Strings in Our Schools, which was established in 1995, is the Festival’s longest-running music education program, and the Dream Big Private Lesson Program, which the Festival began overseeing in 2019, is its newest. Both programs’ success is due, in part, to the dedication of violin instructor Hilary Schacht, and if you don’t know Hilary already, we’d love to introduce you to her here!
Get to Know: Hilary Schacht, Violin Instructor for Strings in Our Schools and the Dream Big Private Lesson Program
Hilary Schacht was born in the Chicago area and began studying and performing music around the world at the age of six. She graduated from the pre-professional Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and continued her music education at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania and the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Her passion for learning, teaching, and performing has led her to explore a wide variety of musical genres and embrace a diversity of cultures. She’s been a dedicated teacher for the Festival’s Strings in Our Schools program for the past 25 years, and in the 2021–22 school year, she joined the teaching staff of the Dream Big Private Lesson Program as well.
For Strings in Our Schools, Hilary teaches small-group violin classes—which culminate in yearly recitals and group concerts—to students in grades 3–6 in four elementary schools in Santa Fe and Pecos. For Dream Big, she gives private violin lessons to students at Ortiz Middle School. And because Hilary practices what she preaches, she frequently performs in ensembles around Santa Fe, including Swing Soleil, the Bohemiacs with composer Ron Romanovsky, Zero Hour Tango, and the Santa Fe Zozobra Orchestra.
We’re so grateful for Hilary’s tremendous talent and dedication as both a performer and a teacher, and we look forward to working with her for more decades to come!
Dream Big Student Spotlight: Cindy Caraveo
We’re thrilled to introduce you to Cindy Caraveo, a 10th-grade violin student at Capital High School who successfully auditioned for the Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association’s Youth Philharmonic!
Cindy learned to play the violin in fifth grade, at the Nina Otero Community School. In sixth grade, at Ortiz Middle School, her ensemble director, Zachary McGee, introduced her to the Dream Big Private Lesson Program. Cindy recently re-enrolled in Dream Big and has been working diligently with her private instructor, Haley Lovelace. “Ms. Haley helps me learn new techniques and better ways to get out of my comfort zone to play more confidently,” Cindy says.
Cindy attends weekly rehearsals with the Youth Philharmonic, where she’s inspired by her peers, who are also dedicated to music. She enjoys her orchestra class at Capital High, where she gains knowledge and skills and creates bonds of friendship with her classmates. Her career dream is to attend medical school and become a surgeon.
When asked what she likes about studying music, Cindy says: “Playing the violin is really important to me because it’s a way for me to escape and just focus on music. I am able to play not just in school-related performances but also at my church, as a way for me to glorify God.”
Cindy’s path with music demonstrates the importance of having access to music education at an early age, combined with a supportive network of teachers, mentors, and peers and opportunities to perform. “I would recommend the Dream Big program to everyone because it really helps you grow and learn new things,” Cindy says.
All of us at the Festival are so proud of Cindy and fully support her love of music!
Highlights from a Music in Our Schools Curriculum Workshop
As part of our Music in Our Schools program, our Education Department recently offered a curriculum workshop to teachers so that they could prepare their students to attend an early-March in-school chamber music concert.
During the workshop, teachers reviewed a lesson on teaching the quarter-note and half-note pulse, as heard in Vivaldi’s Guitar Concerto in D Major, RV 93. The lesson was designed to have students work with the largo tempo and experience its slow pulse. Students would also follow the music’s melodic contour and “paint” along in the air with what they heard. Please enjoy the video below, which features an excerpt from our instructional slideshow: