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Bayside musicians Gloria Shih and Jack Kim both have strong backgrounds in piano playing.
Shih, 32, has been playing the instrument since she learned it back in Taiwan when she was 6 and Kim, 28, came to America from South Korea to study music at the New England Conservatory of Music. The two friends said the arts have had a positive impact on their lives and now they are passing on their love for music to a new generation of musicians with a new school in Bayside.
“It’s a way I express myself,” said Shih, who is part of the classical music group Gracieux Trio. “I think it’s good for children to express themselves, too.”
The Apollo Art & Music Institute, at 213-01 Northern Blvd., has already attracted more than 50 students of all ages since its opening in July. The school offers a wide variety of classes for several instruments, including the piano, guitar, drums, violin and others.
Shih said in Asian music schools, students are required to study two instruments, a major and a minor one, and she said her school implores children to try to explore their musical talents.
“I find that very helpful. Later on, when you do ensembles, you have to know how other instruments work,” Shih said.
Kim and his business partner said another element that is different from American music schools and Asian ones is the atmosphere in the classrooms. Cuts to the music programs in public school have resulted in students learning their instruments in musically unfriendly classrooms.
“Over here, I see a lot of musicians and art students who don’t have a place to learn or observe,” Kim said.
Apollo’s two-story school welcomes interested students with bright green walls and several plants, while individual rooms are set aside for different music genres, such as classical and jazz. Kim said he and Shih hired teachers with strong academic and professional backgrounds to give their students the best education possible.
The 11 faculty members have degrees from prestigious art schools like Juilliard and the Boston Conservatory and performed at venues such as Carnegie Hall.
“They have to be friendly and patient enough when you teach the kids,” Kim said.
Educating young Bachs and Mozarts is not the only thing Apollo is known for. The school, named after the Greek god of the sun, music and the arts, also teaches drawing classes.
The second floor houses a studio where students can sketch and paint on canvases and specially made desks.
The artwork has been so good that Shih and Kim have put it on display on the school’s front window.
“Art and music go very well together,” Kim said.
Shih said she is impressed with the show of talent her students produce and encourage more people to check out her school.
“I think music is important for children to know,” she said.
For more information on the Apollo Art & Music Institute, log on to apolloartmusic.com.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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