Featured Student of the Month
Week of December 4th
Kai Ryan, age 10, is a 4th grade student at Jerry Ross Elementary School. Kai began his piano studies at Music of Oz in Crown Point in February 2017. Kai’s dad said he thought Kai would be drawn to playing the piano when he learned an easy version of Hit the Road jack at age 5. Kai also took some piano lessons from his Grandmother. Kai has two sisters, Mya and Ari. He has fun playing with his dog Molly, and basketball. Kai said he likes to play the piano because it makes him feel happy. His favorite music is jazz and blues. He surprised his piano instructor, Miss Sandy, by playing a blues riff he had memorized just because he liked it. As a piano instructor, that is the best kind of reward. Bravo, Kai! I am so proud of your progress, and the musical journey that lies ahead for you. Watch Kai Ryan video
~Sandy Owens, Piano Instructor
Week of September 25th
Caitlyn Roldan, age 7, is in the 2nd grade at Solon Robinson Elementary and began piano studies in January 2017. Her favorite hobbies: she LOVES to read! She is also “small but mighty!” During her very first piano lesson, she expressed her desire to perform music. She receives lots of support from mom and dad and in our solo recital in May of 2017 she performed “Row, Row Your Boat.” At the same recital, as a voice student, she sang “Love Your Neighbor.” Congrats Caitlyn and keep up the good work!
~Beverly Collom, piano teacher
Week of September 11th
Sophia is 8 yrs old and very excited to be turning 9 in 13 days. She attends Park View Elementary in Valparaiso and is in 3rd grade. Sophia has been taking flute lessons since April and has progressed very quickly, she has great tone and truly loves to play. Her love of playing shows weekly when she comes to lessons well practiced and ready to learn something new. In her spare time Sophia likes to paint, color and ride her bike. Her favorite kind of music is country and her favorite movies are Toy Story, Zootopia and Elf. Sophia is proud of the fact that she speaks fluent Spanish after living in Nicaragua for 8 months. She’s also looking forward to becoming tri-lingual when she takes on Chinese at her school in the coming months. It’s a pleasure having Sophia as a student and I look forward to seeing her grow into an awesome flautist.
~Amy Cary, flute teacher in DeMotte~
Week of August 21st
I would like to introduce an outstanding Piano student at the Music of Oz Music Studio! I have had the pleasure of teaching Piano lessons to Joey Bell for about three years and during this time I have seen Joey excel in piano skills tremendously! Joey enjoys everything about music: Music Theory that is integrated into lessons, the challenge of Sight Reading (in which he also excels), playing music by ear and transposing, And also learning all kinds of piano music from the classics to movie themes, pop, rhythm & blues and jazz. There really isn’t a genre of music that he doesn’t enjoy. Joey played piano in the Jazz Band at Wheeler Middle School last year. He pays close attention to the dynamics, tempo, key changes, big chords jazz chords, and overall artistry of the music selection. Joey knows that we desire our students to learn the “whole picture” of learning a song and he works on the notes and rhythm as well as the total artistry involved in a song. Joey is in High School this year and I look forward to seeing further accomplishments and progress in Piano skills and repetoire. He can handle scales in multiple octaves as well as runs, arpeggios and chords with inversions. Memorizing songs comes easy to Joey and he often memorizes difficult songs because of his practice ethic – always trying to do his very best- highly motivated. Joey also plays clarinet in the school band and is an avid Cross Country runner. I would imagine his motivational skills produces a great band member and team runner. He has a sense of humor which makes our Piano lessons fun as he tries to portray different moods in the music he is performing or glances at me to see if I notice that he is playing something completely off the sheet or changing keys or whatever he thinks of just to change things around to get my attention. Actually, I enjoy this type of creativity and encourage it! Joey was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award for his many accomplishments in Piano Lessons and Performance this year. It is my honor and privilege to be Joey’s teacher.
