Piano Intensive Weekend welcomes young talent to Acadia

Acadia University School of Music (AUSOM) is hosting its first-ever Piano Intensive Weekend from May 5-7, where young pianists across Nova Scotia gather to learn, create music, and engage with Acadia's exceptional piano faculty.  One participant who is especially excited about the event is a 14-year-old piano enthusiast from Ukraine who will participate on scholarship thanks to the fundraising efforts of Acadia music students.

"My daughter loves playing the piano. When she was six years old, she went to piano classes for three months," says Tetiana Cerepova. Now settled in Canning, her family arrived in Nova Scotia from Ukraine 10 months ago. Cerepova learned about the weekend event through a friend and jumped on the chance for her daughter to attend. "She wants to learn how to read the musical notes so she can play every song she wants. She loves music."


Dr. Cindy Thong, a piano professor, created the event, and all four piano instructors for the inaugural occasion are women.

“This exciting initiative reflects the school’s strong connection with the community we serve and support,” says Dr. Christianne Rushton, Director of the School of Music. “By engaging in public performances, outreach, and community service, the School of Music aims to promote music as an ‘international language’ and bring people together through the power of music.” 

Rushton explains that the pandemic was the impetus for the weekend initiative. 

“As music and fine arts have been severely impacted throughout the pandemic, it was important for faculty at Acadia to find ways to include outreach activities that nurture music in those students whose education has been hardest hit,” she says.  

“The hope is that Acadia's Piano Intensive Weekend will help to rebuild the passion and love of music, and specifically the interest in the piano, for young pianists aged 14-19 who have endured piano lessons online, deletions in their public-school music programs, and lack of local music festival opportunities throughout these last few years.” 

Participants will receive masterclasses and private lessons from School of Music faculty members and additional classes on topics such as performance anxiety, practicing and music-making in contemporary society.  Throughout the program, students will have access to pianos on campus as well as opportunities to perform on many newly acquired concert grand pianos!  

The program will end with a public student recital and a reception. 


The School of Music is excited to offer financial support to a newcomer. These funds came from a 2019 project led by the Women in Music (MUSI 4283) class. Called "Sisters on Screen Film Festival,” students presented screenings of three films ("La Soeur de Mozart" and "The Sapphires" at the K.C. Irving Environmental Science Centre Auditorium and "Sister Act" at the Al Whittle Theatre. Funding for the festival was made possible by a Community Engagement Project Seed Grant from the College Music Society and through the support of the School of Music and the Women’s and Gender Studies department.  As part of the event, the students collected donations at the door to raise a scholarship to support a female student's tuition at a music camp. 

“The intent was to send a student to camp in the summer of 2020, but that plan needed to be revised,” says Dr. Michelle Boyd, who led the class and will offer lessons this weekend. “It is inspiring that Acadia music camps are running again, and the MUSI 4283 class's vision of supporting a deserving student can finally come to fruition.” 

Rushton is thrilled to welcome all participants, and especially this young Ukrainian pianist, to the Piano Intensive weekend. 

“We are all looking for ways to help. With initiatives like the Piano Intensive Weekend, we can make a real difference in the lives of young musicians,” she says. "This is an exciting opportunity for these young people to learn from some of the best piano instructors in Nova Scotia and to connect with other young pianists who share a passion for music. We hope this weekend will catalyze their musical careers and inspire them to continue making beautiful music for years to come." 

Learn more about the Piano Intensive Weekend by visiting the Acadia University School of Music website. 


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