Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Join Us for a Spectacular Week of Suzuki!

Thursday, May 04, 2017
Join us for a week of in-depth instruction on Violin, Cello or Guitar using the renowned Suzuki method. Classes include semi-private & group lessons, chamber ensembles, Baroque music, music theory, movement and more! This spectacular week will be from August 7-11th, 9am to 3:30pm and is for grades K – 8.

A Beginner Suzuki Special option is available for ages 4 and up, which will include a semi-private lesson and group class, and will take place between 11am – 12pm or 4pm – 5pm. Go to or contact Jake Robinson for more information, 914-761-3900 x143,

Learn from a Master!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Don't miss out on these two amazing opportunities to learn from Masters in their fields. Both classes are free and open to the public and will be held in the Conservatory Recital Hall. Click on photo to zoom in.



Introducing a More Extensive Jazz/Rock/Pop Program this Fall!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Music Conservatory of Westchester will roll out several brand new classes for those interested in new and contemporary music. The offerings are aimed to expand musical horizons by learning the basics of jazz theory, harmony and improvisation. Additionally, students can explore their unique compositional voice and write original music. A music appreciation class is also available as are new large and small ensemble options including, respectively, Latin Jazz and Jazz Big Band and Jazz Combos and Rock Band.

“We offer groups of every shape and size, from rock or jazz band, to Latin Jazz and Big Band,” explained Doug Bish, Dean of Students and Faculty. “We’ll match you up with compatible players, and you’ll receive weekly coaching with a member of our outstanding professional faculty. You’ll grow as a musician and have opportunities to perform at the Conservatory and in the community.”

"We offer groups of every shape and size, from rock or jazz band, to Latin Jazz and Big Band..."

For those jazz lovers, there’s also a Jazz Theory and Improvisation class in which students will learn the evolution of improvisation, and discover how jazz greats like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane mastered their art. “You’ll develop new ways to practice your instrument, understand the Blues, use complex harmonic ideas and structures, and improvise in styles such as Bebop and Cool Jazz,” said Assistant Dean Jake Robinson.

In addition to those enhancements, the Conservatory is offering a songwriting workshop (grade 7 to adult) which will enable students to create and perform their original compositions. (There is also a young songwriters class for those in grades 6-8.) For those who simply want to share their love of music, music appreciation class “Cover to Cover” will discuss a different classic album – from Bowie to the Beach Boys – each week.

The Conservatory will also hold group classes in guitar and piano for teen and adult beginners. There is also a new “Top 25 Classics for Bass” class for students who can read music, and want to perform classic tunes by the likes of The Beatles, Temptations, Van Morrison, and other top artists.

The Conservatory offers instruction in all styles of music, on all instruments including piano, voice, strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, harp, harpsichord and organ. “Our highly qualified teachers use an individualized approach for each student, based on age, goals and learning style. Lessons are available throughout the year, including summer,” Bish said. Tuition to the lessons includes free music theory classes, discounted performing ensembles, and free student performances including rehearsals with a professional piano accompanist.

Photo by Alye Carlevaro


April Suzuki Talks with Suzanne Wagor

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


Come join Suzanne Wagor in a series of talks for parents in the Suzuki program (guitar, violin and cello) or any parent considering Suzuki. Topics will include Suzuki philosophy, home practice ideas, the “mother tongue” method of learning music, how to manage the Parent-Teacher-Student triangle.

  • Saturdays in April (except 4/23)
  • Room 218
  • 9:00-10:00am

Nurturing Your Child's Creativity

Friday, March 11, 2016


All children are little artists.  From a very young age, they love to sing, dance, draw, and play-act.  Even the earliest infant babble has a rhythmic, sing-song quality, as they practice syllables and learn to form words.  As parents, our first job is simply to encourage and support their natural artistic inclinations.  And because our children love to have our attention, it’s important that we take time to join in their creative fun.  

Shinichi Suzuki believed that all children are born with innate musical ability, and in our role as parents we can nurture this.  Sing to your child, and play recordings of a wide variety of music, from classical to jazz, rock, pop, and world music.  Take your child to live music performances – especially children’s concerts where they can see, touch and hear different instruments.  Sign up for parent-child music classes – these start as early as 4 months. 

