Colorado Springs Conservatory
SPOTLIGHT SERIES · April 2021
Silvana Ferrain – Program Mentor · Strings – Violin and Viola, Piano & Keyboard Studies, Theory & Ear Training Tiny Tremolo & Novice
+ Teaching Partner at Coperni 3 and Harrison School – District 2
Championed by Oberlin Conservatory and Juilliard School-educated Founding CEO Linda Weise, the Colorado Springs Conservatory attracts and retains the nation’s finest arts educators. We have a deep and abiding respect for our faculty mentors and guest artists/lecturers who share with our students a gift for teaching and a deep passion for the arts.
Additionally, Colorado Springs Conservatory has a 20-year history of working alongside institutional education partners such as school districts, home school academies, Head Start, and Early Head Start to develop, create, manifest and implement customized arts immersion programs that serve students PreK-12. From ongoing on-site studies at the Conservatory, to offsite at various campuses, to virtual learning, the Colorado Springs Conservatory team of mentors are committed to ensuring a meaningful arts experience that enhances any daytime curriculum.
This month, we’d like to shine our spotlight on Silvana Ferrarin – Conservatory Program Mentor & Teaching Partner through our School District Programs. Silvana recently took some time to share how her journeys in music appreciation and education led her to mentor at Colorado Springs Conservatory!
Silvana, at what age did you become interested in music?
My parents knew I was interested in music from a very young age. I attended Cornerstone Music Conservatory in Los Angeles, CA from the age of 3-17! It is astounding to see many “full-circle” moments here at Colorado Springs Conservatory – some of the parents of the students I teach also came to the Conservatory when they were young children!
Where are you from? Were you active in music/music education throughout your life?
I am originally from Santa Monica, California – music takes you places! I attended Santa Monica High School, and I credit the orchestra program there for fueling the flame that made me want to go into music! I was active in orchestra and choir in middle school and in orchestra in high school and college. I have my Bachelor’s in Music Education from the University of Miami, my Master’s in Viola Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and an Orchestral Certificate from the University of Denver.
Which instruments do you play? And which is/are you favorite(s)?
My primary instrument is viola, followed by the piano and violin. Although as a Music Education major, I was required to learn the major standard orchestral instruments to some degree of mastery. I can still crack a note or two out on the oboe and trombone (but please don’t ask me to do it).
Who were your biggest influences when pursuing an education/career in music?
I am immensely grateful to all of my mentors who taught me during this journey. Observing their dedication to their craft, passion for performance, and genuine dedication to their students was a substantial motivator in my decision to pursue music and teaching at a professional level.
How long have you been a mentor at Colorado Springs Conservatory? Did you start “small,” mentoring in just viola/violin, or did you immediately take on a substantial teaching role at Conservatory?
This is my second year at Colorado Springs Conservatory. When I began, I primarily taught piano in one of the partner programs (District 2), and piano lab/private lessons in the conservatory’s after school program. Each semester, my teaching role has become more substantial, leading up to the variety of classes I teach now.
Why do you believe music education is important?
It is not only important, but ESSENTIAL. In the classroom, music is very cross-curricular – you incorporate math when learning about rhythm, language arts when learning about music vocabulary (although music in itself can be viewed as a language), history and social studies when learning about composers, reasons composers wrote the music they did, and the impact of music, science when learning about sound production on instruments, etc. Whether or not you choose to pursue music professionally, having exposure to musical experiences (whether it’s learning an instrument, going to concerts, writing music, and so on.) has innumerable benefits.
What is the most rewarding part about teaching at Colorado Springs Conservatory?
To watch students develop confidence – especially when they outdo themselves on something they originally did not think they could ever do. They do all of the amazing work. I just give them the tools and facilitation they need!
How did you get involved with the extension school district programs offered through CS Conservatory?
My first teaching assignment at the conservatory was the District 2 Panorama program, which was teaching piano lab to older elementary and middle school students. Now, through the addition of two more partner programs, I see students ranging from kindergarten to 7th grade every day! It can be a challenge preparing for so many different levels of music teaching.
What are some of your favorite places that you’ve travelled? What are some of your favorite places/things to do in Colorado Springs?
Summer music festivals are my main “medium” of travel, and I must say my favorite spots have been in Colorado! Summers in Aspen and Breckenridge are hard to beat. Unfortunately, international travel is not something I’ve been able to do in my life yet. Coming from sea-level, I can say hiking is my absolute favorite thing to do in the Springs.