What parents say about the conservatory
We talked with the following parents about their children’s experiences at the El Paso Conservatory of Music:
Why do you bring your child to the Conservatory to study?
What effect do you think private lessons at the Conservatory have had on your children?
What effect do you think the music skills classes have had on your children?
Has studying music at the Conservatory affected your child in non-musical ways? If so, how?
How do you feel about the learning environment at the Conservatory?
What would you tell a parent who was thinking about enrolling their child at the Conservatory to study music?
Margaret E., whose grandson Christian has studied voice privately with Prentice Loftin for three years and takes classes in the Pre-College Program. Christian also performs with the Jazz Ensemble and studies jazz guitar privately with Mack Goldsbury.
Mary T., whose son Garrett is enrolled in the Pre-College Certificate Program. He studies viola privately and is enrolled in the music skills classes on Saturdays. Because Garrett is enrolled in the full program at the Conservatory and is also a member of the El Paso Symphony Youth Orchestras, he is eligible to receive a small partial tuition waiver at the end of the year for successfully completing the year in both programs.
Tommie C., who has had her three home-schooled children enrolled at the Conservatory for the last three years. One daughter, McKenzie, is enrolled as a voice student as part of the Pre-College Certificate Program and sings in the Young Ladies Choir. Her other two daughters sing in the Girls Choir; McKayla also studies voice, and Clara studies violin.
Teresa and Stanley R., who drive every Saturday to the Conservatory from Alamogordo to bring their daughter Sophie to her violin lessons and music skills classes. Sophie is enrolled in the Pre-College Certificate Program and has been studying at the Conservatory for three years.
Margaret E: “At the time that he first started he was asking for voice lessons and I couldn’t think of anyone around who offered voice lessons. I remembered that Ms. Marmolejo sang for my mother’s funeral mass, and I remembered she was connected with the Conservatory. When I heard her sing I thought this would be a great please to bring him to sing.”
Mary T.: “Garrett loves music and has always had a real aptitude for it. Even before coming to the Conservatory he was arranging music, etc. He’s always been a tinkerer, a thinker, wanting to know how things work. We thought it would be good to get as much background and knowledge as possible if there was any chance he would want to study music in college—which so far he thinks he wants to do, even as part of a double major with engineering.”
Tommie C.: “It’s the most serious and highest quality music lessons that I’ve found for serious music students in this area. The staff is just amazing. Everyone we’ve worked with has been top notch. I believe the teachers are really well thought out before they’re hired. I’ve only had good experiences with the faculty, and we’ve been here for a while!”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “We don’t have the opportunity in our town, and this is the next best thing, so we drive to the Conservatory every week for lessons and music classes.”
Margaret E: “The effect of THESE private lessons in particular has been phenomenal. He loves coming here. I think your faculty is first class. There isn’t anywhere else in El Paso that he could get the kind of instruction he gets here, and he absolutely loves coming here. It’s opened up a whole different world for him. I think he sees a lot of possibilities for himself that he didn’t see before, things that he could do in the future. We didn’t know he could sing, but I thought, he’s been asking for this so let’s follow up and I was surprised. I’ve heard how his voice has evolved through his lessons, and been impressed with Mr. Loftin’s instruction of him. I’m just very pleased and amazed at the results.”
Mary T.: “It has really been the meat of the experience for him. Lessons have been great.”
Tommie C.: “Private lessons are the key to their success. It gives them the chance to get in there and really get a hold of the specifics. Private lessons take them beyond what group lessons or group ensembles do.”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “It’s the main reason she’s here, with the music skills supporting the learning. We’ve feel we’ve found the best teachers. The Conservatory has the opportunities for teachers and for classes that aren’t in our area. Her interest in music has grown tremendously, her appreciation and interest in playing in an ensemble and individually. The knowledge that she gains here has meant that she could pick up an instrument at her school really quickly, which she did—she has been able to pick up cello and learn that as well, and everyone has been amazed.”
Margaret E: “He also takes lessons at school and he is in an advanced theory class. It’s helped him a great deal for his high school class. He performed a solo in UIL this year, and I think that’s the result of taking the classes here.”
