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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 14:29

Swift Current Registered Music Teachers love helping mould music minds

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Barb Levorson teaches from her beautiful Swift Current home. Barb Levorson teaches from her beautiful Swift Current home.

It’s been a great week for the Registered Music Teachers of Swift Current and Southwest Area who are celebrating Canada Music Week (Nov. 17-23).


There are still a couple of days to go with more events in Swift Current and the event’s crescendo comes with the Student Showcase Recital Nov. 23.
Remaining events are at the library: Music for Young Children — piano (Friday, Nov., 21, 4-5 p.m.), and guitar for beginners (Saturday, Nov., 22, 1-2 p.m.). The week concludes with the Student Showcase Recital on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 3 p.m. at the Art Gallery. This promises to be an entertaining event with students of all ages performing in a variety of different musical disciplines.
Barb Levorson, the Registered Music Teachers of Swift Current and Southwest Area’s spokesperson, was excited prior to the Music Week beginning on Nov. 17.
Levorson said they start meeting about the event in September. She noted they wanted to do something a little different this year. While there were showcase events there were a lot of events which were about allowing those unsure of playing a musical instrument a free opportunity to try, whether it be a piano, guitar or something else.
“We want people to find out who we are,” explained Levorson, a native of Swift Current. “Swift Current has a lot of wonderful musicians ... the legacy is very strong with the Oratorio Choir. One of the biggest challenges for our organization and music in general is finding teachers. 
Some musical helpers have included Aaron Thingelstad; Marcia McLean and her work with the Swift Current Comp. High School; Karen MacCallum from Stewart Valley; and Celia Hammerton who is well-known for her work with the Central School choir.
On the group’s website, there are 14 members listed with 11 of them being from Swift Current.
Levorson, an affiliate Level 2, member of the music teachers group, says more quality teachers in the southwest allows for more diversity and while they all have a high skill level, each brings their own personality and approach to teaching.
“It’s up to every parent and student to find the one that will work for them,” explained Levorson who suggests people ask a lot of questions. It’s important to see if a rapport can be built and nurtured.
Levorson said one of the most-asked questions she hears is whether they have to buy an actual piano. She says while the portable ones are fine in a pinch, there are a lot of notes not incorporated into the keyboard-like pianos.
“You have to have that level of commitment; the parents have to be involved and want them to learn,” explained Levorson who added that means the proper equipment which doesn’t mean needing to buy a $10,000 piano. Good quality, used acoustic pianos can be found for $500-$1,000.
“Expense should not be a barrier to playing the piano, and it’s proven the long-term benefits of learning to play a musical instrument.”
She noted some parents are willing to pay a lot more money for a season of hockey which is far more expensive than a one-time piano purchase. It just comes down to priority in spending and time.
Levorson says from what she sees in Swift Current — as is the case with a lot of Canadian youngsters — they are overscheduled. She recalls one time where a music student showed up to lessons in a ballet outfit or they have run out the door to an awaiting car so they can get to another activity.
“Talent isn’t innate, the younger you can get them involved the better,” said Levorson. “You want to create a culture at home at an early age.”
For Levorson, her love of music comes naturally. Her aunt was on the Saskatchewan provincial music festival board and it grew from there. Levorson has a gentle disposition and looks to be patient. In her music-teaching room inside her beautifully-decorated, classic, older house, an acoustic piano faces three  others which are in front of a window which looks out to a verandah.
She loves working with children and starts as early as pre-school. Incorporating fun games and musical notes, the youngsters learn to appreciate music and it builds from there.
Levorson couldn’t leave music despite the fact she earned her initial employment in a completely different field. She as a commerce degree from Queen’s university and was a management consultant in Toronto and worked in Banff.
She has studied under the Royal Conservatory of Music and is getting her degree, hence why she is an associate. However, music always brought her back, as did her love of Swift Current and she is now comfortably settled again. Levorson is set with her four pianos and all of her props that she uses to teach youngsters. She offers some advice.
“A person, no matter what age, you never stop learning; there’s no such thing in music as achieving perfection,” explains Levorson. “Everyone makes mistakes: it’s whether or not you enjoy playing. You can tell those kids who were pushed too hard. Ultimately, it’s not about the achievement or the result, it’s about the experience itself getting there.”

Read 2221 times Last modified on Thursday, 20 November 2014 10:03
Ryan Dahlman

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