My name is Sandra Low. I am an adult student who started classical piano studies with no prior music training in September of 2013. I have completed my Conservatory Canada(CC) levels 1, 2 and 4 piano exams - the most recent on Aug 24, 2018. Since September 2019, I have been learning both music theory and level 5 piano with my fifth piano teacher, Andrea Kazmaier. I completed my CC Music Theory Level 1 exam on March 6, 2020 and will be writing my Theory Level 2 exam in Nov/Dec 2021. I will be beginning Level 6 piano repertoire in the fall.
I sang in a community choir for 8 years (2004 - 2011) but started concentrating on solo voice in April 2017. My leaning is towards jazz - I have studied with Deanne Matley, Mandy Morris and Naomi Williams in the past. This September 2021, I started studying voice with Johanna Sillanpaa, who teaches at the Mount Royal University Conservatory. I am excited to learn with her as I have learned from Johanna in the past when I attended a weekend workshop that was organized and taught by both Johanna and my first vocal coach, Deanne in February 2019. I am coming full circle which I think is great because Johanna is an expert in the jazz style. I am looking forward to my studies with Johanna and to learn more about the nuances of singing jazz. I am very happy about this.
I founded this group because I have a real drive to meet fellow adult music learners and wanted to create a peer-to-peer mentoring/learning group where adult learners would have a platform to share, support and grow our music learning together and also perform our music for each other. I hope that that our group will grow into a strong community so that we start developing and programming music education tailored specifically for adults as currently there is a dearth of these programs. Currently, we have 16 members including myself - twelve whose main instrument is piano, two violinists, one classical guitarist and now a vocalist. But many of us have a 2nd instrument (and a third) we are learning or have extra skills. My main instrument is piano but am also learning voice and our president, Edel, is a pianist but also is learning both flute and ukelele and sings in a choir. Linda who has just joined our group is learning both piano and voice, Kathleen is learning both piano and percussion and Tony is a pianist and a composer. Donalda is taking voice lessons and sings in her church choir too.
Updated October 3rd, 2021
This is me playing at the Alberta Piano Teachers Association (APTA) festival on March 8, 2019 at Renfrew Baptist Church. This photo was taken by Edel, vice-president of this group at the time, but is now the president. Edel has also become a really good friend. She came to support me at my recital. I usually have a real problem with my nerves but I was dligent in taking steps to quell my nerves prior to his recital and I was so amazed at how calm I was while playing my pieces. You can read more about how to manage performance anxiety in my music learning blog.
What Can You Tell Me About Your Group? What Happens at These Meetings?
This group is a non-profit which means that all monies raised in excess of expenses will be re-directed back to the group for the benefits of its members. Members will be comprised of adults (age 18+) learning music - all instruments, all levels and inclusive of all learners regardless of whether you are learning from a music school or a private music studio.
Group meetings are held twice a month and will have 2 components : 1) discussion and 2)performances by group members. Discussion will always open with introductions of all group members and a brief intro of everyone's music journey if a new member is joining. After opening introductions, we will first determine if there are any challenges that any member is facing and share insights and solutions. As our first mandate is that of social and emotional support, this is of the utmost importance to this group.
Performances by group members will be interspersed among the discussions. Group members are encouraged to introduce their pieces and discuss what they like about the piece. Performance participation is optional but it is a great opportunity to perform for a very supportive peer audience.
These meetings will be member driven and group run. The primary venue will be Steinway Piano Gallery but alternate venues will be sought out if our primary venue is not available. Please note that due to social distancing measures associated with COVID19, the in-person meetings at Steinway are currently suspended and we are meeting only via Zoom but more often - biweekly currently. There is a annual membership fee of $40 per person that will be used to offset various administration, website and venue costs. The payment of this fee entitles a group member to attend all bi-weekly meetings for the entire year and to participate in educational events organized by our group at subsidized member prices. You may pay the yearly fee in cash or email e-transfer.
If you are interested in joining this peer-to-peer learning support group, please go to the contacts page and fill out the e-mail form. Please include a little about yourself and your own unique music journey. If you want to volunteer, please indicate on the form as well. If you are a person that is seriously thinking of taking up music again or for the first time, just fill in the instrument that you are thinking of learning and if you have previous learning, why you stopped. We are happy to provide the support you need to start or continue your music journey.
Please come and join us to help create the adult learning support group that you desire. As the direction of this group will be driven by members’ needs, how the group evolves depends on your participation.
This is my singing debut at the Listening Room Jam Session at Lolita's Lounge in Inglewood on Dec 13th, 2017. I was super nervous but I was able to sing my song - I didn't forget the words. After I did it, I was jumping up and down inside! I couldn't believe that I had done it!