The testament to the strength and caliber of any program begins with the students who have gone through it. Here’s a chance for you to read the testimonials provided by parents of student alumni.
“The Hopkins JHS Instrumental Music Program is the finest in California, and possibly the nation. Both of my sons were fortunate to have been students in the program under the direction of Mr. Gregory Conway. In two years of respective concert bands and Jazz Band, they learned the value of teamwork, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that every member of the team must play their part with precision and passion. They learned to love classical as well as jazz music, and gained confidence from hours of practice.
My older son was in Mr. Conway’s very first 7th grade band class at Hopkins; my younger son followed 4 years later. What amazed me is that Mr. Conway had high expectations of his students and managed to elicit performances from them that exceeded his high standards again and again every year.
Both my sons continued with instrumental music throughout all 4 years of high school, and became leaders in their respective marching band sections. Although they are not expected to study music in college, I am convinced both would not have been so well positioned to gain admission to the top university of their choice without the foundational skills they learned in the Hopkins music program.”
“My child joined Hopkins Music Program in 7th and 8th grades. When I think of Hopkins Music Program, words like ‘excellence,’ ‘inspiring,’ ‘award-winning,’ ‘teamwork,’ ‘dedication,’ ‘friendship,’ and ‘fun’ come to mind. Needless to say, the Great America and Disneyland trips were memorable experiences for my child. Winning 1st place in both competitions made it all the more thrilling.
Thanks to our beloved music director Mr. Conway, the Hopkins Music Program has inspired countless students, including my child, the love of music. Through this program, my child learnt to play the viola, made many friends, and learnt the importance of teamwork and hard work to achieve excellence. More importantly, playing the viola now provides my child a healthy outlet to relax in an otherwise high-pressure high school environment. I highly recommend Hopkins Music Program to students 4th grade onward. Get ready to be inspired!”
Parent of Hopkins Instrumental Music students Since 2011
“A momentous event happened to our family, in Room 23 of Hopkins, when my daughter (at the end of 6th grade) had her first experience with the Trombone, and my son (end of 4th grade) the Viola. Mr. Conway laid out several band and orchestra instruments on the floor, encouraged us to try them all while he patiently introduced each to us. This was our very personalized, exclusive, thorough, life-changing instrumental selection appointment with the music director. It was the year 2011.
We were tremendously impressed by Mr. Conway’s professional and selfless service. At that point, none of my children were his students yet. In fact, no one in our family had ever played any musical instrument. None of us had any musical background at all. Yet, Mr. Conway was willing to take time out of his impossible schedule to direct his utmost personal attention to us, some total strangers who might not follow through — all because of his passion for youth music education, and the urge to impart this love to our children, when he was already taking hundreds of others under his wings!
That summer, my children started taking private lessons on the instruments of their choice, indeed a very educated choice. In the fall, my daughter joined Hopkins Concert Band, and my son Beginning Elementary Orchestra. They have played in the school ensembles ever since, enjoyed making quality music, auditioned for and got accepted into honor groups, undertaken sectional responsibilities, and continued to seek excellence in their pursuit of music and other areas of life.
My children both felt that the 48 minutes of music lesson each day at Hopkins led by Mr. Conway, plus the additional enrichment classes (including Jazz Workshop, Jazz Ensemble, and Full Orchestra) and activities (such as trips to Disneyland/Great America, CMEA Festivals, and honor bands/orchestras) had contributed to their memorable school experience that was both valuable and matchless — not to mention the honor of being a part of the award-winning teams!
Out of the approximately 170 teachers who have taught all my children from K-12 over the years, Mr. Conway remains the family’s favorite. We have devoted to Hopkins Music ever since. In the current school year, we continue to benefit from Hopkins’ quality music program – one child plays in Advanced Orchestra at Hopkins, and the youngest in Elementary Advanced Orchestra. My older children stay closely connected with Mr. Conway through volunteer opportunities after school and participation in the two summer programs that he directs every year. They never consider Mr. Conway their ‘former’ teacher; there is always something to be learnt from him, both in and outside of the classroom.
