Lydia Garrick is Grow Music's only graduating senior of 2022! Jessica and Lydia had their first cello lesson together when Lydia was in 5th grade. She's been a musical force ever since and an absolute joy to work with.
Over the years, Lydia has proven herself to be a dedicated student, but also a great teacher of music; whether assisting with Cello Mafia or continuing to teach individual lessons through Grow Music. She has shown strong leadership and dedication to the instrument through her principal positions in Missoula Youth Symphony, sitting in the pit for multiple musical productions through Missoula Children's Theatre, Inc., and was recently handed the honor of principal cellist of the 2022 Montana All-State Orchestra.
Lydia will be attending the University of Montana this Fall and though I am sad to see her go, she is definitely ready for her next chapter of life and I am so excited to see what unfolds for her!
Continue reading to learn more about Lydia -
Tell us about why you decided to play an instrument...
I've always had a love for music, so when MCPS kids got to choose an instrument in 5th grade, I was over the moon! As far as why I picked the cello, what a beautiful instrument! The tone, the versatility, and the instrument itself looks gorgeous, even if it does mean lugging a big case wherever you go.
What do you enjoy most about your music lessons?
Sometimes lessons are as simple as getting good fingerings for a tricky section in ensemble music or working through a solo, but often lessons focus more on the musicality of a piece. With the adjustments I learn in lessons, I'm able to take those improvements and implement them in my outside practice, and gain confidence in my abilities. (Not to mention the many times the music studio time has become somewhat of a therapist's office to discuss big life choices.)
What are some challenges about learning an instrument? How do you overcome those challenges?
A lot of people that take up an instrument and are truly dedicated have much more than just their music studies going for them. Between sports and academics it can be a lot to juggle! In my life this has meant taking breaks and learning to say NO to some opportunities. It's important to push yourself, but just as important to know and respect your limits!
What is a memorable moment for you in your time with Grow Music?
Likely the most classic and infamous Cello Mafia arrangement, "Beat It" has a solo that gets tossed around year after year. Having played in Cello Mafia a number of years, I got to see many of my peers that I admired like Tait and Lillian rock the "Beat It" solo, so when I was asked to play it, it felt like a rite of passage.
Tell us about some non-musical things that you have interest in...
I've done Taekwondo for almost eleven years, and I'm passionate about science.
Would you rather have wings or fins (and why)?
I'd rather have wings! Underwater scares me...
Anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
This fall I will be studying pharmacy at the University of Montana, and minoring in music! I'm so glad to be able to continue my musical and educational journey in the community I have grown up in.
Hello friends - We are bringing back our Spotlights! It's been a while and we're sometimes not the loudest or most visible bunch, but we have been keeping the metronome clicking over here at Grow Music. I couldn't think of a better way to get these Spotlights back on track than with telling you all about ANNA!
Anna Walter-Grussling is our lead teaching artist of all things violin. She has been teaching for Grow Music since 2018!
Read about what makes Anna tick below ...
Tell us about the moment you decided to become a teacher…
I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was in high school. That passion has grown into teaching music and Special Education. (In addition to Grow Music, Anna currently teaches in Special Education for the Bonner School District.)
What do you enjoy most about teaching group classes?
I love how every student brings something unique to the group. I enjoy seeing them learn from each other and form relationships over the course of the class. (Anna teaches Tiny Fiddlers, Little Fiddlers, Young Fiddlers, Viol Conspiracy, and assists with String Mafia. She will be leading the "Summer String Fling" this summer for violinists and viola players!)
What about teaching individual lessons?
I love seeing the students passion. Watching their dedication to their learning and seeing their growth each week is so pleasurable.
What is a memorable moment for you in your time at Grow Music?
I loved getting a chance to perform at Caras Park for Out to Lunch with Cello Mafia and Viol Conspiracy. (We get to do it AGAIN this summer! Yay!)
What kind of music do you like to play?
I enjoy fiddle and classical music.
What non-musical things do you have interest in?
I love houseplants and working on restoring a VW Bus with my husband.
Thanks, Anna! Anna has been a huge addition to our little music school. She is a warm and dedicated teacher and we are lucky to work alongside her!
Laura Geier is a fantastic fiddle player and teacher - her styles and talents are wide and colorful. Laura has been the recipient of various distinguished grants and scholarships to study fiddle abroad in places like Bulgaria, Sweden, Romania, and Moldova...she teaches the real deal! She is currently accepting weekly, monthly, or supplementary students via Zoom through Grow Music! Here is a little taste of what she offers:
Tait started cello with Jessica when he was in 5th grade. Now he's getting ready to move into his college years and it certainly feels bittersweet. I am so proud of what he has accomplished in these years! And feeling grateful that I've gotten to work with such a talented, hard-working, and all around excellent human. Check out his recital here:
Nadia Boulanger - Trois Pieces
Johann Sebastian Bach - Prelude & Minuets from Suite No. 1 in G Major
Cello Mafia Mini play Beatles & Leonard Cohen
We may be closing in and shutting down, but that doesn't mean we need to limit the ways we bring joy, smiles, engagement, and the gift of music to help fare these turbulent times! Grow Music is taking this opportunity to welcome several amazing and professional teaching artists to our roster! We can now happily offer an array of private lessons - in multiple styles and genres - for students of violin, fiddle, viola, and cello. Our teachers teach through an online platform, which allows Grow Music to employ professional musicians from around the globe and bring them straight to you! We see it as a WIN-WIN ... we are able to provide work to keep our artists working in these crazy times AND we can provide TOP NOTCH instruction to our wonderful students! Contact us for information or check out some impressive bios here.