By age 4-5, your child may be ready for Suzuki-based instruction in violin, cello, guitar, or piano (other instruments come later – starting at age 7 or 8).  Bringing your child to a music school offers a wide range of musical opportunities, as well as a wonderful social environment, broadening his/her horizons (and yours) in a community of families who share a common interest.

For young children, the creative arts are the entry point to learning. Many research studies have documented the benefits of music training starting at a young age: creativity, critical thinking, teamwork, self-confidence, self-expression, and self-discipline, to name just a few.  These are the characteristics that promote future academic and professional success.  Early training also uncovers a child’s talents and may reveal the potential for a career path.

But perhaps most importantly, music touches our hearts in a language beyond words, and offers something parents and children can share and enjoy.  So – ready, set, play!

by Jean Newton, Music Conservatory of Westchester, Executive Director 

Meet the New Assistant Dean!

Saturday, November 21, 2015


We would like to introduce Amanda Tabor, our new Assistant Dean here at the Music Conservatory. Amanda has taught French horn, Music Theory and Wind Ensemble at the Conservatory since 2013. At the age of 6 she started taking piano lessons and then at 12 years old she began giving private lessons to the children in her neighborhood. In school she started learning the flute but when she graduated to Junior High she switched to the French horn and for her, “that was the instrument that really stuck.” She earned her BFA from the California Institute of the Arts, her MA at the University of California, San Diego and then her DMA at SUNY Stony Brook.

When asked what her favorite part of being the Assistant Dean is she said, “The best part is seeing the students grow as both musicians and people. It’s so great the watch a student perform a piece that would have been beyond their reach last year.” Her favorite piece of music to play is György Ligeti’s Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano. Why? “It was written in 1982 and really pushes the technical limits and capabilities of all the players. There is so much going on in the piece that even though I’ve performed it several times there’s always something more to work on, study and learn.” 

Come in and congratulate Amanda on her new position as Assistant Dean and perhaps give French horn a try!

Mary Lynn Marx Bianco Honors Irena Portenko

Friday, November 13, 2015

A generous gift from Mary Bianco, Music Conservatory Trustee, has enabled faculty member Irena Portenko’s students to participate in a series of harpsichord master classes taught by Executive Director Jean Newton, giving them the opportunity to experience the music of Bach and his contemporaries on the original instrument.  “The students are very excited. They are working on touch, technique, understanding the style and preparing assignments that teach them critical listening and creativity,” said Ms. Portenko. 

Irena and her students are extremely grateful that Mary’s generosity and Jean’s skills and methods allow the students to expand their horizons in their general knowledge and performance practice. The students will perform their pieces on the harpsichord in Ms. Portenko’s class recital this winter.  Thank you so much Mary Bianco!

Conservatory Starts Off 85th Year With New Programming

Monday, September 01, 2014





Music Conservatory of Westchester, a not-for-profit community music school in White Plains, will kick off its 85th year on Friday, Sept. 5 with exciting new offerings.  “First Notes” (Primeras Notas) classes, offered in both English and Spanish, give babies and toddlers a wonderful introduction to the world of music with parents accompanying their child as they explore sounds, rhythm and movement in a nurturing environment.   The Conservatory is also introducing a Latin Jazz Ensemble, led by new faculty member and noted jazz artist Ed Fast. Ensemble members will play Rhumba, mambo, Afro Cuban 6/8 and other Latin jazz forms. They will also work with traditional instruments like conga, bongo, timbale, and clave, and explore the concepts of Latin jazz harmony, voicing, bass function, and improvisation. 

A new Songwriting Workshop will be offered for aspiring singer/songwriters, guitarists, pianists or any instrumentalist interested in composing songs.  Group guitar and keyboard classes will be offered for teens and adults. Their Saturday Musical Theatre class for youth will present two full-length productions of musicals for the very first time, and there will be a new Acting for Singers class for teens and adults.  All are welcome daily from Sept. 6-13 for community open house, where prospective students can tour the facility, observe classes and meet faculty.  To learn more about the open house, the fall semester, or to visit the Conservatory at its 216 Central Avenue, White Plains location, contact or call (914) 761-3900. You may also visit them on their new website –