Richard Milgram: Providing Inspiration and Motivation

He's an accomplished pianist, musician, conductor, performer, and educator, but what Richard Milgram enjoys most is working with students of all ages to help them become inspired and explore their musical abilities at Shoreline School of Art & Music, a Branford institution he founded with his wife, artist Judith Milgram, in 1978.
He's an accomplished pianist, musician, conductor, performer, and educator, but what Richard Milgram enjoys most is working with students of all ages to help them become inspired and explore their musical abilities at Shoreline School of Art & Music, a Branford institution he founded with his wife, artist Judith Milgram, in 1978.

He's performed at Carnegie Hall and with famed musicians from Buddy Rich to the Boston Pops, but for Richard Milgram, perhaps the best collaborations are those enjoyed with his music students for more than 30 years at Shoreline School of Art & Music.

The Branford resident and director of music founded the Branford institution in 1978 with his wife Judith Milgram, the school's director of art. The school occupies a building with wide, windowed spaces overlooking the east end of town (540 East Main Street).

Its staying power here is a tribute to the Milgrams' teaching methodology. Both he and Judith are teachers first, Richard notes.

"We are educators," says Richard, a state-certified music instructor who's taught and led programs in private and public schools and colleges. "I try to teach in such a way that music will remain a part of their life."

A masterful pianist and guitar player, Richard recalls being a young student without the benefit of an educator who knew how to "individualize" lessons to help and inspire and motivate.

"My first two or three years of playing, practicing wasn't foremost in my mind!" Richard says, laughing. "Then I made a conscious decision to excel and succeeded."

Like many young students he's worked with since, Richard became a stand-out player in school bands and earned a music scholarship to college. Both Richard and Judith say encouraging that creative spark is the best way to help a student succeed.

"You have to believe in what you're teaching and stay with students and offer them encouragement," says Judith.

The philosophy stretches to the school's art programs and serves students of all ages, from very young children to adults and retirees.

Approved by the Connecticut Department of Higher Education, the school draws students from 65 Connecticut communities and offers a variety of instruction and classes year-round, mornings, afternoons, and evenings, six days a week.

Richard's spacious teaching area is a veritable music laboratory complete with pianos, drums, and more. A conductor as well as music instructor and performer, he's a former Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra music coach and also teaches vocal performance.

The school's halls are often enhanced by live music, just as its walls are enhanced by artwork produced by Judith and her students in her nearby studio classroom for graphic art, drawing, and fine art painting classes. An award-winning artist, Judith was an instructor with The Art Institute of Boston, among other schools, and has years of professional graphic design and illustration experience. The school has additional instructors with college and university degrees in subject areas it offers.

Both Richard and Judith have additional long lists of accomplishments to their credit. But in talking with them, it's obvious student accomplishment is what has made their work at Shoreline School of Art & Music so gratifying.

For more information, visit www.shorelineartandmusic.com, call 203-481-4830, or email
shoreline.school@snet.net.

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