/* Add the font family you wish to use. You may need to import it above. */
/* This affects only headers on the site. Add the font family you wish to use. You may need to import it above. */
/* This sets the universal color of dark text on the site */
/* This sets the width of the website */
/* To make this a fixed header, change the value to "fixed" - otherwise, set it to "static" */
/* This affects all grey background sections */
/* More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */
/* For Headers; More than likely, you will use one of these values (higher = bolder): 300, 400, 700, 900 */
/* "0" for square edges, "10px" for rounded edges, "40px" for pill shape; This will change all buttons */
We'd like to congratulate Emily Rubin on winning January’s Student of the Month Award!! Emily is a Piano and Acting student at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts in Flemington, NJ.
How old are you and how long have you been a student at HAA? I am 11 years old and I have been at HAA for 2 years.
You take Piano Lessons and Acting Classes at HAA. What do you like about each of these two programs?
I love being able to play an instrument, such as piano. And my Acting program makes me love to be in front of the camera.
What kind of music do you like to listen to at home? I like listening to Ballads (Adele, Twenty One Pilots, etc.).
What are your hobbies and what do you like doing in your free time? I love to draw and play video games in my free time.
What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? Being able to learn so many new things (Piano, acting).
What do you want to be (professionally) when you grow up? I want to be a professional artist when I grow up.
This month we’re congratulating Matthew Scotto on winning December’s Student of the Month Award!! Matthew is a 10 year old student who got started in our MusikGarten program over 6 years ago.
What instruments do you play and what made you choose them? What’s cool about them? I am currently
taking lessons for piano, cello and banjo. I was in the group keyboard class and when that ended I started taking private piano lessons. I started cello lessons in school last year and thought it was fun so I continued with private lessons. I don’t know why but I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the banjo.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I listen to all sorts of popular music like: Frankie Valli, Beatles, Queen, Eagles, Imagine Dragons, Coldplay.
What are your hobbies and what do you like doing in your free time? My hobbies are playing video games and playing with my puppy.
What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? What I like most about HAA are my current and former teachers. My music classes are fun! And HAA has fun parties.
What do you want to be (professionally) when you grow up? When I grow up I would like to be a famous YouTuber.
This month we’re congratulating Keshav Viradia on winning November’s Student of the Month Award!! Keshav is an 11 year old drum lesson student and has been attending HAA for over 6 years.
What do you like about your teacher and the way he plays and teaches music? I really like how my teacher is loose, but still can guide me though. He teaches like the student is his friend, which helps me focus.
You’ve been with us for many years. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I love how playing a instrument can lead to so many opportunities, especially at HAA.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I mainly listen to dubstep, like Skrillex and Teminite.
We interviewed you last year because of an important award you received. What’s new in your life since? I have actually quit piano, which is what I got that award for. I have moved to drums and I started to play the flute for my school. I am now in 6th grade.
What’s next for Keshav? What new skills are you developing: sports, hobbies, etc.? I have continued to play tennis, and I have been playing for 7 years. I am shooting for the high school team.
Hearty congratulations to Leo Allentoff on winning September's Student of the Month Award!! Leo is 12 years old and has been attending HAA for the past 7 years.
What do you like about each instrument and how do you find time to practice both? What I like about each instrument is that they both have a big range of notes they can play. Also both instruments have a very unique sound and can be used to play many different styles of music. I feel that if you really enjoy playing an instrument, it is very easy to find time to practice. This is because you can’t wait to play and so the first opportunity you get to practice, you will want to do it. This is the case for me.
Your sister also takes music lessons at HAA and music seems to run in the family. What are your family’s favorite music activities? Do you ever play together? My family’s favorite musical activities are listening to various types of music and playing instruments together. My dad sometimes plays with me and my sister. He likes to accompany me by playing on the piano while I play on either the piano or clarinet. We also sometimes have little recitals where my sister or I play in front of the whole family.
