Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Music Conservatory Holds Early Summer Open House

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Music Conservatory of Westchester will hold two open houses for its Summer Music & Arts program on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and Tuesday April 12 from 6 – 8 p.m.  The program features a variety of offerings from songwriting to theater to arts & crafts. This year, the program will add several new components including string ensemble and concert band, and hip hop/jazz conditioning through movement classes. 

At the respective open house events, parents and their children can meet with staff, discuss their interests, and register before April 4 at an “early bird” rate. This fun program consists of four two-week sessions (parents can choose all or some) with half, full, and extended day options available. For more details, visit or call (914) 761-3900.


Conservatory to Host Congressional Art Competition

Friday, March 11, 2016


Attention high school students! The Conservatory is hosting Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s Annual Art Competition. The art will be judged at the Conservatory, and the winners will be announced on Monday April 25th at a reception in the Recital Hall.

Submit your work to show off your skills! Click HERE for more info.

Conservatory Student Accepted to Renowned Arts Camp

Tuesday, March 08, 2016


Amanda Crewey, 11, of Bronx, NY has been accepted and will return to Interlochen Arts Camp, the world’s premier summer arts program for aspiring artists grades 3 through 12. Crewey, the daughter of Phenisher Harris and Clyde Crewey, will play cello in the Intermediate Division of the Strings for Orchestra Program at the Camp. She was principal cellist in the Junior String Orchestra in 2015.

Crewey has studied with cellist Adriana Maria Pera at the Music Conservatory of Westchester since 2009 and is a sixth grader in the honors program at the Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy. Her other activities include karate at the Riverdale Kenshikai dojo, where she holds an advanced green belt, and singing in the children’s choir at Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.

Congratulations Amanda on this accomplishment and best of luck this summer. To find out more information about Interlochen Arts Camp click HERE.


Conservatory Receives Accreditation and Applauded for Commitment to Community

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


Music Conservatory of Westchester announced this week the successful renewal of its accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).  As one of only 16 NASM-accredited non-degree-granting music schools in the nation, the Conservatory undergoes an accreditation review every 10 years.  The rigorous process involves preparing a comprehensive self-study document and a two-day site visit by NASM evaluators.    

In their site visit report, the evaluators commented that the not-for-profit community music school’s “teaching was inspired, leading to active learning and engagement, and joyous music making,” and that “the faculty are deeply committed to challenge all students and provide them with the best possible instruction.”  They commended the school for its “commitment and awareness of its place and function within the community as a needed resource for quality arts education and as an opportunity center for cultural and community development.”  

Conservatory Executive Director Jean Newton commented, “Our accreditation is a hallmark of our dual commitment to high quality instruction and access for all.  If you want to explore your passion for music and learn something new at any age, the Conservatory is the place to be!”


What Do Leap Year and Tuning A Piano Have in Common?

Monday, February 29, 2016

By Jean Newton, Executive Director

It takes 365.25 days for the earth to revolve around the sun, but our calendar only has 365 days, so every four years we get an extra day. We’ve “scheduled” this day on February 29th and call it “Leap Year.” But imagine if we decided instead to divide up that extra day, and give a little piece of it to some or all of the other days in the calendar.

On a piano, there’s a difference in pitch of .25 semitone between 12 perfectly tuned fifths and 8 perfect octaves. A semitone is one half-step, or two consecutive notes such as C/C#. Without going into the mathematics of piano tuning, if you try to play a piano with all perfectly tuned intervals, it will sound AWFUL!!

So, piano tuners have to take that extra .25 semitone and divide it up among all the other intervals. We call this “tempering” the tuning. In fact, the only perfectly tuned intervals on a piano are the octave and the fifth; all the others are a tiny bit imperfect, so that the piano will sound beautifully in tune.

There are many different ways of “tempering” a piano. Today, we use “equal temperament” – meaning that all the intervals, except for octaves and fifths, are “imperfect” by the same amount. But in previous centuries, keyboard instruments were tuned using “well temperaments” – meaning that the intervals were not all tuned the same. Nearly every piano student plays pieces from J.S. Bach’s “Well Tempered Klavier,” which includes a prelude and fugue in every single key. Bach was demonstrating that a good temperament would allow all the intervals and harmonies in each key signature to sound beautiful!