Keith Canova

by Viktoria Vidali on May 10, 2017

in Art,General,Monthly Post,Music,The Creative Voice

THE CREATIVE VOICE. This is the eleventh in a series of monthly posts that will explore the sources of creative inspiration of living artists. Featured artists will speak of the unique circumstances that cause the Muses to visit them, and how they understand and interpret what the Muses are imparting. The artists will share their personal intuitions and insights, sometimes by telling a story, sometimes by explaining a concept or vision. May this exhilarating voyage encourage and motivate the artist in each of us.

In the world of archetypes, Keith Canova would have the Teacher and Artist archetypes in spades. But how aware are we of our dominant archetypes? Sometimes it takes a while for each of us to determine this in ourselves.

I tried to stop teaching twice, Keith remarked. Each time, the universe smacked me back.

Keith Canova, native of New York, traveled West in his twenties as far as San Diego where he stopped to finish college at California State University San Marcos and major in Creative Writing. He then moved to Willits with a dream of living in the redwoods and writing his first novel. However, life had other plans for him.

Now fourteen years later, Keith finds himself the owner of Canova Records & Music School, surrounded by over 100 children of all ages there to learn their favorite instrument or to take voice lessons. A self-taught musical artist, Keith sings and plays piano, guitar, drums, and bass.

What Keith loves most about his work is seeing how valuable making music can be to a child’s well-being. While it has long been known that music stimulates many areas of the brain, what is often overlooked is how playing music can soften the heart, relieve stress, bring back a state of equilibrium, and just make us feel a whole lot better.

It’s that sparkle in a student’s eyes while playing or singing that keeps me inspired, Keith reflected.

At Canova Records & Music School students are encouraged to develop their individuality and self-esteem by writing original songs, a skill that has largely been lost the 20th century. Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven all expected their students to compose.

Kids at the school are also helped to produce and market their music.

I am so proud of my student Jackie Scoggins, beamed Keith. I started teaching her when she was nine years old. Now a high school senior on her way to UC Davis, we’ve just released Jackie’s first EP, a collection of 5 original songs, with another full-length CD in the works.

Jackie and Keith in performance

An essential person in the recording process is Marcos DeFluri, the school’s sound engineer. DeFluri graduated from the Philadelphia School of Performing Arts with a double major in Composition and Arranging and Applied Music Production. He plays guitar, drums, Latin and Caribbean percussion, and writes for winds and brass.

I love to make things sound the way they should. If a guitar needs fixing or a soundboard needs wiring, I deal with that, Marcos said. Our vision is to give kids a real experience with recording and music performance.

What makes Canova Records & Music School stand out even more is that it not only offers students the opportunity to record their original songs but also provides a venue for live solo or group performances. The studio has a professional stage that is put to good use.

The first band to perform was composed of 7-year-olds who called themselves ‘The Sweetles’ because they played all Beatles songs. At one point I coordinated 25 bands and 65 students. We had a band of 80-year-olds called ‘The Arthritics’ and another band of parents who were taking lessons unbeknownst to their children, Keith laughed, remembering those days.

Jonathan Van Pelt and Ethan Gander, instructors at Canova Records & Music School, were in Keith’s bands when they were kids and soon discovered how important music was to them. They have now found a satisfying career in teaching and performing.

I have come to believe that a great teacher is a great artist and that there are as few as there are any other great artists. Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit. ~ John Steinbeck

Hundreds of students who made music and lessons at Canova Records & Music School a part of their lives would wholeheartedly agree that Keith is indeed a Great Teacher and Artist in spades.

* * *

June 4, 2017, is the school’s end-of-semester Student Concert featuring bands and solo artists. The concert begins at 3 pm and is free to the public. Summer band camps are scheduled for the last week in July and first week in August.

Canova Records & Music School is located at 246 N. State Street, Ukiah, California. For more information, visit the school’s Facebook page or call Keith at (707) 354-2377.

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