Fall is in the air…

Our chapter is back on full gear! The “ber” months are almost here and we are ready to bring more music and joy to our community, as well as face challenges that will come along our way! We are glad that our membership remain strong and cohesive! And we are on track in our planning and organizing events for the 2022-2023 school year! Join us as we embark on our first event this fall: MTNA Studio Fall Festival! Register now!

What Music Means to Me…

“How would you like to try piano, Sunny?”
My little 6-year-old self-squinted up at my mother.
“Pee-ya-no?”


I’d often heard the sounds of the instrument my mother played as I went to bed, but I wasn’t sure if that was something I could learn myself.


As I spent more time practicing, I immersed myself in different styles, composers, and periods. I’ve performed at countless recitals and competitions, and recently wrote my own piece for my school orchestra’s annual Halloween concert.


As I grew older, I became interested in exploring the ways that music reflects our emotional state — particularly feelings that cannot be easily expressed in words. In the final boss battle of OMORI, a game about struggling with guilt, loss, and depression, the track that plays is a simple violin harmony, hauntingly beautiful and full of sadness. But as the battle progresses, layers of bass and cello are added, and the track becomes heavily distorted, to the point where it almost sounds like someone screaming. The violin is consumed, like the main character being consumed by guilt and despair visualized. In Celeste’s “Anxiety,” a lone piano melody is similarly consumed by heavy synth beats, completely overpowering it: a panic attack in auditory form.


While learning about evolution in biology, it occurred to me that music might offer some kind of evolutionary function. After all, responsiveness to music seems nearly universal — music has played an important role in virtually every known civilization, past and present. I wondered if perhaps music could have served as a precursor to language: a way of communicating emotions and ideas.
I remember what my Honors Humanities teacher taught me about the different Greek words for love — philia: intimate friendship; eros: romantic love; agape: unconditional love. In English, we only have one word for this rather multifaceted concept, but music allows us to express a nearly infinite range of these more nuanced variations.


Some scholars are skeptical that music offers any evolutionary function at all. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker referred to music as auditory cheesecake: enjoyable, no doubt, but nothing more substantial than that. When arguing in support of programs like Music4Kids, we often cite statistics that show students who play music perform better in school, among many other practical benefits. But even if this wasn’t the case, I believe in music as a tool to develop students’ confidence, and a means to express the kinds of feelings that aren’t as easy to convey in words. More than anything, I simply want the kids I work with to see music as fun.

-Sunny Fan, 2022 High School Senior Scholarship Award Recipient, CAPMT 1 San Diego South Chapter

Music to me is like a gateway to bringing joy to others and the world.

As we finished our penultimate song at a senior home, I announced the next song and thanked the audience for coming to listen to us, only to be met with a “No, thank YOU” followed by a chorus of laughter. I promised we would return in December to perform our Christmas lineup. As I was preparing to leave after finishing our last piece, one of the residents, Mrs. Taylor, came up to me and said the performance was our best in her eight years of hearing us perform, and she couldn’t wait to hear our twists on the Yuletide classics.

Prior to the pandemic, my tenure as North County String Ensemble president oversaw a half-dozen performances at senior homes and children’s hospitals. Those performances embodied why I feel good when volunteering: the connection that forms when I instill splendor into someone else’s life.

Boy was the merriment a-flowing at that Christmas performance, our last before the pandemic forced us to lock away our instruments for the foreseeable future. Being away from not only the community we performed for but also the talented violinists and cellists I lead every week at rehearsal stoked a pain that gave way to a yearning to connect, to perform in the retirement home lounge and lobby of the children’s hospital. Sadly, the two places I most want to remain the most restricted.

When we were finally allowed to rehearse again, we could only send recordings. At that first rehearsal, I ushered the dozen of players to their seats and basked in the buzz of togetherness. My look toward the director was his cue to tell everyone to take out the sheet music and set our bows. The music started and came satisfyingly into sync, each of us, without saying it, knowing to play with even more heart in order to bridge the digital abyss. And I just knew that somewhere out there, Mrs. Taylor would soon be smiling.

-Nicholas Xue, 2022 High School Senior Scholarship Award Recipient, CAPMT 1 San Diego South Chapter

Spring Pop Festival

SDSC’s Pop Festival took place on Saturday, April 30th at the Point Loma Hervey Library in the Community Room. Performers included pianists, cellists, vocalists and a violinist. The audience enjoyed a variety of 20th century compositions, many written by local chapter member Luyan Guo. All students received a certificate, enamel pin and medal. Elda Peralta adjudicated the event, providing thoughtful comments to each student. Ms. Peralta awarded Honors to Aria Hajali, Tyler Diep and Alivia Liu & Alicia Liu.

Congratulations to all participating teachers, students!

