Poly Conservatory Is Part of Vision of Poly as a Cultural Center

Poly Conservatory is the new name, as of fall 2019, of our Performing Arts after-school music lesson program on the Dyker Heights campus. “We want the program to be visible as an important, integral aspect of the Poly experience,” said Simone Ferraresi, Poly Prep Conservatory Coordinator.

Simone Ferraresi

“With Poly Conservatory,” Ferraresi said, “we want to strengthen Poly’s reputation as a school for the performing arts and contribute toward the vision of Poly as a cultural center.”

Ferraresi has been teaching after-school piano lessons at Poly since 2006. In 2014, he joined the faculty full time. Ferraresi, who is a native of Italy, earned a BA from Frescobaldi Conservatory; MMus from the Academy of Music (Vienna); and Dip. RAM from the Royal Academy of Music (London). Before coming to Poly, he had a career as a concert pianist performing internationally for 20 years and is the founder of the Ferrara Piano Festival.

“Fostering musicianship for Poly students begins in the Lower School where students are encouraged to take individual music lessons after school or through our lunchtime music lessons program,” shared Michael S. Robinson, Head of Arts. “Many members of Middle and Upper School concert bands got their start on the Lower School campus working with professional musicians/teachers there. On the Dyker Heights campus, the opportunities for instrumental and vocal music study expand, providing additional opportunities for students to study and share their achievements as musicians and performers.”

In the Poly Conservatory, students in Grades 5-12 take lessons in piano, voice, flute, violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and percussion. Poly Conservatory lessons give students an opportunity to study instruments that are not typically taught in a large group setting, such as piano, guitar, and solo voice. Lessons are given in blocks of 20 or 25 per school year. The 10 teachers are now giving all lessons after school on Zoom or Google Meet. These are open to all Poly students, regardless of their skill level.  Registration is open from mid-August to mid-September, but late enrollments are accepted, as long as the teacher still has availability.

Marisa Triola '24 with violin
Marisa Triola ’24
Daniel Doughty
Daniel Doughty

“We made the switch to virtual in the spring,” said Dan Doughty, Performing Arts Department Chair, “and found that lessons were just as successful in this format. We were quite pleased with the students’ progress and their performances at our virtual Spring Recital.”  Students learned their recital pieces for their online Spring Recital.

Poly Conservatory lessons give students the opportunity for deeper skill development and musicianship through one-on-one or small group lessons. “In this format,” said Doughty, “lessons can be developed with the individual musician’s needs in mind. We are proud of our in-school classes, the exposure and foundational skills they provide to students of all skill levels, and we find that Poly Conservatory lessons are an excellent next step for students who wish to dive deeper into their training.”

Marisa Triola ’24 has taken violin lessons at Poly since Lower School. “I enjoy the Poly Conservatory because I can take individual violin lessons outside of class,” Marisa said. “It has helped me to develop many skills as a musician, and the art of learning an instrument has helped me to focus and learn in other classes, also.”

Samantha Rodino ’22 is a vocal student in Poly Conservatory. “What I like specifically about the Poly Conservatory is that we get individual attention. Last year, my vocal lessons with Ms. Wyatt were around 45 minutes long during one of my flex time periods. Also, I was allowed to choose a song or multiple songs of my choice, and my vocal teacher helped me improve my singing capability. I have always been doing some form of music since I was little, and I do feel that it has helped me with my academic life as well.”

Samantha Rodino ’22

“Students will finish their year in Poly Conservatory with a small repertoire that they can showcase in our Spring Recital,” said Ferraresi. “We also have a Winter Recital in January. Performance in either recital is an integral part of the program. I also have to stress the importance of one-on-one instruction in music throughout the year, which, according to several studies, has been shown to enhance focus, productivity, and academic performance.  I hope more and more students will enroll in our program in the future.”

Tesvara Jiang ’23 has taken cello lessons at Poly for a year. “It is special because I feel supported by my instructor,” Tesvara said. “We perform a piece and it allows me to know where I am and see how I am improving.”  When asked how Poly Conservatory helped Tesvara improve as a musician, she said, “I have made so much improvement since day 1!” She continued, “In order to play well, I have to dedicate time every day to practice. This forces me to manage time better and become more productive. After playing cello, I am able to focus on school work better.” 

Ferraresi added that what makes the Poly Conservatory special are the teachers. “Our faculty is just amazing, and parents, or prospective parents, should be aware of the highest level of musicianship that we have in our instructors.”

 For more information, families may log into the Parent Portal and contact Simone Ferraresi. Financial aid is available and we always strive to ensure that any interested students are able to participate.