15 Questions with Soyulla founder and director, Jae M. Shin.
In honor of our anniversary and to celebrate our journey, we sit down with Soyulla founder and director, Jae M. Shin, for 15 questions.
1. Where does your love of music come from?
My love of music started in college. I was a fairly unhappy science major at Northwestern University when a music teacher I knew suggested that I try taking voice lessons. Discovering my singing voice ended up completely transforming my life. It gave me confidence, a sense of direction and showed me the true meaning of passion. To this day, I feel that I owe the best aspects of my life and character to music.
2. Did you pursue music after that?
Yes, I just had this feeling that singing was what I was meant to do. When I shared this with my mother, she said that the only way she would support my decision to pursue music is if I got into Juilliard. So, at the age of 20, I took a year off college and prepared for an audition of a lifetime. It seems pretty unbelievable now, but my determination and hard work must have paid off because the following year I got accepted and began my studies at Juilliard.
3. Where did the inspiration for Soyulla Artists come from?
While at Juilliard, I received a teaching grant and spent a lot of time teaching underprivileged kids. I also spent a lot of time travelling and performing and wanted to find a way to both teach and perform as part of my career. One day, while I was sitting at a little cafe in Italy, I envisioned creating an organization where a community of young passionate artists could come together in order to teach, perform, and bring music to students of all ages, skill levels and backgrounds everywhere. That’s how the idea for Soyulla Artists and its two branches, Center Stage and Stars, was born.
4. How did you come up with the name Soyulla?
The name Soyulla comes from a combination of two names of women who have inspired me most in life; my mother and the opera singer Maria Callas.
5. Who are the Soyulla Artists?
Soyulla Artists are young, vibrant, internationally up and coming artists and educators who share the Soyulla philosophy that music education should be accessible and fun. Each Soyulla artist goes through a highly selective process and is ultimately chosen based on their outstanding training background, performing experience and exceptional teaching ability. Our priority is to seek out artists who can teach strong fundamentals while making the lessons exciting and relevant to young kids.
6. What makes Soyulla Artists different?
What makes us different is our teaching artists. They are all young, edgy, and passionate performers and educators who have incredible enthusiasm for their craft. We take the time to personally match each teacher and student based on the student’s area of interest and personality and bring top-quality education directly to student’s homes. With over 15 years of experience, we have an over 99% matching success rate.
7. Describe Soyulla’s teaching philosophy in 3 words:
Interactive, tailored and fun!
8. Why is music education important?
A: In children, learning music is proven to have positive effects on neurological development, social skills and, of course, creative expression. I have seen firsthand the effects that music has had on my own daughter. I introduced her to reading music at a very young age and watched as she learned how to read by the age of two and a half. Music has had many positive effects on her but, perhaps, what’s most incredible is how it’s shaped her into an independent thinker and a young girl with a hugely expressive personality. She is definitely her own unique person.
9. What is your number one piece of advice that you would give to young kids who want to study music?
A: There is no such thing as wrong. A little practice every day goes a long way. And most importantly: be patient, have fun and never give up.
10. What is your advice to parents who don’t play music but want their kids to learn?
I would recommend to treat the lessons as a fun family activity. Be around the lessons, learn with your kids, go over what they’ve learned with them. Have an open dialogue with your teachers and be the biggest cheerleader for your child’s learning. Musical ability develops incrementally. As long as they put in a little bit of work, they will see the results.
11. Is Soyulla just for kids?
Soyulla is for anyone who is excited to learn music. Music is never too late to learn and is guaranteed to open up a whole new world of creative and intellectual possibilities for a student of any age and skill level.
12. What are you most excited about right now?
I am most excited to share our exceptional artists and their talents. Our roster of teaching and performing artists includes musicians who have played with artists like Blondie, Elton John and Itzhak Perlman. They’ve appeared on world’s largest stages from Carnegie Hall to Broadway and European opera houses. Our artists can also put together a repertoire for any special occasion through our Stars! division. Whether you are looking for a classical string quartet to play at your engagement or a modern jazz trio for a cocktail party, we have artists to fit any occasion and create the perfect ambiance at your next event.
13. What is next for Soyulla Artists and its branches?
In addition to expanding our Stars division, I am excited to keep developing our Centerstage program and bring even more music to schools all over the city. Centerstage offers private and groups lessons as a part of an after-school program. We work directly with schools to design short term or long term after-school curriculums focusing on anything from a specific group of instruments, musical genres, theory fundamentals and much more. My goal is continue to advocate for the importance of music and to bring it to communities everywhere.
14. What are your tips for keeping music practice fun for kids and adults alike?
Start with 5 minutes a day. Then increase the number of minutes over time. Once you begin to see how much practice improves your skills, you will not want to stop improving.
15. Complete the sentence: Soyulla Artists is…..
A community of world-class artists who bring the arts directly to you. From private lessons, to specially designed after school music curriculums, to high caliber musicians who will create the perfect ambiance at your next special occasion event, we are here to offer New York’s finest artists to fit all your needs.