Happy Thanksgiving from the NEC Prep staff!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Because we will all miss you so terribly over Thanksgiving Break (Fri. 11/29 and Sat. 11/30), we, the NEC Prep staff, would like to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to you!

Lisa "petting" a mini double bass during last year's String Petting Zoo!

Lisa “petting” a mini double bass during last year’s String Petting Zoo!

Lisa Husseini, Concert Ensemble Manager
Hometown: Stoughton, MA (where the IKEA is)
Where you can find her on a Saturday: At the desk on your right at the St. Botolph Prep office, or checking on a rehearsal of one of the 20 large ensembles she oversees!
Education: NEC Preparatory School; BM in Flute Performance – The Hartt School; Exchange Student – Conservatorium van Amsterdam; MM in Flute Performance – New England Conservatory
About me: “I grew up in Stoughton, MA and lived there until I moved away to Hartford, CT for college. During my Junior year in college on a complete whim I moved to Amsterdam for 6 months and studied at the Conservatory there. I hope that I have the chance to live in Amsterdam again one day. Even though I am from Boston and have lived on the East Coast most of my life, I am also a Lebanese citizen and half of my family lives in Lebanon. When I am not working or sleeping, I am usually reading, exploring Boston, practicing flute, watching the Walking Dead, or taking a spinning class with the other NEC Prep staff members!”
As an NEC Prep student, Lisa played in Jr. MYWE and toured with Sr. MYWE (flute AND piano). As an NEC graduate student, Lisa was the manager of YRO and YPO. Her younger brother, Jamal, is continuing the NEC family legacy, as is a current member of both Youth Brass Ensemble and Brass Chamber Music.
Favorite part of NEC Prep: “For me it’s all about the first day of the school year. Returning students are reuniting with old friends, new students are unsure of what to expect, music is being passed out, introductions are being made, and the school is full of excitement. I can still remember my first day as an NEC Prep student, arriving at Jr. MYWE rehearsal in Williams Hall on a Friday in early September. I was terrified. Little did I know that over the next 5 years I would receive some of my most valuable musical instruction and form some of my best friendships within the walls of the Jordan Hall building. It is so exciting and inspiring to watch students start their journey at the beginning of each year, knowing what amazing experiences wait for them during their time at NEC.”
Favorite nearby food and drink: “Flour Bakery, right behind Back Bay Station, has the best BLT in Boston (I might even argue the world). They also make a homemade raspberry seltzer that is the perfect drink in the summer.”
P.S. Lisa likes her coffee black. Sometimes with a splash of soy, but definitely with no sugar.

Ana eating a gluten free snack in Chascomús, during YPO's Argentina Tour last summer!

Ana before digging into a gluten-free snack in Chascomús, during YPO’s Argentina Tour last summer!

Ana Lorenzo, Department Coordinator
Hometown: Verona, New Jersey
Where you can find her on a Saturday: At the desk on your left in the St. Botolph Prep office.
Education: The Juilliard School Pre-College Division; BM in Percussion Performance – Manhattan School of Music; Exchange Student – Conservatorium van Amsterdam (coincidentally just like Lisa!); MM in Marimba Performance – The Boston Conservatory; Alexander Technique Teaching Certificate (ATI) – The Boston Conservatory (current student!)
About me: “I grew up just outside of NYC in New Jersey. I was born there and raised Filipino-American, by Filipino immigrant parents, who moved here from Romania (my mom is a former diplomat). I began my musical studies at age 3 on piano, and I tried all woodwind instruments (except for flute – still can’t make a sound come out of that one), before finding my musical home as a percussionist, specializing in marimba. I am passionate about performing and commissioning new music. I am a faculty member for the NEC School of Continuing Education at 77 Arts Academy in Acton and for the MESDA group based at Harvard University. In addition to performing and teaching, I’ve found a new love for arts administration and am looking forward to all of the opportunities this lifestyle has to offer. When I’m not doing music related things, I’m training to become a teacher of the Alexander Technique (be my guinea pig!) and I love over eating and sleeping in. I also love to move around! Yoga, indoor cycling classes, pumping iron, barre, etc. Just don’t put me on a treadmill. Treadmills and caterpillars are my greatest fears.”
Favorite part of NEC Prep: “Saturdays! Getting to know all the Prep families, my lovely coworkers and work-studies, and in particular – I love working with families of musical beginners. I am especially inspired by non-music-playing parents of young children who encourage and support their children to pursue music. I feel honored to help these families get started on their life-long musical paths together.”
Favorite nearby food and drink: “Anything that fits the following criteria – gluten-free, nut-free (allergies!!!), and delicious! Particularly Symphony Sushi’s Fancy Sake Don. And I have a serious guilty pleasure for mocha coolatas from Dunkin (and Domino’s Pizza)…”

CoreyCorinne “Corey” King, Program and Operations Manager
Hometown: Jamestown, NY, birthplace of Lucille Ball
Where you can find her on a Saturday: At the Jordan Hall field office, JH 106… or fixing everyone’s problems – musical or not, or making everyone laugh!
Education: BM in Vocal Performance – Otterbein College; MS in Arts Administration – Boston University
About me:  “I am the Program and Operations Manager for the Prep. School. I moved to Boston in the summer of 2006 to pursue my Masters Degree from Boston University and I have been here ever since. When I am not in the office I enjoy going to a Red Sox game (I am a big Sox fan) or a hockey game, trying a new restaurant in the city, going to the opera or ballet, and I even make my own soap and candles. I am very close to my family and I try to go home as much as I can to visit them (including my extended family) in Western NY. Some things you might not know about me, I love classic rock, I play the guitar, I played the French horn for 9 years, and I have the most adorable nephew. I also love classic muscle cars.  My top three dream cars are a 1971 Pontiac GTO, a 1973 Plymouth Barracuda, and a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle.”
Favorite part of NEC Prep: “Coming in early on Saturday morning and seeing the String Training Orchestra (STO) orchestra warming up. They are so adorable.”
Favorite nearby food and drink: “Thornton’s Restaurant, I love their stuffed French Toast!”
Corey also loves non-fat white mochas from Starbucks and Chicken Pad Thai from Pho & I. #justsayin

ShirleyShirley Leiphon, Associate Director
Hometown:  Devils Lake, North Dakota
Where you can find her on a Saturday: At her office in the St. Botolph Prep office, or helping to ensure everything runs smoothly!
Education: BS in Music Education – North Dakota State University; MM in Vocal Performance – Boston University; DMA Candidate (ABD) in Vocal Performance – University of Minnesota – Twin Cities
About me: “I grew up on a farm in North Dakota where my family still lives. My background in music is as a singer but I also play the piano and played clarinet and tenor sax in high school. I’m brand new here at NEC – I previously was the Administrative Director for the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI). Prior to coming to Boston I lived in Minneapolis, MN where I taught private voice at a local high school and sang with the Minnesota Opera as well as had solo performances in the area as well as across the United States. I love animals and have a 3 year old lab/border collie mix named Kirby (or as like to call him – the Kirbinator). I try to volunteer as often as I can with the rescue where I got Kirby and have also fostered puppies for adoption from the rescue. Other interests outside of music include movies, books, and cooking.”
Favorite part of NEC Prep: “The warm and friendly staff and faculty that support and make-up the program! I’ve been here only two weeks and everyone has been so welcoming and helpful.”
Favorite nearby food and drink: “Hmmmm…not sure yet. I need to explore the area a bit more before I can commit to any place officially.  :)”
Shirley began working for NEC Prep about 2 weeks ago! She is the newest member of our team and we are thrilled to have her!

RebeccaRebecca Bogers, Director
Hometown: Newton, MA
Where you can find her on a Saturday: Everywhere all at once!
Education: Newton South High School; NEC Preparatory School; BM in Harp Performance – New England Conservatory; MM in Harp Performance – Temple University
About me: “For me, NEC is home. My parents are artists and wanted to ‘see the world’ when we were younger so we lived all over in only the best places. The Netherlands, (where my father’s side of the family is from), New Mexico, Colorado, Italy. After that my musical studies have taken me around the globe, the one place I have always returned to is NEC.  My NEC experience began in the String Training Orchestras on violin. Later, when we moved back to the Boston area for high school, I was no longer a violinist but had begun studying harp at age 10. I had a chance to be a member in YRO, YS, YPO and with friends across town BYSO (formally GYBSO). I will never forget the summer after my junior year when I finally put everything together and my path seemed clear. It was a summer filled with musical friendships first on a YPO tour to Cuba and Venezuela and then six weeks at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute. This is when I became aware of the power of music to bring people together and how exciting studying music with other could be. I went on to study Harp Performance at NEC and later pursued a Masters at Temple University in Philadelphia. Once again it was my junior year(this time in college) where things revealed themselves. I was attempting to double major in musicology and performance while working as a work-study student in the NEC Prep Office. The excitement of young students studying music was intoxicating. Though I later worked briefly with the Philadelphia Orchestra in their Operations and Personnel Offices and taught music in the Philadelphia Public Schools, my heart remained in education and I was thrilled to return home to NEC just over five years ago. Harp has remained central to my musical life, I enjoy teaching playing and currently serving as the President for Boston’s Chapter of the American Harp Society. Recently I’ve also found a new passion in exercise-be it spinning, running or working with my trainer! I enjoy Tuesday afternoons in particular when some of the other NEC Prep Staff members and I all go to a spinning class together.”
Rebecca also holds one of the most (if not the most) epic NEC careers of all time. As mentioned, she started as a violinist in STO, made her way up to YPO as a harpist, went to NEC as an undergrad, was YRO, YS, and YPO manager as a work-study, then hired in August 2008 as NEC Prep’s Concert Ensemble Manager (Lisa’s current position), then became the Assistant Director, then the Interim Director, and is now the Director! Fun fact: She was also the interim director of NEC’s School of Continuing Education (SCE) for 3 months.
Favorite part of NEC Prep: “The people! Be its students, faculty, families, or my fantastic colleagues, I constantly feel surrounded by wonderful spirits. It can be such a joy to watch and be a part of everyone’s musical journey and to see the incredible teaching and exploration that happens at NEC. Here, we really are all one family!”
Favorite nearby food and drink: “The smoothies from Temptations are always a nice refreshment and you will often find me ordering the Salmon Combo from Symphony Sushi.”
Also, in case you’re wondering. Rebecca doesn’t drink coffee – but she does love hot chocolate!

