Teacher Spotlight: Rosy Sackstein

Jul 20, 2022

Ashley Pitman, Forte

Name: Rosy Sackstein
Instrument(s): Flute and Piano
Location: Valencia, California

Background:

Bachelor of Music, University of Miami; MFA, California Institute of the Arts. Alumna of Aspen Music Festival and Tanglewood Music Festival. Over 50 years of experience and has played professionally in Florida and California.

Greatest inspiration:

My mom, Dr. Rosalina G. Sackstein.

Favorite place to perform:

Anywhere with my husband and children.


Performance clip:

¡Flautas! (for flute quartet, piano, and percussion) by David Roitstein

 

Performed by:
flute & piccolo:  Steve Kujala
flute:  Rosy Sackstein
flute:  Matthew Roitstein
flute:  Alina Roitstein
piano:  David Roitstein
congas & bell:  Michito Sanchez


Teaching Setup:

  • iPad Mini 5th generation
  • MacBook Pro
  • iPhone SE
  • AirPods
  • Tripod Stand

What’s great about teaching on Forte?

I love that students can hear me while they’re playing, and I can give them musical directions as they’re playing for me. So I can say, “Repeat this phrase, but softer,” and they hear me right on the spot. Also, I can say “stop!”  They hear me the first time without me having to bang on the keys or ring my hotel desk bell! I’m not exaggerating when I say that Forte literally saved my voice.

Tell us a bit about your teaching style and experience as an educator:

With children, my fundamental belief is that I’m not just teaching music, I’m teaching the whole child. The music is both the motivation and the vehicle – that joy in making music has to be what drives them. It is important to me to find the right way to reach every individual student. In addition, they’ll learn how to behave in public, address people, interact with their parents and peers, write an email… become expressive and effective communicators in music and spirit. Kids need to be taught to pay attention to detail in a loving way, and it will make a difference in every part of their lives.

I was very motivated by performances and auditions as a child. And, I find that a lot of students are like that today! If they find success in performance, their interest continues and they WORK towards that goal. Although I’m not always a big believer in competitions, if students want to compete, I will wholeheartedly support them.

Learning and teaching music has changed drastically over the years for me. When I was a kid, I had to buy LPs or go to a live concert if I wanted to listen to a piece of music. Later, we had these desktop radios with cassette recorders built into them, and my grandfather would record for me anything he heard on the radio that he knew I’d like. Thirty years ago, buying LP recordings was expensive and classical flute recordings weren’t as popular as piano. The only flute recordings you could find were by Rampal and later, Galway.

Today, the accessibility to music through YouTube and Spotify is paramount for these students. Not only that, but with the site, IMSLP, you can download public domain scores which makes an entire music library readily available.

A piece of repertoire I love to teach:

I love to teach everything, but for piano, when I get a student to a level where they can play Beethoven’s Für Elise or a Chopin Prelude, that is a fun breakthrough. There are just so many different ways to express these pieces and to teach various options for phrasing. My goal is to help each student find their own musical voice. For flute, I love to teach the Poulenc Sonata and also Debussy’s Syrinx because I enjoy playing them too!

A piece of repertoire I love to play:

There are so many. Today, I feel like playing a Prelude and Fugue by JS Bach and Danza de la Moza Donosa by Ginastera. I also like to learn music by living composers and besides my husband, one composer I love is Valerie Coleman!

Fun fact:

When I was in high school, this kid asked me to play piano in the jazz band, and I told him I didn’t know how to play jazz. I said, “I’ll memorize anything immediately, but I don’t know how to play jazz.” So, this kid asked David (my current husband), who was in the Jazz ensemble at a different high school, to coach me. David agreed to come and work with me every day after school. He even wrote out all my improvised solos, which I memorized, and that’s how David and I first got together!  It was so much fun working together. But, it wasn’t until my junior year of college when David asked me to play flute in a jazz orchestra they were creating at University of Miami that we started dating. Rosy’s husband, David Roitstein, is currently the Jazz Program Director at California Institute of the Arts.

In the artist’s own words:

“Allowing children to explore as much as they can for as long as they can, including a variety of musical experiences, academics, other arts, as well as athletics, informs everything they do. Many people don’t realize that musicians are athletes: they need endurance and they need to learn perseverance.”