~Lorraine Szoke, piano teacher~
Week of May 29th
This week Music of Oz proudly presents Lauren Garcia as its featured student. Lauren has been studying violin for three years and comes from a musical family whose parents and brothers all play instruments. According to Mrs. Jennifer Redlarczyk, Lauren’s private teacher at the studio, Lauren is not only musically talented but is a joy to teach. Her enthusiasm inspires her to learn new and challenging music and she often finds pieces on her own that she wishes to learn on her own. During her time as a student at Music of Oz, Lauren also participated in ISSMA and holds four gold medals for her achievements. Lauren is currently an honors student at St. Mary’s School in Crown Point and will be graduating this spring. During the past year Lauren has been active as student council president and is a leader at her school. Over the years she has participated in academic super bowl and been recognized as a Kiwanis scholar. She has been an active member of the choir and church band, canter for Mass, and recently took on the part of one of the narrators in St. Mary’s production of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We Wish Lauren the best as she finished her year at St. Mary’s School and moves on to Crown Point High School where she will continue on with Orchestra and honor’s classes. Good job, Lauren!
Week of May 22nd
Ella is in the 2nd grade at Lake Street Elementary School. Ella enjoys sewing, reading, doing puzzles, writing stories, eating her mom’s homemade Chinese noodles, and playing with her dogs, Sammy and Tiger. It has almost been two years since Ella started piano lessons. Every week she comes to her lesson with an amazing attitude, and is always well prepared. She is such a joy, and I can’t wait to see where her very natural gift for music and her work ethic take her.
~Diane Perigo, piano/voice teacher~
Week of May 8, 2017
Ian is in 2nd grade; and we welcomed him to Music of Oz as a new piano student in February of this year. Ian and his family recently moved to Crown Point from Merrillville last October. Ian has been making wonderful progress with his piano lessons, and he is learning fast. When Ian is not doing homework or practicing piano, he enjoys playing Minecraft, and reading his Magic Tree House chapter books. Ian loves, is very proud of, and enjoys helping his brother, Alex, who has ASD. Ian says he dreams of one day going to Paris, and would like to be a composer someday. When asked about taking piano lessons, he said at first he wanted to play drums, but decided on piano lessons instead because he really liked the music that goes with the piano. He also said he loved learning to play the C scale, and is so happy he can play, “Mary had a Little Lamb” now. It is so exciting to see Ian’s rapid progress learning piano. I am very proud of him. Hang on, because this is going to be a great ride! Look out Paris, and future composers, here comes, Ian!
~Sandy Owens, piano instructor~
Week of May 1, 2017
Noah Weaver has been studying piano at Music of Oz Studio in DeMotte for over seven years. As an eighth grader at Hebron Middle School, he keeps busy with a number of activities and sports. Along with soccer, basketball, cross country and track, this young man participates in activities at his church. Noah recently discovered ragtime music, which is quickly becoming his favorite genre. With this in mind, he is pretty excited with the discovery that he shares a birthday with Scott Joplin!! Keep up the good work, Noah!!
Week of April 24, 2017
Madelyn is currently my only violin student and has been taking lessons at Music of Oz for about 8 months. She is in 2nd grade and has accelerated through Book 1 and about to start Book 2 in the short time we have been together! She has even brought in her own music to work on, some of which was a little more challenging, exposing her to new notes we had not discussed yet. When Madelyn is in her violin lessons, she often expresses interest in piano as well. With her discipline and determination, I know she is going to excel on any instrument she plays! Madelyn also has a great ear at her age. She corrects herself when she plays a wrong note, and she knows if something sounds off. When there is something I need her to fix, Madelyn makes sure to practice it and come back the next week new and improved! I’m very proud of what she has accomplished, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for her in music!
~Mallory Julian, Strings and Piano Instructor~
Week of December 5th
Ava has been taking piano lessons at Music of Oz for almost 2 years. She is in 3rd grade. Her older sister, Julia, takes piano lessons at Oz as well. We love it when it’s a family affair! Ava has shown wonderful progress with her playing. Her quiet nature and beautiful smile transfers well onto the piano always creating a memorable musical conversation. When Ava is not playing the piano at home she enjoys taking care of her goldfish and plecostomus fish. She also enjoys playing basketball. She is looking forward to playing basketball soon at the family YMCA. Ava said she enjoys learning to play the piano, and new songs. She also said she would like to be a doctor when she grows up, and to still be able to play the piano when she has the time. I am very proud of Ava’s progress; and to hear that her life goals include having music by her side. Bravo Ava, keep up the good work!
