“Tim is one of those wonderful people – an outstanding young man,” said Schneider, president of the Delta branch of the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC). “I’ve had him as my student for nearly 10 years and I’ve heard him play it all, from sonnets to complicated pieces. He’s always had an interest in music.”
Combs excels at Beethoven and Mendelssohn, but when he plugs in the iPod, it’s strictly rock ’n’ roll.
“I perform the classics and listen to the classics,” laughed Tim, who plays piano. “They’re just different kinds of classics.”
And such differentiation is integral to the MTAC. Established in 1983, the Delta branch of the independent organization provides assistance and opportunities for teachers and students of music in Antioch, Brentwood, Concord, Discovery Bay, Oakley, Pittsburg and surrounding areas. Created for music lovers of all ages, talents and aspirations, the MTAC provides one more option and extracurricular activity for students looking to enhance their musical experiences.
“The purpose of the Delta group is the promotion of musical culture and the pursuit of excellence in the field of music,” said Theresa Cannizzaro, a Discovery Bay resident and board member of the Delta MTAC.
Founded in 1897, today’s MTAC boasts more than 60 branches statewide offering a variety of programs. The popular Certificate of Merit program, for example, tests students of piano, woodwind and string instruments in a number of areas, including music theory, ear training, music history, technique, sight-reading and performance.
This year, 15 Delta branch students participated in the extensive competition – including Tim who received his senior medallion for high scores.
“They all did really well this year,” said Cannizzaro, who has been teaching piano for more than 15 years. “I feel very privileged to do this. To watch the students grow and progress is wonderful thing. We have an amazing group of teachers who have dedicated themselves to providing opportunities for students to explore their musical potential, to expand their knowledge and appreciation of music and develop their technical skills and abilities.”
And play – in more than a musical sense.
“It’s definitely a social thing,” said Tim, a student at Los Medanos College. “It’s been really cool because I have met so many teachers and students who all have shared interests and stuff.”
And while some will go on to careers in the music world, others will not. Giving students the option to enjoy music for music’s sake while garnering knowledge along the way is the driving mission of the MTAC.
“Not every student will go on to major in music, although some certainly will,” said Cannizzaro. “But the program teaches them so many other things aside from being able to play the piano and download music on the Internet and play it. It also teaches them about time management, commitment, setting goals and working toward them. It’s not always fun, but the results are something they can always be proud of. It’s a wonderful program.”
For more information on the MTAC, visit www.mtac.org or call Barbara Schneider at 925-783-4436.