The Advocate

A newsletter for the music education community of Western PA

Cello Donation

Johnstonbaugh's Music Centers & the Farina Foundation

A generous individual donated their gently used 4/4 Deutsch cello outfit and asked that it be put to good use. With that goal in mind, Johnstonbaugh’s has partnered with the Farina Foundation to grant this cello to a deserving cello student in need of a good instrument and planning to major in music at an accredited college or university. If you are such a cello player and would like to apply, please complete the application and provide all materials by April 16th, 2021. The winner will be contacted by April 30th, 2021.

Fill out the application here. Two letters of recommendation from non-family members must also be submitted by the deadline.

It's Never too late to start learning an instrument - tips for adult beginners

By Dennis Emert

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, “I wish I had continued playing” or “I wish that I had started playing an instrument when I was a child,” I would be a very rich man. Well guess what…. IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO START!! All you need is the have the ambition and courage to give it a try. Here are a few tips for being successful:

Set reasonable goals. Set realistic goals for what you want to learn and how much time you’re able to spend practicing. Goal setting helps keep you focused and lets you more easily track your improvements. In setting your goals, think about why you want to learn music in the first place: Is it a fun hobby for you to do at home by yourself? Is it something that you have always wanted to do? Do you want to get together and play with your friends? Make sure that you pick goals that are achievable.

Make sure that your instrument works. It is important to have an instrument that is in good working order. If not, you will struggle and probably be unsuccessful. If you are using an older or borrowed instrument, it is my suggestion is to have it checked out by a local music store or a professional player so that you know it is in good playing condition before you start. Good working equipment is essential to becoming a successful player.

Make use of skills that you have already learned. Mature beginners have something that children do not: professional and life experience. You can use the problem solving skills that you have learned and apply them to a musical instrument. Adults are usually more disciplined and can focus and remember things better than small children.

Find the ideal teacher. If you want to be the most successful, you need to find a teacher that is the right fit for you. You need to find a teacher that is good at working with adults as well as one that will work with you on your goals. If you need help finding a teacher, reach out to your local music store for teacher suggestions.

Pick the best time to start an instrument for you. For some that will be in retirement when you have the time to practice that you need. Set a schedule, and try to stay with it. You will see that you can progress very quickly. Another good time to start for younger adults is when your child begins to play an instrument. What better way to spend quality time together than to practice an instrument together? By doing this, it will be a lot easier to get your child to practice. It is always more fun to play with others than it is to play by yourself.

Once you have started, make sure that you:

  • Have patience… it will not come to you immediately.
  • Pick music you like… you will be more apt to practice if you like what you are working on.
  • Perform for other people… half the fun of playing an instrument is sharing it with other people
It is never to late to start to play a musical instrument. If you have any questions or would like to talk with me about starting, I can be reached at I would be happy to talk with you and help guide you in the right direction.

Teacher Spotlight: Marino Galluzzo

Saxophonist, Woodwind Artist, Educator, Clinician and Adjudicator. Selmer Saxophone Endorsing Artist.

Music has always been Marino's passion, and he wanted to teach from a young age. He went to school with the goal of being a college professor and performer, and pursued that with a lot of energy. As a classical saxophonist, he also hoped to go to Paris to study. At age 22, the Paris Conservatory told him he was "too old," but he was accepted to study at the Bordeaux Conservatory, as well as a school in Belgium (both with full scholarships). He started studying French, but changed courses when he was offered a job in Toronto, Canada performing, recording, touring, and teaching.

While working full-time, Marino was also able to start teaching privately and found that he loved it! He enjoyed working one-on-one with students and coaching small groups. He eventually started teaching music in public schools and did so for over 25 years. And he never stopped practicing and performing – he has always continued to have burning desire to do so. He is a founding member of the Three Rivers Saxophone Quartet, which will be celebrating its 48th anniversary this May. He and his wife, Nancy, have a duo that has been active since 1990. He has also freelanced in the Pittsburgh area for many years, playing regularly with the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and more.

Marino currently teaches at West Liberty University in West Virginia and maintains his own private studio, in addition to his position at Johnstonbaugh’s Music Centers. He has students of all levels, and really enjoys teaching to what their interests are. He does also provide a standard curriculum to make sure his students are learning important and varied repertoire. Marino especially enjoys working with students on the PMEA honors band pieces, such as the Sonatas by Paul Creston and G. F. Handel. A few of his other personal favorites in the saxophone repertoire are the Ingolf Dahl Concerto and the Fuzzy Bird Sonata by Takashi Yoshimatsu.

Throughout the past year, Marino and his students have been having good success with virtual lessons! He has noticed improvement in several students’ focus, consistency, and work ethic. Virtual lessons have also been a great opportunity for students to learn some technology skills, such as recording themselves and getting the best audio and video possible with the equipment they have available.

As always, Marino has several musical projects in the works. He’s learning new music, arranging music, and planning ahead for the 50th anniversary Three Rivers Saxophone Quartet album. He’s ready to return to performing live music!

Learn more about Marino and his work on his website. Marino is accepting new students – submit a referral here if you are interested in studying with him!

Want to nominate a JMC teacher to be featured in a future newsletter? Reply to this email or send a message to

Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra

Saturday, March 20th, 7:30pm

This is an online event.

Your local Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra brings the orchestra to your home with livestream concerts! This month's program includes:

Sibelius: Andante Festivo

Mozart: Divertimento No. 1 in D major. K. 136

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons

Internationally acclaimed violinist Bella Hristova returns to the Palace stage to perform Vivaldi’s beloved The Four Seasons. From festive birdsong to rumbling thunderstorms and biting winter winds the four-movement work has transported listeners for 300 years. Join us for an unforgettable evening! Conducted by Daniel Meyer, Artistic Director

More information can be found on the WSO's website.

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This newsletter is for you! If there is something that you wish to know more about or have questions about, please let us know. We will do our best to get you the information you need.
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Issued March 4, 2021

Newsletter by Dennis Emert and Allyson Huneycutt