~Sandy Owens, Piano Instructor~
Week of November 7th
“Hi, my name is Julia. I’m 10 years old and in 4th grade. I love music, especially piano. I started to learn how to play last year at Music of Oz with Ms. Sandy Owens. Since then I love it more and more every day.
I love to read books, art, learning about different countries and traveling. Some of my other favorite things I love are tumbling and doing gymnastic exercises on warm sunny days on the beach with my friend Sarah. I also love hiking and road trips with my parents. And if they aren’t up for walks, then my pet poodle, Azor, always is! In the fall we chase butterflies, grasshoppers, and play in the leaves. In the winter we never get bored of tasting snowflakes. Getting this Featured Student recognition is a big thing to me! Most of all I’d like to say “thank you” to my piano teacher, Ms. Sandy. When Ms. Sandy and I “sail” together through this ocean of music she always points me to an island that brings me ever closer to my love of music!” Ms. Owens is so very proud of Julia. She has been an exemplary piano student who has shown great progress in her first year because of her desire to learn, and the efforts she has put into practicing. Most of all I am so proud that each week Julia continues to said on that beautiful ocean of music where her love of music will always be the true island of her destination. Sail on and play on, sweet Julia!
Week of October 3rd
Abriel, age 12, has been taking piano lessons at Music of Oz for a couple of years. She is homeschooled and has one sister and three brothers, one of which she is proud to say is in the Marines. Abriel enjoys babysitting in the church nursery and being outside. She also loves animals. Her favorite movie is Ramona and Beezus and when asked what her favorite song is she answered as any other musician would, she can’t choose. She did however, say that she loves listening to classical music because its peaceful. Her favorite part of Music of Oz is the duet recital, she’s looking forward to playing in November with fellow student Megan Humphrey. Abriel always has a smile on her face and is such a joy to have here at the Music of Oz. She’s truly dedicated to practicing and becoming the best pianist she can be. Another great thing about Abriel is her love of the Cubs, GO CUBBIES!!!
~Amy Cary, piano teacher
Week of September 26th
Week of September 19th
Week of September 12th
Week of August 29th
When it comes to music lessons we tend to think about young school kids making “beautiful” music coming from studio rooms. I would like to introduce you to Aimee. Aimee is one of Music of Oz’s young adult students in voice. Aimee however is no stranger to Music of Oz. She started lessons around 6th grade. It was also at this time that she started in choir in school. She continued to sing throughout middle and high school. Aimee is a talented singer and really can sing just about anything that is put in front of her. Most students here at Music of Oz are taking lessons to be more competitive or to advance their abilities to get further in their musical career. Aimee is here for more than just that. She uses music as her break from “adulting”. Music is her escape. This is now her 3rd year back with Music of Oz studio. Aimee’s positive attitude and happy personality help out our studio family. She sets an example for our school age students. They see in her what they can be able to achieve and that just because music isn’t in your career path it can still be a valuable part in your life. Lessons helped Aimee be more outgoing and expressive and those qualities help her in daily life. Aimee is a perfect example that music lessons are more than just about notes on a page. Lessons help individual students in multiple ways. No matter who you are, what your age is, or what your career may be, music lessons will impact your life. I am so grateful that Aimee has come back home to Music of Oz.
Week of August 1st
Shannon will be entering 5th grade at Clark Middle School in St. John. Shannon loves to sing! She has been taking voice lessons for several years at Music of Oz in Crown Point. This summer she cut her hair for a charity called, “Children with Hair Loss”. When Shannon is not singing, she loves playing Minecraft with her best friend who lives in California. This summer Shannon has been enjoying going with her family to visit her mother’s friends who have a ranch in Illinois where there are lots of people, swimming, a playground, horses, and going to a beach house on Lake Michigan. Shannon’s voice teacher, Ms. Owens, says that Shannon’s heart is as big as her voice. She demonstrates excellent musicality and maturity. Shannon always has a great desire to learn and practice new and challenging material. She is a joy to teach, and I look forward to being a part of her vocal coaching and musical development. Way to shine Shannon!
