Bravo, Young Musicians

May 25, 2018

 To the Editor:


Regarding the May 19 Music Is All Inclusive concert, which was dedicated to Dick Lutz and presented with the support of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association Youth Committee’s Adib Mansour and the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association’s Wendy Hersh: Ms. Shuang Yu, kudos to you and your young students!  


Thank you for including this program as part of Saturday’s remembrance of Dick Lutz, Editor Emeritus of The Main Street WIRE. Dick adored children, and he most certainly would have been kvelling (Yiddish for gushing or doting with pride at the highest levels), if he could have seen these children perform! He was a lover of music, particularly jazz, and the American Songbook, and loved “noodling” around on his own piano.  


Your students not only pulled off their musical pieces, they all showed great presence in their entrances and exits with appropriate bows before and after. Fantastic! If there were any keyboard “fumblings” or mistakes, I didn’t hear or see them, and it wouldn’t matter anyway. (I’m not a pianist, much to my shame, but I generally know, as a classically trained singer who has worked with phenomenal pianists, what I see and hear). Also, those of us who perform in public know the mistake doesn’t matter so much (except in our own minds), but how one recovers and carries on to complete the task at hand.  


The hour-long program was just long enough for the child musicians and the children in the audience. And all the performers – especially that 5-year-old, (just a little taller than the piano bench!) playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star with an adult keyboardist beside her – did so very well. Her older brother was there as her escort, and read the full text of the poem along with the backup string musicians accompanying the three of them. All in all, it was a cute program that latched onto a child’s musical interests (with adventure movies and TV themes, including, of all things, Mission Impossible), to entice and encourage them to continue in their musical curiosity and training.  


It has been proven in many serious studies that instrumental and other musical training is a particularly crucial key to helping kids attain math and reading skills, as well as social skills such as sharing, collaborating, and taking direction. It is terribly sad to see music/performance programs not being continued as part of the generally accepted curriculum in U.S. public school education across the board. Thank goodness for your work as a private piano teacher, and that of our other Island musical programs for kids of which I’m aware: MST&DA and Music for All.


Again, my congratulations to you, a very enthusiastic and humorous teacher, and your students. Keep up the good work and thanks for a wonderful “show and tell” for all!  


Sherie Helstien



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