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Accomplished musicians in no time

August 08, 2001

Gary Moskowitz

NORTHWEST DISTRICT -- Steve New is amazed at the progress his students

have made in just six weeks.

New's 30-member summer school band performed Wednesday to commemorate

the completion of the six-week high school summer program at Luther

Burbank Middle School that finished this week.

All but three of New's students had never picked up their instruments

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before summer school started.

"They all feel like they're accomplishing something," said New, John

Muir Middle School's music director. "Giving a new music student a good

start at learning their instrument is essential."

Wednesday's performance was an eclectic mixture of Tchaikovsky and

Beethoven interpretations and renditions of popular songs, from the Beach

Boys and the Beatles.

Arineh Sarkissian was intimidated by learning to play the violin in

New's summer class, because everyone told her it would be hard to learn.

"If you try, you can succeed," said 16-year-old Arineh, a senior at

John Burroughs High School. "Now, I really like the sound of the

strings."

Justin Lee performed double duty in New's class, learning to play

violin and percussion in the six-week period.

"I was nervous at first about performing, but once I got it, it was

fun," said 15-year-old Justin, a sophomore at Burbank High School. "It

can help with math, too, because you have to count beats and understand

time signatures."

New told students, faculty and parents who attended the performance

that keeping students involved with music is crucial to learning.

"We need to get music programs going in our schools again," New said.

"We have the need and desire to bring it back."

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