Gretchen Dekker, Pianist, Harpsichordist, Early Music Specialist, Teacher, Artistic Director of the YCPrep Community Music School:  It is a Privilege to Teach Music

December 8, 2017

In the third interview of my series, Conversations with Inspiring Musicians, I talk to Gretchen Dekker.  Gretchen is a fantastic musician and performer and has put much of her energy into the art of teaching music.  Her students learn to love music as she helps them to develop curiosity, a sense of play, and sound practice habits that can last a lifetime.  Gretchen is a real force of nature, and one of her accomplishments is the development of the YCPrep Community Music School, hosted by York College of Pennsylvania.  Gretchen is the Artistic Director of the program and one of its most sought-after teachers.  You can find more about YCPrep at  You can also visit YCPrep on Facebook.

0:00        Introduction

1:00        Professional Training

1:24        An Early Music Specialist

1:50        Active Performing Career

2:10       YCPrep Community Music School

2:45        Youth Concerto Competition

3:07        Family Highest Priority

3:35        The Hollow

4:07        The Privilege of Teaching Music

5:22        Goals for the Community Music School

7:45        Chamber Music as the Ultimate Form of Musical Expression

9:43        Advice for Independent Music Teachers on Community Engagement

10:45     Tips for Dealing with Stage Fright

13:21     Favorite Practice Tips

15:15     The Power of Habits

16:50     Learning with Love

17:40     Love the Art of Practicing

18:50     Engaging Curiosity in Students

20:35     Working with Young Beginners

23:40     Mindfulness in Teaching and Performance

27:42     Teaching Adult Students

30:27     The Reason to Teach Different Level Students

30:47     Early Music and the Harpsichord

33:18     Adult Chamber Music Weekend

35:29     Warming Up Because Music is a “Sport”

38:07     Accountability Through Performance

39:10     How a Busy Teacher and Performance Stays Invigorated

42:09     Advice for Those Wanting to Pursue a Music Career

46:42     Every Day is Great When You Do What You Love

47:10     End Credits

47:20     YCPrep on Facebook

Mark Wesling, Classical Guitarist, Teacher, Composer, and Artist:  Enjoying Life as a Music Teacher Entrepreneur

September 13, 2017

In the second interview of my series, Conversations with Inspiring Musicians, I talk to Mark Wesling.  At the age of 30, Mark Wesling left a successful business career to teach, play and compose music full-time.  He has a solo performing career, has released five CDs of is own music and also makes time to study art and paint.  I really wanted to know – how does he do it all?  Mark has a positive mindset and understands that a busy musician has to balance time carefully.  You can contact Mark at



0:00           Introduction

2:56           Beginning of interview

4:30           Mark discussion his transition from a business career to becoming a full-time music teacher entrepreneur

8:47           Expanding beyond teaching

10:00        A positive approach to problem-solving

11:52        Visualization and intuition in teaching

13:37        Be in the moment – “Be the music.”

14:42        Learning from various sources

16:27        Close connection between art and music

17:39        Start with small steps to reach larger goals

19:00        Musicians Mark admires

20:10        The benefits of making PDFs of compositions available online

22:24        The magic of studio recitals

24:25        Advice for working with young students

26:23        Working with adult students

29:45        Elements of coaching in teaching

30:22        We’re all still learning

31:41        New projects

33:08        Balancing life as a teacher, performer, composer, and artist

33:25        Time is our most valuable asset

34:18        Performance of Mark’s composition Study No. 37

37:20        Credits


Larry Vittone, Director of the West Shore Youth Band:  Connecting with Students and Community

August 8, 2017

The West Shore Youth Band was established by Larry Vittone as an outlet for young musicians in grades 6-8.   As there are few opportunities for young band students outside of school programs, the West Shore Youth Band provides a unique and valuable service.  Students are invited to join the group based on recommendations from their band directors and private instructors. An important aspect of the program is the chance for students to experience the value of music performance in their home communities.   And, many of these students go on to become life-long musicians!


Upcoming interviews to come: Gretchen Dekker (Director of the YCP Community Music School, pianist, early music expert and extraordinary teacher!)