Week of July 25
This week it gives the Music of Oz great pleasure to present our next featured student, Brianna Rhomberg. Brianna is fourteen years old and will be entering the ninth grade at Lake Central High School. Brianna has been studying Violin for four years. She first got interested in playing through her exposure to the music ministry at her church where her dad is active musician with the worship. Last year, Brianna had the opportunity to play a duet with her dad at the church. This summer, Brianna has continued to take lessons and also played tennis and took “pool” for summer gym. Her other hobbies include crochet. She tells us that her masterpiece was the making of a Mermaid Blanket. Sadly, the Lake Central School system does not offer orchestra in their music program. However, that has not stopped Brianna. During the past year, she has participated in choir and was able to compete in ISSMA playing her violin. At the district contest, Brianna entered group four and was awarded a gold medal for her performance. In this coming academic year, Brianna intends to participate with the Hand Bell Choir as a ninth grade student and will compete again at a higher level for ISSMA. According to Mrs. Red, (Jennifer Redlarczyk) her teacher, Brianna is very talented and enjoys a challenge. She is always cheerful at her lessons, and because she practices is a pleasure to teach. We wish Brianna much success during the next school year and look forward to hearing more good things about her success. Good Job!
Week of July 18th
Victoria is 11 years old and has been taking lessons for a few years now. I inherited her from another teacher that moved. Victoria is always pleasant and very well prepared. She is a joy to teach as she is respectful and tries very diligently to do everything I ask of her. Victoria has always been a fine technical piano player, however, I am thrilled by how far she has come in making the music she plays beautifully.
Week of May 30th
Noah Weaver has been taking piano lessons for an accumulative of 6 years, the last 4 of which he’s been with me. Over the past few years, Noah’s talents have grown tremendously, improving drastically in his sight-reading, rhythms, and technique. He comes in to every lesson each week prepared and ready to go. While Noah enjoys performing, taking part in both our annual spring and fall recitals, the Oak Grove Christmas performances and special music at his church, his favorite thing to do is play Western music. On top of piano, Noah holds a position on the honor roll at Hebron Middle School where he is also a participating member of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). In his free time, Noah likes to stay active by being on local soccer and basketball teams, participating on his school’s cross country team and signing up for local races. He just finished his first 6 mile race! Keep up the great work Noah!
Week of April 25th
Abhi, age 12, is in the 7th grade and began piano studies in January 2015. He is very self-motivated to practicing, has a true love of music, and uses great dynamics! At school he is a member of the Robotics Club, Chess Club, Science Olympiad, Academic Super Bowl, Student Council, Students Helping STudents, and Nation Junior Honor Society. Abhi enjoys listening to classical music as he studies, and his favorite composers are Beethoven and Vivaldi. He and his sister, Anavi, performed “Swan Lake” during the Nov. 2015 Duet Recital. Congrats, Abhi, and keep up the good work!
~Beverly Collom, piano instructor
Week of April 4th
For just under a year and a half, fourteen year old Madison Slavich had taken up playing the guitar as well as voice instruction here at Music of Oz. In that short time Maddie has grown immensely as a musician, performer and writer as she has continued to hone her skills and increase her knowledge of music. Maddie has maintained a great attitude and sense of curiosity about her instrument as she has worked tirelessly to continue her education in music and work on her songwriting skills. She has also excelled in numerous studio recitals she has performed in and was recognized by her voice instructor as an Outstanding Student. Her influences include: The Beatles, Nirvana, My Chemical Romance, Adele, Five Seconds of Summer, Sleeping with Sirens and Metallica. Aside from playing music, Maddie enjoys hanging out with her friends, spending time with her family and taking care of her pets. Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see to see Maddie perform “About a Girl” by Nirvana!
~Joe Villani~guitar teacher
Week of March 28th
Cailin Meyers has been taking guitar lessons for around three years at Music of Oz. Since starting lessons she has been a true pleasure to instruct. She’s always up to play anything and can find the joy in playing anything; which is a sign of the musician she’s becoming. Her favorites have included Jingle Bells, Puff the Magic Dragon, Beethoven’s Für Elise, and Tesla’s Love Song to just name a few. She loves to perform and has participated in numerous recitals for the studio, both solo and duet. I have never had to coax her into practicing and I find myself keeping up with her rather than the other way around. For these reasons and so many more I am so pleased to say Cailin Meyers is my student of the week.
