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Year XXIII, No. 3 (March 2019)


Catherine H. - voice
Amos D.  - piano
Kaitlyn F. - piano
Brayden F. - piano
Jemma G - piano



Pearly T., Dilan B., Henry Z., Ani B.,  Imeth I., Savannah D., Patrick H., Micah M., Jerry W., Manvir P., Naomi Y., Thomas F., Mateo N., Reena T., Saeed A., Shreya R.




March 8: International Women’s Day
March 11-17: Mid-Winter Break (IMA is open)
March 18-31: IMA Spring Contest
March 25-April 27: Peel Music Festival
March 15-31: Markham Music Festival
March 30: Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
    Kindred Spirits Orchestra. Don Juan

Happy International Women’s Day!




Description: http://www.tomleemusic.ca/learningcentre/images/rcm_logo.jpgThe Royal Conservatory of Music January session examination results have been announced. Congratulations to the IMA students achieving considerably higher than the Provincial average marks, with distinction.





Kevin Guo

Level 10 Piano (technique)


Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Jonathan Wong

Level 8 Theory


Ms. Suzanne Marfise

Daria Pryymak

Preparatory A Piano


Ms. Dianne Hughes

Angela Liang

Level 1 Voice


Ms. Sara Chen

Jason Chen

Level 8 Piano


Ms. Antonia De Wolfe

Clarisse Lin

Level 7 Piano


Ms. Dianne Hughes

Avni Prabhu

Preparatory B Piano


Ms. Marina Grigoryan

Clara Kim

Level 1 Piano


Ms. Dianne Hughes

Thivya Jeyapalan

Level 8 Piano


Ms. Antonia De Wolfe



This year there were over 1,000 young musicians performing at the GTA Kiwanis Music Festival. Competitive as ever, the Festival was a great opportunity for our students to receive feedback on their studies from internationally renowned artists.

Three of the International Music Academy (Markham) students have received the highest recognition and has been awarded First Place in the following categories:

Aaron Chen 1st place (Clarinet Grade 9)
Patrick Hu 1st place (Clarinet Grade 8)
Jeffrey Su - 1st place (Clarinet Grade 6)
Jonathan Wang 3rd place (Flute Grade 3)
Jalen Yang 3rd place (Clarinet Grade 8)

Jaffrey, Patrick and Aaron have also been selected to compete at the Ontario Provincial Finals in June. Congratulations to them all and many thanks to their teacher Mr. Leonid Sprikut for his continued dedication.



The IMA is offering to all students who are registered for RCM examinations an opportunity to play their entire program prior to their examination. The mock examinations for the upcoming RCM Winter session is scheduled at the IMA – Stouffville recital hall on Saturday, April 6.  There are many advantages of playing the examination program in public prior to the examination. Students gain more confidence, become aware of passages that still need more practicing and perform better at their examinations.



If you are ready to purchase a high quality pre-own piano through one of the IMA commercial partners, 3 of your lessons at the IMA will be free. Call our Office or e-mail Office@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca for more information. Pre-own piano is a great investment that comes at an attractive price, with a free tuning and delivery.



We have been very pleased with the continuous success of our students. They have improved a great deal and we share their excitement with their families, friends, neighbors, and schoolmates. We appreciate your interest towards our programs and services. We are always very happy to welcome new students of all ages, levels, and instruments to the iMA. Please tell your friends about your experience with the International Music Academy.

Do you know someone who is thinking of taking music lessons or who has children who may be interested in getting their hands on a musical instrument or singing? Do you know a teenager who needs a high school OAC credit? Do you know an adult who has wanted for a long time to learn how to play a musical instrument but has never had the time or inclination? Please tell them about the IMA.

As an appreciation for your referral, we will give you a $30 credit for each new student who registers at the International Music Academy as a result of your referral. As we value your friends as much as we value you, we will offer to each referred student a $30 credit as well.



Stay in touch and follow the IMA latest news on Facebook. Visit Facebook and become a friend of the International Music Academy.



The IMA offers personalized Gift Cards that could be used as thoughtful birthday, holiday, bar/bat Mitzvah, graduation gift or for any other occasions as well as to encourage someone to start learning a musical instrument or singing. The card can be used for any products or services.

