we’ll start song number three and I’m so excited!
K: Me too!
1 - Black History Month
2 - National Ukulele Day
2 - Groundhog's Day
2 - On this Day in 1949, The first 45 RPM record was released.
3 - Dust Bowl Fearies, The Linda Virtual Concert Series, 8PM
4 - On this Day in 2002, Stevie Wonder sang “Happy Birthday” to Rosa Parks on her 89th birthday.
7 - Fifty Seventh Anniversary of The Beatles stepping foot on US soil
7- Super Bowl LV
9 - Plush (Moriah Formica) releases their first single “Hate” on all music platforms
10 - Dark Honey, The Linda Virtual Concert Series, 8PM
11 - National Guitar Day
11 - On this Day in 1994, Prince premiered his song “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” on the 1994 Miss USA Pageant.
13 - Galentine’s Day
14 - Valentine’s Day
24 - On this Day in 1969, The Jimi Hendrix Experience plays its last British concert before breaking up.
28 - On this Day in 1984, Michael Jackson wins eight Grammy Awards for his album Thriller.
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A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR OUR NEW STUDENTS in JANUARY!
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