We are dedicating this Father’s Day to honoring men who are restauranteurs, business persons, scientists, medical doctors, engineers, mathematicians, teachers, and musicians. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain. Remember no one is immune to the power of music! Parents remember to have classical music on your family’s iPod or iPhone.
Our blog and Radio Show features our “Radio Show’s 2019 Teacher of the Year”, Dr. Monica J. Verona. Also included are two articles on the benefits of studying a musical instrument to improve educational performance, and how listening to classical music improves health. Our June article of the month is “Guaranteeing Your Financial Success” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. This is the second of four articles for teaching you, to take hold of your finances. June is graduation month for high school seniors around the United States.
Radio Show Feature Question for June 2019: Dr. Monica J. Verona is our “Radio Show’s 2019 Teacher of the Year” award winner. Dr. Verona, can you share with us your approach to teaching and motivating your students?
Our blog features Dr. Monica J. Verona our “Radio Show’s 2019 Teacher of the Year”. Dr. Verona is a teacher, concert pianist, chamber musician, Resident Teaching Artist/Piano Faculty and Artistic Director of the yearly Piano Project Festival at the Bloomingdale School of Music
Dr. Monica J. Verona was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Emanuel and Winifred Verona. She “comes from a family of pianists and teachers. Both her sister and brother are professional pianists and teachers. She is the youngest of the three of them.”
Dr. Verona says, “I’m passionate about exploring music and art on the most profound level possible and sharing these impressions with my students, friends and family.”
Dr. Verona has inspired, encouraged, and motivated over 4 generations of students to have successful futures. She has taught at Northern Illinois University, Brooklyn College, and the Bloomingdale School of Music.
Monica and I met at Mu Phi Epsilon, an international music fraternity over 20 years ago. We are long time friends who have enjoyed playing chamber music concerts together in New York City.
Dr. Frank: What were your parents occupations and did your parents play musical instruments?
Dr. Verona says, “My father was an automobile salesman and my mother was a legal secretary. Before engaging in these careers, they owned a restaurant in the heart of what was in the 1950s a thriving downtown area of Milwaukee and whose clientele included professionals of every kind: physicians, attorneys, accountants, business owners, etc. Patrons of “Manny’s Silver Dollar” enjoyed some of the best double-baked potatoes, piping hot ham or roast beef sandwiches, lasagna, and home-made pies. All of this with the sounds of a juke-box in the background that played classical music with performances by the likes of Arthur Rubinstein, György Cziffra, Jascha Heifetz, and Arturo Toscanini.”
“My parents didn’t play any musical instruments at all. They were great music-lovers, however. There was always music in the house and my father used to conduct in front of the high-fi (Yes! Before Stereo!) while listening to recordings of Rachmaninoff or Liszt.”
Dr. Verona: “I’d like to mention here how important parental influence is in any person’s life. In my case as well as my siblings, my parents were a huge motivating force and I owe so much of my character development to them. From an early age, we were privileged to attend many live performances, listen to a healthy collection of recordings by some of the greatest musicians of the 20thcentury, and study with really fine teachers. Most of all, we were encouraged to strive always for excellence and to reach for a noble life. We had no monetary wealth, but we had talent, purpose, and love for the music we have pursued all our lives. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling upbringing.”
Dr. Frank: “When did you begin studying the piano and what grade were you in?”
Dr. Monica Verona: “I began studying at age 6 in first grade. My first teacher was my sister with whom I studied through high school. In college, my primary and most important piano teacher was Naomi Zaslav with whom I studied solo literature as well as chamber music. In conjunction with this, I also studied chamber music closely with the Fine Arts Quartet, performing with their students as well as with the Quartet itself. My later teachers include Zhanna Dawson, Paul Hersh, Joseph Seiger, Ada Kopetz-Korf, and Karl Ulrich Schnabel as well as master class studies with Sergio Perticaroli, Ivan Davis, John Browning, Menahem Pressler, Aube Tzerko, Mischa Dichter, and Leon Fleisher.”
Dr. Frank: “What were your favorite subjects in middle school and high school and did you have a favorite teacher who inspired you?”