Happy Thanksgiving! We will miss you! See you again on December 6 & 7.

Happy Thanksgiving! We will miss you! See you again on December 6 & 7.

Posted in #justsayin, NEC Prep Team, Thanksgiving | Leave a comment

Special November 22 Program Note from YPO Music Director, David Loebel

“It will never be necessary to add the year ’2001′ to the date ‘September 11th’ to remind us what occurred on that terrible day. Similarly, an earlier generation did not need ’1941′ appended to ‘December 7th’ to recall the day on which World War II became inevitable.

“For many of us, it is today, November 22nd, that has given us pause every year for the past half century. The assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 was a defining moment in our lives. We still remember every little detail —where we were when we heard the shocking news, how our parents reacted, how unmoored we felt, how we knew that our world would never be the same.

“That anniversary has special resonance here in Boston. Ours is the city in which JFK was born, attended college and began his political career. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in South Boston, with its magnificent view of the ocean he so loved, is a lasting memorial to his life and legacy.

“It is certainly appropriate to remember the innocence of Camelot with the aching nostalgia and ineffable beauty of Mahler’s Adagietto. Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring encapsulates the simple gifts of community and caring that we Americans still value. Like all of Copland’s best music, Appalachian Spring captures with unimpeachable honesty the spirit of JFK’s mid-20th century America—an increasingly impersonal, urban society which nonetheless yearned for its rural past, for New Frontiers and for the freedom they represented.”

- David Loebel

David Loebel making his first appearance with the NEC Youth Philharmonic Orchestra as its Music Director, will conduct two favorite showpieces by Copland and Dvorak. As a memorial tribute to President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination, he leads the deeply moving slow movement from Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.

The Program:
Copland: Appalachian Spring
Mahler: Adagietto from Symphony No. 5
Dvorak: Symphony No. 8

As part of NEC’s Prep Presents Series this concert is free and open to the public. Find out more about the YPO November 22nd Jordan Hall concert and other NEC events by clicking here.

For more information about David Loebel:
David Loebel – NEC Biography
David Loebel Featured Faculty Blog Post
David Loebel Official Website

Posted in Concerts, Orchestra, Prep Presents, Youth Philharmonic Orchestra | Leave a comment

Introducing… Nicholas Urie!

Nicholas Urie is the coolest new Music Theory class instructor at NEC Prep!

UrieAbout Nicholas Urie: Nicholas grew up in sunny southern California and moved east ten years ago to study composition with his hero, Bob Brookmeyer. Nicholas ended up getting both his BM and MM in jazz composition from NEC. Nicholas packed his bags after graduation and moved to Brooklyn where he lived and worked for a few years before being offered a professorship at Berklee College of Music and moving back to Boston.

Fun Fact: Nicholas is an avid sailor and loves nothing more than a day spent on the water.

As of 2013, Nicholas Urie teaches Music Theory at NEC Prep. He teaches Theory for Teens I & II, which is an accelerated Theory and Solfège course for teenagers new to formal study of Music Theory.