You’ve been with us for many years. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? The thing I like about Hunterdon Academy of the Arts is that all of the teachers I have had so far are friendly, motivating, and help me really improve in my playing.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I listen to classical and pop music in my free time. I especially like listening to Baroque composers like Bach and Handel.
What would you like to do when you grow up? Any plans to study music? I would like to be a chemist or an engineer when I grow up. While I don’t have plans to study music professionally in the future, I will still enjoy playing and listening to music.
Other than music, what are your favorite activities? One of my favorite activities besides music is playing soccer and watching sports; I’m a big fan of NASCAR racing and the New York Mets. I also enjoy sitting down and reading a good book.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? I enjoy going to music concerts and watching live productions of musicals. I am learning Chinese and I have been to China five times. This is because some of my relatives live in China. I play clarinet in my school band and I have performed piano duets with classmates at school which were played over the loud speaker so everyone at my school could hear us. My goals as a musician are to be able to play challenging pieces on the piano and clarinet.
Hearty Congratulations to Mikyla Scott, on receiving this month’s Student of the Month Award! In below interview with us, Mikyla talks about the importance of music in her life, and her passion for singing and stage performance.
How old are you, and when did you first join Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I am 14 years old and I joined the Academy when I was in 5th grade.
Who have been your HAA teachers? My HAA teachers have been Mrs. Nagy, Adam Kishbauch, Gina [DiPalermo], Miss. Amanda [Prakopcyk] for piano, and I was in the younger choir for two years with different directors.
You are a talented singer, you perform a lot in the community and you are also a member of our True Voice Project group. How do you find time for music as a busy high school student? I find music to be a really important part of my life so I make time for it. School work comes first but I always find opportunities to do other music activities outside of school.
You seem to enjoy being on stage. What is it about performing that you like the most? I love to be on stage and just rock out because it gives me this amazing rush of excitement and happiness. I love hearing the sound of people clapping along to the song and the cheers at the end make me so proud.
Do you ever get nervous before a performance? What’s your advice on overcoming stage fright? I do get nervous before performing but I’m way more excited so that feeling normally overpowers the nervousness. Some advice I would give to people would be to if u are afraid that you are gonna mess up think about the things that could go wrong and then have a plan for what you would do in that situation. Most of the time we worry about things that probably won’t even happen.
How do you feel about songwriting? Any plans to write your own music? When I was younger I wrote songs all the time that when I look at them now I laugh at how silly they are. I have tried writing some music and I have a feeling it’s not for me.
You’ve been with us for many years. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? What I love about being apart of the Academy is the amazing people you meet. It is like a giant family here where I make amazing connections with my teachers and have a whole new set of friends. I also love all the opportunities they give me to perform at new places.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I love listening to mostly pop music and some rap. Some of my favorite artists are Beyoncé, Nicki Manaj, Ariana Grande, Hoodie Allen, Drake, Megan Tranoir, and many many more.
What would you like to do after high school? Any plans to study music? I am not exactly sure what I want to study after high school but I know that I want music to still be a part of my life.
Other than music, what are your favorite activities? Other than music I love to hangout with friends and go to the mall and the beach. I love being with friends and they are a very important part of my life.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? Some goals and dreams I have in my life are to just be going around the world performing and having the time of my life. I have no clue what I really want to do as a career but if I could be anything it would be rocking out in front of everyone in the world helping them to be happy and jam out with me.
This month we’re excited to showcase Emily Gouse, who takes Piano Lessons and participates in HAA’s popular ActinGarten program. With just a bit of help from her Mom, Emily gave some wonderful answers to questions we asked her:
How old are you, and when did you first join Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? Emily Gouse is 6. She started Musikgarten in Dec. 2011 when she was 19 months old.
Who are your HAA teachers? She had 5 wonderful years with Mrs. E as her teacher for Musikgarten. For the past year, she has had the terrific Miss Jen for ActinGarten and will continue the program in the fall (and hopefully summer). She just started Piano lessons with the talented Mr Joel and will also have him as a teacher for Show Kids Choir in the fall.
