Güher and Süher Pekinel Music Department
FOUNDATION OF THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT
The Güher and Süher Pekinel Music Department was created as a result of a concert they were invited to give in 2006 to benefit the Turkish Education Foundation İnanç Türkeş Private High School (TEVİTÖL), which only admits students with extraordinary talent from all over Turkey.
The Pekinels performed at the concert with the Jacques Loussier Trio, and when they visited the school, they learned that the students wanted to play their instruments, but that they were unable to make significant progress because of insufficient space and teachers. Therefore, they decided to establish a Music Department in keeping with the requests of these young people.
From the beginning, the Music Department has operated with their financial and moral support, and they have provided the necessary instruments. They have also personally chosen the students admitted to the Music Department. Early on, TEVİTOL not only provided the space required for study, but it also shouldered the necessary financial responsibilities after seeing the success achieved in the first year.
GOALS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
The purpose of the Music Department is to make TEVİTOL a model school by making music lessons as good as possible instead of offering elective classes like those at many schools that fail to produce results because of inadequate fundamental knowledge.
The biggest problem about music education at comparable schools is that there are not enough obligatory and elective music classes per week. Another issue is the fact that the syllabus of the music classes does not fulfil the needs of a proper music class and does not offer adequate contents.
That is why TEVİTÖL is unique. Unlike many other private schools that offer musical education, TEVİTÖL’s curriculum includes not only instrument lessons but also classes on Solfeggio and the History of Music. Students only acquire the necessary fundamental knowledge when they take music lessons that combine these three classes. In addition, the History of Music class focuses not only on music but employs a syllabus that includes all types of art in order to expand the horizons of students and encourage them to explore more comprehensive areas of interest.
Most of the teachers in the Music Department are lecturers in conservatories and artists in reputable orchestras, a clear indication of how the department achieved its superior quality in such a short time. The goal is to train students who have mastered an instrument but are not hampered by their technical capabilities and can descend into the depths of their inner self, students who are at peace with themselves, gentle and capable of sustaining human relations because they have realized their own creative potential and perform music with others.
The goal of the Music Department is not to train musicians because it is a well-known fact (with some exceptions) that students who begin playing for the first time at the age of 15 cannot pursue professional careers in this field. In order to be a world-renowned artist, one must begin playing an instrument around the age of 4-5. In preschools and elementary schools to be opened as part of TEVİTOL in the future, talent will be identified early and the necessary direction will be provided.
Of course, really talented individuals can prove themselves at 15, 16 and 17 years of age if they are sufficiently determined. For example, when the Pekinels first visited TEVİTOL, Egemen Kesikli was already talented enough to improvise on the piano although he had received no musical training. He had taken composition classes only in the last two years of high school, and yet he achieved unbelievable progress in a very short time, which is an indication of the quality of the education provided in the Music Department. Egemen finished in the top of his class in a professional summer course he attended at Northwest University in 2007 while in high school at TEVİTÖL. He was awarded a full scholarship at St. Olaf College in Minnesota in the Music and Political Science departments where he has received his Bachelors degree. Currently he is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Among the awards won by Egemen Kesikli are first prize in the “Minnesota Music Educators Association Collegiate Composition Contest”. In the same competition, he won first prize in the Chamber Music group with his work entitled "Twelve Days in Ecstasy", first place in the Chorus group with “Agnus Dei”, and second place in the Solo Instrument group with "Uzak" (The Distant). He won first prize in the “James and Paula Nelson Composition Competition,” first place in the “Beethoven Club – Belvedere Chamber Music Festival Composition Contest” and first prize in the “2011 Young Composers Competition” organized by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra. A member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), his works have been performed by groups such as the NHSMI Wind Ensemble. He still receives both financial and moral support from Güher and Süher Pekinel.
In addition to supporting exceptional individuals like Egemen Kesikli, the primary goal of the musical education provided to students in the high school is to ensure that these young people, who will be future CEOs, develop balance in terms of emotional intelligence and learn to appreciate art. In order to be able to endure the process of general change and global knowledge which is advancing at a speed beyond our control, we need art more than ever.
Music will help students solve problems more effectively and interact on a more intellectual level at university and in social settings after they graduate from high school. We strive to introduce all types of art to students who have never been to a concert or exhibition so that they develop an appreciation for the arts, thus ingraining in them a taste for ideological freedom and more open-mindedness. In addition to these types of abstract goals, the “Music Department Certificate of Achievement” presented to students at their high school graduation ceremony makes them eligible to obtain college credit in application procedures at many foreign universities.
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