Q&A with Nicholas Urie

What is your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory is of my mother playing an Earth, Wind and Fire record when I was maybe three or four. I remember hearing Debussy’s La Mer when I was in 10th grade and thinking to myself, “I really want to do that.” There have been a few moments in my life where something on the radio starts playing and my whole worldview changes.

What made you decide to be a composer/arranger?
I joined 4th grade band because it was required at my elementary school. It was band or extra physical education classes… Band was obviously the better choice for me. I played the bass drum. I actually became interested in pursuing music seriously in my sophomore year of high school when I started getting into jazz and contemporary classical music – something clicked in me.

Are there any musicians in your family?
I come from a family of fine artists. My father has a great ear, eclectic taste, and I think if he had chosen to do music instead of photography he would have been an excellent musician. He is interested in the popular music of his generation as well as contemporary classical music, jazz, “creative music,” etc., etc. He’s very catholic in his appreciation of music. My mother seems to me to be a little tone deaf but she loves music that has a deep pocket. Lots of Motown, funk, R&B, etc. She likes to dance in the car so anything with a deep groove sits well with her.

If you could be anything other than a musician, what would you be?
I’d be an architect. No question. I’d wear turtlenecks and Philip Johnson glasses and write manifestos about the nature of space. It would be awesome.

What do you like doing outside of music?
I’m an avid sailor (maybe obsessive is a more apt description), I love to cook, I’ve been an active woodworker since I was in my early teens and love spending time in the shop, I’m interested in learning about the history of art and architecture, and I enjoy taking care of my houseplants – I’d garden if I didn’t live in the city.

Most inspiring composer or piece of music?
Stravinsky’s Mass. Jimmy Giuffre’s Thesis/Fusion. Ives’ Three Places in New England. Frank Carlberg. Vince Mendoza. Hildegard von Bingen. There are so many composers who inspire me.

What are the last 3 pieces/songs you listened to?
I’ve been listening to Thelonious Monk pretty obsessively for the past few months.

What do you love most about NEC Prep?
I think the students are pretty amazing. The culture of NEC is pretty special too. I think the school does a really great job of cultivating the individual.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
Vince Mendoza told me my whole job as a composer/arranger is to, “be specific.” “Be specific” is fairly abstract advice but I take it to mean that I need to have made all the decisions about any given piece/arrangement before it goes out the door. I think he was telling me not to delegate understanding to the musicians that would be playing the music. I try to be specific in my own internal hearing of the music before I write it down, be specific in the score by writing down – in an extremely detailed way – what it is that I’m hearing, be specific to the musicians in rehearsal, etc., etc.

Any advice for young musicians in general?
Try everything. Follow your obsessions.

For more information about Nicholas Urie:
Nicholas Urie – NEC Biography
Nicholas Urie Official Website

Nicholas and his 1:00 PM Theory for Teens I class!

Nicholas and his 1:00 PM Theory for Teens I class!

To learn more about Music Theory at NEC Prep, click here, or reach out to us at prep@necmusic.edu or (617) 585-1160.

Ana Lorenzo

Posted in Featured Faculty, Music Theory | Leave a comment

Introducing… Cristi Catt!

Cristi Catt teaches in the Contemporary Improvisation department here at NEC Prep. Wait, what? Yup, that’s right. We have Contemporary Improvisation at NEC Prep! And as of this year, we’re thrilled to welcome Cristi Catt as one of its newest faculty members.

Susan Wilson, photographer

Susan Wilson, photographer

About Cristi Catt: Cristi grew up in Lawrence, Kansas. After living in Salzburg and New York, she has made her home in Cambridge, MA for many years. Cristi is married to an actor and they have two kids – a piano playing, tap dancing basketball player and a writer/performer who is part of the Chicago comedy scene. Cristi bikes to NEC when weather allows and loves riding along the Charles to get to work.

Fun fact: Cristi loves to go birding with her son Peter at Plum Island.

Cristi Catt serves on the Contemporary Improvisation and Voice Departments for NEC Prep, teaching private lessons and leading A cappella ensembles. She is also a faculty member for the College and Continuing Education Program at NEC in the Contemporary Improvisation Department.

Q&A with Cristi Catt

What is your earliest musical memory?
One of my earliest memories is being 9 years old, getting ready to walk on stage to audition for a part in Aaron Copland’s The Tenderland at the University of Kansas. I had walked down to the college campus after school at the suggestion of my music teacher. When I arrived, others kids were there with their mothers who were giving them all sorts of advice. I tried to pick up what I could and then decided that I would sing the loudest. So, I went with that. It worked and I got the part. It was a life changing experience for me as I got to be part of a fully staged production with orchestra and such wonderful musicians. Copland came to some of the rehearsals. Since I was the “cute kid” in the cast, I ended up sitting on his lap. It hit me that through music this one man, had created a huge, wonderful world that we were working in. I knew then that music was for me.