What did you like about your Musikgarten classes? I like when I am learning about the music notes. Mrs. E was a fun teacher. I also like to play instruments and perform in ensembles. The Musikgarten CD was nice to listen to. This year we learned about music from different countries and Mrs. E sometimes made us food to go along with the countries- shortbread from the British Isles was the best. Sometimes the parents performed dances with us. That was fun too.
What do you like about your ActinGarten class? I like when we act out stories. My favorite was when we acted out Peter Pan. One week I got to play Wendy and the next week I got to play Peter Pan. It was fun getting to play different characters from the same story. I liked miss Jen because she made the class so much fun. Another thing I enjoyed was learning how to bow and understanding the difference between upstage and downstage. Miss Jen gave us stamps at the end of class. I liked that part too.
Emily, you just started taking piano lessons, too. Why did you choose piano? What’s so special about it? :-) I chose piano because it sounded fun when Mrs. E told me about it. I also want to learn how to play the violin and guitar but I have to learn how to play the piano first. One reason I wanted to play the piano is because I like the sound. So far, piano is a great instrument to learn. Some of the things Mrs. E taught me in Musikgarten are the same like note heads and the way music looks on the page. Mr. Joel makes learning really fun. I have homework to practice so that I can get good at playing.
Question for Emily’s Mom, Jenny: your family seems to find performing arts education to be very important. In what way do you believe Emily has benefited from taking these classes? In so many ways! However, I especially see that her confidence to perform both in ensemble work and individually has really blossomed. Her ability to really ‘hear’ has been nurtured. It’s common for her to pause while playing outside to listen to birds and leaves rustling- quiet and subtle things that you have to pay attention to. In addition, when listening to music she can identify when an instrument or vocalist is playing or singing louder or softer and she can match that with her voice. Musikgarten has made her much more aware of the world around her. Recently, Miss Jen told me that Emily immediately recognized the score to Pocahontas playing in the background during acting class- another example of having trained ears. She has also learned the importance of each person’s part in group performance by performing ensemble pieces in Musikgarten and through group story-telling in ActinGarten. I like that she is learning that each person contributes something of value to the whole. It’s wonderful that Emily is exposed to a wide variety of musical styles, instruments and acting approaches. This past weekend, we saw a live musical. Before the performance, Emily looked into the orchestra pit and named each section and identified most of the instruments. That would not have been possible without her musical training at HAA.
You’ve been with us for quite a few years. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I have found HAA to be extremely welcoming, supportive and inspiring. It is a safe, non-competative and encouraging place for my child to grow musically and theatrically. I also like the variety of programs offered and that each class is truly age-appropriate- we are especially happy for HAA’s addition of ActinGarten this past year.
What kind of music does Emily like to listen to in her free time? Emily loves musical soundtracks from Broadway shows like Peter Pan. She also enjoys listening to last year’s Vacation Bible School cd, Sofia the First soundtrack, and the Musikgarten CD of the quarter. She always sings along even if it is an instrumental.
Emily, what would you like to be when you grow up? A vet, an actress and a singer.
Other than music and acting, what are your favorite activities? Lyrical dance class, swimming class, running in the yard with my friends and school.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? I like to write and illustrate books and act out my favorite movies like Peter Pan Live, Narnia, Cinderella and Tangled. I set up all of my character’s props before starting and then act out the stories. And I like to act out my favorite books. I also like to sing and make up my own songs. I have a pet cat named Gus. He is an orange tabby and I have a hermit crab named Heart. She wears a purple shell with a Shamrock. I enjoy reading books. My friends are very special to me and I enjoy doing fun things with them on the weekends like going to the zoo, farm and the beach. My dream is to have a pet horse and to be able to play the piano for it.