The gift card is available for any amount. As cards are personalized with the name of the person who will receive it as well as with the name of the person who purchase it, requests have to be made 1 day in advance. Cards can be ordered in person, by phone at 905.489.4620 or by e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca. At the time the card is ordered, a non-refundable $5 deposit is required. The full value of the card is paid upon pick-up (and the deposit is credited towards the purchase price). Payments can be made by any major credit card, cheque or cash as well as through the accounts of the IMA Clients.



1/03/1810               Chopin was born
2/03/1824               Smetana was born
4/03/1678               Vivaldi was born
5/03/1953               Prokofiev died
7/03/1875               Ravel was born
8/03/1869               Berlioz died
16/03/1736            Pergolesi died
18/03/1844            Rimsky‐Korsakov was born
21/03/1685            JS Bach was born
21/03/1839            Mussorgsky was born
25/03/1881            Bartok was born
25/03/1918            Debussy died
26/03/1827            Beethoven died
28/03/1881            Mussorgsky died
28/03/1943            Rachmaninoff died
31/03/1732            Haydn was born

Where you born or do you know someone who was born on the same day as these famous composers? Drop us e-mail at info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca to let us know.



Winnie Hsieh, M.A.
Piano and Voice Studies, Music Theory

Description: http://internationalmusicacademy.ca/images/Winnie%20Hsieh.jpg
Ms. Hsieh has earned an M.A. degree from York University, Toronto. She has been teaching students of all ages and levels in both group and private piano and vocal lessons for over 10 years. She is proficient in preparing students for examinations at all levels of the Royal Conservatory of Music as well as for festivals and competitions. Ms. Hsieh also teaches at the New Conservatory of Music and is a certified piano and vocal teacher at Canada Music Academy. Though Ms Hsieh has received a classical academic training in both piano and voice, she is at home with various genres and styles, including Broadway, pop, rock, R&B, Disney and jazz.

Mrs. Hsieh was happy to answer a few questions for our students and parents:

1. What do you like most about teaching? Generally speaking, I enjoy every part of teaching as I feel blessed to be a teacher. Making students enjoy playing or singing a piece of music is probably something I enjoy the most. Because everyone can play/sing a piece of music by practicing several times, but to help students "enjoy" a piece of music is the most difficult thing in my view. We cannot force everyone to like any types of music as each person has his or her own preferences. But if I see a student doing a research about the background of a song after they practiced it, I know they not only enjoy my lessons with them, but they also fall in love with the music.

2. How do you inspire students to practice more? I would recommend that they record themselves with a camera while practicing. Then they can play back and "criticize" themselves by trying to find the good and the no so good parts of their playing/singing. If they like one of their recordings, upload their videos to their own Youtube channel or Facebook, and let other people judge how good they are. I have some private students at my home studio and I find when students (be they adults or kids) are in front of the camera, they become more careful and more focused on their playing/singing. I enjoy uploading my own videos on my Youtube channel as well, as I feel my channel is like an online concert hall, which is open to the entire world. 

3. What roles does performance play in student’s development? Performance is one of the most important parts in student's development. As I mentioned above, students get nervous and become more serious when they are in front of a camera because they know there may be other people watching their performance. If they feel nervous they will be practising even harder. Nowadays, there are many types of performing - performing on social media or liven in a concert hall. No matter what types of performance it is, students learn lots of things from their own performance. I always remember what my high school piano teacher said "if you play 100% in my class, you will only score a maximum of 80% at your recital, so you must work harder to play 120% - as perfect as you can- in my class, then you will do a decent job at your own recital." 

4. Who are your favourite composers?  It's hard to choose my favourite composer. I love many composers and each composer is a genius: Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Chopin’s and Liszt 's piano music; Rimsky-Korsakov's opera and Dvorak's instrumental music; I love Glinka's vocal music and I also Purcell's operas…

5. What was the last piece of music (sheet music or a recording) you purchased for yourself?   The last piece of music I bought is the opera score "Sadko" by Rimsky-Korsakov and the last recording I purchased was Chopin's "Etudes" performed by Maurizio Pollini. 



Janessa Puyo

What instrument do you play? –  I play the piano.

How long have you taken lessons? – I have been taking lessons at IMA for 6 years. It has been really fun and I love the sound of the piano.

Who are your favourite musical artists? – My favourite modern musical artist is Ariana Grande, and I also like the composer Mozart. 

What are your other hobbies, besides music? – I enjoy swimming especially with my friends and family at our cottage. I also love to bake, and my favourite things to make are blondies and brownies.

Favourite food? – My favourite food is pizza because it tastes good and is really fun to make.

