Newsletter: November 14, 2017
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Newsletter: November 14, 2017

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This edition of the eletter contains general news. The next issue focuses on accolades and events. The deadline for submissions is Monday, Nov. 20.

HCD Adopts Statement Regarding Students with Exceptionalities

“It’s Okay to Say” – Exceptionalities Statement

The Hartt School Community Division is committed to providing access to our programming for all populations, including children and adults with special learning needs. In order to best serve students with exceptionalities, we strive to maintain an open dialogue of clear communication with families and students about their specific needs. Although we are unable to provide the same services as public schools, or other programs that specialize in this area, we will work with each family to identify resources and support structures to help the student to succeed. If requested, HCD is able to recommend options for school programming, and will offer guidance to educators concerning appropriate and beneficial instructional activities and/or materials. To discuss unique needs, please contact Admissions and Alumni Coordinator, Christopher Rizzio, at or call 860.768.5593. Hartt Community Division Professional Staff will facilitate dialogue with the appropriate instructor, director, and/or administrator.

Enroll Now for Winter Creative Studies Programs!

Creative Studies is now enrolling students for programs starting in January and February. These exciting new classes are listed below. We also have spots for middle and high school students in our jazz combo program and/or our Hot Club. Please contact Luke Nelson ( if you are interested in joining a jazz combo or hot club.


Thursdays 6:30–7:30 p.m. (grades 7–12)
Starts Jan. 11.
Instructor: Luke Nelson

This 6-week session gives students the skills and knowledge to best express themselves through song. Students study music theory, develop performance skills, and examine classic songs. Understanding song structure, developing rhyming techniques, and discovering new musical styles help every songwriter unleash her or his full potential. A piano will be available for students or they can bring their own guitars. Accompanying skills will also be taught in this class to best support and present each musical work. Whether you are just beginning to write songs, or are a seasoned troubadour, this course will help you find your voice and make your strongest songs.

Film Scoring 
FilmscoringSaturdays at 12:30–1:30 p.m. (grades 4–8) or Sundays 1:45–2:45 p.m. (grades 9–12)
Starts Jan. 13/14.

Instructor: Jessica Rudman
This 6-week class introduces students to the world of film scoring. Students learn fundamental concepts and approaches to creating music for movies, TV, and video games. They use music technology to compose their own soundtracks to short films and scenes.   

American Roots Ensemble
Saturdays at 2:30–3:30 p.m. (grades 7–12)
Starts Feb. 3.
Instructor: Luke Nelson
14 classes

American Roots provides a fun learning environment for students in grades 7–12 to perform American roots music, from early country and blues to folk revival and bluegrass classics. In other words, if you want to be in a band that pays tribute to the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Patsy Cline, and more, this is the place for you!  We will use limited music reading and lots of ear training to develop authentic roots music performances that increase each student’s playing and listening skills.   

Ukulele at HarttUkulele
Thursdays 5–6 p.m. (grade 7–adult)
Starts Feb. 1.
Instructor: Luke Nelson
14 classes

Ukulele class offers an entry into the world of ensemble playing on an instrument that is easy to learn and played around the world. Beginners and seasoned players are encouraged to join this class as we learn the basics of melody and chord playing on music from rock to Bach. Students will learn by ear, playing together as an ensemble, while developing musical skills along the way. Students will supply their own ukuleles. Open to grades 7 through adult.

Faculty Spotlight: Blake and Reagan Brasch

By Liz Bologna, Receptionist

This year, HCD is pleased to welcome husband and wife Blake and Reagan Brasch to our faculty. Blake teaches Suzuki and traditional cello, and Reagan teaches Suzuki and traditional violin, and is also the Early Childhood Education Coordinator. Both have deep musical roots from their childhoods. “From the age of 6, I was very active in lessons, groups, and eventually orchestras and chamber music,” says Blake. “This was true for my whole family. We figure almost every mile of the over 280 thousand miles logged on our family’s station wagon was for some music-related purpose for me or my siblings.” Both Blake and Reagan began playing string instruments at an early age, through Suzuki instruction. When they turned to teaching music, they felt Suzuki was the best method for them. “As a product of the Suzuki method,” says Reagan, “I knew it was a fabulous way to learn.”

Blake BraschHowever, the option to pursue music as a career can be a difficult decision to make, for students and parents alike. When asked what advice he would give to students considering this, Blake had this to share: "I think that students with a passion for studying music should absolutely go for it. Based on my conversations with parents of my cello students who studied music in college themselves and with colleagues, it is easier to pursue a musical career and decide later to make a living in a different way than vice versa. I have met many happy people who went for a career in music and life took them in a different direction. They never regret the time they spent. I have met quite a few who regretted never pursuing music more seriously."

Blake and Reagan see the benefits of studying music in many facets of students' lives as they grow. “I have many students who do not play professionally but have told me that the skills they learned through violin help them in their lives every day,” said Reagan. “My brother, who is a chef, told me that cello taught him that you need repetition to master a skill. He feels that all the artistry he put to cello also has a place in creating dishes.” Similarly, Blake’s father, who is an electrical engineer and not a musician, recently told Blake that he “never doubted that studying music was a very practical pursuit in college for me and my siblings. He liked that it required discipline, hard work, and analytical thinking—skills that he figured we would need regardless of our career paths. He also liked that it was competitive, and the result of effort is quantifiable; 6 hours of work produces obvious results, and the individualized feedback given in lessons and coaching is immensely valuable. In his opinion, few of the other possible undergraduate majors offer the same degree of discipline and feedback.” Whether students study music as a hobby, academically, or professionally, the skills they acquire stay with them in life and serve them in other ways. 

