Friday, December 20, 2013

Thank you to Laura Frautschi, violinist and Artistic Director with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, for teaching WHEELS music students about how Orpheus rehearses and performs. She answered many questions about music and the life of a professional musician, and played a beautiful and moving version of "Meditation" from the opera, Thais.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Last night two of our current high school students performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra, directed by Vincent Gardner, at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola with special guests Shareef Clayton and Warren Wolf.

Some of our middle school students are part of the Middle School Jazz Academy at Jazz at Lincoln Center. At a recent Saturday morning class they got to meet Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis.

We are very proud of our students and grateful to Jazz at Lincoln Center for giving our students such amazing opportunities.

We are very proud of our seniors for applying to college! We celebrated last Friday with our third annual College March. WHEELS band students performed new arrangements of "El Cuarto De Tula," "Son De La Loma," and "Oye Como Va" at the event. Watch the video on WHEELS TV.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thank you to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation for a generous donation of instruments to the WHEELS music program! These instruments will help us give our hardworking students the high quality music education they deserve.
WHEELS music students have been busy with performances and auditions. Last week, WHEELS music students provided music for our first annual WHEELS Spelling Bee. This week, WHEELS music students will perform at our third annual College Application March. Speaking of college, we are very proud of one of our percussion students for auditioning at Berklee College of Music last Saturday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

We're so proud of all the middle school band students who performed at our middle school awards ceremony last week, and of all the students who received awards for their hard work!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last Monday WHEELS guitar students took a guitar lesson with Adam Lomeo. They learned about chord voicings and scales for comping and improvising over a blues tune. Thank you, Adam, for sharing your expertise with our students!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Thank you to Luke Folger for sharing his beautiful electronic music with our students on Wednesday. WHEELS music students are feeling inspired to compose and improvise their own music!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Yesterday WHEELS music students were fortunate enough to have their first lessons of the 2013-2014 school year with teachers from Manhattan School of Music (MSM)! Thank you to the MSM Outreach Program for making these lessons possible.

Today MSM and the D'Addario Foundation generously arranged to have two of the world's greatest young guitarists perform at WHEELS. WHEELS students experienced amazing performances by Celil Refik Kaya and Junhong Kuang, followed by interesting Q&A sessions with the artists. Thank you to the performers and everyone involved for providing this opportunity for WHEELS students!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It has been a busy week for WHEELS music students. The WHEELS Performance Ensemble performed at the WHEELS High School National Honor Society induction ceremony. Congratulations to the inductees and the performers!

Yesterday one of our talented drummers made a professional quality studio recording to submit to colleges, music conservatories, and scholarship programs. This amazing opportunity was made possible by teachers Brian Letiecq and Gabe Cummins, who generously opened the doors of their recording studio at The Beacon School and offered us their services. Thank you to them and their students for all their help! And thank you to pianist Christian Nourijanian, drummer Dustin Kaufman, saxophonist Mike McGarril, and bassist Desmond White for coaching and recording with our student.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

WHEELS band students had a strong start to the 2013-2014 school year. We have more students than ever before joining our three bands!

Check out this new PBS documentary about WHEELS, featuring a performance by one of our bands at our 2013 high school graduation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson would like to thank all the incredible musicians they've had the opportunity to take lessons with during just this past week: drummers Dustin Kaufman and Eric Doob, percussionist Paulo Stagnaro, bassist Josh Marcum, singer/guitarist Gabe Cummins, and pianist Alex Brown. This week they studied rudiments, warm-ups and Latin and jazz vocabulary for soloing and accompanying on various instruments. Special thanks to Fund for Teachers for supporting Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson's studies of Latin music!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Several WHEELS music students have spent the summer studying and networking with some of the best musicians in NYC and the world!

WHEELS music students with percussionist and singer Pedrito Martinez

WHEELS music students with bassists Alvaro Benavides and Mark Brown
As part of their Fund for Teachers fellowship Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson continue to take private lessons with pianist Alex Brown, bassist Josh Marcum, percussionist Paulo Stagnaro, and drummer Eric Doob. They have also been fortunate enough to see all of these amazing musicians perform at venues throughout NYC. In just the past week Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson have seen performances by these musicians as well as singer Christelle Durandy, bassist Edward Perez, guitarist Sergio Valdeos, guitarist Eric Kurimski, pianist Luiz Simas, and the Pedrito Martinez Group. The knowledge and skills that Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson are learning will all be shared with WHEELS music students when they study Latin music in band classes and general music classes.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

