Andy O’Toole

Andy O’Toole

This picture shows Nan Blaufuss and her students performing classical and pop music at a public performance at a McDonald’s Restaurant, exposing many youngsters for the first time to live orchestral music.
Being born and raised in New York City has given Nan first-hand experience and insight into the unique needs, challenges, and strengths of children living and learning in economically-disadvantaged communities. These young students are all too often discouraged from continuing music and string orchestra at the high school level.Often the lack of support so necessary at the crucial beginning stage of music instruction is the reason.

38 years of elementary string education experience throughout the different regions of New York have taught her the importance of different students need different styles of teaching. To that end she has had extensive training in the Suzuki Method of Talent Education, which stresses searching for the potential in each child, to help them meet and exceed high expectations of performance, regardless of socio-economic circumstances. She strives to adjust individual instruction according to the special needs and individual learning styles of students ( ESL students, students on the Autism spectrum, gifted students, as well as the varied needs of “mainstream “ students, some with physical challenges); so they all will become successful contributing members of the orchestra “TEAM”.

She holds an after-school “Practice Club” at four elementary schools, and is a member of many committees, music organizations, and direct her church orchestra, and involves her students in many NYSSMA and All-City events. She also is on the lookout for any opportunity to give free concerts in the community which challenges her students and brings a rewarding sense of self worth to the participants.

“I stress “civic musicianship”; that it is important for children, even at the earliest stages of playing, to use their talent as a gift to the community., performing at PTA Fund Raisers, First Friday performances, and in any way to “give back to their community”. Music is a gift that should be shared. Pride in oneself and in your community shoud go hand in hand.