What is the coolest thing you’ve learnt in your lessons in the past three months? The coolest thing that I have been working on are trills.

Do you have any performance coming up? – The next time I perform will be at the annual International Music Academy’s Summer Concert.

E-mail to info@InternationalMusicAcademy.ca a photo of yourself (or your child) together with the answers of the questions above. The deadline for submissions is the 15th of every month. We will feature you in one of the next issues of the newsletter.



Send a photo of your pet together with following information and we will publish it in one of the next issues of the IMA newsletter. What is the name of your pet? How old is he/she? What kind of breed our pet is (if applicable)? How long have you had him/her for? Any special circumstances around getting the pet (i.e. a gift, foster pet, etc.)? The funniest story about you pet? Any special skills or abilities?



The Humanist

The Importance of Music Education
By Alexis Kalivretenos

What if there was one activity that could benefit every student in every school across the nation? An activity that could improve grades and scores on standardized testing? An activity that would allow students to form lasting friendships? An activity that would help students become more disciplined and confident?

Fortunately, there is such an activity. Unfortunately, many schools will not make it a part of their curriculum, due to issues of funding and scheduling. This activity is something that everyone is aware of, but not everyone has a chance to participate in. This activity is music. For years, music classes have been the ugly ducklings of school curriculums—the last courses to be added, the first courses to be cut. They have always taken second place to traditional academic classes. Music, however, has proved itself to be extremely beneficial time and time again, from the undeniable improvement in grades regarding traditional academic classes to the glowing remarks from music students everywhere. In an ever-changing world, the addition of music education in schools needs to be next on the academic agenda.  Music education should be a required component in all schools due to the proven academic, social, and personal benefits that it provides.

According to the No Child Left Behind Act, the following are defined as, “core academic subjects”: English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, the arts [emphasis added], history, and geography (Benefits of the Study 1). Although music, being a part of the arts, is supposedly on the same level as other academic subjects, it is not being treated as such.

Music education greatly enhances students’ understanding and achievement in non-musical subjects. For example, a ten-year study, which tracked over 25,000 middle and high school students, showed that students in music classes receive higher scores on standardized tests than students with little to no musical involvement. The musical students scored, on average, sixty-three points higher on the verbal section and forty-four points higher on the math sections of the SATs than non-music students (Judson). When applying to colleges, these points could be the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection letter.

Furthermore, certain areas of musical training are tied to specific areas of academics; this concept is called transfer. According to Susan Hallam, “Transfer between tasks is a function of the degree to which the tasks share cognitive processes” (5-6). To put this simply, the more related two subjects are, the more transfer will ensue. This can be evidenced with the correlation between rhythm instruction and spatial-temporal reasoning, which is integral in the acquisition of important math skills. The transfer can be explained by the fact that rhythm training emphasizes proportions, patterns, fractions, and ratios, which are expressed as mathematical relations (Judson). Transfer can be seen in other academic subjects as well. For example, in a 2000 study of 162 sixth graders, Ron Butzlaff concluded that students with two or three years of instrumental music experience had significantly better results on the Stanford Achievement Test (a verbal and reading skills test) than their non-musical counterparts (qtd. in Judson). This experiment demonstrates that music can affect improvement in many different academic subjects. All in all, it can be shown that music education is a worthwhile investment for improving students’ understanding and achievement in academic subjects.

Related to academic achievement is success in the workforce. The Backstreet Boys state that, “Practicing music reinforces teamwork, communication skills, self-discipline, and creativity” (Why Music?). These qualities are all highly sought out in the workplace. Creativity, for example, is, “one of the top-five skills important for success in the workforce,” according to Lichtenberg, Woock, and Wright (Arts Education Partnership 5). Participation in music enhances a student’s creativeness. Willie Jolley, a world-class professional speaker, states that his experience with musical improvisation has benefited him greatly regarding business. Because situations do not always go as planned, one has to improvise, and come up with new strategies (Thiers, et. al). This type of situation can happen in any job; and when it does, creativity is key. Similarly, music strengthens a person’s perseverance and self-esteem—both qualities that are essential in having a successful career (Arts Education Partnership 5). Thus, music education can contribute to students’ future careers and occupational endeavors.

