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March 2015

A monthly newsletter to inform

and entertain our friends


How To Thank The FBI For Recovering Historic Stradivarius Violin




In 1999, famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma mistakenly left his $2.5 million Stradivarius in the trunk of a taxi cab. The incident sparked a hunt for the historic instrument, which was later returned to him. In 2014 a similar situation transpired with the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, except this was no accident.



Concertmaster Frank Almond was leaving for the night in January of last year when he was attacked with a taser gun and his 300 year-old Stradivarius violin (worth $5 million) was stolen from him.




Milwaukee police and the FBI responded quickly, tracking down the seller of the taser gun to discover it was purchased by a barber by the name of Universal Knowledge Allah. Finding this character led to another individual associated with the theft, Salah Salahaydn, who is believed to have planned on cashing in on the reward money. Neither would benefit from the robbery and both were charged and sentenced to prison terms.




The instrument was recovered in an attic, wrapped in a blanket. There was no damage found on the violin or its bow, as determined by an expert appraisal.




Concertmaster Almond, in gratitude for the swift justice and return of his instrument, said thank you to the FBI and local police in an unconventional manner: by private performance at FBI Milwaukee headquarters.





Over 100 recital videos are now on YouTube! Visit "Sweet Sounds for You" to see you and your friends performing at past recitals! Recital videos are also available on facebook!






Nolan Moorman - violin with Valerie Trautmann  

Jenna Caputo - ukulele with Lisa Baker 

Nicole Quek - piano with Amy Dickman                            

Derek Moser - guitar with Dan Kane 

Emma Coker - violin with Kathleen Gaiden                      

Andrew Hrynewycz - piano with Audrey Dobbs







Megan Jobe participated in the IGSMA music contest February 21st in Carol Stream and earned two firsts.  One award was for vocal solo and the other was for vocal ensemble as part of a four girl group.


We are pleased to send you this monthly issue of our newsletter. It is our way of saying that you are important to us and we truly value your business. Enjoy!
Coming Attractions:


May 9, 2015

IMA Contest Prep &

General Recital


Illinois Music Association Contest May 16 & 17, 2015


August 21, 2015

Summer Concert Prairie Center for the Arts


October 17,2015

Halloween Recitals


We're Always In the Mood for Referrals!
EmbarassedTell a friend, relative, an  acquaintance....whoever, about us. When they call and tell us you sent them and register for lessons, (don't worry, we ask how they heard about us when they call), you receive a certificate for $20.00. Your certificate may be used for a tuition credit or to purchase lesson materials or boutique items.
Smile  On July 1, 2015, we will raffle off a $100 American Express Gift card for all the referrals from January through June. On December 30, 2015, we will raffle off a $100 American Express Gift card for the referrals from the last half of the year.


Many thanks for your referrals, new family members joining us, and new students! The studio continues to grow and now many teachers have completely filled schedules! 


Thank you to the Yang Family for referring Nicole Quek to the studio for piano lessons with Amy Dickman.



Curious Facts about Perfect Pitch


The term “perfect pitch” indicates the ability to identify the pitch of a musical tone without an external reference pitch. The first studies about perfect pitch – or absolute pitch – can be traced back to the 19th century and they focused on the phenomenon of musical pitch and the methods for measuring it. “The estimation of pitch demands a musical ear. The measurement of pitch is purely mechanical, and requires simply the power of hearing and counting beats,” wrote Alexander J. Ellis in 1876.


Despite the straightforward definition, absolute pitch is still clouded in mystery: it is unclear, for example, whether it is something you are born with or something you can learn. Genetics, professor Takao Hensch explains might play a role, but most of the studies think it’s a matter of early-life experience, training or exposure to music. It is a cognitive trait, since it needs memory of the frequency, a label for it (such as “B-flat”), and exposure to the range of sound encompassed by that categorical label.


Statistics show that only one in 10,000 people have perfect pitch. On the contrary, relative pitch— the ability of a person to identify or recreate a note by comparing it to a note of reference and identifying the interval between the two notes—is quite common among musicians and it can be developed through ear training.  It almost goes without saying that Mozart was identified as having perfect pitch. Even though Mozart is the only Western musician and composer who was explicitly acknowledged as having perfect pitch, Bach, Handel, Chopin and Beethoven are generally known to be endowed with that ability as well.


There seems to be a correlation between tonal languages and perfect pitch: a 1999 study conducted at University of California, San Diego led by Diana Deutsch found that native speakers of Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese, compared to their English-speaking counterparts, exhibited “remarkably precise and stable form of perfect pitch in enunciating words.” A 2004 follow-up study by the same university then concluded that native speakers of a tonal language can actually “acquire” perfect pitch in the same way they learn a second language.


Can Valproic Acid be the key? Takao Hensch, professor of cellular biology at Harvard, is trying to create a drug that enables adults to achieve the perfect pitch. Hensch explains that valproic acid, a mood stabilizer, allows the brain to absorb new information as easily as it did before age 7, as it directly affects neuroplasticity. He gave the pill to a group of people who had no prior musical training and, at the end of a two-week trial, they were tested on their ability to discriminate tone. The results were, in his words, “remarkable” since there are no reports of adults acquiring perfect pitch. That pill could be used also to teach languages.


Give it a try! Perfect-pitch training courses have been offered since the early 1900s and results generally failed to meet the expectations of all hopefuls who attended them. However, if you want to know if you “have it,” or if you simply want to spend time playing a curiously addictive game just try one of the zillions of youtube videos available. (courtesy of CMUSE)




The life of man in every


part has need of harmony


and rhythm.--Plato







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