This month we’re congratulating Matthew Woodward on winning June’s Student of the Month Award. Matthew is a 12-year-old Music and Acting student who joined HAA in 2014. He's very involved with his HAA activities, honing his skills in several different areas. In between his lessons and classes, Matthew was able to squeeze in a brief interview with us :-)
Who are your HAA teachers? I’m currently studying Voice with Toni Dodich, Guitar with Brian Green, and Acting
with Kristen Blossom.
You are a talented young singer, actor and you now also take guitar lessons at HAA. How do you find time to work on all these different artistic skills? I use my weekends and Free time to Focus on my music.
You seem to enjoy being on stage. What is it about performing that you like the most? The feeling of energy and excitement.
You’ve been taking lessons with us for a couple of years. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I like the welcoming feeling and all of the opportunities for me to learn new things.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I like Jazz, Pop, Broadway and Rock.
What would you like to do when you grow up? Any plans to study music? I would like to be a versatile singer and an actor on Broadway.
Other than playing music, what are your favorite activities? Being outside and being with my friends and family.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? I have a pet dog that I love to play with and take care of. My dream is to act, sing, play music, dance and to be on Broadway.
Matt, if you keep going at this pace, we have no doubt that your dream will come true!!
This month we’re congratulating two brothers--Luke and Nicky Berardi--for winning the Student of the Month Award! 11-year-old Luke started taking music lessons at HAA when he was 5, and Nicky, who is now 8 years old, started playing at age 4.
You are a musical family. Do you feel that having a shared interest in music makes a difference for a family? We sometimes do play music as a family. We have a drum kit, multiple electric guitars, base guitars, a key board and a baby grand piano. It is fun that we all play music since we push one another to always play better.
Both Nicky and Luke take piano lessons. What do they enjoy most about playing piano, and why did they choose that instrument? Both started on piano. Nicky chose piano due to being inspired by his older brother Luke, but likes playing drums at home. In addition to piano, Luke started guitar lessons with Taylor [Halpern]. At school, he also plays the clarinet.
Luke and Nicky recently performed in the “Children Helping Children” Performathon at Westminster Choir College. What was it like to give back through music? We like to help other children and families in need by playing this event. The piano that we play on is a concert piano, so it is huge. Ms. Teresa [Sygnarska] got us involved in this and we have been doing this for 3 years. It is very similar to our recitals that we have at HAA.
You’ve been HAA students for a very long time. What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? Luke has played for 6 years and Nicky for 4. We like that the teachers are really nice. Taylor, our newest teacher, keeps the lessons fun!
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? We listen to lots of different types of music--Rock, Classical and Jazz--some of our favorite bands are Green Day, Mumford and Sons and Coldplay.
What would you like to do when you grow up? Any plans to study music? Currently, Nicky and Luke both want to be a soccer player. Luke also has an interest in being an architect. Both boys look to always have music in their lives.
Other than playing music, what are your favorite activities? We both play on travel soccer teams. We also play basketball, ride skateboards, ski and bike. Some of our other favorite things to do are draw/paint and ride our ATV’s.
What else would you like to share with us? We have a few pets (including fish and a hamster) and just rescued our dog Cooper two months ago. We love to go camping and kayaking with our good friends. Roller coasters are also very fun!
Join us in congratulating Dominic Fetzer on winning February’s Student of the Month Award! Dominic has been very dedicated to his music studies at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts for over a decade now! Besides playing the piano, Dominic has some other interesting interests, as he shared with us in below interview:
How old are you, and when did you first join Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I am 14 years old and joined HAA when I was 3 years old (with Ms. Ann Engberg). I started piano when I was 6 years old, in first grade.
What do you study at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, and who have been your teachers here? I study piano and my teachers have been Mrs. O’Neill, Mrs. Peare, Ms McCathran, Mr Gallagher, Mr Waddles, and Mrs. Cotra-Reljin. I also recently began to study voice with Mrs. Dodich and Ms. Maggie.
What is it like to be studying two different programs (piano and voice) at the same time? And do you have a preference? I think that my piano classes will actually help me with my voice classes - but not the other way around! It’s fun to do both and both are core to me. I just think about it as 2 things I enjoy learning and doing.
