In this month's newsletter we're announcing our Winter Recital Concert, practice session and halloween party! Read about our past recital concerts and our upcoming practice session and picture day, plus piano instructor Lucas Bowman is under the instructor spotlight...

Sunburst News

–October 2016–

In this Issue:

  • Winter Recital Concert
  • Instructor Concert Calendar
  • “Night of the Living Bands” Halloween Party
  • Instructor Spotlight - Lucas Bowman Piano and Sunburst Rocks Instructor
  • Bass Drum Design Competition
  • Ernie’s Pick of the Month

Important Dates:

  • “Night of the Living Bands” Halloween Party - Fri. Oct. 28th, 6-9pm.
  • Winter Recital Practice Session and Picture Day - Sat. Dec. 3rd, 2-5pm.
  • Winter Recital Concerts - Sun. Dec 11th & Sat Dec 17th.

Winter Recital Concerts

Just Announced for December 11th and 17th! Times TBA

Winter Recital 2012 at the Union Project in Highland Park.On Sunday December 11th and Saturday December 17th we will be hosting our 2016 Winter Recital concerts. We encourage 100% of students to participate, regardless of age or ability level. Each student may choose one song of their own and perform with their instructor, solo or with friends. Students can also perform on any number of other songs with friends (if you’d like accompaniment, talk to your instructor, we love making student supergroups). We can’t say enough about how much fun these concerts are, and how great it is for us to see everybody up on stage living their dream!

Our recital concerts are held onstage at Sunburst, and are open to any and all family and friends of the performer. We organize performers in 2 hour blocks and ask that all students and audience members plan to be there for the full two hours. We’ve found that doing it this way ensures that our room is comfortable and not overcrowded, yet everyone still has a great audience to play to. 

Since the first Sunburst recital concert at Flagstaff in 2012, performance opportunities have been a huge part of our mission and the success of our students. Everyone has their own reasons for taking lessons and learning music. For some it’s more of a private enjoyment–which is fine–but for the vast majority of students performing for a loving audience can really elevate the experience in so many ways. When we prepare to recite what we’ve been working on, we work that much harder. 

Keyboard performance at Sunburst in 2014We think a lot about how to give students (and parents) a better idea about the progress they’re making. We’re not just working on technical skill, we’re working on confidence, creativity and commitment. Making it all come together on stage is not only the best way to see progress, it’s the best way to make progress.

This is why we encourage all students to perform in our recital concerts, even beginners. The first time you perform, perhaps it’s just a few notes or chords, but you’re moving in the right direction just by being there. Maybe the next time it’s a longer song, a slightly higher note, faster tempo or other incremental advancement. Some of our more advanced students relish the opportunity to perform something they’ve written or try something on the edge of their comfort zone. 

We can’t say enough about the benefits of performing in our recital concerts for students of all levels. Talk to your instructor about signing up! We’ll also be hosting a free practice session (and picture day) on December 3rd from 2-5pm (see article for details). We can’t wait to see what everyone has been working on!

-Alex Stanton

Sunburst Director


Saturday December 3rd, 2-5pm

We’re bringing back a tradition from years past and offering a free 3 hour practice session open to any and all students on December 3rd (one week before the first recital). We will have teachers on hand to help performers get that last bit of practice in before hitting the stage. These are also just a fun community event where performers can get to know each other before the concerts. 

To add to the fun, we’ve decided to make this practice session also be Picture Day. We’ll have a professional photographer on hand and a room set up for photos. Students and families will get digital copies for free and be able to order prints to frame and display at home!

We’ll be sending out a reminder to RSVP for the practice session and Picture Day in the November issue.


Sunburst to host music filled Halloween bash. 

NIght Of THe LIVING BANDS  1On Friday, October 28th Sunburst will be hosting “Night Of The Living Bands”. We’re excited to have the Electric Army, By The Process of Elimination and more TBA rock the Sunburst Stage. Pizza and candy will be provided. Don’t forget to wear your halloween costume! Our panel of secret judges will be voting on some of their favorite costumes,  so get creative, we have some pretty sweet prizes.

On top of all this amazing awesomeness we’ll be having a 50/50 raffle with all the proceeds going to the Ovation Music Fund. Ovation helps kids from lower income families attend lessons and group programs at Sunburst. We’re committed to providing all students and families in the greater Pittsburgh with  the best possible music experience!

You don’t want to miss this event!

Invite your friends and RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


bass drum bandw copyWe're holding a design competition to find a new graphic for our bass drum!

Best design wins $25 gift card to a local music retailer and immortality (In the form of their design being printed onto a drum head at Sunburst).

Submit through Oct 25th via Email, in person or Instagram. Open to students under 18. Here are the requirements:

-must be circular and at least 7” across.

-must have “Sunburst School of Music” in there somewhere

-?!?! Thats it!

Winners to be announced at our Halloween Party!

Enter via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - or insta @sunburst_music


Ernie's Pick of the Month

dawesDawes - We’re All Gonna Die

The new Dawes record, “We’re All Gonna Die”, finds the band taking a

departure from their roots-rock sound to explore more fuzzed out and harmonically interesting territory. Their last couple efforts have been bland, but this record showcases the band’s best songs since their sophomore effort “Nothing Is Wrong”.  “We’re All Gonna Die” also highlights the band’s inventiveness on their instruments with bassist Wylie Gelber really standing out.  Accompanied by lush strings, horns and former band-mate turned producer Blake Mills, Dawes has crafted a record fit for longtime fans and first time listeners alike - check it out!

TL:DR:  Warren Zevon meets a fuzz pedal 

Key Tracks: One Of Us, Picture Of A Man, Quitter


 Instructor Spotlight: Lucas Bowman

Lucas on stage with band The CommonheartQ: How did you get started playing your instrument?

A: I started playing piano when one of my cousins taught me a blues scale, and we started improvising duets on his piano at family parties. I fell in love with the piano and my parents signed me up for some lessons.

Q: What is your favorite kind of music to play?

A: My favorite music to play is jazz and rock. I love improvisation and the energy of those styles especially. But I also love classical music and film music.

Q: What music are you listening to RIGHT NOW?

A: Right now I’m listening to a playlist of Snarky Puppy, Marvin Gaye, and the Beatles. 

Q: What advice do you have for our aspiring musicians out there?

A: My advice for aspiring musicians is to listen as much as you can. Especially in this day and age there is so much music around us and it’s so accessible.

 Listen to lots of different kinds of music and see what you like. When you find something you like try to learn how to play it. Lastly, be willing to go out of your comfort zone and make mistakes, it’s when you learn the most.