SSC Open House: Discover, Develop, Dream

By Lorna Jane Norris
An eye-opening thing happened to me a few weeks ago. On July 5, I went to buy a table for my back deck. After the grey, cold and rainy June, the temperature was in the 70’s and it was finally time for some outside living. So I headed to Target only to find… the patio furniture had already been replaced by
back-to-school stuff! Ouch. Having been in denial for the past four weeks, I have now officially come to terms with the fact that the summer is winding down and the new academic year is just around the corner. Inhale… exhale.

As we all begin preparing for the inevitable, I hope you will mark your calendars and join us on Sunday, September 10 from 2-4 pm for SSC’s Fall Open House. We’ve got an exciting array of trial programs to show you, and the open house format allows you to explore our educational continuum in a relaxed, fun and informative way. Our staff and faculty will be available to help you determine suitable programs for your school-age children and of course there will be plenty of interactive demo classes to experience.

Here’s what’s on the menu:

For children under six, there will be demo classes for Music Together®, Music Sprouts, Discovering Music, Discovering Drama, Pre-Primary Ballet and Primary Ballet. Visitors are invited to learn more about SSC’s award-winning, arts-integrated Preschool/PreK/Kindergarten programs. We are launching a new FUNdamentals series for ages six and up in rhythm, singing, piano and fiddle, combining skill development with music-making and making new friends. Budding young actors ages six through twelve take center stage for Let’s Put on a Show, and young dancers can participate in a ballet demo.

Suzuki lessons begin as young as age three and a half, and our Suzuki-certified faculty will be eager to explain the Suzuki philosophy and help you assess your family’s readiness for instruction in violin, viola, cello, flute, guitar, piano, and bass. We’ve got the cutest mini violins and guitars for to hear and try out.

For students who want to rock and roll, what better way to spend the afternoon than hanging out with the jazz/rock/pop department? Student rock bands show off what they’ve got, and school-aged visitors are encouraged to join in a band for the afternoon. Bring your voice or instrument and all your friends to check out our rapidly growing Rock Band program.

SSC’s creative arts therapies (CAT) department welcomes students ages 8-11 with sensory or physical needs to try a Music and Movement Group, focusing on self-expression and social interaction through exploration of rhythm instruments. This class is facilitated by a board-certified music therapist who will also be available to provide information about the full range of CAT services for people who learn differently.

We will offer financial incentives for families who register on the day for private music lessons and group classes so save the date and come join us. Between now and then, enjoy every minute of the rest of the summer and if you’ve got a patio table spare, you know where to find me!

South Shore Conservatory is located at One Conservatory Drive in Hingham. Admission to all activities is free of charge. For more information, contact Lorna Jane Norris, Vice President of Education at, 781-749-7565, ext. 23, visit, or follow South Shore Conservatory on Facebook or Twitter.

Lorna Jane Norris is South Shore Conservatory’s VP of Education.

9 Musical Quotes by Famous Composers


Have you ever wondered what composers thought about their work? In 18 words or less, these quotes unravel the stories behind the music of some of the greatest artistic masterminds known in music history.

1. “My music is best understood by children and animals.” – Stravinsky

2. “I worked hard. Anyone who works as hard as I did can achieve the same results.” – Bach

3. “Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!” – Chopin

4. “Life is a lot like jazz…it’s best when you improvise.” – Gershwin

5. “Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the play of curves described by changing breezes.” – Claude Debussy

6. “I’m not interested in having an orchestra sound like itself. I want it to sound like a composer.” – Bernstein

7. “You write to become immortal, or because the piano happens to be open, or you’ve looked into a pair of beautiful eyes.” – Schumann

8. “When we separate music from life, we get art.” – Cage

9. “Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth.” – Beethoven

Music Therapy: It works both ways


By Jenny Boyd

As a piano student at South Shore Conservatory in the fall of 2012, I was approached by Emily Browder Melville, Chair of the Voice Department, about a new ensemble. SSC Community Voices, Too! was a chorus recently established at the Hingham campus. She asked me if I might be interested in accompanying the chorus, and I eagerly answered “yes!”

