Learn to sing and play with our instructor Susan

Susan has been singing and playing music since childhood in NYC where she grew up and was in numerous musicals while in high school. She also had bit parts in movies such as “The Natural”.  Susan took classes at New York City’s HB studio for acting and Long Island’s 5 Town College of Music. As an actress and singer, she had some success but found her true calling to be teaching. She has taught music and directed theatre since 1988, and in 2005 started a children’s musical theatre company and has written and directed several plays. In 2012, Susan went through the instructor-training program of world-renowned live music producer, Tom Jackson. (producer of Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, and Gloriana).  She also works with artists as a life coach to help them deal with the music industry without sacrificing their artistry.  Susan teaches voice, piano, and guitar, and can teach traditional and by ear.  Her styles include classical, rock, gospel, pop, country and Broadway (voice).

Music is a bridge….

Music is the bridge between heaven and earth


Want to play and sing? Julie in Reno can help!


Julie started piano instruction at age 10, vocal singing training at 16 from renowned instructors in the Sacramento area, studying for one year at the Sacramento City College under the head vocalist professor.  She continued her education with several BYU vocal professors, as well as singing in the choir there, and private studies under opera coaches and a SF Conservatory professor.  Julie has been teaching piano and voice since 1978, and founded, produced, and directed a Broadway theatre company in Susanville, CA for 14 years.   She teaches all styles, traditional, ear training, and theory.

Summer Music Fun

The sun is shining the birds are chirping and your child with the musical muse is just not feeling like devoting any time to lessons today. The lazy days of summer don’t have to mean a lackadaisical attitude about practicing music. Here are MMS’s top ten tips to keep your young musician’s practice routine sizzling during the summer!

1. Keep your child’s instrument handy. A closed guitar case tucked under a bed is not very motivating. Keep the instrument out, tuned and ready to play.

2. Realize summer means lots of kids in your home. Organize a concert for the neighborhood. Little ones can make signs and big kids can create programs. Making the “concert” a week-long project will most certainly motivate your young musician to rehearse.

3. Summer vacations often mean time at cabins, condos or even camping. If it’s not possible to take your main instrument, consider purchasing inexpensive flutes, percussion instruments or penny whistles. Anything to keep the practice of music and rhythm a daily occurence is great.

4. Create a point system with rewards for your child. Practicing for 5 minutes is equal to 10 points. When a child reaches 100 points (50 minutes of practice) allow them to choose a small reward for their effort.

5. Call day cares and nursing homes in your area and inquire about your child performing during the summer. Your young musician can get valuable performance experience and enrich the lives of others.

6. There are always special events during the summer. Backyard BBQs, ice cream socials, parties and pool events. These events are always looking for volunteer entertainment. Your young rocker can gain valuable stage experience!

7. Practice in pairs. Before the end of regular school year lessons for your musician, ask their instructor about other students who play the same instrument and are at or close to your child’s skill level. Contact parents and organize practice play dates.

8. Encourage your future musician to form a garage band. Noise may be an issue but if “band practice” is scheduled for only an hour a few times a week, the neighbors shouldn’t complain. Encourage your child and his band mates to learn about the music business, booking, promoting, etc. Even small kids can learn the business behind making music by creating posters, tickets and brochures for upcoming “shows”.

9. Make practice fun by encouraging a “dress rehearsal”. Drag out some fancy duds, sparkly shoes and crazy hats. Build a makeshift “stage” from cardboard and add accessories likes amps and speakers made of boxes. It’s a fun way to explore the backstage world of production.

10. REMEMBER IT IS SUMMER and that means a break in the usual routines of school and lessons. Be flexible with kids’ practice schedules but think of ways to incorporate practicing lessons into summer fun. Keep music ever-present in your daily routines and your kids will maintain their practice chops right into fall!

Learning to love your audience

*There’s a difference between music fans and people who just want to party and have fun. You’ll encounter both at shows. Learn to deal with each group in effective ways. Knowing the difference between partiers and fans works wonders for your attitude.”- Tammy Brackett

As performers, we seek validation through our art. Accept that different performance situations will yield different sorts of audiences and, very often, a mixture of fans, family, friends and partiers. There will be those who come to actually listen to the band, buy cds and think of your performance as an actual event. There will also be those at shows who are there at the behest of a girlfriend, boyfriend or friend and you, my dear musician, will be background music. This scenario becomes particularly difficult if the band is a listening ensemble. Girls giggling and guys yelling over drinks as you’re pouring your heart out on stage can be hard to overlook. This situation can become very contentios (as I’ve been unlucky enough to witness as a performer and a fan) as the band and the listening crowd compete with the gigglers and yellers for airwaves.

It’s best to keep the mood light and positive in response to this situation. Invite your listeners and fans a little closer. Encourage them to stand at the stage if they wish. Create an intimate environment between you and your true fans. Often partiers are discouraged at this sort of dynamic and choose to leave for another, louder place to hang out. I’ve also seen these same people develop a sixth sense for the band – often coming up at set break to say how much they’re enjoying the music.

Maintain a controlled response when dealing with fans and those who are simply in the venue to hang out, meet friends, and have dinner and drinks. Recognize fans can be cultivated in every performance situation.

Thoughts about art and music

Sometimes I think the whole dilemma with our lives as artists is that at one time, before we tried or found ourselves compelled by economics to build a living with it, we reveled in it. Whether we played or sang or booked, or managed, at some point, our art was a compendium of absolute love. A collection of passion and inspiration. Then, piece by piece, as we committed more and more of our time and energy and selves to it, art chose to strangle us ever so slowly. Eventually a lot of us found ourselves tied to the metaphorical train tracks of art as a living, being pummeled and pulled apart. Lives fell apart, addictions appeared. Normal -once so offending to us- looked strangely like something we might like to try. And then we found, to our utter surprise and sadness, that no heroic cowboy on a horse was ever going to release us from our artistic bonds. And we remain tied down, year after year, when what we’d really like to do is ride off into the sunset to a place of hope and warmth and conviviality.
But yet, we cannot stop. We create. It is what we do. No matter what form that creation takes: cooking, painting, singing, playing, dancing, drawing, writing,- we, as artists, are compelled to do our utmost to make the world a more palatable, beautiful place for those who don’t practice art as a part of daily life. Through the artist, humans understand they are not alone with their demons and desires. Through the artist, humans are touched at a level that stirs the cells and sweetens the soul. Art, for those of us who make it, is full of raw emotion. We struggle, in so many ways, to harness our creativity and make it presentable and good and true. And if we’re in tune with our souls, and only then, we rise to a level that exceeds mere existence. We connect with spirit, we commune unfettered with God and become wholly the consummate, soul-filled human beings we were meant to be.

-Tammy Brackett


Let your light shine

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are we not to be? Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory that is within us. It is not just in some of us but in all of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fears, our presence automatically liberates others.” Nelson Mandela

Inner Girl

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