What made you decide to sing/choose the instrument that you play?
Oops, I think I just answered that. I got the bug to sing in 3rd grade. I tried other things — flute and piano but for me singing is the best way to express what I want to express. I do wish I had practiced my piano more!! I became a singer because being able to express a text or tell a story through music is what really excites me.

Are there any musicians in your family?
Yes, my grandfather Harp was known in Winfield, KS as being a fine tenor who sang in his local church. His daughters, my grandmother and aunt Mackie, were both musicians. My grandmother played organ and piano. My aunt had a beautiful singing voice. They both planned to go to music school and even had scholarships but because of the depression, it wasn’t possible for them. My grandmother kept playing. She accompanied silent movies and played organ for her church. My grandmother and aunt Mackie performed regularly for a local radio show. I think it was called “Ake and Drake in the Morning.”

If you could be anything other than a musician, what would you be?
If I wasn’t a musician, I think I would work in the field of health and wellness. I am very interested in nutrition, yoga and wellness. Or, perhaps I would be a linguist as I am fascinated by the way languages adapt over time with pronunciations changing and languages splitting off into different languages and dialects.

What do you like doing outside of music?
I enjoy riding my bike, reading, birding, and hiking. I think I am happiest when I am swimming whether it’s at Walden Pond or at the beach. I love the water!

Most inspiring composer or piece of music?
That’s hard. Steve Reich’s Tehillim is an important piece to me. My ensemble, Tapestry, made our debut with that work for vocal quartet and chamber orchestra at Jordan Hall many years ago. It’s such an exhilarating piece to sing. There are 6 percussionists clapping and playing tambourines, maracas, and marimba. The melodies are wonderful and the piece just flies along in a mix of meters. At some points the singers are in canon, off an eighth note from one another. It’s very challenging but so rewarding. Later Tapestry performed the piece for Steve Reich’s 70th birthday with Marin Alsop conducting the Colorado Symphony. At the post reception we sang Happy Birthday to Reich as a canon, each coming in an eight note apart. That was a kick! I am inspired by Couperin’s Lecons des Tenebres and Piazolla’s Oblivion, the opening of Dvorak’s New World Symphony, Bernstein’s West Side Story, songs of Faure and Barber, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Appalachian folk songs, medieval cantigas and folk songs of Portugal.

What are the last 3 pieces/songs you listened to?
I have been listening to Elisabetta Scano singing on a recording of the complete works for voice and piano by Respighi. These are gorgeous songs and beautifully sung by Scano. In the last few weeks, my listening has focused on getting ready to teach this year. Just a few minutes ago, I listened to what might be the only song written in the Locrian mode, Dust to Dust by folk singer, accordionist and songwriter John Kirkpatrick. This was to prepare for a Medieval/Folk Roots class I am teaching. I have also been listening to pop music that my students want to explore in A Capella ensembles, most recently “Royals.” One great thing about teaching is that you are always learning new things. My every day listening is quite varied. When I want to let loose, I put on the Horse Flies. They are hard to describe but I encourage everyone I know to listen to them. They mix traditional, ethnic and indie rock styles and have an amazing sense of groove. Lately I have been listening to composer David Lang. It’s a real mix.

What do you love most about NEC Prep?
I love the people here. This is my first year and everyone has been so kind and welcoming. I am impressed by the dedication of the faculty and staff. I know how over scheduled everyone is these days and it is so wonderful to see parents and students value music and make a commitment to serious study. I know these students are tomorrow’s leaders and it is wonderful to be a part of this.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
One of my earliest teachers simply told me to follow my heart and make my own path. I try to stick by that and pass this along to my students.

Any advice for young musicians in general?
I would advise young musicians to take criticism with a grain of salt. I encounter so many adult students who have confidence issues and blocks because of something a teacher said to them. Usually, once we get to work, it turns out they have been holding onto something that wasn’t even true. A teacher or someone leading a master class pointed out some issue. To the teacher, it was likely a passing comment but to the student it can sometimes be debilitating. So, remember that teachers are trying to help you get better and take comments in stride. Let them inspire you to reach higher but don’t worry about criticism too much. Music is supposed to be uplifting so don’t let it get you down.

For more information about Cristi Catt:
Cristi Catt – NEC Biography
Cristi Catt Official Website

Cristi and her Advanced A Cappella Singers group! Check them out in concert on December 17th at 7:30 PM in Jordan Hall alongside NEC Prep's Youth Chorale, Camerata and Young Women's Chorale.