Participation in music also boasts social benefits for students. Music is a way to make friends. Dimitra Kokotsaki and Susan Hallam completed a study dealing with the perceived benefits of music; in their findings they wrote, “Participating in ensembles was also perceived as an opportunity to socialize with like-minded people, make new friends and meet interesting people, who without the musical engagement they would not have had the opportunity to meet” (11). Every time a student is involved in music, they have the chance to meet new people, and form lasting friendships. Likewise, in a study by Columbia University, it was revealed that students who participate in the arts are often more cooperative with teachers and peers, have more self-confidence, and are better able to express themselves (Judson). Through one activity, a student can reap all of these benefits, as well as numerous others. Moreover, the social benefits of music education can continue throughout a student’s life in ways one would never suspect. An example of this would be that “students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among any other group in our society” (Judson). By just participating in a fun school activity, students can change their lives for the better. Music education can help students on their journey to success.

Chinese philosopher Confucius once stated, “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” (Arts Education Partnership 1). Music education provides personal benefits to students that enrich their lives. In the study of perceived benefits of music by Dimitra Kokotsaki and Susan Hallam, it was found that “participating in an ensemble enhanced feelings of self-achievement for the study’s participants, assisted individuals in overcoming challenges, built self-confidence, and raised determination to make more effort to meet group expectations regarding standards of playing” (12). In an ensemble, every member is equally important, from the first chair to the last chair. Thus every person must be able to play all of their music and be ready for anything. When one person does not practice their music and comes to rehearsal unprepared, it reflects upon the whole ensemble. Needless to say, no one wants to be that person. So students take it upon themselves to show that they want to be there and come prepared. This type of attitude continues throughout students’ lives. Furthermore, group participation in music activities can assist in the development of leadership skills (Kokotsaki and Hallam 13). One participant in the perceived benefits of music study stated that, “I have gained confidence in my leadership skills through conducting the Concert Band” (Kokotsaki and Hallam 28). Conducting an ensemble is just one of the many leadership opportunities available to music students.

Even though it has been proven that music education benefits students, many people argue that it still should not be required in schools. They state that with the increasing importance placed on standardized testing, there is not enough class time to include music classes (Abril and Gault 68). However, it has been shown that the time students spend in music classes does not hinder their academic success. A study by Hodges and O’Connell found that “being excused from non-musical classes to attend instrumental lessons does not adversely affect academic performance” (Hallam 14). Thus, in reality, having students enroll in music classes would not be detrimental to their academic performance, and the students would then be able to reap all of the benefits that come with music education. Furthermore, funding for music education is an issue at many schools. The people in charge of determining funding for schools often choose to fund traditional academic classes over arts programs. Paul Harvey states, “Presently, we are spending twenty-nine times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment” (Hale 8). Clearly, the current system for the allocation of funds for schools is not adequate. By transferring some of the funding from traditional academic classes to music classes, this embarrassment could be avoided. Evidently, although some may try to argue against it, music education should be required in all schools.

What would life be like without music? Imagine it for a moment. No listening to music on the radio on a long drive. No music to dance to. There would not be any soundtracks in movies, and concerts and musicals would be nonexistent. Eventually, no one would even remember what music is. Many people do not realize it, but music has a bigger effect on their lives than they may think, and they would definitely care if it was to disappear. Without music, life would never be the same. To keep music alive, students must be educated about it in schools. Students will not only get to experience and enjoy what music has to offer, but will reap the innumerable benefits that come with music. Ancient Greek philosopher and teacher Plato said it best: “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to imagination, and life to everything.”



Text Box: International Music Academy GIFT CERTIFICATE for new students only  ONE FREE LESSON Call the IMA Office at 905.489.4620 (Markham) or 905.640.6363 (Stouffville) to schedule your first lesson. Once scheduled, the lesson cannot be rescheduled. Cannot be combined with any other offer. No refunds, no exchanges.

Text Box:   Music is sooooooooo beuatiful!  Register for lessons by March 15, 2019 and receive $50 off New students only. 1 offer per family Cannot be combined with any other offer.

 Text Box: REFER A NEW STUDENT and GET ONE FREE LESSON!  When you refer a new student to the IMA, who registers for lesson, you will get one free lesson for every new student. So, if you refer the IMA to 2 new students, we will give you 2 free lessons; for 3 new students – 3 free lessons etc. Fill in the coupon below and leave it with the IMA Office administrator.   Your name: ______________________________  Name of the new student: __________________  You can print or photocopy this coupon as many times as you need. Cannot be combined with any other offer.

Call us in Markham at 905.489.4620 or in Stouffville at 905.640.6363 to start your musical journey today!

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