Student of the Month, August 2022

Online Piano Student, Isabella Velayos

August’s Student of the Month, Isabella, has been taking online piano lessons at SMMC since January, 2021. Playing for over a year and remaining online all the while, Isabella has been able to progress well in her lessons. Now, she has been able to start working on transposing music. Transposing music involves moving notes up or down in pitch by a constant interval. To better understand, HERE is a short clip of one of our instructors reviewing intervals.

In Her Teacher’s Words

Isabella takes lessons with Ms. Justyna who has been teaching for many years. Justyna has a Master’s in Education and Church music from Opole in Poland, a PhD in Musicology, and has also earned her teaching credential in California.

In Ms. Justyna’s words: “Although she is an online piano student, Isabella has made significant progress over the months and has a good practice/work ethic and desire to learn. Isabella had lessons previously and came back to piano after some break. I was nicely surprised by how quickly she picked up and how much she remembered. She made significant progress and was eager to learn with enthusiasm and passion. Taking lessons online is more challenging, and she embraces it with no problem. Isabella is a very motivated and bright student, and it is a pleasure to teach her and see her progress as she continues level 2A of her lesson book. Great job!

Recently, Isabella has been working on transposing. In this clip from her lessons she transposes a small excerpt for us on the spot! That’s not easy to do on the spot, great work, Isabella!

Isabella During Her Lesson

In Isabella’s Words

1. How long have you been playing your instrument and what do you like most about playing it?

I have been playing piano for 1 year and I love how you can play your favorite songs on it!

2. How do you make time to practice in your busy schedule?

I just like to get all my school work done first so I have time for fun things like playing the piano.

3. What do you like to do when you are not playing music?

I like to play volleyball and chat and play with my friends! 😊

4. What other activities do you do that you take classes or lessons for? How does it compare to your music classes?

I take volleyball classes. I really enjoy both piano and volleyball!

5. What is the most fun that you’ve had in the last month?

Playing new fun 🤩 songs!

Meet the Instructor

Justyna Misiewicz began studying classical piano in her home country, Poland. She later learned to play the organ and received a Master’s in Education and Church Music from Opole University. Justyna continued studying music at California State University Los Angeles, earning her second M.A. as well as California teaching credentials in music. Before moving to the L.A. area, she was an organist at a parish church on Catalina Island for five years. She has been teaching piano to young children as well as adults. Justyna is interested in early sacred music, music history, and performance practice. In 2019, she received a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University. Throughout her doctoral studies, she continued lessons in piano and organ and served as a research assistant. She received the Graduate Dissertation Award from the university as well as a grant to conduct her dissertation research in Krakow, Poland. Justyna loves to share her musical interests with her students and hopes that playing the piano will stay with each student for a lifetime.

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