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Signature Syracuse II: A new model for teaching music

Last week I wrote about a Syracuse resident, Dick Ford, who has created a new model for music education in America (read it online at http://www.cnylink.com/news/view_news.php?news_id=1257874576). He essentially considers music education more academic than recreation, and thinks students should start later and have individual training versus group classes. This week you'll hear from music educators and students about Signature Syracuse, a new style of music ed.

On Thursday Nov. 5 Nubia Hill and Nijael Mustata arrived as usual for voice and piano lessons at Signature Syracuse. What they didn't know is that they would be performing an impromptu number for the City Eagle. Ford explained that Hill, 15, was experiencing an awkward period where her voice was changing. She sang "Misty." And she did struggle a little, but there were moments of great promise, even a flash of her name in bright lights.

Mustata, 14, was steady singing the "Star Spangled Banner," a difficult song. Ford always has them learn this song because of its level of difficulty. It can trip up the best of singers he said.

Hill had to take a break in seventh grade, as she just couldn't settle down to practice.

"I was always stressed when I came to the lesson," Hill said.

Now, a poised young lady, she feels ready.

Whereas Mustata believes her voice is a gift from God, "My voice shows his glory," she said adding that is why she practices, she has a goal to sing for the Lord.

"At their age learning unfolds very gracefully," Ford said.

The girls both agreed this is the program if you are serious about music.

Local musicians on the Signature model

Working musicians sound off on Ford's Signature Syracuse teaching model.

John Rohde a professional saxophone player and co-owner of The Band Bus music education program said, "I know a graduate of his program personally and professionally (since she was in high school). She just took a job in one of the schools I teach in. She was very well prepared and I think she's doing a great job."

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