I can hardly believe that it has almost been 12 full months, 4 seasons and 365 days since Matt and I moved from Denver Co. to the coastal village of Neskowin Oregon! This year has been full of so many wonderful surprises, experiences, people and places that I wouldn’t have imagined 365 days before. Matt and I have met incredible musicians, educators, students, venue owners, audiences and fellow adventurers along our paths this year. Our lives have been filled with opportunities teaching and mentoring young musicians at Taft High School, Career Tech High School, The Neskowin Valley School, St. James Santiago School, Neighbors For Kids and in our own private music studios in Neskowin and Newport. We have played for audiences from Manzanita to Florence, enjoyed ocean views from our performance space in places like The Mist in Lincoln City, gotten to eat some of the best food on the coast thanks Pacific Restaurant in Tillamook, visit amazing resorts, looking at you Salishan, try our luck on the slots at Three Rivers Casino and we’ve gotten to meet locals and tourists alike who have become our friends while trying all the beer at Black Squid Beerhouse. This year has not been boring to say the least! I feel so thrilled, blessed and thankful to get to spend my time doing what I love playing and teaching music in a place that leaves me awestruck by simply taking my daily commute. Cheers to the first 365 on the central Oregon coast, I’m so excited for all that comes next!
Thank you to everyone who came out to hear the Matt and Amy White Duo play live music at the Mist in Lincoln City last weekend. We so enjoyed performing for all the families, couples and friends who were experiencing spring break on the beautiful Oregon coast. The sunset views were killer and the seafood was tasty! We had such fun performing the new additions to our repertoire which included tunes by Maroon 5, Ellie Goulding, Nina Simone, Erykah Badu and Michael Jackson. This spring we are continuing to focus on adding even more funky tunes to our set including songs by Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 and another Michael Jackson tune. We hope to see you at our next live music performance on the Oregon Coast where we will show you our spin on soul, jazz and funky pop tunes. We have upcoming performances in Florence, Lincoln City and Tillamook this spring come join us!
Since September I have been working on a regular basis with the Lincoln City Taft high school choir as their vocal coach and accompanist. Over the past months I have watched an amazing transformation happen within the choir and I’m so proud of how much this group of young singers has grown individually and as an ensemble. On March 7th I was pleased to get to accompany the choir as they sang their hearts out at a state choir qualifying competition at Linfield College in McMinnville OR. The Lincoln City singers performed with enthusiasm and confidence and due to their diligence, tenacity and passion for the music and the leadership of director Mike Freel, received qualifying scores to participate in the Oregon state high school choir competition. Congratulations Taft High School Choir, I cannot wait to see what you accomplish next!
Both Matt and I had a super busy December full of school concerts, Christmas shows and New Year’s performances. So, when the new year began we took a quick full breath before we once again hit the accelerator. January and February have brought so many good things for us and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for all the opportunities we have received. Matt has thoroughly enjoyed the musical collaboration he has had playing in the Tillamook based ensemble Mister E Ride. Mister E Ride plays groovy neo soul tunes and he joins the group on the saxophone and keys. The group has been busy performing live music along the Tillamook Coast In Netarts, Tillamook and Manzanita. Matt also recently stepped into a position on the board of the Lincoln City Pops, the central Oregon Coast’s own big band where he also plays lead tenor.
I’ve been busy working as the vocal coach and accompanist for the Lincoln City Taft High School Choir in preparation for a district choral competition and I’m proud to say that students sound amazing! Just earlier today in rehearsal the altos and sopranos were blowing me away with their dynamic phrasing, articulation and song interpretation. I’ve also teaching the bright students at St. James Santiago School where we have been rehearsing African folk songs and delighting in the musical talents of the Neskowin Valley School students as we experiment with new instruments and rhythms every day in class. Beyond the group teaching my private piano and voice studio has been filled with music students with a variety of skills and interests. The diversity of what and who I get to musically coach and teach on a daily basis is astounding and brings so much joy to me every day!
Together as the Matt and Amy White Duo we have been adding lots of new tunes to our set list and have been keeping a busy performance schedule along the central coast. We’ve been loving performing for new audiences and the opportunity to return in the last few weeks to some of our favorite spots including The Black Squid Beerhouse, The Mist at the Surftides Resort and The Taphouse at Nye Creek. Live music is alive and well on the central Oregon coast and we are happy to be part of it!
The life of a piano student can oftentimes seem lonely as they are frequently working, practicing, and studying on their own. While working on one's own can create a great source of personal achievement and certainly has merit there is also so much to be gained from working with others. Take for example the drummer who perfects their individual part and then joins together with a rhythm section, the sound they can now create is so much more than anything they would have produced on their own. Collaboration and working with others encourages growth by making the musician further improve their own skills and recognize and appreciate the talents of those around them. How much better is a world where we not only try to do our best but really recognize how awesome and interesting the people around us are?