What do you like about making music and performing? There is no deep meaning about it - I just love to do it. Just like some people like video games, I like to make music! I also love to perform in public because I like to produce the enjoyment that it brings to them, I enjoy the rapport with the audience, and, I confess, I also enjoy the attention!
What do you like about being part of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? HAA has been a part of my life and family for years! I have very much enjoyed learning from all of my teachers, they were all very warm and friendly.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I like classical music, especially baroque (as does my Dad!) But when we are driving in the car, I like to listen to random pop songs.
What would you like to do after graduating high school? Any plans to pursue a music career? I would like to study math and quantum physics. I understand that quantum physics allows for incredible new technologies that would be of tremendous service to mankind. Playing music is something I do for myself and would enjoy doing on the side. Playing music gives me peace. Playing music has helped sharpen my focus over the years and taught me to persevere. At first, I was very frustrated, but learned to enjoy the small successes and plow forward.
Other than your music studies, what are your favorite activities? On Saturdays, I fence in Lambertville. I am now in my second year and find fencing incredibly challenging. You get knocked down a lot and you have to pick yourself up again every time!
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? I also love to photoshop, video edit, and play billiards whenever I can - but have little time for all of this. My most far-fetched dream is to live to see humanity colonize Mars!
Congratulations to 17-year-old Peyton Williams, one of our Music Lesson Students, for receiving the January Student of the Month Award! Peyton madequite some headlines recently. But that’s only part of her incredible story. Read this interview all the way to the end.
What do you study at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, and who have been your teachers here? I study Piano with Ms. Amanda Prakopcyk and clarinet with Mr. Joe Pinto. I also receive training from Mr. Magalio, Mr. Kenny, and Mr. Stevenson at Hunterdon Central Regional High School.
What is it like to be studying two different instruments at the same time? And do you have a preference? I don’t mind studying two instruments at once, because piano helps me with my AP music theory class at Hunterdon Central. At most times, I prefer clarinet because you only have to worry about playing one line of music at a time instead of two or more.
What do you like about being a student at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts? I like the friendly atmosphere when I come in for my lessons, and that I know a decent amount of students from Central there.
On Thanksgiving Day you performed with Macy’s Great American Marching Band, which was broadcast on NBC. Please tell us more about this incredible accomplishment! How were you selected to join this prestigious band, and what was it like to rehearse and perform with them? There is an audition process where you upload a video of yourself playing a 4-7 minute solo on YouTube. When I did the audition in sophomore year, I actually used the music from the current marching band show “Summer Down the Shore”, because it was quite difficult. And once you are in the band, you’re in for life! This opportunity is only for high schoolers, so if you’re interested, you might as well try out, because it only comes once in a lifetime. This was my second year in the band, and I definitely made some new friends. The rehearsals are intense, we got only 15 hours of rehearsal time (in total) over four days while doing sightseeing. Then it’s the big performance, with the wonderful dress rehearsal at Macy’s at 3 in the morning. Besides for my legs still being sore from marching the 3 mile parade route, it’s definitely worth it and if they have an alumni band again, I would come back and do it again.
What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time? I like to listen to all kinds of music, ranging from classical, to classic rock, to current pop and electronic and video game and movie soundtracks.
What would you like to do after graduating high school? Any plans to pursue a music career? After high school, I will be attending Kutztown University, majoring in Music education. I want to be a band director for high school students and a composer.
Other than your music studies, what are your favorite activities? I am an accomplished Martial Artists with over 25+ State and Regional titles in taekwondo. In 2014 I won World Champion in Weapon (Bo-staff) at American Taekwondo Association’s World Expo. I’ve been training in martial arts since I was 9 years old and have been ranked #1 in the World Standing several times in my career.
What else would you like to tell us about yourself? I love to arrange/write video game music for games that I enjoy to play. I also am currently making a scrapbook of my entire senior year.