Dr. Verona: “I’ve always loved literature, history, and languages in addition to art and music. In elementary school, my favorite teacher was my art teacher and in high school, it was my English teacher.”
Dr. Frank: “Where did you attend college and graduate school and what was your major and did any of your college professors inspire you?”
Dr. Verona: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (undergraduate), San Francisco Conservatory of Music (undergraduate), Manhattan School of Music (graduate), Northern Illinois University-Dekalb (post-graduate)
“I attended University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, first as a music major and later switched to humanities. I received my B.A. in Italian Language and Literature and Art History (with concentration on Baroque painting and sculpture and African and Pre-Columbian art).
“I later attended the Manhattan School of Music where I received my graduate degrees (MM and DMA).”
“After my Masters Degree, I held a fellowship at Northern Illinois University-Dekalb (post-graduate), where I received a Performer’s Certificate Degree.”
“My most inspiring teachers in college were pianist, Naomi Zaslav, and the Fine Arts Quartet. I consider myself enormously lucky to have studied with these remarkable musicians who truly taught me everything and gave me the building blocks to work toward artistry.”
“In addition to this, my comparative literature professor, Mary Lyden, was greatly influential in strengthening my writing skills. Without her tutelage, I don’t believe I would have been able to write my dissertation much later in graduate school.”
“Patrick McNaughton, my African Art professor taught me how to look at art from a greatly conceptual point of view.”
What are your most memorable Concerts?
Dr. Verona: “Performing as an assisting artist with the Fine Arts Quartet while still an undergraduate. To perform with your teachers on this professional level is a very great honor and privilege.”
Dr. Frank: “What honors and awards have you received?”
Dr. Verona: “Ida Schroeder Foundation Award, National Federation of Music Award, and Mu Phi Epsilon Award.”
Dr. Frank: When did you begin teaching, how many years have you been teaching and where have you taught?
Dr. Verona:“I started teaching piano at age 15 at the suggestion of my teacher (I have since recommended some of my own students to do the same while in high school and some have done so with great success). I feel like I’ve been teaching all my life, even when there was a break from formal teaching while I was a student in college. The study of music always involves teaching, whether it’s teaching yourself in the practice room, working with other musicians in ensemble, discussing music with classmates and colleagues. Once you begin studying music seriously, you begin teaching because, between formal lessons with your primary teacher, “you” are the teacher at home while practicing.”
“My formal teaching venues have been Northern Illinois University, Brooklyn College, and the Bloomingdale School of Music.”
Dr. Frank: Please share with us your Piano Project Festival at Bloomingdale School of Music with over 70 faculty members and students performing each year.
Dr. Verona: “In 2013, Lawrence Davis, former executive director of the Bloomingdale School of Music, asked me (in fact commanded me!) to take over the annual Piano Project concert event as artistic director. The founder of this event, Bathsheba Marcus-Conley, initially proposed the Piano Project as a yearly festival in 2007 and its purpose is to address the vast piano repertoire each year based on a particular theme. The first Piano Project concerts focused on Spanish Music. Since then, we’ve explored practically every area of the piano repertoire in 12 years of this event. Each year, most if not all the piano faculty of the school perform. The piano faculty prepares many of their students to perform works that are usually more challenging than their regular studies, but expose them to a wider range of the piano repertoire than they are usually aware of in general. It has been tremendously effective in terms of inspiring students to a broader level of study and performance and these students look forward to this event each year.”
Dr. Frank: “What are your thoughts on teaching your students to think, concentrate and focus on their work?”
Dr. Verona: “As one of my teachers once said, “practicing is thinking.” I’ve been lucky enough in my life to glean valuable insights from my teachers and classmates and colleagues that have contributed to my own perspective and work as a musician. To learn “in the moment” as it were, can be one of the strongest forces in one’s development in any discipline.”
“It is the ability to engage in the deep, focused concentration of study; and in music, this is essential. This is the goal to motivate any student to a higher level of study and accomplishment; to encourage and assist them to go “beyond” themselves – to investigate a 4thdimension beyond the concrete. As I tell my students, and as I was told as a student, the musical score is not the final product, but a blue-print. It is the extraordinary architectural design that is brought to life in study and performance.”