I was simply amazed at the fruits of all the hard work and dedication these young musicians put forth. First time performers, seasoned rockers, inspiring family bands...I don't have many words except, "WOW - that was super awesome!"
Congrats to each and every one of you. All you hard work and dedication is amazing.
Take a look at a few great images - thanks to Benji Hegg, Libby Catron-Gingerelli, and Amelia Thornton!
The intermediate Cello Mafia class (ages 10-14) performed at Meadow Hill Middle School on Wed 2/5/20. They, along with the Viol Conspiracy, were invited to join the concert with Southside Symphony. I unfortunately don't have video of Viol Conspiracy rocking "Hand Clap" by Fitz & the Tantrums, or both groups playing "I Love Rock & Roll" by Joan Jett, but here is "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish! All arrangements are made specifically for these groups. Check it out!
*Thanks Maggie W. for the video.
A little blast from my past surprised me today! It was FUN to see this.
I got to play with FUN! That's my back on cello.
This was my life in Los Angeles...
FUN fact: My 1st son was just 7 months old and I brought him with me to this session!
Why is this relevant? Well, I've been updating my arrangement of FUN's incredible song "Some Nights" for the Cello Mafia to play this semester. We recorded that song with them on this iTunes session, too!
Check it out here (links to where you can hear it):
The Top Hat performance on Friday 11/22/19 was a highlight of my teaching year, for sure!
Each of the 19 cellists shone brightly during our 2-hour long (!!) performance. I am so proud of these kids' hard work and dedication.
Here are some choice pics from the night...(thanks, Janet M. and Bill R.!)
The next round of Cello Mafia classes are now posted and open for registration!
New tunes, new ensembles, new friends, lots of fun.
A big shout out and thanks to Katherine Porter at the Play Network of Missoula for having us! Jessica enjoyed giving a Tiny Fiddlers demo class to our youngest friends. We had a blast! Here are some fun shots from the day.
This crew of amazing young cellists take center stage for Family Friendly Friday at the Top Hat on Friday, November 22nd. 6-8pm, free all ages show.
We have some fresh new songs and will be pulling out our favorite classics to share! We will see you there!
What a magical and beautiful night it was in the Enchanted Forest, a fundraiser for Turning the Wheel. We were honored to be a part of the event! Thank you for having us!
New class offerings to enrich students interested in new music and healthy performance practices!
First, a brand new class called "Music & Movement" that encompasses movement, yoga, stretching, and performance techniques. It looks great and will be happening on Saturday mornings. This class is a collaboration of movement specialist, Laurel Sears, and violinist/educator, Amelia Thornton.
Check it out here:
Secondly, the next round of the "Creative Music Ensemble" is currently enrolling. This class is a collaboration of Naomi Siegel and Wave & Circuit here in Missoula. It draws from Jazz, Afro-Cuban music and other improvised music traditions to develop rhythm/groove, listening, interacting, dynamics, theory, and phrasing.
Check this class out here:
Cello Mafia performs our arrangement of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n'Roll." We claim no rights to this song, but we sure do like it!
What can I say? These kids ROCKED Out To Lunch today at Caras Park. Both the Cello Mafia and Viol Conspiracy played and were in top form. I'm beaming like a proud parent of...uh...26 kids? They're all fantastic and an integral part of the musical fabric that makes these tunes so fun.
Many thanks to Downtown Missoula Partnership for having us. Huge thanks to Anna Walter for her leadership in Viol Conspiracy. Thanks to Dr. Adam Collins and David Harmsworth for adding their expertise to Cello Mafia today. Thanks to Amelia Thornton and Pam Hillygus for their wonderful talents in Viol Conspiracy. Thanks to Jeremy Drake for playing guitar today and Lydia Garrick and Gabe Kantor for being our student leaders. Bravo to all!
Alice Merton's "No Roots" performed by the Cello Mafia at Out To Lunch on 8/21/19. Forgive the feedback, this was essentially still our soundcheck!
On Wednesday, August 21st both groups will be showing off the fruits of their hard summer work learning new tunes.
Out To Lunch at Caras Park. 11-2pm is the Cello Mafia performance. Viol Conspiracy will play 1-1:30pm - FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE of this brand new group.
FREE FAMILY FUN!
Hope to see you there!
Another round of Little Fiddlers is in the books. They've already got awesome rhythm skills!
Ms. Anna is such a great teacher - we are lucky to have her talents and kindness in sharing music with these kiddos. : )
We are very excited to be performing at this wonderful event again! 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20th. Free and fun for all!
Another three very successful concerts are in the books! These fabulous kids opened up for the Missoula Symphony Orchestra in the 2009 Holiday Pops concerts. There were over 40 kids involved and they sounded amazing! Thanks to the Suzuki Institute for having us join in the fun!