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Creative Education * Creative Arts * Creative Therapies

Community Stories

A Family Mentoring Success Story

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OCCTAC’s Family Mentoring Program Coordinator, Janett Merino, tells the success story of one of her young participants: “Lorena is a 10 year-old girl in our Family Mentoring Program. She is a very active girl and very restless. Lorena likes to explore all parts of her house but she cries often without explanation and without any known reason. She even scratches and becomes aggressive in some moments. But Lorena’s mother noticed that with an activity using pebbles, with a little help, Lorena could decorate a mini blackboard. The activity consists of using small stones and painting on the mini canvas. Lorena stops crying during this activity and she is very happy when she hears that she is going to participate in this activity. Lorena’s mother is very satisfied and arrives punctually to her sessions. She has been given new materials so that Lorena can continue her new favorite activity at home.”

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OCCTAC Students Receive MTAC State Honors

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Starting for CM Evaluations 2019, MTAC has developed a new “State Honors” award for students meeting specific eligibility. OCCTAC is excited to announce that allstudents passed, and we had 7 students receive state honors!
The Reyes brothers, (pictured above) are two OCCTAC students with special needs that received State Honors and excellent marks. The teenage duo represented OCCTAC and their families exceptionally. Roberto said, “I really learned so much doing this program! There were pieces I wasn’t sure I could play, like the jazz piece, Slippin’ Around, but Ms. Phoebe showed me some tricks to play the rhythm and how to swing the notes and now that’s one of my favorite pieces to play.” Roberto’s CM Evaluator/Judge Ming-I Chen said his piece was “fluently performed with a lot of fun!” In our piano department meeting, teenager Master Roberto gave a wonderful “thumbs up” testimony about the program and also added that he “highly recommended it for their kids and thought they would enjoy it too.” Jesus, his older brother also received great comments from the judges and looks forward to participating again next year.
Keys to the Future
The piano department at OCCTAC, which currently has more than 100 students enrolled, launched the Piano Certificate Program (Music Teachers Association of California’s Certificate of Merit) in the Fall of 2017. This program is a benefit to our existing piano program, giving more students in the OCCTAC community increased exposure and performance opportunities to develop their talent as young budding musicians outside of the center walls and city of Santa Ana! Phoebe Stanciell (who formerly chaired the CM program for many years in Los Angeles) currently runs the CM Workshop for students on the weekends at OCCTAC and stated, “seven students participated in a mock CM exam at the center with two volunteer veteran judicators from Los Angeles to begin to prepare them for this year. Last year, the Piano Department had several students that excelled during the 2018 formal evaluations and were recommended to participate in the certified exams this year with Maria Faya at the Irvine branch along with  Phoebe Stanciell at the South Coast branch. Both instructors are current members of the Music Teachers Association of California.”
This year we are excited to announce that 12 students participated in the exams, with 5 students from last year and 7 new students this year ranging from Prep Level to Level 4. Evaluations took place at different college music department campuses, an exciting opportunity for OCCTAC students to see local college campuses up close. The youngest enrolled in the program was Alexander Esquivel, age 6. Alex started with Ms. Phoebe in “My First Piano Adventures Book”, a group class at 4.5 (now Le Petit Piano). Alex is in 1st grade and currently attends Tustin Memorial Academy where his parents say he is a top student there. Alex, our funny Prep Level CM piano student, said, “I had to practice a lot, but at the end it was sooooo easy!” Among other things, Alexander also plays club soccer, so he is learning early how to balance his time which is an important life lesson. “Music and the creative arts is a great tool to help our kids to think outside of the box,” says Ms. Stanciell. “It gives them confidence and helps them to develop great habits to essentially empower them to become successful adults and return to give back to the community! It’s a cycle of blessings!”

About MTAC and the Certificate of Merit
The Music Teachers’ Association of California® (MTAC) sponsors the music study program Certificate of Merit® (CM). The program provides a standard of curriculum that requires students to strive for focused musical excellence in performance, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing, and music theory. Initiated in 1933, the annual statewide program involves approximately 30,000 students in piano, violin, cello, viola, flute, French horn, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, baritone/euphonium horn, voice, and harp. Next year, the CM program will hopefully extend to the Violin, Viola and Guitar.

Each instrument has its own 10-level or 11-level syllabus, detailing a specific set of requirements. Teachers will decide the appropriate level for each student. Students and teachers work together on level-appropriate selected literature, technique elements, sight reading, theory, and ear training

Fall is Here

Our OCCTAC adult students from the Santa Ana Childcare Worker Program get together to create an interactive children's book titled, "Fall is Here", to be used during our Early Start and Pre-Kinder Arts Program.

Our students took 2 weeks to create this beautiful book, using collage, art and techniques learned during their certificate program in order to help enhance the mental development of our early age students.


Chapman University 2018 - Neighbor to Neighbor

Link to Website Here

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