January 2018 Newsletter

January 31, 2018
In this issue…
Letter from the President
Spring 2018 Calendar
Student Interviews
And more!

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Dear Friends and Family of FAYM,

December was a busy month! Some of our students performed mini-concerts at the North Las Vegas Care Center and Milagros Escondidos (Hidden Miracles), a group of parents with special needs children.

On December 22nd, 29 of our students played in the lobby of the Smith Center prior to a performance of the Nutcracker. After their performance they were able to attend the performance thanks to Cindy Fox, the Director of Sales and Patron Services for the Nevada Ballet Theater, who helped us purchase tickets at a substantial discount. Every FAYM family was able to buy the discounted tickets, but tickets for our performers that day were covered by monies from a recent fundraiser put on by our students and parents. In total, 158 FAYM students and parents were able to attend an evening at the theater and watch the Nutcracker. Everyone had a great time. We even received an invitation from Cindy Fox to perform again next year!

We resumed classes after the holidays and students and parents are excited and dedicated to return to their classes. I am very proud of our students and look forward to their continued success.

-Arturo Ochoa


Two students admitted into Mariachi Estrellas De FAYM

One of the additions for 2017 was the creation of a FAYM Mariachi which we named ‘Mariachi Estrellas De FAYM.’ In late September, we scheduled auditions for students in group 2 or above. Students that did not pass the audition were invited to come to audit the classes. Four students did so; they received the music, participated in class, and received one on one support, all in preparation for another opportunity to audition on November 30, 2017.

On that day, we had three students audition and two of them made it! Sophia has an older sister that is already in the Mariachi so this will be a ‘family affair’ for them. Christian has consistently shown devotion to learning to play the violin and his hard work has ‘played’ off! The next time you see a picture of these two youngsters, they will proudly be wearing their Mariachi outfit!

Spring 2018 Calendar

President’s Day – NO CLASS
Monday, February 19th

Spring Recital
Saturday, March 10
3pm to 5:30pm
East LV Community Center

Spring Break – NO CLASS
March 26th to March 30th

Last Day of Spring Classes
May 9th and 10th

Year End Recital
Saturday, May 12th
3pm to 5:30pm
East LV Community Center

Did You Know?

You can send mail to FAYM at

P.O. Box 1993
Las Vegas, Nevada  89125-1993


Meet Ms. Smith!

Katharine Smith is one of our newer FAYM instructors. She started teaching beginning and intermediate cello in 2017.

Which Instruments do you play?
Cello and piano. I started on piano and later took on cello when starting middle school. While cello is my main performing instrument and I get more enjoyment out of it overall, I find returning to the piano every now and then to be very mentally relaxing.

When and how did you become a teacher with FAYM?
I started teaching with FAYM this year. A current FAYM teacher who I have known for several years put in a good word for me when they were looking for a new cello teacher, which led to them reaching out to me and setting up an interview. Meeting the director, Tim Thomas, and seeing his passion for the program really solidified my interest.

How long have you been teaching music? How did you get started?
I’ve been teaching music for about 2 years now. I started out giving private lessons in cello and piano. While piano is much more popular of an instrument and I get many more private students out of that, FAYM allows me to get in lot of time each week focusing on the cello and the musicality it can produce.

Tell us about an adult who inspired you to pursue music during your childhood?
There have been so many musical inspirations throughout my childhood; however, I think the first adult who convinced me that I wanted to remain in the world of strings was my middle school orchestra director, Kim Anderson. My private cello lessons are what allowed me to succeed in orchestra, but it was the orchestral experience itself that got me hooked. Mrs. Anderson’s joy for music, her stories of her past experiences, and the excitement with which she conducted each concert showed me how fulfilling playing in an orchestra could be.

What classes do you teach for FAYM?
I teach classes for both beginning and intermediate cello, and am working with kids who have started learning the instrument within the past couple of years.