Pop Music Festival: April 30, 2022

Register now and showcase your fun and creative side. Let’s play Pop music!

Featuring music students of San Diego South Chapter of CAPMT, this performance opportunity in recital format will have you singing, finger-snapping and feet-tapping! All instruments, ages and abilities welcome!

Genre will include pop tunes, jazz, rock, blues, Disney themes, movie themes, Broadway musicals, etc., except classical music. Improvisation is encouraged. What are you waiting for? Register now!

Venue: Point Loma/Hervey Library, San Diego, CA

Date: April 30, 2020, Door opens at 10:30 AM

In-person Piano and Ensemble Auditions

Unlike the previous year where the auditions were held virtually, our chapter was able to hold in-person auditions at Scripps Miramar Ranch Library’s spacious Community Room equipped with a stage and a 7-ft Schimmel grand piano. It was exciting to see music students perform in-person once again.

There were 5 teams for the Ensemble Auditions, with piano, violin, cello, and guzheng as their instruments. Each of the nine student pianists for the PIano Auditions performed 3 pieces, 2 memorized solos and the 3rd piece either another solo or a piano duet. The auditions were adjudicated by pianist, teacher, and clinician, Heidi Lee Kim, NCTM, CAPMT Certification Chair and CAPMT District 8 Director.

For everyone’s safety, everyone wear masks inside the performance hall; the piano was disinfected between players, and students’ hands were likewise sanitized before playing. All attendees signed and submitted COVID waiver forms as mandated by CAPMT and MTNA. Students were graded from 1-5, with those receiving a score of 5-,5, and 5+ invited to perform at CAPMT Southern Festival on January 8, 2022. The students did their performances very well and the supportive audience were generous in giving the appreciation to their commendable efforts.

SDSC’s Young Artists Competition was a blast!

The piano division evaluations of the Young Artist Competition took place on November 6 in person in the afternoon in Scripps Miramar Ranch Library. Twenty students from four studios competed in five categories according to the difficulty level of their repertoire. Each student performed one memorized composition. Pieces represented each of the four keyboard periods from the Baroque to the Contemporary period. After the evaluator, Dr. Sonya Schumann, announced the winners students received a participation certificate,a trophy, and a written evaluation of their performance. First place winners received a cash award. The students performed in front of a very appreciative audience of about twenty people. All safety protocols were observed as all attendees checked in with their COVID waiver forms and everyone wore masks at all times. Students’ hands were sanitized before they played, and the piano keyboard was disinfected between the performers. Everyone present enjoyed hearing live music again, and the competition was a great opportunity for students to return to performing in front of a real audience!
The recorded entries in the string division of the Young Artist Competition were evaluated virtually by Zachary Reaves. There were several entries from 3 studios in 3 categories : Orchestra (2) Ensemble (2) and String Solo (15). A total of 35 students participated playing cello, violin, viola. They received a certificate, a trophy and a written evaluation, and the winners received a cash award. The virtual performances of participants can be viewed on the San Diego South Chapter YouTube channel.

The Fall Festival was a hit!

The Fall Festival on October 30th was the first in-person CAPMT recital since March 2020, and it was a great success. Twenty-four music students from six studios performed in two recitals at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. Piano, guitar, and violin students played seasonal favorites to get the audience in the mood for Halloween the following day. All performers were awarded a certificate, medal, and treat bag for their participation. Performers were encouraged to wear costumes, and many participated in the costume contest. The costume contest winners were awarded with an extra treat bag. The audience wrote compliment cards as each student performed that the students received at the end of the recital. Despite the challenges due to COVID, it was a pleasure to hear and see live music back on stage.

A well attended event!
Performers dressed up in recital attire and costumes!
Recital 1 students and teachers
All performers sanitized hands before playing and the piano keys were cleaned after each performer.
Various instruments were represented including piano, violin, guitar, and voice.
Recital 2 students and teachers.

MTNA Studio Fall Festival

Join us in our forthcoming MTNA Studio Fall Festival! Register now!

Calling all motivated music students of all ages and abilities of San Diego county! Perform live (in-person) in this FUN festival in recital format! Play a piece or 2, memorized or with your sheet music in front of a supportive audience! All participants will receive a commemorative medal, MTNA Studio Festival Certificate, a comment sheet from an adjudicator and a treat bag!

Register here!

2021 Virtual Honors Recital & Gala

It is that time of the year again when we will be celebrating and recognizing all teacher members, donors, music students, and supporters of our chapter: CAPMT District 1 San Diego South Chapter! This June 12, 2021, join us as we feature award-winning music students and selected studio representatives from our fellow music teachers in an hour-long music recital! We will pay tribute to all members who continued to stay and support the chapter during this very eventful year of 2020-2021. Visit our Facebook page for more updates. Stay tuned!