Cristi and her Advanced A Cappella Singers group! Check them out in concert on December 17th at 7:30 PM in Jordan Hall alongside NEC Prep’s Youth Chorale, Camerata and Young Women’s Chorale.

To learn more about Contemporary Improvisation at NEC Prep, click here, or reach out to us at prep@necmusic.edu or (617) 585-1160.

Ana Lorenzo

Posted in Contemporary Improvisation, Featured Faculty, Voice Department | Leave a comment

Introducing… Rick McLaughlin!

Rick McLaughlin, bassist and Assistant Chair of the NEC Prep Jazz Department, is awesome. Explanation isn’t even necessary. When you meet him, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

About Rick McLaughlin: Rick grew up in the Midwest, but just recently passed the “halfway” mark, meaning he’s spent just a little bit more than half of his life in greater Boston. He moved here in 1992 to attend the Berklee College of Music, but ended up Rick McLaughlingetting both his BM and MM from NEC. He feels blessed to be the father of two young kids and lives in one of the ‘burbs (one of the more urban ones!). He bikes into Boston 3-4 days each week and coaches youth soccer. He currently has no pets, but feels lucky to have had a dog named Walter for Walter’s entire life.

Fun fact: Walter (Rick’s dog) was named for Walter Page, the influential jazz double bassist known for a style of playing called walking, which Rick and Walter did quite a bit.

Rick McLaughlin teaches private jazz bass lessons and various Jazz classes (History of Jazz, Jazz Theory II, and Jazz Theory III) at NEC Prep and is also a faculty member at NEC School of Continuing Education. Also, as Assistant Chair, he takes care of various administrative duties, alongside Department Chair of Jazz, David Zoffer.

Q&A with Rick McLaughlin

What is your earliest musical memory?
My father is a musician, a jazz drummer, and taught music in the public schools. Several memories blend together: him practicing drums and vibraphone in our basement; a concert band performance he gave as a member of the percussion section, and a drum solo from that same concert; the sound of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road coming from Dad’s reel to reel player and Duke Ellington’s Greatest Hits on Capital Records coming from the turntable (not at the same time, although that would be very interesting). I have no idea which was first!

What made you choose bass?
My father helped. At that time, he was teaching junior high band, and had an electric bass at school. I was playing alto saxophone, and was dabbling with playing bass lines baritone saxophone. I asked Dad to bring home an electric guitar so I could start working on some rock music, but he brought home an electric bass instead. After playing one note, I was hooked. Double bass came along a few years later, when I was working as a teenager in a local music store. The luthier had a double bass in a bunch of pieces, and agreed to put it together for me. I had gigs lined up on double bass before he finished the work!

Are there any musicians in your family?
In addition to my father, his father played cello and alto saxophone, and my mother’s mother was a church organist at a Lutheran Church – my great-grandfather was the minister.

If you could be anything other than a musician, what would you be?
I love all the arts, so probably a photographer or author, or arts administrator… or a professional cyclist… or a chef.

What do you like doing outside of music?
I love being a dad more than anything else. That means cooking, coaching soccer, doing elementary school homework, reading Harry Potter out loud, and a million other fun things.

Most inspiring composer or piece of music?
Too many to mention!  I love Wayne Shorter’s current band, and have been honored to know, study with, and play with musicians like Bob Moses, George Russell, and Steve Lacy. Mahmoud Ahmed, the phenomenal Ethiopian singer, is a constant source of inspiration, whether I’m playing with him or not.

What are the last 3 pieces/songs you listened to?
Blues in Orbit” by George Russell, but from the Gil Evans record Svengali; “The Earth Died Screaming” by Tom Waits from his record Bone Machine; “Serrado” from Djavan’s album Alumbremento.

What do you love most about NEC Prep?
The positive, high-energy curiosity that enthusiastic kids and their parents bring to the school.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
Steve Lacy told me that the best way to compose is to write down your idea, then fold it up and put it in your pocket. Then, go grocery shopping, or do some other relatively mundane activity. Every now and then, stop moving, take out the paper, look at your idea, and mull it over. The act of mulling it over is an essential part of the process.

Any advice for young musicians in general?
Do not be limited by genre. And, once you have played a great deal of repertoire, deeply understand the music from both historical and theoretical points of view, and have accomplished a relatively high level of technical facility, begin to make musical decisions for yourself. The greatest artists of the past century have transcended genre, and have had a DIY approach to their playing and their career. Speaking of career, it is your responsibility to make a career for yourself; no one will make it for you, but if you work hard, treat people with respect, and approach the world around you with humility, many people will help you.