My goal as a piano teacher this month is to encourage my students to play music with others, collaborating between students and collaborating with other musicians outside of the studio. I’m encouraging all of my students to find and rehearse with a duet or trio partners, people with whom they can play music and be encouraged and encouraging to continue their mutual pursuit of musical growth. I’m convinced that practicing the piano needn't be a lonely pursuit and I'm excited to see what friendships will be formed and goals reached when pianists collaborate with their peers and experience the joy of making music together.
November is the month when many of us reflect on how much we have to be thankful for and as I reflect on just the last 7 days I am filled with gratitude for so much. I’m thankful for the great variety of ways I have been able to serve and be part of the musical community in Newport, Lincoln City and Neskowin. The amount of diversity in what I did and the people I was able to collaborate with is simply stunning to me. In the past week, I was fortunate to work one on one with many excited piano students, taught a student her very first voice lesson, was introduced by a piano student to the silly song “It’s raining tacos,” got to be the accompanist for the Lincoln City Episcopal Church, sang Christmas songs with the Newport based Oregon Coast Chorale, made a Halloween music video for my Duo with Matt, taught African folk songs at the St. James School, coached the choirs at Taft Middle and High School, laughed along with the students at The Neskowin Valley School while we played music rhythm games, rehearsed 4 handed piano duets to accompany the Congregational Church Choir of Lincoln City and sang jazz and soul tunes at a few fantastic local venues with the Matt and Amy White Duo.
I am so thankful for the rich tapestry of amazing musical opportunities that have been given to me and I am in excited anticipation to see what is next. What are you thankful for? When you reflect on the last week of your life what do you find to be simply stunning?
Recently I started teaching at the Red Lotus Music Store in Newport Oregon which is a cool spot owned by lifelong musician Evans Longshore. The Red Lotus is a great place that offers all those things you need and don’t necessarily want to order online like new guitar strings, a pair of headphones, music books and instruments you can actually try out before you purchase! I’m happy to offer piano and voice lessons in the cozy studio space provided in central Newport’s Red Lotus.
Just last week I got to meet with several first-time piano students and was wowed by their quick learning, excitement and focus. One student told her mom when the lesson was over “I want to live here!” Well, I’m not sure that the Red Lotus is taking on full time residents but my piano teacher self was so happy to introduce another young musician to the joy and fun of music making!
Please contact me today if you are looking for a piano teacher or voice teacher in the Newport area, I would love to work with you.
The last few weeks have been busy and fun for Matt and I as we have been putting together new arrangements of tunes, creating tracks, rehearsing and performing. Just last Thursday night we had a great time performing during the musician’s showcase at the Mist in Lincoln City. We met many great local musicians on Thursday night and so enjoyed the killer ocean views and seafood from The Mist.
This coming Friday October 6th the Matt and Amy White Duo will be playing at Lincoln City’s great new beer hall the Black Squid Beer House! The Black Squid is a cozy, inviting space with tons of great beer, cider and wine available, be sure to come by and say hi.
If you are looking for music for your venue or upcoming special occasion we would love to hear from you!
Having recently arrived at the coast from Colorado, I have noticed some things are definitely different here on the Oregon Coast. Take, for example, the conversation I had with a few 3rd graders on my first day of school. The first student told me “I don’t like elk.” “Why?” I questioned, “do you not like elk?” She responded, “They come into my backyard and eat all the raspberries and blueberries.” A second student responded, “Your Dad should get a BB gun to scare them away.” This was not a conversation I would have heard in Denver. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it there are no elk wandering through the backyards of residents of the Denver metro area. Also, the fact that every student at St. James school and Neskowin Valley School have a pair of rain boots at school ready for any potentially mucky recess blows my mind. I only purchased my first pair of rain boots a few months ago when I knew I was moving to the Pacific Northwest. Rain boots are not so valuable in Colorado. Snow boots yes, rain boots no.
Despite the wild elk rummaging through fruit bushes and the necessity for rain boots, teaching and experiencing music has the same value on the Oregon coast as it does in the Rocky Mountains. Students may still seem shy and lack confidence when learning a new song and then a day later I will get an email from a parent telling me how their child was singing that very song at home or a group of giggling 1st graders will come up to me after school to sing that very song telling me how they love it. In just a few short days I’ve already begun to see the joy that students emit when learning new rhythms or discovering how to hold their part while singing a round.
I’ve met a lot of great kiddos in this first week and still will be meeting more as private lessons and other music coaching opportunities are starting up. As I’m finishing this first week of teaching on the coast I have to say that I have loved every minute of it! Well, to be completely honest not every minute; I didn’t love the minute when the dancing in the K-2 music class got a little too wild and a few kids were doing the worm on the floor, but hey, you win some you lose some and at least the wild elk didn’t get me.
I'm very excited to offer private music lessons in 2 fantastic locations this fall. I will be teaching after school piano and voice lessons at the Neskowin Valley School in beautiful Neskowin, Oregon and at the St. James Santiago Church and School conveniently located in central Lincoln City. Please note that even though lessons are held in school settings they are open for musicians of all ages.