When my mother explained to me, a sheltered 12-year-old at the time, that the chorus would consist of teens and adults with developmental delays, I immediately associated the members with the special needs students at my middle school. Most of them were friendly, but some of them acted out when frustrated and that worried me. As the first day of choir practice approached, I worried that I would feel like an outsider.

When the day arrived, Emily introduced herself and me to the group, which consisted of about five singers. All of the chorus members cheerfully introduced themselves. Slowly, my fears dissipated.

After warming up, I played ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and other popular songs as the chorus members sang along. There were tons of smiles, puns, and jokes exchanged among the group as the hour of rehearsal continued. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and energy expressed by each member, and had never seen music have such an immediate impact on people’s spirits. Not only was each of these singers an important part of a musical whole, but the sense of inclusion and mutual appreciation were truly tangible. Although I did not sing with the group, I felt as if I were already a member of the ensemble. The chorus members enthusiastically said, “Bye Jenny!” as rehearsal ended, followed by, “I can’t wait to sing again next week!”

Music brings people together, cultivating compassion and making us forget our ostensible differences.

Our small choir of five has grown exponentially since its inception in 2012, and as I accompany the group each year I learn more and more about the power of music; something I used to take for granted. I’m grateful to each chorus member for revitalizing my interest in exploring music’s transformative power. The chorus reminds me each week that music is best when enjoyed for the art form it is, and even better when you enjoy it with other people.

I no longer live with my previous preconceptions about people with disabilities. This chorus teaches me to embrace those who are different, since we’re only as different as we believe we are. Music brings people together, cultivating compassion and making us forget our ostensible differences. SSC Community Voices, Too! reminds me to welcome the feelings of unity, within myself and within groups, which the arts create.

I know I made the right choice when I said “yes” to Emily’s invitation to accompany the chorus. Music is even more meaningful to me now. I truly believe I’ve become a more compassionate and understanding person since I started with SSC Community Voices, Too!. While I’m not a music therapist, I think arts therapy has the potential to create a more inclusive and accepting world. I now understand that music therapy works not only for those who receive but also for those who practice it. It works both ways.

SSC Community Voices Too! is one of many creative arts therapies programs, for those who learn differently, at South Shore Conservatory. The group also welcomes singers without developmental delay to participate in this joyful chorus as a mentor. Learn more at or contact Eve Montague, Director of Creative Arts Therapies at

Just Captured: Fun at Piano Camp!


Mario Ajero teaches piano camp students a lesson in music technology.

South Shore Conservatory is excited to announce the first annual SSC Piano Camp! SSC Piano Camp is open to piano students of all levels ages 5 to 18.

With a mix of world-class piano educators from SSC and around the country, daily activities include masterclasses, ensembles, music theory, composition, improvisation, songwriting, music technology and more. In addition, students have daily performance opportunities at the end of the day.

Why Music Together?


