Step Up Music students deliver recital Feb. 27 at JFK Library
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Ariane Cap’s Step Up Music students put on a recital at JFK Library on Sat., Feb. 27.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/S.N. JACOBSON
Richard Freedman, Vallejo Times-Herald
POSTED: 02/19/16, 2:23 PM PST | UPDATED: 11 HRS AGO
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Eryn McFall and other student at Step Up Music perform at JFK Library in a recital.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Ariane Cap can never forget her public appearance debut.
It was at the Conservatory of Innsbruck in Austria.
“It was a huge and cold room, made of marble and metal. I was terribly nervous and felt very alone,” Cap recalls. “I remember playing way too fast and feeling completely exposed. The first audience members seemed miles away from me. It wasn’t a positive experience at all.”
Cap was 8. Traumatized back then, perhaps, she apparently recovered, becoming one of the most acclaimed bass players on the planet.


Now, with her own students at Step Up Music in Vallejo, Cap leans on her gloomy public unveiling to make it enjoyable for the young ones in a Feb. 27 recital at JFK Library.
“I fiercely aim to make performing fun for my students,” Cap said. “I want to keep it light on one hand and treat them like the little rock stars they are on the other. It is very important.”
Cap and fellow instructors Dr. Stephan Betz and Leah Woodard tote 11 piano students, one bass student and four vocalists to the recital. Plus, the teaching trio will trade talents as well.


“There will be everything from boogie-woogie to kids’ favorites to movie scores to classical,” Cap said. “It’s a very varied program featuring mostly younger students on this one. We cannot fit everyone into one recital.”
About half are Step Up recital “veterans,” but there are several “who are ‘stepping up’ on stage for the first time,” Cap said. There is a discussion on preparing young students for public performance, she said.
“We talk at length about the difference between practicing and practicing-performing,” Cap said. “Both are equally important, especially with a performance coming up. Practicing the music means analyzing and doing detective work when errors occur, repeating short arts rather than always starting at the beginning, warming up and playing with repetitions. Practicing-performing means pretending we are on stage, keeping going when errors occur, and playing without any warm-up.”


Also, continued Cap, “we discuss how they feel about performing. I know their worries and butterflies but I also know their excitement, and in some cases, how much it took to agree to even be on that stage. I want them to be super proud of themselves for facing their fears and working so hard. And, mind you, not everyone qualifies to be admitted. We still have another lesson to iron out some kinks, so we will see. I want the students to have a good experience performing and the audience to enjoy themselves.”


The Joseph Room at JFK is an ideal recital venue, Cap said.
“It has a beautiful piano and a great stage,” she said. “The room has history, is made of wood and the vibe is friendly and warm. There is natural daylight. The room is wide rather than long so the audience is close.”
There are about 20 Step Up students, said Cap, who teachers many via Skype. She’s published a video course and a bass book last October and also started a blog and other online bass teaching activities.
Her book has become a No. 1 best-seller on Amazon in its category.


“It has been very intense for me, yet I find it vitally important to stay in personal contact with students rather than teach in all virtual world,” Cap said. “The direct interaction with learners keeps me on my toes and my skills shop.”
Because the Mira Cultural Community Center is undergoing renovation, Step Up Music is based at Virginia Street and Sonoma Boulevard inside the First Methodist Church.
Step Up Music students and instructors perform a recital at JFK Library, 505 Santa Clara St., Vallejo, Sat., Feb. 27, 1 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (707) 647-3050.

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