“The silent dots on the page have meaning in sound, tone production, rhythmic buoyance, and “shape” of phrasing that express a personal thought or statement that cannot be expressed in words. The language of music goes beyond any written or spoken language. Sound and time cannot be touched, only experienced. In the final analysis, and at its most profound level of study, music can only be studied on a truly abstract level. Concrete reality loses substance here. The true substance is the unfolding and expression of the idea.”
Dr. Frank: “Can you share with us your approach for teaching and motivating your students?”
Dr. Verona: “Through over 40 years of teaching, I’ve realized more and more that, essentially, I’m a problem-solver. I approach each student individually and this applies to all levels of study and all ages. It doesn’t matter if the student is 4 years old or 80 years old, a beginner that has never touched the piano or an intermediate student who has studied for several years or an adult student who is a beginner or continuing their studies or returning to study the piano.”
“Through years of teaching, I’ve become more adept at “reading” a student, i.e., figuring out what their initial capacity is and how to help them advance to a more mature level of study and playing. It’s important to be sensitive to each students’ needs and I’ve gradually gained a stronger intuitive response in teaching.”
“With regard to teaching someone how to play the piano, I always approach each student as a unique personality who has their “own” hands. No-one has the same physical build, so it’s important to address each student’s technical needs according to their own personal resources. Part of achieving a sense of accomplishment in musical study is gaining a sense of competence at the instrument. The greater one’s command of their instrument, the greater their artistic performance. Technique has literally “everything” to do with musical outlook from playing a scale with cohesive/binding legato to understanding the role of the wrist in articulation to drawing a huge sound out of the instrument without sounding strident to understanding resistance of the keys to gain greater touch control for a variety of texture and singing tone. All of this is approached through examining the composition that is being studied.”
“We must ask ourselves: “what are the demands of this music?” Each work is gradually understood on its own terms – a particular idea that was documented with form and structure. The greater the understanding of the music, the stronger the sense of listening to the music as it unfolds. “Listening” – one of the most essential and elusive skills one can cultivate – it all truly comes down to this – to listen to sound, to listen to silence, to listen to the silence of one voice under or over the sound of another voice, to listen to the silence between the notes, to listen to the statement of a phrase or the idea of the total work. To listen and play at the same time while bringing a composition to life – to bring the spirit of the music to one’s performance as a deep, inner expression and personal understanding of the music – this is the ultimate goal.”
Dr. Frank: “Thank you, Dr. Monica J. Verona, for being our Radio Show’s 2019 Teacher of the Year and for inspiring, motivating, and encouraging over four generations of students to have successful futures.”
Guaranteeing Your Financial Success by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
When I was engaged to be married, my Momma, Romayne LeaderFrank, a lawyer specializing in Family Law and Real Estate, was getting ready to give a speech to the Women’s Club on “Women’s Financial Success”.
My Momma asked me to listen to her speech to see what I thought of it! Momma spoke of the need for women to have credit in their own name, not in their husband’s name, their former husband’s name or their father’s name but in their own name.
Momma had clients who were widowed, divorced, and single who suddenly had no money or credit in their own name. The credit card and bank accounts were in their deceased spouse’s name, their divorced husband’s name or in their father’s name which meant they did not have any money or credit in their own name and were unable to pay their bills and take care of themselves and their families.
Momma said women should always have their own separate checking, savings, and credit card accounts in their own name so they would never find themselves without a way to support themselves and their loved ones.
I have over the years called our families accounts yours, mine and ours. The same name as the Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda Movie “Yours, Mine and Ours.” In the movie the title referred to children though not to money. Over the years, I have shared my Momma’s wisdom with many other women and men. Her speech was well received by me and all the young women and young men I have shared her principles with. Her speech has stood the test of time.
What are the 6 secrets my Momma, Romayne Leader Frank taught for women and men to be financially independent?
