HeartBeat Music Center

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Philosophy of Music Education
Marlene Rua Pasternack, HeartBeat Music Center

 "The heart for us is not just the seat of emotion--far from it--it is the very core of the person. 

It's where all of who we are comes together."       Fr. Edmund Sylvia, CSC

The creation and sharing of music is a uniquely human activity that brings many of us great joy.  In every society and culture around the world, people have used music to express what could not be conveyed adequately in any other way.  Great music, whose value often endures over centuries, adds meaning and dimension to our lives and is among the highest achievements of humanity.  Popular music enhances just about every aspect of our culture. 

Music addresses the whole person, eliciting responses and presenting challenges which are at once emotional, intellectual, physical, spiritual, and creative.  Music is an expression of the heart.  Music touches our hearts.  Music is a part of everyone. 

Because I believe that education should concern itself with all aspects of the individual, it is my conviction that everyone should have opportunities to explore and develop their potential in music, just as they have opportunities to do so in academics and athletics.  Individual music lessons provide students with the means to discover and develop their innate musical ability.

Learning to sing or play an instrument is exciting, fun, and rewarding, and it is also challenging.  It requires a complex interplay of kinesthetic, aural, intellectual, and creative skills, and may be unlike anything the student has ever done before.  Especially during the beginning stages of music lessons, the “process” of learning and gradually acquiring concepts and skills is more important than the “product” of perfect mastery of a piece of music.  We will achieve the best results when we set realistic and flexible goals and proceed with lots of encouragement, patience, and a sense of adventure and fun.  All of us blossom and thrive when our efforts are praised in an atmosphere of warmth and encouragement.

Music instruction that is sensitive to an individual student’s developmental level and learning style provides meaningful tools for self expression.  It nurtures the student in that it contributes to the formation of a personal identity and promotes a healthy self-esteem.  Each sequential activity prepares, motivates, and challenges the student to progress to a more complex level of musical understanding, achievement, and creativity.  The student thus experiences growth, joy, meaning, personal fulfillment, and sometimes frustration, in the creative process.  While becoming a more proficient musician, the student also has fun, and fun is essential to a happy, emotionally healthy and balanced life. 

On a personal level, I am fortunate to live a life immersed in music.  I have sung and played the piano for almost as far back as I can remember, and I come from a musical family.  My maternal grandfather, composer John F. Carabella, was the founder and first conductor of the Albany Symphony Orchestra.  My uncle, John Carabella, played the French horn in the New York Philharmonic for over twenty-five years.  Along with my family, I happily attended concerts, plays, musicals, operas, the ballet, and movies, frequently and from an early age.  I eagerly participated in the arts programs offered by my schools.  These experiences were profoundly enriching and vital to my personal development.  As an adult, I teach and perform music.  I enjoy a rich and rewarding musical life.  Yet music is not only for musicians; music has value for every individual and for society as a whole. 

I am passionately committed to developing in my students the knowledge and skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of meaningful, joyful, confident, and rewarding music making.

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