Teaching Harmony

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Joyous musicians include 11-year-old violinist Jason Mei from Great Neck North Middle School; 9-year-old violinist Tiffany Chen, who recently performed on the Fox morning news and will be performing at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 20, and 9-year-old cellist Victoria Lin from Lakeville Elementary School; and 9-year-old violinist Deirdre Chan from Saddle Rock Elementary School (not pictured).
Joyous musicians include 11-year-old violinist Jason Mei from Great Neck North Middle School; 9-year-old violinist Tiffany Chen, who recently performed on the Fox morning news and will be performing at Carnegie Hall on Nov. 20, and 9-year-old cellist Victoria Lin from Lakeville Elementary School; and 9-year-old violinist Deirdre Chan from Saddle Rock Elementary School (not pictured).

Music brings order to the chaos of every day life, soothing the savage beast of stressful demands. And, for a collection of immensely talented youngsters, music has brought a new layer of education and a much deserved measure of spotlight.

Since 2012, Joyous Music School’s Joyous Quintet (String Ensemble) has appeared in more than 30 television shows across the globe, including The Ellen DeGeneres Show and the Steve Harvey–hosted Little Big Shots, as well as on Good Morning America in a segment with Michael Strahan. Some of the school’s students even performed for the First Family during the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Concert at the White House last year.

Joyous students, including 9-year-old cellist Victoria Lin from Lakeville Elementary School, performed for the Obamas.
Joyous students, including 9-year-old cellist Victoria Lin from Lakeville Elementary School, performed for the Obamas.

Joyous Music School is a melodious institute with professionally trained pianists, composers and instrumentalists who nurture aspiring young artists toward a full expression of talents, while fostering each individual’s creativity and curiosity. Founded by Julian Yu, Joyous Music School offers private instruction in piano, flute, violin, cello and composition from its location in Hicksville.

Yu, a recording and touring pianist, has performed in numerous world-class symphony orchestras and has recorded and released eight albums. He said he always had a talent for teaching, but decided to transition from the road to full-time instructor after the birth of his son, Justin.

The Joyous team appeared on NBC’s Little Big Shots.
The Joyous team appeared on NBC’s Little Big Shots.

“I had a small piano studio and decided to expand it,” said the Jericho resident. “Teaching gives you a different satisfaction than just being on stage by yourself and receiving applause. It is very rewarding to see students, and my own kids, stand on stage having great success.”

The great success Yu refers to goes beyond mere school recitals. Joyous Quintet is extremely accomplished as classical musicians and performs a regular concert series at Carnegie Hall each year, with the next one scheduled for Nov. 20. In addition, they were invited to perform at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago—summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra—in August.

Joyous Music School performs at Carnegie Hall.
Joyous Music School performs at Carnegie Hall.

“One of their greatest successes is that they reach many different types of audiences. They play classical and pop music, a unique style that attracts different groups,” said Yu. “I’ve never seen them get nervous before a show. I think they are too young to have any stage fright.”

Joyous Quintet is comprised of Justin Yu, 9, on the cello; 9-year-old violinists Mickayla Jia and Tyler Lau; 11-year-old bass player Brandon Lau; and the group’s newest addition, 5-year-old violinist/pianist Christine Yu.

As an instructor, Yu believes in breaking away from the traditional teaching model of classical music by assimilating popular music into his students’ repertoire. Stage presence is also taught and performances encompass musical elements including instrumentals, dancing and singing.

“I had a lot of fun growing up in music and we want children to have a chance to experience that in training,” he said. “It is not treated like it is work. It is not a burden on the kids, that is not the point of music. To make music and perform together is enjoyable.”

Yu believes that music education is of utmost importance to a well-rounded education. He said he wants to see more funding for musical education, as it can expand the potential academic horizons for any young person who works hard and develops the skill.

“Music is a full body workout for the brain,” said Yu. “It involves hand-eye memory, but we also think it is important for them to gain confidence in how they communicate with the audience. Not only does it complement the instrumental performance, but it also gives them confidence in other areas of education. This year, we have eight seniors—two of them are going to Harvard and one is going to Princeton.”

To find out more information about Joyous Music School, visit www.joyousmusicschool.org, email joyousmusicschool@gmail.com or call 888-628-9865.

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Steve Mosco is the senior managing editor at Anton Media Group, editor of Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald and a columnist for Long Island Weekly's food and sports sections.

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