“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” is the age-old question, to which the answer has traditionally always been, “Practice, practice, practice!”

For every serious musician, performing at Carnegie Hall is a lifelong dream, the pinnacle of success, the ultimate achievement. For three young students at Encore Music Academy and Recording Studios, the dream became reality on Sunday, February 18, when Arnav Deshpande, age 11 of Franklin, Maura Johnston, age 15 of Norfolk, and Mia Quinn, age 10 of Franklin, all took the stage for the performance of a lifetime!

Mia Quinn studies voice with Lisa Ostrow, who is co-owner of Encore Music Academy and Recording Studios, while Maura Johnston and Arnav Deshpande are students of Rebecca Abalutzk. Deshpande studies piano and Johnston studies voice. Having received the highest scores in the state of Massachusetts with a score of 90 or higher for their specific instrument and level of study, these talented students were invited to perform in the Celebration of Excellence Awards recital. Said Quinn, before leaving for New York City, “I am excited to sing at Carnegie Hall. I can’t wait to set foot on the stage where so many famous people have performed!”

When Johnston was informed that she had been invited to perform, she had this to say:

“When I was told that I had gotten the highest score in the state I was completely surprised, so you could imagine my surprise when I found out I would get to actually perform at the Carnegie Hall.  I wasn’t expecting it at all and still can’t believe I have this opportunity.”

Three times each year, students participate in the internationally-acclaimed Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) assessment sessions, which represent an exciting opportunity for music students, on a national level, to demonstrate the skills that they have honed through hard work and perseverance. The program provides a recognized national standard of success in music study from beginner to advanced levels, and inspires excellence through individual student assessments that are central to the program while also supporting teachers with high-quality and innovative resources. The RCM allows students to measure and celebrate accomplishments and track their progress throughout the country. For the assessments, students are graded on proficiency in the following areas: Performance, technical requirements, aural skills, rhythm, and sight-reading ability.

“This is a comprehensive program which integrates all aspects of music education from performance to theory to sightreading,” states Ostrow, an alumna of the Conservatory herself, “and through its remarkably comprehensive curriculum, we are raising better and stronger musicians. That is why, when The Royal Conservatory was brought to the United States six years ago, we immediately jumped at the opportunity to become a Founding School and an Official Assessment Center here at Encore.”