Published January 18, 2011
Volume 19, Number 1

New World Music Academy Adds to Hacienda's Harmony        
Whether Young or Old, School Offers a Variety of Noteworthy Classes

Piano is just one of the instruments offered for instruction at the Academy.

By Nicole Zaro Stahl

With a new home in Suite M at 4430 Willow Road comes a new capability for New World Music Academy: mid-day music lessons for adults. Whether you want to fulfill a lifelong dream of learning rock ‘n’ roll guitar or brush up on your piano-playing, the music school now offers lunchtime lessons for the busy workers in and around Hacienda.

The five-year-old academy moved into larger quarters from elsewhere in Pleasanton over its winter break. Founder and Executive Director Mark Anderson barely skipped a beat, with classes resuming in the new studio on January 4. Right across the street from Hart Middle School, the location is very convenient for its younger constituency as well.

The school offers instruction in all the major instrument categories— group and private piano, drums, sax, flute, clarinet, strings, and brass—as well as voice (jazz/pop and classical), songwriting, and music theory. Its staff of a dozen teachers includes Grammy-award nominees and professional recording artists. Anderson himself has been recognized as one of the world's outstanding pianists and is a Steinway Artist. The Bay Area native earned a degree in piano performance from San Jose State University, along with postgraduate degrees from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Master of Arts in Multimedia from California State University Hayward.

A stalwart commitment to proven pedagogy has attracted a loyal following to the academy. There are many fads and “latest and greatest” techniques for teaching music, Anderson notes, but nothing takes the place of the tried-and-true methods the school offers. “We teach time-tested, established musical concepts that anyone from age three to 73 can understand,” he emphasizes.

One example of that approach is Anderson’s insistence on hour-long, semi-private classes for elementary and intermediate-level piano students. “This is the best way to get kids into the rudiments of studying the piano, giving them the time to get settled and focused,” he says. The small-group setting, from two to four students, not only allows for twice as much information to be presented, but it is also a format youngsters are familiar with from school and sports experiences.

The children’s classes are all targeted to specific age levels, with age-appropriate curricula and activities. The Exploring Music program, for three- to six-year-olds, provides a general introduction to music group class including games, singing, dancing, and hands-on instrument experiences. A chorus for budding   young singers gives children in the early grades the opportunity to learn proper breathing techniques and how to hold a pitch well before they are ready to tackle voice lessons. Advanced students find a wide range of offerings that will prepare them for four-year university music degree programs.

“We pride ourselves in teaching all learning styles through a variety of curriculum activities, hands-on theory, improvisation, learning games, technique, ear-training, and repertoire development,” Anderson notes. “Curriculum objectives are designed to develop a natural sequence of skills for success. Groups also enjoy ensemble opportunities, computer and composing stations, and a loaning library.”

A Winter Open House on Saturday, January 22, will give the academy a chance to introduce its new facility to the community. Visit www.NewWorldMusicAcademy.com or call (925) 462-5400 for more information.


Also in this issue ...