Vezzoso School of Music expanding its classes with ‘Icefyre Beats’Nov 11, 2019 03:07PM ● By Katherine Weinstein
Hawk Hewett, Tamsin Howell, Rossteen Esfarjani and Lilisha Clear learn piano together at the Vezzoso School of Music in Draper. (Photo courtesy Sherri Jensen)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
As the December holidays approach, the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society and the Vezzoso School of Music are launching new musical programs. Rehearsals are underway for an all-new, original choral and orchestral Christmas piece, “King of Kings,” to be presented Dec. 6 and 7. At the same time, the Vezzoso School of Music, which is under the umbrella of the Society, is continuing to expand its offerings in teaching kids of all ages how to play and appreciate music.
Society founder, conductor and music teacher Sherri Jensen is enthusiastic about the new Christmas piece, which she describes as a contemporary "musical experience" rather than a classical cantata or oratorio. "It is something the community has never heard, which is very exciting," she said. "'King of Kings' will put people in the mood for the real meaning of Christmas."
Jensen is also eager to discuss the many course offerings at the Vezzoso School. “We’re launching new programs; it’s a time of new growth,” Jensen said. Fall is also a good time to begin music lessons. "This is the perfect time for kids to join our after-school choir program for the Christmas concert season,” she added.
Vezzoso Voices is the name of the after-school choir program, which is geared toward 8- to 12-year-olds. The goal is to give kids the opportunity to make new friends while learning singing skills and performing new songs.
The school is also putting together a new beginning percussion ensemble for 7- to 10-year-olds this winter called “Icefyre Beats.” Students will learn the basics of rhythm and rhythms of the world on professional instruments such as the marimba, glockenspiel and traditional African drums.
Icefyre Beats will add to the musical instruction programs already in place at the Vezzoso School. The word “vezzoso” is an Italian musical term that means “gentle” and “charming.” Jensen founded the school in 2017 with the goal of creating a place where kids could learn music in a fun, non-traditional, immersive way. “We want to fill in the gap for kids who aren’t getting the arts in school,” she said. “Making music is a way to help children in our community grow strong and independent by challenging them to do hard things and stick with it. Music is good for the brain, the soul and the body.”
Jensen is working toward completing her certification in a musical instruction program called Let’s Play Music, which takes a non-traditional approach to teaching music to children ages 4 through 7. Some young children are not always ready cognitively for traditional music lessons. The kids are taught how to listen and repeat rhythms along with folk songs, games and puppetry. “The magic of Let’s Play Music is that it’s fun. Kids love it, it’s not a chore,” Jensen said.
Kids who graduate from Let’s Play Music may move on to traditional lessons on a variety of instruments, or sign up for Presto, a two-year program that introduces students to the piano using a variety of games and videos.
Private lessons on violin, cello, percussion, flute, clarinet, piano, voice and trumpet are all offered at the Vezzoso School. No matter the instrument, however, all students are given instruction in piano. “Having that piano background will enrich your knowledge of every instrument,” explained Sariah Silvester, who teaches violin at the school. “It helps to train your ear. You know what the note sounds like in your mind if you know it on the piano.”
Silvester, who is pursuing a master of music degree in violin performance and pedagogy at the University of Utah, played with the Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society in last summer’s performance of “George Washington: Ordained of God.” She has been teaching at the Vezzoso School since last July and enjoys it. “I love teaching because I get to help students play music. Everything we do goes into creating that beautiful music!”
At the Vezzoso School, all students taking private lessons receive theory training to learn key signatures and musical notation. They also receive rhythm training and learn how to master rhythm at first sight through the study of percussion and singing and clapping exercises. This immersion in music theory study sets the Vezzoso School apart from other music studios.
The Vezzoso School of Music is located at 12222 South 1000 East, Suite #2 in Draper. Applications are being accepted for additional teachers and students. More information may be found at www.vezzosomusic.org
The Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society will present “King of Kings” Dec. 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Union Middle School, 615 East 8000 South, Sandy. Ticket information is available at www.DraperPhilharmonic.org