What are you working on with your students this semester?
For my beginners, we are focusing on building up their fundamental technique on the instrument through short exercises, as well as developing the ability to look at a piece of music and know how to read it on several levels. My intermediate students are expanding on such skills; while their technique is in place, I want to show them how to work together to produce a cohesive sound, and am introducing more advanced rhythms, hand positions, and bowing techniques for them to try.

What qualities or skills do you want your students to leave your class with at the end of the year?
I am mainly trying to set my students up with natural, comfortable technique and music-reading skills that will help them approach future musical goals with confidence. While each student has their own set of abilities and challenges, I hope to show each of them, in some way, that learning music is worthwhile and that mastering a musical skill, whether on the cello or not, allows them to share their creativity and interests in an authentic way.


Meet Alla!

Alla Pobsuk is a 10th grade student hoping to one day attend UCLA and double major in music and cardiology. She won her Golden Violin in March of 2014. Her sister, Bella, is also a Golden Violin recipient, and was interviewed in the October 2017 newsletter.

When you first played it, could you hear a difference from the previous one you had? What is the difference?
Most definitely I heard a difference when I first played my Golden Violin. The G string had a very deep and vibrant ring. The violin sound was more powerful. Holding the new violin made me feel more powerful. My playing became more powerful.

How did you feel when the golden violin was placed in your hands?
I feel like I had finally earned the title of a “true musician”. A sense of pride accompanied the violin. It felt like an achievement, something to take home, and show it off to all my folks; something to take to school and show it off to all my peers. I felt thrilled beyond belief to be holding my very own Golden Violin.

What made you work and apply for the Golden Violin?
I feel that I am a very competitive girl. I want to be unique; I want to stand out. I wanted to be that one swan in a flock of geese. Also, I was quite motivated by the idea of ownership of my own violin, one I could keep to practice over the summer.

What was the most challenging part of earning the golden violin?
The most challenging part, not only in earning the Golden Violin, but playing the violin, was performing in front of an audience.

Was it worth all the time and the effort you put in?
It was definitely worth all the time and effort I put into earning the Golden Violin. Because of the Golden Violin, I was able to keep a violin to practice with over the summer, and that really enhanced my musicianship. The skills I gained assisted me in both playing solos, and performing in an orchestra.

Do you have any advice you want to offer to our other FAYM students that want to apply for the golden violin?
One crucial piece of advice I’d like to offer other students who may like to apply for the Golden Violin is to really enjoy the tasks you have to complete prior to earning a Golden Violin. Music is more than just playing and performing by yourself. Music is something meant to be shared with others, played with others, performed for others. So really enjoy and find the value in volunteering to help out in any of the younger classes.

Meet Sabdy!

Sabdy is a 6th grade FAYMster hoping to one day attend Stanford Law School. She won her Golden Violin in October 2017, and is the youngest Golden Violin winner to date!

When you first played it, could you hear a difference from the previous one you had? What is the difference?
It was a dramatic difference; my golden violin sounds so much better than the one I had before.

How did you feel when the golden violin was placed in your hands?
I felt proud and happy. I felt like when a hamster successfully stuffs food in his mouth!

What made you work and apply for the Golden Violin?

I really want to continue playing the violin for many years. I know I can get scholarships with the violin and I like it. I want to be a better player and have the experience.

What was the most challenging part of earning the golden violin?
The judges, I got very nervous and played wrong multiple times.

Was it worth all the time and the effort you put in?
Oh yes! I adore my new violin and it was definitely worth it, how could I have any regrets?

Do you have any advice you want to offer to our other FAYM students that want to apply for the golden violin?
Yes! Don’t quit, keep going, even if it seems hard. Also, don’t put it off for the next year. I was planning to apply for the golden violin in the last two years ago but always pushed back. So don’t do it, go for it!


You can support FAYM students at our website.
FAYM keeps our costs low by relying on highly qualified volunteers to handle our administrative tasks.
You can be sure that your donation will go directly to scholarship assistance, program support, and student lessons.

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