The Real School of Music Blog

Meet Our Yamaha Teachers!

Written by Heather Luhn | March 8, 2016

A Q&A with the Real School Yamaha Music Education Team. 

Sometimes teachers are so busy being teachers, we miss the opportunity to learn more about what they do in their free time, what music they like best, and how they ended up where they are today! 

I reached out to Everly McCormack and Michele Cronin, Yamaha Certified music instructors at our Andover location, to learn more about their thoughts on Yamaha Music Education and life in general. 

What made you interested in becoming a Yamaha Music Teacher?

Everly: I had never heard of Yamaha Music Education System (YMES) until I started teaching at Real School. I started observing classes and looking into what it was all about. I loved the fact that so much research and time went into making the classes appropriate and effective for each age group. The idea of teaching music as a language is something I have always believed in but didn’t know how to implement effectively in my own private lesson teaching. Also, when I was student teaching in college, I loved teaching elementary age children, but I also knew I wanted to focus on teaching piano. The Yamaha program is a great combination of both of these passions. I wish I had known about it sooner!

Michele: When I first came to Real School from Boston Music Center (we merged in 2015), I was interested in the many things this school has to offer. When I heard about the Yamaha program, I wanted to know more. The more I learned about it, the more interested I became. I said to myself, “I think Yamaha sounds like a good fit for me!”

What makes Yamaha Music Education special?

Everly: Everything about the curriculum is excellent and extremely thought out and planned. Also, the concept of keyboard solfege is something I don’t think other keyboard programs focus on.

Michele: First of all, it is fun, and children love to have fun! Parent's tell me how much their child loves Yamaha! They are so EXCITED about it. They get their own bag of stuff: music books with great pictures and notes they'll eventually play, and a CD with really beautiful songs everyone loves, including me. The children learn so much each class. Through the semester they listen first, then sing--we do a lot of singing-- then they play it on the keyboard, and then they learn to read, in that order. It happens naturally. They develop a really good ear and sense of musical expression, which lays the foundation for a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

What has been a memorable teaching moment in class?

Everly: Recently in JMC 3 we were singing solfege at the piano, and when we had finished the piece one boy looked at me and said, "I was BORN to sing!"

Michele: I love connecting with the children and watching them succeed. I see their "aha!" moments when they figure something out. They are excited to learn and feel a great sense of accomplishment in their successes. I love the spontaneous funny things that happen, like in the song, "I am a King," two boys started laughing heartily at the end when I said in a low voice, "Let us bow to the King." And so we bowed, and now when we learn more about that song, they know the bow is coming and they prepare their bow with enthusiasm to say the least! So precious.

What is your advice for parents considering Yamaha Music Classes for their child?

Everly: Try to spend time making music each day with your child, whether it is listening to music together in the car or sitting down at the keyboard to practice.

Michele: Sign up!! Don't delay! This is an amazing opportunity for your young child! This will enrich your child. He/she will be a better musician overall for starting with Yamaha music classes!

What is your favorite Yamaha song?

Everly: I love Roller Coaster because it is so much fun to see new JMC students enjoying the music with their parents and finally getting to play their first notes on the keyboard. Another piece I love is Falling Leaves from JMC 4. It is challenging and beautifully arranged in concerto style on the CD.

Michele: I really can't pick just one, they are all so wonderful and make you feel good just listening.

What is your favorite piece of music?

Everly: I don't think I can pick a definite favorite piece of music, but one of my favorite pieces to play has been The Tides of Manaunaun by Henry Cowell.

Michele: I have eclectic taste, so it's whatever I'm listening to that I'm enjoying at that moment. But let that go, I really love a good Brahms piano concerto. Or Mozart. But then I really love Bach…

What does timely education mean to you and why is it important?

Everly: Timely music education means teaching students the language of music when they are very young, around the same time they are learning to speak languages. At ages 3-5, children are absorbing so much information through experience, and it is a great time to teach them music. It's amazing how 4-5 year olds can learn and remember solfege melodies and patterns of music that they have listened to. This builds a solid foundation in rhythm, pitch, and harmony for their music study.

Michele: Timely music education means what is age appropriate and the best time for a little brain to absorb, which is why I feel that Yamaha music program is a GREAT place to begin while the window of time is ripe for learning the musical language.

What do you like to do for fun?

Everly: I like to cook, spend time with family, and hang out with my dog.

Michele: For fun I like to go biking--I like to ride fast! Riding by the seacoast with my Bike Club is great fun! I also like to write children's books. I think by this fall my first picture book will be available on Amazon. Stay tuned!

If you were not a music teacher, what would you be?

Everly: I would definitely want to work with animals through a farm sanctuary or some other kind of animal rescue.

Michele: Hmmmm....an author? Maybe an actress, or a school teacher? At one time I wanted to be a nurse. It's hard to say...