Reagan BraschStudying music also had one extra benefit for Blake and Reagan. “I know this is so corny,” said Reagan, “but Blake and I met originally as teenagers at a chamber music camp that his mother ran in Colorado. Fast forward to much later, and we reconnected at the Suzuki Conference in Chicago." They later married and lived in Chicago. It was in Chicago that Reagan became more interested in early-childhood education and became director of Musikgarten. “As a Suzuki teacher, I was very interested in setting up a foundation for my students as young as possible. Musikgarten is a program that starts from birth to age 7. The idea behind Musikgarten is using folk songs and rhymes along with many different genres of music to help parents create the perfect environment at home for music learning as a family.”

It is this early emphasis on musical education and family involvement in the Suzuki method that Blake and Reagan like best. As former Suzuki students themselves, they each fondly remember encouragement and support from their parents and strive to foster that same environment for their students and families. “As a teacher,” says Blake, “I cherish being one of a child's first music teachers, helping them discover and nurture their abilities during this formative time in their life. It is a privilege to witness the deepening relationship between parent and child with music as the catalyst.” It is this kind of student-teacher relationship that initially inspired Reagan to become a music teacher: “I did a research paper in high school on a profession that I was interested in. I interviewed my violin teacher and she made the job seem very rewarding because she had families that had been with her from age 3 to when they graduated. You really have an impact when you are with a student for that long.”

Reagan and Blake, like their fellow HCD faculty, believe in the significance and sustainability of music education. Whether students and families choose traditional lessons, Suzuki programs, or ensemble experiences, HCD faculty and staff hope to foster that journey, providing inspiration and encouragement, from birth well into adulthood.


Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, 1–3 p.m.

oboe studentGet a jump start on your Northern Middle School Regional audition preparations!  Gain confidence with fellow middle school students alongside the Hartt Community Division Woodwind Quintet and ace your audition in January. 

The workshop will include a performance by the Hartt Community Division Woodwind Quintet and then break out and learn from HCD Faculty in small groups how to prepare for your audition. The breakout sessions will include: 

  • An opportunity to receive feedback on your solo
  • Scale Practice
  • Sight-reading Tips and Tricks
  • Positive Audition Discussion: Conquer the nerves and dress for success

All students preparing for the Northern Regional Audition are welcome to come to this event! Register online

Save the Date: Spring 2018 Hartt Suzuki Workshop

2018 Suzuki Workshop

HCD's Suzuki Workshop will run Friday through Sunday, March 16–18, 2018. Programming will be offered for Suzuki violin, viola, and guitar students. Please check back soon. Updated information will be posted on our Workshops page when available.

Order Your HCD Dance Jackets!

Submit your order form by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19 to get your dance jacket by Dec. 7.

Jillian Dance Jacket

  • 100% polyester tricot
  • Soft-brushed backing
  • Cadet collar
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Slash pockets
  • Rib knit cuffs and hem

The Hartt School Community Division Dance Department track jacket design will be printed on the Sport-Tek® Piped Tricot Track Jacket. Personalization is available on the front left chest area as shown. Please indicate only one name for personalization. A first name is recommended. If you are ordering more than one jacket, please submit a separate form for each order. Contact Kate at with any questions or to change your order. Orders placed after Nov. 19 will be processed during spring semester.

Men’s Choir Celebration Featuring the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men’s Ensemble

Brooklyn Youth Choir

Join us on November 18 for a celebration of men’s voices! The Connecticut Children’s Chorus is proud to be hosting the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men’s Ensemble for this special concert event. Named WQXR New York’s 2016–17 Artists-in-Residence and celebrating its 25th anniversary, Brooklyn Youth Chorus is a collective of young singers re-envisioning choral music performance through artistic innovation, collaboration, and their distinctively beautiful sound. Our own Men’s Choir will be performing under the direction of Gabriel Löfvall, as well as the Bass Clef Choir of Saint Patrick Saint Anthony Church.  Also joining in this program is the Silk City Chorus, an 80-man chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society—an international organization dedicated to preserving the barbershop style of singing in four-part a cappella harmony. Please come and support these men of all ages as we come together in song!

Saturday, Nov. 18, 6 p.m.
Immanuel Congregational Church, 10 Woodland St., Hartford, Conn.
Suggested donation: $10
Facebook event page


  • Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men’s Ensemble
    Conductor: Kris Burke

  • Connecticut Children’s Chorus Men’s Choir 
    Conductor: Gabriel Löfvall

  • Silk City Chorus
    Conductor: Todd Lamson

  • St. Patrick-St. Anthony Bass Clef Choir
    Conductor: Gabriel Löfvall

  • Choral Club of Hartford
    Conductor: James Boratko


The HCD e-letter is a great place to publish accolades, news, and events concerning HCD faculty, students, and staff. If you have an article or upcoming event to submit, please email and indicate “HCD e-letter submission” in the title.  The next eletter will feature accolades and events. Please submit items by Monday, November 20, for publication on Tuesday, Nov. 28.

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