I look forward to helping you realize your musical goals, please contact me today to schedule a time to meet.
As I was walking around my neighborhood today I noticed a few leaves on the trees were beginning to change color. While I must admit I was not immediately excited to see this change as I love everything summer including the long warm days, vibrant vegetation and countless hours spent outdoors I am excited for the larger season change that this indicates. I’m excited for the beginning of a new school year and the possibilities that lie with all the students that I will meet. I love the experience of introducing new students to the beauty of song, being present when a student has a moment of discovery when learning to read music and watching as a musician becomes more confident in their abilities.
Just as young students look forward to a new school year wondering what new ideas and experiences they will have adults should also get a chance to try something new. According to the June 2015 edition of Psychologies magazine the act of learning something new can lead to greater happiness. “Learning can help us build confidence and a sense of self-efficacy. It can also be a way of connecting with others.” So why not try something new this fall? Take those piano lessons that you have long thought about, read a book on a subject outside of your normal topics, learn to bake an intricate cake or try out tree shaping, you only live once!
Earlier this week I had the chance to hear the Bend Mastersingers perform Mozart’s Requiem at the Sun River Music Festival in Bend. I was blown away by the artistry and energy that the group as well as the festival orchestra brought to the stage. The strength of combined voices when unified in shared purpose and intention contains so much power and beauty. The teamwork and shared passion that the ensemble displayed while onstage was beautiful. Singing and music making in groups is such a powerful way to connect with our community, each other and express something so much larger than we could individually.
A day before I headed to Bend I had the opportunity to meet with some of the wonderful singers from the Newport Central Coast Chorale and I could tell that they just like the Bend Mastersingers shared the same sense of camaraderie and shared musical vision. I’m very excited to join as a member of the Central Coast Chorale this fall and raise my voice along with theirs in songs of unity and beauty. Creating community, collaborating as a team, experiencing the power of combined voices and fostering shared respect for one another despite any perceived differences is part of the reason I love singing in choirs. I’m honored to get to share in the music making process and community of the Central Coast Chorale.
Matt and I have had such an exciting summer having moved from Denver Co. to the beautiful Oregon coast. Along with all the normal fun of moving which includes unpacking a multitude of boxes and having internet set up we have had the privilege of meeting lots of great folks on the coast. I'm so excited to have had the opportunity to connect with the great teaching staff at St. James Santiago School in Lincoln City where I will be teaching K-6 grade music this fall! Also, I'm looking forward to teaching private piano and voice lessons at the Neskowin Valley School in September. Matt has had the great opportunity to get the lead tenor chair in the Lincoln Pops Big Band and is excited to teach music at Career Tech High School in Lincoln City for the 2017/18 school year. We are so excited to be a part of this new community and can't wait to meet even more of its great members.
I want to congratulate all of my fabulous students who performed last weekend on the Christmas recital, it is very exciting to witness the achievements of so many young musicians. The recital featured a diverse mix of music from a classical performance of Ave Maria to a cheerful rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Thank you to everyone who performed and a huge thank you to the family members parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, aunts & uncles who support the musicians all year long.
It's that time of year again, when I get to tell another student why we will choose a Christmas piece other than the never ending 12 days of Christmas. In truth this is actually one of my favorite times of the year when I get to help my piano students play their favorite Christmas carol and listen to voice students sing beautiful arrangements of the classics. As a music teacher there is nothing quite like witnessing a young musician master a favorite piece of music.
Congratulations to my senior voice student Bailey Brown who was cast as one of the female leads in her school's production of Shrek. Way to go!
I'm so very excited and proud of my junior voice student Charlotte Grimm who has been selected for the Colorado All-State Jazz Choir and Colorado All-State Choir. Great Work!
I'm so excited that the Cherry Creek Chorale will be performing Carmina Burana in November!
November 8, 2013
Mission Hills Church
With the Arapahoe Philharmonic Orchestra
620 SouthPark Drive
Littleton, CO 80120
For the first concert of our 34th season, we will collaborate with the Arapahoe Philharmonic, under the direction of their new Music Director, Devin Patrick Hughes, for a stirring performance of Carl Orff's pulse-pounding cantata, Carmina Burana! Carmina is THE choral hit of the 20th century, and by far, the most popular choral work in the classical repertoire. Our trio of soloists include our own Artistic Director, Brian Patrick Leatherman, singing his signature role, the roasted swan...a role he has sung over 100 times! Joining him will be Denver's favorite baritone, Steve Taylor, and soprano Teresa Castillo (whose wonderful performance graced our Brahms Requiem concert two years ago). Carmina Burana has become a favorite of audiences around the world for its haunting melodies, soul-stirring choruses, exciting rhythms, and because it is just plain fun!
follow this link: http://www.cherrycreekchorale.com