Branch logo color


WHEN:           Friday,  September 11

                     9:00AM Board meeting (all members are welcome to attend)

                     10:00AM  Branch Meeting

PLACE:         Ventura First United Methodist Church parlor

PROGRAM:  Overview of all programs for the year, and a mandatory CM training session for any teacher who will participate in CM this year.  Come to pick up your directory too!

DIRECTIONS TO VFUMC:  1338 E. Santa Clara St in Ventura.  From Camarillo and Oxnard, take the 101 north.  Exit at Seaward then turn right to stay on Seaward.  Turn Left onto Main Street.  Just after you pass Chrisman Avenue on the left, veer left at the signal light on onto Santa Clara Street.  The FUMC will be on the first block on the left side.  Turn left into the parking lot.  For further directions, phone Ellen Pearson at the church office at 805-643-8621.


Another year, another new beginning.  It is exciting to prepare our students for all  the festivals & events coming up.  Plan to come to our September 11 information meeting for the overview of all programs for the year.  Be sure to stay for refreshments afterwards and have a little social time!

You will receive a directory at our September meeting.  This year it will contain  the calendar for the year as well as teachers’ contact information.  The calendar is also available on our website:, thanks to Niccole Modell.

Welcome to our newest members:  Ben Ginsberg and Becca Stankis!  They were both students of teachers in our branch—Ben studied with Nicole Burns & Becca studied with Pat Shullanberger.

Our first festival is the Holiday Festival with the theme Americana.  I hope if  you’re a newer teacher you will enter some students—it’s a very motivational program.

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly  music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.”― Plato



Hello PV-VC Branch members. Many hours of preparation have been put into the coming year’s programs and festivals; we hope you will benefit from everything we have to offer. 

Please plan to attend the September meeting where you will be given an overview of the year’s activities. This is an important session and can really help prepare you for the upcoming school year. Come hear what we have in store for you this year!



The Bach Regional, which was held on May 16th, was a great success and several students from Pleasant Valley - Ventura County Branch were selected as winners.  Winning students from PV-VC were  Gabriel Johnson, Joshua Lau (Nicole Burns),  Franklin Ohlinger(Ruth Johnson),  Mika Mullikin(Kary kramer), Rebecca Shuere(Ada Lovingfoss),  Michael Liu(Lily Starobinets),  David Kwon, Katie Cha, Daniel Kim, Jacobi Gunsalus (Sharon Kim).

Congratulations to the winners and their teachers.  Several of the winners have decided to continue competing in Bach Festival this year and will continue on with the Complete Works Audition October 4th, in Long Beach.

CM NEWS from Beverly

Hope you all had a great summer. With students back in school, it’s time to start planning our CM year. The CM Database will open for registration on October 1, and will close at 11:59pm on October 31. No late registration is allowed after this closing date.

You will need to go on your MTAC teachers page and to the left CM Resources, and then to documents, for all of this year’s information.  Also, it is necessary to read the state CM Newsletter for August. There is much information that you will need to know. Such as dates, Policy and Syllabus Updates for CM 2016. For the newsletter go to CM Resources and then to Newsletters.

Our branch dates are Saturday, February 27, and Saturday March 5. February 27 will be for both strings and piano. March 5 will be for piano only.

It is mandatory that you come to our September 11, meeting if you are doing CM this year. It will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Ventura. The Board meeting will be at 9:00am and the General meeting will be at 10:00am. We are fortunate to have Nicole Burns, a CM council member in our branch, who will give the CM presentation.

I look forward to seeing you at the meeting.


Congratulations to the students of PV-VC Branch - winners of New West Symphony Quick Bowman Youth Piano Competition  August 22, 2015.

·Division I Winners (14-17 years of age)

             Honorable Mention:   Jerod Frederick   (Lily Starobinets)

             Honorable Mention:   Michelle Liu   (Lily Starobinets)

·Division II Winners (8-13 years of age)

2nd Place:  Anna Lapteva      (Lily Starobinets)


Ben Ginsberg, a former student of Nicole Burns, has been teaching in Ventura County since 2011. He earned his BFA from CalArts in 2010, and works as a pianist, music director, coach, arranger, and session and church keyboardist. He has music directed over 75 musical theatre productions all over Southern California as well as in Seattle and New York, earning several award nominations. He is delighted to return to MTAC PV-VC, having spent a year in the Conejo Valley branch while music directing and teaching in Westlake.

“My name is Becca Stankis and I have been cultivating my enjoyment of music since I was a youngster sitting beneath the piano bench listening to my siblings playing “Hot Cross Buns” and “Old MacDonald’s Farm.” I graduated from Pepperdine University with a degree in Piano Performance and English Literature, and while there, discovered my affections for Russian music as well as Russian literary works.  I am fond of hiking, playing chess, traveling, and I have a wicked sweet tooth. My favorite moments as a teacher have been when my students experience the "light-bulb effect." Phrases such as – "I FINALLY get it!!"; "Ohhhhh that makes so much sense!"; "Well now it’s easy!" – enliven the enjoyment and delight that music offers.”