WHEELS band students and teachers have been diligently practicing every day this summer. Students are attending several of the best summer music programs in the city. Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson are taking percussion, drum, bass and piano lessons, and practicing and performing with various jazz groups. All band students are preparing for WHEELS band auditions in September. In case you need more practice logs to fill out, here is a link to a blank practice log.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Congratulations to the five WHEELS middle school students who received full scholarships to attend Jazz at Lincoln Center's Middle School Jazz Academy! Two of these five students play alto saxophone, and the others play trombone, bass and drums, respectively. And congratulations to our talented high school drummer and percussionist who received a full scholarship to play in the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra. We recognize the hard work these students put in to earn these opportunities, and are grateful to Jazz at Lincoln Center for the top-notch music instruction they provide.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Today Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson got to observe expert instructors teach band classes at Camp MSM! Five WHEELS band students received full scholarships to attend this competitive, international music program at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music.
Yesterday Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson studied drum set with Eric Doob and Latin percussion with Paulo Stagnaro. Eric Doob showed the teachers how to use the drum set to compliment or substitute for parts of the Cha-cha-chá groove traditionally played on Latin percussion instruments. Paulo Stagnaro showed the teachers how to play a style of rumba called guaguancó on the quinto, tres dos, tumbadora, guagua and  claves. Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson are excited and honored to be studying Latin music with Paquito D'Rivera's rhythm section!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thank you to Josh Marcum for giving bass lessons to Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson as part of their Fund for Teachers project! Josh's expert knowledge of the bass is helping the WHEELS music teachers develop a scope and sequence for 6th-12th grade bass students.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Last week Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson had the privilege of studying with three members of Paquito D'Rivera's rhythm section: pianist Alex Brown, bassist Zach Brown, and percussionist Paulo Stagnaro. With Paulo they learned Afro-Cuban 6/8 patterns on conga, bongo, bells and drum set. With Alex and Zach they learned montunos on the piano and tumbao patterns on the bass, in 2-3 and 3-2 clave, to fit with danzón, bolero, cha-cha-chá, guaguancó, and merengue styles of music. Thank you to all of these musicians and Fund for Teachers for their generosity.

Thank you to the Fender Music Foundation for their generous grant to the WHEELS music program!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Thank you to Paulo Stagnaro and Marcos Torres for conducting a Latin percussion master class for WHEELS students last Wednesday! That same evening Paulo taught Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson how to play bolero patterns on bongos, congas, timbales and maracas. Paulo also taught the two WHEELS teachers how to tune bongos, congas and timbales, and how to play fills on timbales. Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson look forward to continuing their studies of Latin music, made possible by a Fund for Teachers fellowship!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Last Thursday, The WHEELS Performance Ensemble, which consists of 7th-12th grade students, had the honor of performing at NYC Outward Bound Schools' 2013 Gala Dinner honoring Governor Cuomo and Capital One Bank. Check out photos of the event here! The Performance Ensemble got listeners dancing with Latin and jazz standards like "Ran Kan Kan," "Chucho," "Oye Como Va," "Bruca Manigua," "Blue Monk" and "Second Line." Check out video of the performance here.

Monday, June 3, 2013

As part of their Fund for Teachers fellowship, Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson saw the great Paquito D'Rivera perform with Alex Brown, Zach Brown, Diego Urcola and Eric Doob on Sunday night at The Iridium. Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson look forward to studying Latin music with Alex and Zach Brown. Thank you to all of these musicians for their generosity and inspiring music!
Our band family meeting last Thursday night was a success! We discussed how families can be involved with our students' music education by attending concerts, auditions and band classes, and by listening to music together at home. Thank you to those who attended and to all of our band students and families for their ongoing support.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dr. T. and Mr. Johnson took their first two Latin percussion lessons with Paulo Stagnaro as part of their fellowship funded by Fund for Teachers! They started learning patterns for the danzón and cha-cha-chá styles of music on güiro, timbales, congas and bongos. They learned to transition from the basic danzón pattern to the paseo and cha-cha-chá patterns, and will apply these patterns in Latin standards like Tres Lindas Cubanas. Danzón is a style of dance music, influenced by European dance music, that was first popular in Cuba in the late 1800s. Danzón laid the foundation for other styles of Cuban music like son and cha-cha-chá.
WHEELS band students:

Here is a soft copy of the practice log for you to print in case you need to print more over the summer. Remember that you are expected to practice every day and record what you practice on your log.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

WHEELS music students work together and take a leading role in shaping our music program through collaborative inquiry, ensemble playing, and peer coaching and mentorship. Check out this video.
WHEELS music students engage in community service in addition to studying music. This spring 6th-12th grade music students organized a fundraiser for cancer research, performed for residents at Isabella Geriatric Center, and conducted a percussion workshop for elementary school students at PS 48. Special thanks to Martin Urbach for leading our percussion ensemble!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thanks to the generosity of Access Orpheus, WHEELS students have had many amazing opportunities to study music outside of regular classes. These include attending Orpheus Chamber Orchestra concerts at Carnegie Hall, master classes with Composer-in-Residence Gabriel Kahane, and a rehearsal with the Wayne Shorter Quartet. Thank you, Access Orpheus! Here are some photos from our experiences.

WHEELS music students have worked hard to earn places in youth ensembles at the Manhattan School of Music and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Last summer, five middle and high school students from WHEELS attended Camp MSM, a competitive summer music program at the Manhattan School of Music. During the 2012-2013 school year, three middle school students from WHEELS studied jazz music at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Middle School Jazz Academy. Here are some photos from their final performance at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola!

Thank you to MSM and JALC! We look forward to sending more students your way!
Check out this video of performances by WHEELS music ensembles in 2012 and 2013, including performances by our beginning, intermediate and advanced bands, small ensembles, and the WHEELS Performance Ensemble.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thank you to Fund for Teachers for granting WHEELS music teachers the opportunity to study with master musicians in New York City over the summer!