1) Open a savings account in your name at a secure bank, that is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and start immediately to put your money in it to begin your nest egg. When I was 8 years old, Momma smiled at me and said we were going for a new adventure to the bank. She took me by the hand and we proudly walked into the bank. Momma introduced me to the teller at the bank, Mrs. Jay and asked me to hand in the $2, I had been saving. That day the teller entered my $2 into my new passbook, typed in my name on the outside of the book and explained, I would receive interest every day for the money I put in the bank. Every couple of weeks Momma would take me into the bank so I could add in the money I had saved from doing my chores. I enjoyed watching the money grow in that savings account. Momma taught me not only to put my chore money in but later my future paychecks into my account to start saving for the future. By the time I went to college, I had a nice nest egg for the future.
2) Open a checking account in your own name and put your money in it.
3) Get an American Express and or Visa Card at a low interest rate in your own name. Begin to use it immediately and pay your bill as soon as the statement arrives in order to establish your credit.
4) Before purchasing your home, have a professional title search done to make sure there are no liens or prior owners. When you buy your home, make sure your name is on the title and spelled correctly.
5) If you have a mortgage on your home, pay the bill on time. If the interest is too high, ask the holder of your mortgage to lower the interest rate. Always ask for a fixed rate mortgage. This will prevent your mortgage from being raised to a higher interest rate in future.
6) If you buy a car make sure the title is in your name. If you are paying the car off each month pay the monthly charge on time. If the mortgage on your car is too high, talk to your mortgage company and have your mortgage rate lowered. Make sure you have a locked in fixed rate mortgage. ©2019Madeline Frank
If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: [email protected]
“Sunshine Coast University Hospital Doctors, Nurses Entertain On Grand Piano to Boost Mood and Mental Health” (March 15, 2019) by Kylie Bartholomew from ABC Sunshine Coast.
“The doctors, nurses, patients and visitors are finding escape in the keys of a grand piano strategically placed in the foyer of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. The Australian Doctor’s Orchestra donated the 50-year-old instrument to the hospital after a group of doctors lobbied for it some months ago.”
Helen Rodgers, “Experienced pianist and nurse unit manager is one of many staff who lets her fingers loose on the keys when time permits.” She says, “It’s really good for the soul, it makes you feel really invigorated. We come down here of a lunchtime and my staff come and they say, ‘It’s just such a good feeling’, those endorphins are just running wild by the time we go back.”
Patient Margaret Dukes and her son Stephen said, “it was a welcome addition to their day. It livens the place up.” Janice Drager, “who was at the hospital for a relative’s appointment, stood listening to the piano with her daughter-in-law’s toddler who was fixated on the musicians. Her ears pricked up … I don’t come from here but music anywhere soothes people, so I think it’s a really good thing.”
Dr. Clinton Roddick, a pediatric senior house officer, said “the piano had a positive influence on staff members’ jobs. It allows us to re-focus and remind ourselves that there’s some joy outsidework.And then go back and probably do a better job just because we’ve had that little moment of joy and being able to do something which reminds us why we do this work.”
“Putting Learning Deep in the Soul” (April 2, 2019) by Brandon Fisher.
“Comprehensive research from organizations such as the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has shown that music education enriches both math and language learning; that participation in theater improves reading and oral language skills; and, that artistic practice allows for better interpretation and use of visual information. Yet, the positive impact these subjects have on student success does far more than bolster academic intelligence. The fine arts also build confidence and empathy and enhance a student’s motivation and engagement in the world around them.”
“At Concordia International School Shanghai, the fine arts are valued not only for providing a buttress to language, math and science achievement, but for their role in enhancing emotional intelligence, creativity and holistic education.”
Concordia music teacher Sara Preus says, “Study in the fine arts, makes for “thoughtful, creative and detail-oriented students who know how to work cooperatively for a greater good. This feeds the soul, helping students express love and loss, highs and lows, relationships and understanding. Encouraging creativity is yet another invaluable component of the fine arts. The creative expression fostered in the studio, the music room and on the theater, stage leads to positive risk-taking, iteration and innovation; and, it transforms the way in which students acquire knowledge.”
“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:
Barnes and Noble(Nook)
“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.
Barnes and Noble(Nook)
Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”
Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World”. This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:
Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is available through amazon. To order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” as an e-book on Kindle click on the following link:
Wishing you and your family a Happy Father’s Day from your Non-Invasive Medicine…Music Expert, Madeline
For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award-winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker, conductor, and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2019 Madeline Frank.