Week of March 21st
I would like to introduce Grace (Gonsiorowski), a 3rd year Piano student at Music of Oz. Grace was awarded a “Gold” in the recent ISSMA compe$$on performing “Spinning Song” by Albert Ellmenreich. It does not surprise me that Grace had received a “Gold” as she puts into practice the technics that she has/is learning from piano lessons, as well as paying close attention to the dynamics and musical artistry required to perform her assigned piano music skillfully. Grace looks for opportunities to develop her musical skill and has been accepted to the Blue Lake Music Camp for a two week program this summer. Grace also plays enjoys playing Violin in the School Orchestra. Her string ensemble was awarded a “Gold” at the ISSMA competition also. Grace enjoys performing in the annual Solo Piano recitals. At the Duet Recital in November 2015, Grace and her sister, Sophie played Disney’s “Colors of the Wind.” Grace played piano while Sophie played guitar. (Very Well done Girls!) As a child, Grace remembers seeing her Mother taking piano lessons which sparked her interest in taking piano lessons. Grace has a variety of interest and hobbies (outside of music), she enjoys art and likes to draw cartoons. She is interested in Marine Biology and researching marine life. Her favorite subjects in school are Science, Math and Art. It is a pleasure teaching Grace as she is committed to practicing, learning and playing with excellence. She has advanced to the 3rd level of Faber and Faber through her diligent, consistent effort.
~Lorraine Szoke, Piano Teacher
Week of March 14th
RYAN VAN DRUNEN
Ryan is a junior at Lowell High School, and he’s been taking lessons at Music of Oz for about eight months. He recently performed an advanced snare solo at ISSMA (in the Group I division) and got a gold at both regionals and state. This was a huge accomplishment for Ryan, as it was his first time participating in ISSMA solo and ensemble. Ryan’s a motivated, talented student who plans to continue his musical studies in college. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE TO SEE AN AWESOME VIDEO OF RYAN PLAYING HIS SNARE SOLO.
Week of February 29th
This week it gives the Music of Oz great pleasure to present our next Student of the Week, Alex Dinatale. Alex is twelve-years-old and is a seventh grade student at Taft Middle School in Crown Point. His hobbies include Hockey of seven years, and now Orchestra. Alex first came to the studio last July in 2015 to begin studying violin with Mrs. Jennifer Redlarczyk. In asking Alex what made him take up music, he said, “I’ve always liked music and thought I would like to try an instrument. The violin seemed to be a good fit.” According to Mrs. Red, Alex is doing remarkably well for having studied such a short time. Most violin students begin with the school program in fifth grade unless they have started private lessons at an earlier age. Knowing that Alex wanted to join the orchestra in the fall, he worked extremely hard to master reading all of the basic notes, as well as fingering and bowing techniques. According to Alex, “When was not skating I was practicing the violin.” Though it was difficult jumping into a musical organization where all of the students had played so much longer, Alex was up to the challenge and was encouraged by his Orchestra Director, Mr. Webdell. In asking Alex how he felt about going into his first semester in the Taft Orchestra and playing on their fall and winter concerts our budding violinist said, “It was really scary.” However, despite the pressure, Alex has enjoyed every minute of his class and plans to continue on through eighth grade and into High School. Mrs. Red would like to offer her personal congratulations. “Alex is very musical and a joy to work with. The effort that he has put into learning a difficult instrument in such a short period of time has paid off. I wish Alex continued success, and I am sure that we will be hearing more about this young man in the future. Congratulations Alex, for a job well done. Keep up the good work!”
Week of February 22nd
Tyler video Tyler (age 12) lives in Crown Point and is in 7th grade at Wheeler Middle School. He has been taking piano lessons for 2 1/2 years and guitar lesson for 6 months. He is a member of the school choir, art club, yearbook, and National Junior Honor Society. He enjoys going on bike rides, playing Cities Skylines on the computer, and Legos. Be sure to click on the video link to see Tyler playing his piano piece.
Week of February 15th
I really enjoy working with and teaching Eva as a piano student. She is always prepared for her lesson and practices during the week. You can tell she has a love for music as she cares very much about how she plays. She is a super sweetheart of a student. I am very proud of her efforts and look forward to watching her music grow. ~Sandy Owens~ My name is Eva Holm. I am 12 years old. I go to Hanover Central Middle School. I have been playing piano at Music of Oz for a year and a half. I play the clarinet in school. I have also been playing my clarinet for a year and half. My hobbies are playing music and long distance running.