By Jana Kahn

Many parents and caregivers at South Shore Conservatory (SSC) feel that Music Together® class is the highlight of their week. I know it was for me when my kids were small. It’s quality time with your child, a chance to let go, sing and dance in a community of people that enjoy music and consider music to be a family value. And each new session introduces new songs to add to your family’s repertoire.
So here we go – here are my top ten reasons to come to Music Together class this fall!
1. Quality Bonding Time without distraction of phones, computers, errands and housework. It’s an opportunity to just have fun together.
2. The Music is Enjoyable with songs you will want to listen to and sing along with. And every ten weeks you go home with a new songbook and collection of songs.
3. I Can Sing the melodies which are simple and within a singable range. You don’t have to be Julie Andrews or Mariah Carey to sing along.
4. Participate at Your Own Speed. If your child is more of an observer, then sit and observe. There’s no judging. It’s all about enjoying the class, however that best suits you. Just have fun!
5. Dance and Be Silly without a care in the world for an hour of fun. We could all use more time like that.
6. Meet More Parents and make friends with people who share a love of music.
7. Get a Peek at what’s ahead for your child. Since classes are mixed ages you get to see what your child will be doing in a few months or a few years.
8. Lift Your Spirits; even after a sleepless night or dealing with a meltdown, the upbeat music makes us feel present and grounded again.
9. Learn to Juggle by hanging out with rock-star moms and dads that have two or more kids, and watch how they deal with giving each child attention.
10. Enjoy an awesome learning environment where younger children are learning from the older ones, while you learn about music development and your child, all while having a great time!
Music is truly a universal language that has the power to bring families and communities together in harmony. In fact, some children learn how to sing before they learn how to speak. For me, participation in a joyful musical environment with song, dance, and rhythmic activities, brought my family closer. As a new mother, it was helpful to observe children of mixed ages engage at their own level through the power of the arts.
Visit for a full schedule of fall music, dance and drama programs for children. And please join us on Sunday, September 10, from 2 to 4 pm at our open houses in Hingham and Duxbury, where you can sample classes and find out more information. We look forward to seeing you there.
Fall Music Together classes begin the week of September 11. For more information on South Shore Conservatory’s programs for all ages and abilities, visit, call 781-749-7565, or find South Shore Conservatory on Facebook.
Jana Kahn is South Shore Conservatory’s Early Childhood Program Coordinator.

Ukulele at Every Age

Ukulele class at Hingham Senior Center

Ukulele class at Hingham Senior Center

By Barbara Farnsworth
The Hingham Senior Center partners with many different organizations to provide a wide range of programs and services to Hingham’s older adults. We were excited to hear about South Shore Conservatory’s (SSC) new Adult Learning initiative, and interested to see what programs we could offer together at our site. We are always looking for new ways to integrate the six dimensions of wellness into our programming: physical, emotional, spiritual, occupational, social and intellectual. A growing wealth of research shows that the arts are an important ally in wellness, especially the social and intellectual dimensions.

Music is one of those things that every person can do regardless of age or ability. Starting lessons as an adult probably won’t lead to an appearance at Carnegie Hall, but it will challenge, enrich, and maybe even create a community of fellow learners. I see it as a way of staying engaged.

In my opinion, it’s important to continue learning throughout our lives. In 2001, I decided to take up running at the age of 48.  I saw an article in a magazine about running a marathon in Honolulu to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, so decided to give it a try.  While I will never be fast or in an elite group, I have finished eight marathons along the way, and will run Chicago again in October. I learned a lot about the sport of running and fundraising while making some great friends.

When the Hingham Senior Center first decided to offer a ukulele class through SSC this past fall, we weren’t quite sure if we would have enough interest to run it. There were a couple of raised eyebrows because we hadn’t offered this kind of program before, but most people were excited. What started as one trial six-week session, turned into a string of four sessions. Due to the program’s popularity, we are delighted to offer Ukulele Class to our seniors again this fall.

In talking to participants, it is clear that people look forward to their class every week. One participant told me, “It was lovely to be schooled in the joy and fun in learning a musical instrument.  I was surprised I could play songs.” Others commented that it was a good way to keep sharp: “I need to get out of the house and keep my brain moving forward and this does it!” Everyone agreed that the social aspect of playing in a group was important, “The classes were great, nice mix of people and varied degrees of ability. We laughed a lot! Looking forward to starting in the fall.”

I think it’s wonderful to have a resource such as SSC in our community. We are thrilled that they are willing to work with us to create programs that fit the needs of our seniors in Hingham.

For more information about South Shore Conservatory’s adult learning initiative, contact Anne Smith, or visit Hingham senior residents may sign up for Ukulele Class by contacting the Hingham Senior Center at 781-741-1458.

Barbara Farnsworth is the Director of Elder Services for the town of Hingham.