Many of the students had played at the Northampton Senior Center earlier in the month, and the improvement in their playing only 10 days later, when they were in an auditorium with fine acoustics and a concert grand piano properly tuned, was remarkable.
Stupendous in quality!
Lyra, and its teachers and directors are special. They are energetic, kind, exciting, and smart. They are seemingly indefatigable and utterly generous in how they produce community as they produce this remarkable festival and workshop, and they work both seriously and rigorously, and with an awareness of their students as kids whose growth and education is ongoing—an extremely difficult needle to thread. Yet Lyra does it beautifully.
The concerts by artists of international stature were just thrilling, and their teaching and presence on the Smith campus made for a really supportive atmosphere for the students enrolled in the program. The benefit to the students was obvious - in a few short weeks I noticed how much they were growing in awareness of the music they were creating, and how much they were learning about communicating their love for performance.
Families of these participants are getting good value for their money.
What impressed us most about Lyra was that the faculty was able to maintain a rigorous, comprehensive and professional music program without the highly competitive and formal edge that we have typically found in other programs of this caliber. The Lyra environment was fun, motivating, and supportive. It became clear to us at the final performance that the Lyra model not only emphasized discipline and hard work in a quest for musical excellence, it fostered a camaraderie among students and teachers. Our daughter was proud of her accomplishments and finished Lyra as a more confident and poised performer. We thank Lyra for offering such a unique music workshop.
Lyra camp was a transforming experience for my daughters and despite my initial concern about the cost, I now feel Lyra over-delivered in every way. Musically, the girls made enormous strides thanks to the intensive and very personal one-on-one attention they received. It is extraordinary that Ellie was able to complete the complex Brahms Sonata in just three weeks. I don’t think even she thought it was possible to master it so quickly! Her confidence is soaring as she goes into a very stressful year juggling a demanding academic schedule and placement in the top orchestra at school with twelve cellists competing for the top chairs. Before camp, I think she was concerned about holding her own...not anymore! Camp also reignited her passion for piano and she wants to take her playing to another level now that she’s made so much progress. Audrey’s vocal interpretation is like night and day! She came to camp without being able to relax and enjoy the experience of singing for an audience. I now see that she’s able to relate to the audience and use that connection to make her singing more moving and personal. Her piano is so much stronger as well...she is making her piano piece “her own” now instead of just playing the notes. Lyra was also a tremendous personal growth experience for the girls. Being away from home for three weeks was an intimidating prospect for them, but they quickly came into their own. The staff was nurturing and supportive and made incredibly strong connections with each of the kids and clearly found the right buttons to push that allowed each one to realize their full potential. There was also a great balance between the intensity of the music instruction and activities and team building experiences. I think the kids really grew and matured by having to rely on and trust each other emotionally, socially. According to my kids, “Lyra Rocks!” We will definitely be back next year.
My son, Stephen plays the piano and hopes to be a professional pianist and composer one day. We were so glad we decided on Lyra as they provided a wonderful learning environment for Stephen. Not only did he learn practice techniques that helped improve his piano playing, he also learned to play in ensembles with very talented young musicians. What I believe is the greatest asset of the Lyra Summer Music Festival is the ability of its directors to provide a wholesome and nurturing environment for their students. Even as they push their students to improve themselves, they are able to balance competitiveness and camaraderie among the students. They were able to balance rigid training with fun activities that makes for a complete learning experience. Stephen had such an awesome time that when the workshop came to and end, he didn’t want it to be over yet. He gained friends whom he looks forward to seeing, spending time and even practicing with, even after the workshop was over. He is eagerly looking forward to the next one. It is my hope that you can help support the Lyra Summer Music Festival so that young aspiring musicians like Stephen can avail of the training and enriching experience Lyra hopes to give them.
Through the Lyra Summer Music Workshop, our son Oliver was transformed as a musician. He had played the cello for four years, but talked about giving it up. This was especially troubling because he showed great talent and was developing excellent technique. He was on the verge of a breakthrough in his playing, and the Lyra Summer Music Workshop helped him achieve that. The wonderful, inspiring faculty brought a fresh perspective to his view of music and what it means to be a musician. His exposure to other kids serious about music helped him feel good about his talent and dedication. His two weeks at Lyra changed his attitude and inspired him to study the cello with greater fervor. Oliver talks all the time about returning to Lyra this summer, and he plans to audition for a performing arts high school. He says he even might want to teach cello one day. Without the Lyra Summer Music Workshop, he would not feel this way.
My daughter participated in the Lyra Summer Music program as a violinist. She had an outstanding experience. She received high quality, individualized instruction, from which she benefited greatly. She was able to take the depth and intensity of instruction and incorporate it into her playing in a short period of time in a way that both deepened and polished her performances. She also had the opportunity to participate in music classes and ensemble groups, which broadened her understanding of music theory and different genres of music in a fun and interactive way. The ensemble work strengthened her ability to experience music in a larger social group, which required a different type of attention and focus than solo playing. Lyra provided exceptional guest musicians, who both instructed, through master classes, and performed for the students, which gave them a chance to experience a professional level of music performance, alongside their own musical strivings as students. Finally, Lyra Summer Music offered an enjoyable and diverse social environment for young musicians, both to share music with each other, and to interact with other young, enthusiastic musicians. The organization of the program, and the care and supervision of the students were excellent. I highly support this program for young, serious musicians, and intend to have my daughter participate in the upcoming summer.
My daughter, Maya, had a wonderful experience at the Lyra Summer Music Workshop. The knowledge, self-confidence and positive reinforcement she received were beyond my expectation. Maya was the youngest by five years (she was six years of age) and I was apprehensive that Maya could keep up with the others in terms of social behavior and musical ability. I was prepared to pull her out of the workshop if it became too overwhelming. Instead she thrived. The support that she got from the students and the Lyra staff was remarkably strong. Because of Maya’s youth I stayed during the two weeks: meals, classes and practices. I do not believe that there were any unhappy students! Overall I believe the structure; classes and organization were superior to any competitive course of this type. Maya is looking forward to attending again.