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Sound Bites - Issue #70 - June 2019 #315

On the Cover
2019 Photo Contest Winner!

Laurie McCormick - Cuban Cool

Frank Damon - I Dare You to Touch Me!

Zaslove - Sand Painting

SMC Community Ed is thrilled to announce that Laurie McCormick's "Cuban Cool" is the winner of the 2019 Student Photo Contest – and the picture will grace the cover of our Fall 2019 brochure. The first runner-up is Frank Damon for his photograph "I Dare You To Touch Me!," and Mara Zaslove's "Sand Painting" is the second runner-up.

View Winners of our Fifth Annual
Student Photo Contest


Altogether, 207 photos were submitted for the contest from 50 participants. The submissions were judged at two levels to boil the contest down to three finalists for public voting, which tallied a record 1,050 votes.

"I'm so pleased the contest garnered 1,050 votes – the most ever," said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. "A big thank you to all of our supporters who voted and made this another record year for our signature community event.  Every year we receive so many excellent photographs entered into our competition, and this year is no different."

McCormick took the photo January 19, 2013 when she was visiting Cuba, and one afternoon she and her friends were sitting at a table outside a hotel in Havana having coffee.

"We all saw this man walking down the street so we jumped into action and starting taking pictures of him," she said. "I ran ahead because I noticed a wall that would make a great background and I stood across the street waiting for him. As he strolled by looking so damn cool, I took about ten to 12 images, and this one I felt was perfect.

"I am proud to say my image appears on the last page of the October/November 2017 National Geographic Traveler Magazine, accompanied by an article about Cuban music. And just think, my photography all started at Santa Monica College Community Ed in their awesome photography courses."

McCormick captured the image with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, F 4, IOS 400, 1/1600 sec, 47mm focal length. 

The Coronado resident, a financial advisor since 1977, has taken seven classes at SMC Community Ed since 1998, and believes the classes have been "top notch excellent."

 Again, congratulations to all three of our winners!

What's New
Why is Music Important?

Alice Meyering

Pete Risi’s Guitar Class

Singing instructor Heather Lyle

from the desk of Alice Meyering

Every once in a while, I like to ask instructors questions that are pertinent to their disciplines and classes. This month, I asked two of our music instructors: Why is music important?

Heather Lyle, Contemporary Singing Techniques & Vocal Yoga

It is now proven that singing releases endorphins and other chemicals that give you energy and mood enhancement but it has also been shown that singing in a group creates community and a sense of belonging. We know that the deep breathing and physical vibration of tone stimulates the heart, oxygen flow in the body and the organs as well, and with the onset of polyvagal theory (a theory about the nervous system) when we are all jamming and looking into each other's faces there are connections made that create an energy of wellbeing that is contagious. 

Every person can experience the joy of music making, whether taking a singing class or joining a drum circle. It just makes you feel good. You don't have to be born under a special star to be able to make music. You just need to jump in and SMC Community Ed offers you safe environments to do so.

Pete Risi, Guitar & Music Theory

Here is what I have come up with in observing student reactions: Students have described playing the guitar as exciting, relaxing, a creative outlet, fun and fulfilling. I see the immediate effect on people with those types of experiences as soon as they pick up an instrument. It's very gratifying!

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Behind the Scenes:
A Deeper Take on Music

Pete Risi

From teaching music theory to guitar technique; Pete Risi does it all

Beginning Guitar Class

Pete Risi has been teaching Guitar at SMC Community Ed since 2014 and decided to offer Music Theory classes in June 2017. The Intro to Music Theory, which will be offered again this fall, is scheduled roughly twice a year at SMC Community Ed. There are roughly 10 to 15 students per class.

Risi has been playing the guitar for more than 35 years and has a Bachelor's degree in music from Mercy College in New York. He's also a professional musician with writing, performing, teaching, and recording experience. You can hear some of Pete's original music at Reverbnation or on iTunes.

Why did you decide to offer Music Theory classes?

It seemed that there was quite a demand for people wanting to know more about the how and why of music beyond just playing the basics. Being that the guitar classes were already packed with guitar playing, techniques, etc., the best way to incorporate deeper music knowledge was to add a music theory class, and it has proven to be very successful for students to apply to any instrument.

Music Theory sounds like a hard-core class for music majors, rather than those seeking pleasure from learning an instrument. Is that true?

It's not super hardcore. Knowing some music theory helps to understand the connection with what people are playing on their instruments and to also compose at a higher level. Even people who are interested in understanding the basic construction of musical elements can benefit from the Intro to Music Theory class.

What kinds of students do you get in your class?

There have been all type of instrument players including pianists, guitarists, violinists, woodwinds, horns, bassists, and composers who have been taking the class. The awesome thing about understanding music theory is that it applies to all types and styles of music - we all speak the same language: Music!

How Are We Doing?

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Our Commercial Drone Pilot Training program has been a hit with students

Barbara Rain’s Sewing Machine Bootcamp

How are we doing?

As another academic year comes to a close it's a perfect time to reflect on what has been accomplished this year. Mindful of our mission to meet the lifelong learning needs of the community, taking time to reflect and assess "what worked" and "what didn't" is an important part of our operating model. We are only relevant, as a department, if we are offering classes that are inspiring enough to prompt one to register for a course and set aside the time to attend, whether in-class or online. 

When contemplating the types of learning opportunities to put forth, the fact that they have taken on so many forms is always a lingering thought. Although subconsciously we are acutely aware that a simple Google search can uncover a wealth of information, we are equally encouraged by the notion that people still appreciate the opportunity to meet other people, dialog, feel inspired, and learn from others' experiences.

In reviewing registrations and students' feedback/evaluations we are assured that most of the programming that we are offering is "working" well to serve the learning needs of the community. 

Students' commendations were received for instructors and curriculum for several of our newest classes including:

Although things slow down a little during the summer, we don't take the summer off. There are plenty of Community Education classes being offered over the next few months, and my staff and I will be here working to put forth some exciting new courses this fall.

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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