Just as every child approaches music theory with different motivations, Magnus Nilsson is setting a powerful tempo in teaching and assembling Naples’ newest community youth orchestra.
Nilsson has a boundless passion for teaching music. He is a driving force in shaping and building a talented youth orchestra based at the Classical Academy of Naples.
Drawing from years of music background stemming from his time spent playing in orchestras in New York City, Denmark and Sweden, Nilsson is discovering exactly what it takes to recruit and teach local youngsters, ultimately preparing orchestra students for upcoming holiday performances.
Nilsson served as a band instructor at Smithtown Christian School, in New York City for six years. Moving from the Big Apple with his family to Naples, just two years ago, he began serving as a substitute music director at First Baptist Academy of Naples. But Nilsson always knew he wanted to form a community youth orchestra he could call his own.
So Nilsson collaborated with John Brunner, founder of the Classical Academy of Naples, a private Christian elementary school to find a strong foundation for teaching classical music. Nilsson’s orchestra rehearsals will begin next month for children between the ages of 7 and 12 years old.
“Our goal is to develop music literacy, sight reading, and ear training ability so that each music student is a successful member of the orchestra,” Nilsson said.
Nilsson brings a total mastery of classical band and orchestra education with him as an instructor hailing originally from Ljungby, and Malmö, Sweden, where Nilsson began to play the cello alongside his mother, a classical violinist in their community philharmonic orchestra at the age of 12 years old.
“I was really excited, as we played for the Philharmonic in town,” recalled Nilsson of his first experience in his transformation to study music, which ultimately led him to the New School for Social Research in New York City in the 1990’s, and to Five Towns College in Dix Hills, N.Y., for his master’s program.
“I love music, so I want to teach and do a lot with music,” explained Nilsson as he demonstrated a chord on his late 18th century double bass for children attending the Back-to-School Expo at Centerpoint Community Church.
Eleven-year-old Madelynn Kaufmann of Naples quickly learned a few notes on Nilsson’s double bass at the home-schooling expo. As an entering sixth-grade homeschooler with Classical Conversations and Shining Stars, Kaufman is looking to incorporate some music and rhythm into her challenging curriculum.
“All students have their own pace in learning. So you have to help them find what they are reaching for in learning to play an instrument,” said Nilsson, adding that he is hoping to train 30 students in the next school year. “We’ll try to begin with 10 violins, 10 violas, five cellos, and four to five basses at first.”
Music lessons and orchestra training rehearsals will be offered after school hours to accommodate children’s busy schedules twice a week, and Nilsson plans to offer an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to music. Children can select one of four instruments to learn from, which include the cello, violin, viola and double bass.
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If You Go:
The Classical Academy Youth Orchestra
St. Monica’s Episcopal Church
7070 Immokalee Road
Naples, FL 34110
$200 per semester plus $25 book fee per student