See, I told you he’s awesome.

For more information about Rick McLaughlin:
Rick McLaughlin – NEC Biography
Rick McLaughlin Official Website

Rick McLaughlin and his 10:00 AM Jazz Theory II Class

Rick McLaughlin and his 10:00 AM Jazz Theory II Class

To learn more about jazz at NEC Prep, click here, or reach out to us at prep@necmusic.edu or (617) 585-1160.

Ana Lorenzo

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Introducing… Eugene Kim!

NEC Prep cello faculty Eugene Kim leads an extremely versatile and multifaceted career as a cello teacher, performer, and arts administrator (and he’s a dad, too!).

Eugene will be featured in an NEC Prep Faculty recital on Saturday, January 18th at 8 PM in Brown Hall. (It’s free!) For more information, click here. Please note that this is a rescheduled recital as of 10/24/2013.

Eugene KimAbout Eugene Kim: Eugene grew up in New Jersey and moved to the Boston area to go to college and grad school (Harvard and NEC), and has stayed in Boston ever since. In addition to teaching at NEC Prep, Eugene teaches at MIT and has also had stints as Artistic Director of Project STEP and as Executive Director of the Foulger International Music Festival. He lives in Brookline with his wife Jin (Jin-Kyung Joen, NEC Prep violin faculty member!) and son Bruno. He’ll be performing with Jin in his Prep Faculty Recital, so please be sure to come check it out!

Eugene teaches private cello lessons and chamber music at NEC Prep.

Q&A with Eugene Kim

What made you decide to sing/choose the instrument that you play?
After trying to play the violin for a year, I decided to play cello so that I could sit down. :)  Despite my mundane reason for choosing the cello, I grew to love the sound of the instrument.

Are there any musicians in your family?
Yes – in fact, I’m married to Prep violin faculty member Jin-Kyung Joen.

If you could be anything other than a musician, what would you be?
I’d be very interested in working in the technology field–I’m fascinated by how technology changes the way how we interact with each other (for example, the way how we consume music has changed drastically in the last 10 years).

What do you like doing outside of music?
I really enjoy hiking, reading, and cooking.

Most inspiring composer or piece of music?
For me, the answer is always Bach – I feel like he is the bedrock of all western music.

What are the last 3 pieces/songs you listened to?
Bloch’s Nigun, and about all the compositions from the Star Wars movies (my six year old son is in a huge Star Wars phase now.

What do you love most about NEC Prep?
I really enjoy seeing students grow up over the years – it seems like every week I’m looking at a student and saying to them, “wow, you improved so much – and did you grow 3 inches taller in the last month?”

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
I had the great fortune of studying chamber music with Yehudi Wyner, and he always told students to think like a composer – to understand and portray the musical intent behind every note.  As an instrumentalist, this was a revelation for me.

Any advice for young musicians in general?
Play lots of chamber music – it’s one of the greatest joys a musician can have!

For more information about Eugene Kim:
Eugene Kim – NEC Biography

Eugene Kim and a young NEC Prep cellist in a private lesson.

To learn more about enrolling in private lessons or chamber music at NEC Prep, please e-mail prep@necmusic.edu or call us at (617) 585-1160.

Ana Lorenzo

Posted in Cello, Chamber Music, Faculty Recitals, Featured Faculty, String Department | Leave a comment

Introducing… Sabrina Learman!

Sabrina Learman is pure joy. Each Saturday, her energy and deep vitality radiate through NEC’s halls. She is a captivating performer and a dedicated voice teacher. Not only is she a wonderful person and musician, but she is also the visionary leader of the new Musical Theatre program at NEC Prep.

As of the last academic year (2012-13), NEC Prep offers classes specializing in the art of Musical Theatre performance for singers, instructed by Sabrina.

Liz Linder, photographer

Liz Linder, photographer

About Sabrina Learman: Singer and voice teacher Sabrina Learman grew up in Connecticut and always envisioned living in Boston. After studying at the Eastman School of Music and then living in San Francisco for a few years, she arrived in Beantown for grad school at NEC and has been here ever since. She teaches voice in the musical theatre program at Emerson College and is proud to head up NEC Prep’s first-ever musical theatre classes. Sabrina teaches private lessons, too! As a performer, she has sung with the Boston Baroque for over 20 years, and was the singer of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble for the group’s first 12 years. Sabrina lives with her husband, Dean Laabs, also an NEC grad, and their 14-year-old daughter.