Mary T.: “He really likes it. It’s been interesting to see the changes—for example, before starting classes he couldn’t carry a tune and now he can. I know that sounds like a really simple thing, but something like that is really an accomplishment.”
Tommie C.: “So far, McKenzie is the only one enrolled in the music skills classes, but they have made her a more well-rounded music student.”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “She enjoys these classes so much, that this is totally worth it. It enhances her skills that she learns in private lessons.”
Margaret E: “Yes, I think so. He has a great rapport with Mr. Loftin. He sees him, I think, as a mentor and is able to discuss just about anything with him. It’s given him more of a focus. Music is always going to be a part of his life.”
Mary T.: “He’s really smart and it gives him an outlet for all the thinking, and problem-solving that he does. It gives him an outlet for putting together all these intricacies.”
Tommie C.: “Oh yes! They are more disciplined in other studies, and it has brought out confidence and social skills, and grace. It’s brought out their social presence, what so many teens seem to be lacking, a sense of politeness and articulateness. I also think it helps them to understand the importance of focus on a subject to learn it well. So when they do their math lessons for example, they know they need to focus on the task to complete it.”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “It’s helped to be more advanced in school—in her non-music class. She does well in math in particular, I think, because of the music. She knows that she needs to do the homework because she does her practicing, too, and everything else needs the kind of work that her practicing gets. It’s a work habit that she’s formed, and she’s taken that to her math and English classes and so on. It’s an ethic, sure, but it’s really a habit. You have to practice, practice, practice in music, but you have to do that in math, too. The diligence really transfers to other subjects in order to achieve excellence or better results. Dedication, that’s the word I’m looking for. It also helps her dexterity, her memory. She has a different outlook on life because of the music.”
Margaret E: “I think it’s wonderful. I don’t think there’s any other place in El Paso that could provide this type of environment. It’s at a level that can’t be matched anywhere else in El Paso. I know that he’s very impressed with the credentials of your faculty. I know he feels he’s getting top notch instruction. He’s very impressed with their background. He’ll come home and talk about Mack and what he’s doing, and really likes the things Mack does with the students. He spoke very highly of Mr. Pugh for theory when he studied with him, too.”
Mary T.: “It’s great; it’s really nice. You do a great job of valuing the kids and treating them as serious music students.”
Tommie C.: “It’s an excellent learning environment. It’s really structured, but the structure allows them to be free to be themselves, to let their talents out without embarrassment. They know exactly what’s expected of them, and that structure makes them feel so comfortable to do what they love to do, which is music. They love the conservatory. I don’t know what it is, but they just love it so much. Mr. Loftin is so tough on them, he won’t put up with anything but the highest standards, but they appreciate how that works. There’s a no-nonsense attitude that gets them to focus, and to know that they are expected to give their best. At the same time, it’s a fun experience for them, they look forward to coming. And I really want to stress that—there’s structure and learning, but most of all they have fun when they’re here.”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “She enjoys all the teachers and all the classes and she’s developing a camaraderie with other musicians. That’s especially nice for a teenager, it gives them an opportunity to interact with others who are at the same level. They have a common language and a common interest.”
Margaret E: “I would say, absolutely, you must do it. You’ll never regret it. It’s a wonderful experience and it will have an impact on your child’s life forever and ever.”
Tommie C.: “I’ve told many parents that if your child is serious about music, the conservatory is where to come to further that interest. I’ve told them that this is the first place I would take my child.”
Teresa and Stanley R.: “If a child has any interest in music, the Conservatory classes will enhance their interest and give them the knowledge of music that they will enjoy for the rest of their life, whether they enjoy it as a hobby or do it for their livelihood. It’s a starting point, you have to feed it, grow it, tend to it, and it will become a solid skill. It’s the foundation she’s getting, in both music skill and music enjoyment. It’s a stepping stone to bigger things, from a pebble to a boulder. You can’t just skip all that preparation, so if they choose that path in college, or anytime in life, they’ll have those skills ready. You always start small and go big. If we’re going to do these things, we want to do them the best way, and basically we feel the Conservatory is the best way. The right instruction is the key.”