August 2017

Hello everyone!
We’ve been enjoying the wonderful rain. The plants have been taking off…and of course so have the weeds. To me, some of the mornings already seem to have a fall chill to it.

Fall lessons started at the beginning of August and we’re getting back into the swing of things.  I wanted to let everyone know about the 4th annual Chamber Music Festival. The main organizer Adrienne Hickey has spent a lot of time and effort in getting musicians, rehearsing with them, and organizing the many tiny details in putting on an event like this one. So, if you’re looking for something to do next Saturday evening, come and enjoy the sound of Brahms, Telemann, and Vivaldi at the Sierra Vista Methodist Church at 6pm.

Until next time, Maranatha

Spring Music Post from Maranatha

Although it’s not officially summer yet, some of these Arizona days sure feel like it. Anybody have vacation plans for summer break or just going to enjoy some time off? I had great aspirations to get a blog post out before many of the music recitals so I could put the upcoming dates in my post, but it just didn’t happen. It was a busy few weeks. Way back in March, I had four students compete in the Inge Young Competition. They did very well. Rachel and Essie placed first in their division and Hannah and William placed second in their division.

My music semester finished out with a spring recital at Kino Hall! Good job to all my students who got up on stage and performed…even if you were nervous.

It’s a ways off, but the Sierra Vista Symphony concert will be on Saturday, October 7th. One of the pieces on our list will be the Hallelujah Chorus including community singers. I’m excited to play it with everyone and hear how it’s going to sound.

I started up summer lessons a couple weeks ago but still have some spots available if you’re looking to take some music lessons during the summer.

I hope everyone has a great weekend….until next time!


September 2016 post from Maranatha

Hello everyone,

Hope you all enjoyed your summer. With school being in session for a few weeks, does everything feel like it’s getting back into the swing of things?

Taking pictures of flowers is another hobby of mine. These flowers are so cheerful!

Taking pictures of flowers is another hobby of mine. These flowers are so cheerful!

Music is a gift that you can share with family and friends or just enjoy for yourself. I’m not going to say it’s easy to play an instrument well, it’s not. But the benefits of sticking with an instrument are amazing: you learn an instrument, discipline, the reward of practicing well, the joy of music. Studies have shown that music is beneficial to the brain, so not only is it a good skill to learn it helps with other aspects as well. And no one is too old or young to appreciate music. Whatever instrument you play or would like to play, enjoy music and don’t quit when it gets hard. You can do it! From a teacher’s perspective, it is hard to teach sometimes but when a student’s face lights up in understanding of a new concept or when another student exclaims over a new discovery of the piano’s pedals, it brightens my day and teaching as well. Thank you parents for what you do so that your child can take music lessons and letting me be part of the music discovery.

My spring studio recital.

My spring studio recital.

The rest of this year will have its fair share of music events. Just last month, the Cochise Music Teachers Association had a Summer Music Festival with an excellent program and fine refreshments. Francilia Schofield and I co-chaired the event but missed Adrienne Hickey and her energy in organizing the event.

Group photo at Summer Music Festival

Group photo at Summer Music Festival

"Sonshine Ensemble" at the Summer Music Festival

“Sonshine Ensemble” at the Summer Music Festival

The local youth orchestra recently just started their semester and this week quilt tickets are going on sale. A supporter generously donated a beautiful “Symphony in B” quilt. The CCYO is also going to have another fall yard sale fundraiser. So, if you have any items you’re getting rid of when cleaning out the garage, just let us know.

Symphony in B quilt!

Symphony in B quilt!

The Sierra Vista Symphony will be starting rehearsals at the end of this month for the first concert of the season. Last year, three conductors vied for the SVSO position and Toru Tagawa is now our new conductor and music director. The concert is Saturday October 15th, 7pm at Buena Performing Arts Center.

I hope to see you at one of these events! Have a great rest of the weekend. Keep practicing and loving music!

Cheers, Maranatha


Spring Update

Greetings from beautiful spring Arizona. This last week seems to have been cooler but summer temperatures are not far away, I’m sure. Here is a link to an interesting article that one of my student’s parents shared with me. When you first glance at the title you might wonder, but another music teacher wrote something that many music teacher’s probably have come in contact with or will at sometime. But it’s interesting to read for teachers, parents, and students alike.

The Sierra Vista Symphony’s next concert is coming up here pretty quick. April 16th at 7pm at the Buena Performing Arts Center.

The youth orchestra students are getting ready for their spring concert which will be on May 4th, 7pm.

At the time of this picture, the youth orchestra was rehearsing together for their performance in the 2nd annual fundraiser concert. All three groups played together!

At the time of this picture, the youth orchestra was rehearsing together for their performance in the 2nd annual fundraiser concert. All three groups played together!

Hope to see you there! Sincerely, Maranatha Struse


Upcoming Events

Hi everyone,
Happy New Year!
Last year :), really only about a month ago, I had my studio recital for my violin and piano students. Good job to all who performed-even if you were nervous you went up there and did it anyway!DSC_0118

Here are a few events coming up:

-Cochise County Youth Orchestra starts: Tuesday, January 12th at Cochise College.
If you know of anyone interested in playing strings with a group, please pass it on!

-Sierra Vista Symphony Winter Concert: Friday, January 15th at Buena High School, 7pm.
The theme of this concert is “Let us Dance”. We will be doing some Borodin, Dvorak, Copland, Brahms, and Tchaikovsky’s, The Sleeping Beauty. Lots of fast notes and some gorgeous melodies, too!