Fun fact: Sabrina came very close to being the Gerber baby.

Q&A with Sabrina Learman

What is your earliest musical memory?
When I was about 5 years old, I was in the back seat during a long car ride, and a Bach orchestral work was on the radio. I had this epiphany. I suddenly realized that the sound I was listening to was not something mechanical – it wasn’t a machine. It was a collective sound made up of many human beings playing instruments. It actually blew my 5-year-old mind.

What made you decide to sing?
As a kid, I tried flute for a very short time (my lips weren’t made for flute), piano for several years (I had a short attention span for practicing) and classical guitar for three years (what was I thinking?). I always knew it was music and theater I wanted, but I didn’t immediately hit on the right outlet. When I was a freshman in high school, I tried out for a solo in chorus, and the director asked me to stay after rehearsal. I thought I was in trouble for some reason, but it turned out that she merely wanted to suggest I take voice lessons. I respected her, and that’s the reason I started lessons. It didn’t take long for me to understand that voice was my instrument – practicing felt both natural and interesting to me. And I now understand that singing was the “healthy screaming” I had probably been looking for. To this day, I am a completely satisfied performer, teacher and student through my found instrument.

Are there any musicians in your family?
My uncle was a violinist, my dad played the clarinet and my mother played the harp. But I believe I am the first in my family to have a career in this field. Next in the family are two of my young cousins – one in acoustics at Berklee and another who is a jazz pianist in Michigan.

If you could be anything other than a musician, what would you be?
A psychologist. Turns out it’s somewhat of an accidental facet of what I do as a teacher.

What do you like doing outside of music?
Spending time with my husband and daughter whenever our busy family happens to be home at the same moment – we’re very competitive when it come to board games. I love doing crossword puzzles; listening to NPR on the weekends while cooking; reading cool non-fiction (like The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell) and well-written fiction (like The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery).  I enjoy trying to find the perfect cup of espresso.  And I absolutely love new places – could be a new road I’ve never been on before, or a completely new city to explore.

Most inspiring composer or piece of music?
Oh, that’s the hardest question you could have asked me.  Today, my answer is Copland’s Appalachian Spring, for both musical and sentimental reasons.

What are the last 3 pieces/songs you listened to?
Iris DeMent’s album Infamous Angel, Court and Spark by Joni Mitchel and You Angel You by Bob Dylan.  Hmmm… guess I don’t listen to so much classical and musical theatre rep on my time off.

What do you love most about NEC Prep?
The palpable energy and obvious pride you can feel from the students who choose to spend their Saturdays in music at NEC!

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
It always has to be about the music. When connecting with others in rehearsal or in regard to a musical project of any kind, if everyone is focused on only one common goal – SERVING THE MUSIC – this leaves no room for egos and other wastes of time to intrude.  My mentor, Tamara Brooks, gave me this piece of wisdom when she was my conductor during my grad school years at NEC. I take this concept, with a twist, into my teaching; all of my decisions, actions and advice must be in service of the student.  Even when things aren’t easy, this bit of wisdom helps me to feel more assured that I am making the best decisions.

Any advice for young musicians in general?
I actually recommend not thinking too far into the future or feeling nervous that you won’t “make it”.  Just keep taking the next step on your list and always work hard.  This could simply mean practicing in a particular way, making extra contact with a teacher, getting ready for a recital or competition – or whatever it may be.  Before you know it, all of those little steps will add up to a life in music.  Or – they will add up to something equally great that you weren’t expecting.

Be the kind of person with whom you would like to collaborate – do the little things like being prepared and on time and responsive (and, yes, even having a pencil).  You can hardly imagine how much those things are valued, and how they accidentally become symbols of all the other things you do well – these are the attributes that lead others to recommend you for opportunities.

Lastly, whether you can believe it or not, every single person you are collaborating with now could likely become your colleague and be helpful in your career at some point.  This includes both your classmates and your teachers.  So, the way you rehearse, treat others, prepare for your lesson…all of those things…will be reflected back to you later in your career.

For more information about Sabrina Learman:
Sabrina Learman – NEC Biography
Sabrina Learman Official Website

For more information about NEC Prep’s Musical Theatre program, click here. To get involved or to learn more, please free to contact the Prep office at prep@necmusic.edu or by calling (617) 585-1160.

Sabrina and NEC Prep's Musical Theatre class after their first performance!

Sabrina and NEC Prep’s Musical Theatre class after their first performance last year! Stay tuned for more performances!

Ana Lorenzo

Posted in Featured Faculty, Musical Theatre, Voice Department | Leave a comment