Week of February 8th
Let me introduce my student, Mandy Brown. Mandy has been studying voice with me since the beginning of this school year. She always has a smile and positive outlook. Recently this young lady has struggled with some health problems that effect her singing, but she keeps working at it and we could all learn from her fighting spirit. Mandy is a Freshman at Crown Point High School and her favorite subjects include science and choir. As a member of a big family, she enjoys time with her siblings and cousins. In the warm weather Mandy loves to go to the family cottage in Michigan. Mandy is busy making music at Living Hope Church and will soon perform at the Fine Arts contest with an opportunity to advance to the national level. Last Saturday Mandy had her first encounter with the ISSMA contest and came out with a gold medal. Congratulations Mandy and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for your musical endeavors.
~Submitted by Vocal Instructor, Becky Osborn
Week of February 1st
Maya Vanderwoude is in the sixth grade and is currently studying clarinet. She has been taking clarinet lessons since September (5 months) and has also been taking piano lessons since this past fall as well. Maya enjoys learning movie themes on her clarinet and is constantly pushing herself to learn and explore new music. Her favorite song to play is “Hanging Tree” from The Hunger Games. Maya likes the clarinet because of the wide range of notes and sounds that it can produce. Her short term goal for the clarinet is to be able to play songs really quickly, but she would ultimately like to master the clarinet. Maya has also been in gymnastics for 7 years, and is currently active in many clubs such as Student Council, Spell Bowl, Student Newspaper, and Book Club. She is currently on an A+ streak and has never gotten a B in her life!
Week of Jan 18th
Cora is a newer student to the studio. As a middle school student, she has decided to take on the violin because she believes it is a beautiful instrument. Cora has a very driven personality and strives to master each song she plays and has a very natural technique when it comes to playing the violin. She has accomplished quite a bit in the short time I have taught her.
Week of Dec. 7th
Hayley Antczak has been taking piano lessons for 4 years. She is in the 6th grade and taking advanced courses. Her hard work shows in our weekly lessons together! Hayley’s favorite thing about piano? Challenging music. Not only does she come prepared week to week with perfected pieces, but she also actively participates in extra-curriculars such as our bi-annual recitals and our 2nd annual Oak Grove Christmas program. Hayley has also been working on a song to perform at ISSMA next semester. Her dedication and outgoing personality will help her continue to thrive in music!
Week of Nov. 23rd
Linda Watland is a third -year piano student of Pattie Flory, at the Crown Point location. After 37 1/2 years of teaching in the elementary classroom, she retired, but surely didn’t stop. Her interests take her in many directions now, as she can be seen working the grandstand at the Lake County Fair, teaching for the Crown Point Parks Department, working at Kregel’s Pumpkin Patch, or helping in classrooms at Trinity Lutheran School. Add to this her travels on bus trips and last March, to France. She periodically misses her lesson to take advantage of her season tickets to the Munster Performing Arts Center. She is a delightful student, and her teacher comments…”Linda surely personifies the work ethic that I know she expected of her classroom students for all those years.” Linda says…”Good job writing, Pattie.” Once a teacher, always a teacher.
Week of Nov. 16th
Chance is a drum student of Brendan Dempsey and has been taking lessons for about 2 1/2 years. He has an intense passion for music and education. Chance really loves college and high school sports but above that, he really loves the marching bands. As of late, he has been enjoying playing the drums while singing some of his favorite songs. These songs include: The National Anthem and college fight songs. He is truly a special guy and has a bright musical future ahead of him.
Week of Nov 2nd
Rubi has been a flute student at Music of Oz since July of 2014. Her teacher is Amy Cary. Her favorite subject in school is Math and she enjoys drawing. She has lots of different pets at home including chickens, ducks, goats, cats and dogs. Rubi attends the Community Christian Reformed Church and is very active in her Sunday School. Some of the organizations she’s helped raise money for through her Sunday School class are P.E.T (Personal Energy Transportation), Phyllis’s friends (helping fight cancer) and Bible Players for kids. Her favorite song is “Overcomer” by Mandisa which she knows all the words to and her favorite movies are Grease and The Little Princess. Rubi is a great student to work with and is always full of energy.