Our local music teacher’s association has two events coming up as well, the Stepping Stones master classes and the Inge Young Competition.

Stepping Stones Master Classes will have their annual strings and piano classes. STRINGS: Friday, February 5th with Holly Schurr and PIANO: Saturday, February 6th with Dr. Raymond Ryder.

-Inge Young Competition: STRINGS-Friday, February 19th and PIANO-Saturday, February 20th

-Medley of Melodies 2nd annual Concert and Raffle: A fundraiser concert to benefit the Cochise County Youth Orchestra.MedleyofMelodies-2016


Have a great rest of the weekend! Sincerely, Maranatha Struse


Hearing only left hand but practicing with both hands

hand_piano“Hearing only left hand, but practicing with both”. Several months ago, I had been feeling pain in my right arm a burning sensation that I attributed to overworking it. Violin playing and typing especially irritated it. The first day I noticed it was about a week before a concert, so I figured no big deal, I just need rest that afternoon. But, over the days I continued to ice it and still pain. The day of our Sonshine Ensemble concert arrived. The concert was great but afterwards I definitely used some ice. Over the next few weeks, I used my left hand and arm mostly and giving my right a rest. This was rather frustrating for my piano practice as I had assignments to finish, etc. In hope that I could keep some right hand practice up without actually practicing, I played the right hand mentally. Then I would try playing the left hand while right hand was playing mentally. And have you ever tried memorizing one hand without playing it…that was hard? After finally being able to add some right hand I found that practicing the right hand mentally did help keep it up. It wasn’t nearly as good as if I had physically practiced right hand. And the mental challenge was quite something…to hear left hand but also play right hand and not hear it. But the left hand also got some practice totally alone and the sections, pieces, and left hand were much stronger for it. For, violin I substituted just finger tapping the strings to practice sight reading and a new piece as I was learning. Obviously I couldn’t do the bow techniques and practice that required but I also listened to my working pieces. After a couple months of treating my music practice with right hand care, these last few weeks have been great to practice with both hands on the piano and violin.



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A couple of summer events

On June 24th, the Sonshine Ensemble performed at Mountain View Gardens. I think this was one of our best concerts yet. The last piece we played was St. Anne’s Reel, a fun toe-tapping piece to end with. I included the link for this. St. Anne’s Reel Video

And on July 23rd, my students and I played at Mountain View Gardens for end-of-summer Musicale. Fall activities are going to start soon…

June 24th 2015 concert

June 24th 2015 concert

Sonshine Ensemble Concert-June 24, 2015

We recently played at a wedding. The ceremony was located on a sand bar off the San Pedro River underneath cotton wood trees. Picturesque!

We recently played at a wedding. The ceremony was located on a sand bar off the San Pedro River underneath cotton wood trees. Picturesque!

Hello everyone,
The Sonshine Ensemble is putting on a concert of the pieces we having been working on for the last few months.  We will be playing on Wednesday at Mountain View Gardens on June 24 at 3pm. Some of our pieces will be: an arrangement of “The Entertainer”, “the Marriage of Figaro”. Hannah will solo on the 2nd movement of Vivaldi’s Winter accompanied by the ensemble. I am going to play the 3rd movement of a Haydn concerto accompanied by the ensemble. Some of us will also be playing solos without the ensemble. Hope to see you there. Sincerely, Maranatha Struse


Benjamin Gray Farewell Recital

Benjamin Gray Farewell Recital

Benjamin Gray Farewell Recital

Hello everyone,
My student Benjamin Gray is giving a farewell recital on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 6pm, Kino Hall 800 Taylor Dr. Some of his pieces include Intermezzo Op.118 No.2 by Johannes Brahms, Waterfall by Jon Schmidt, and two Chopin Preludes from Op. 28. Hope to see you there. Sincerely, Maranatha


Spring Events

Greetings everyone,

Spring is here; new things are growing, flowers are blooming, and the weather is heating up.

One Saturday morning, this butterfly visited our peach tree.

One Saturday afternoon, this butterfly visited our peach tree.

Spring also means lots of music events. Here are a few that are coming up:

April 18, 2015—Sierra Vista Symphony Concert Buena High School at 7pm. This will be the last symphony concert that Roger Bayes will be conducting, as he announced his symphony retirement last year. The Symphony will be playing the Overture from “The Marriage of Figaro”, as well as Beethoven’s 5th Symphony and a Mozart Symphony.

April 25 & 26, 2015–-Bisbee Community Chorus 7pm on Saturday and 2:30pm on Sunday at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Old Bisbee.

April 25—Francie’s Fundraising Recital 6pm, Saturday at Kino Hall, Sierra Vista. This recital will feature local musicians and the funds raised are for the annual “Francie’s Piano Competition”.

May 6—Cochise County Youth Orchestra Spring Concert 7pm, Wednesday at Kino Hall, 800 Taylor Drive, Sierra Vista. All three groups of the youth orchestra will be performing. And a special joint performance will be with the Cochise College Orchestra & Sonshine Ensemble playing alongside the advanced orchestra.

May 10—Maranatha Music Education Student Recital 4:30pm, Sunday at Kino Hall, Sierra Vista. My students will be playing some of the pieces they have been working on this semester.

Hope everyone has a lovely afternoon and I hope to see you there at one or all of these events.

Sincerely, Maranatha Struse