My experience with Hopkins Music was diverse, having enrolled children in both the Band and Orchestra programs of Hopkins as well as in the elementary program. They all entered at different points of the standard course sequence with some skipping along the way. I encourage you, too, to take full advantage of the comprehensive and exceptional instrumental music program available only at Hopkins.”
“The Hopkins Music Program is so well-regarded that well before my daughter was in junior high I started to hear its praises from parents with older students. Based on all the favorable comments about the program and its director, Greg Conway, and after hearing the bands perform, I encouraged my daughter to try band at Hopkins. She had been unable to participate in the elementary school band program, so although she had years of piano lessons, she entered 7th grade with no band instrument experience.
At the beginning of each year, Mr. Conway holds an ‘Instrument Fitting’ Night where all incoming students are asked to try all the different band instruments regardless of previous band instrument experience. There are outside experts in the various instruments on hand to evaluate each student’s potential. The students get hands-on opportunities to try instruments they may never have seen nor handled before. It is only after Instrument Fitting that each student is assigned an instrument (often the one they had played in elementary school, but not always). It’s an interesting process, but a well-deliberated one. My daughter ended up being assigned to play euphonium, an instrument we’d never seen nor heard about previously. It was well-suited to her and she became proficient fairly quickly. To my surprise, band became one of my daughter’s favorite classes despite her prior loathing of practicing piano. I attribute her love for band and her quick proficiency with her instrument entirely to Mr. Conway and the Hopkins Music Program. Hopkins Band students are nurtured and challenged in such a way that they are eager to learn and eager to excel in their craft. Within 8 months, my daughter went from zero euphonium experience to earning a Most Outstanding Brass Award. With slightly over a year’s worth of euphonium experience and the encouragement of Mr. Conway, my daughter was accepted into that year’s prestigious ensembles for the NCBA (Northern California) Honor Band and the California All-State Honor Band.
Hopkins Band students are provided the instruction, guidance, and encouragement to gain confidence to not only excel in their instrument, but also to try new things. My daughter was encouraged to pick up another instrument (bass trombone) at the beginning of 8th grade and ended up joining the Hopkins Jazz Ensemble which met at 0 Period (7 a.m.) each morning. We carpooled with another family and I have never seen teenagers eager to arrive early for any class, much less a class beginning an hour before school actually starts. These girls not only arose early of their own accord, but they did so joyfully. Yes, no exaggeration required, they were joyful at 7 a.m. — all chatty and even discussing events/comments that occurred in previous jazz classes. It is a testament to Mr. Conway and the Hopkins Music Program that he imbues his students with ambition in and excitement over music education.”
“Hopkins Music Program is one of the best in California. My daughter started after school band in the 6th grade. She liked it. And then she entered 7th grade and started her elective in music with Mr. Conway. 2 years passed and this is what my daughter and I have to say about the Hopkins Music program.
These two years playing music under Mr. Conway has been one of the best experiences for my daughter, Nisha and me. She has learned so much….to work as a group, to excel as a band and as an individual, to work hard and never give up! The kids in band willingly give more than 100% of their time and strive to achieve higher…and the credit goes to their band instructor, Mr. Conway. His belief in the kids that they can perform beyond their level, the fact that he challenges the kids by asking them to play ‘high quality’ music, beyond their level…and the fact that the kids deliver every single time — has to say a lot about the teacher.
Mr. Conway is a highly dedicated teacher, lives for the music, gives all his time to the Hopkins Music program to make it one of the best in California, year after year! The exposure to different kinds of music in jazz, symphonies, ensembles is phenomenal.
He has developed a passion and love for music in my child, he has inculcated a discipline in my child, he has instilled in my child a need to excel and strive for the best and to achieve perfection!
Thank you Mr. Conway and the Hopkins Music program for this gift of music. Thank you for making my child feel that she can achieve much more if she tries …not just in music, but in any aspect of life. Dedication and hard work while enjoying what you are doing is a rarity, thank you for installing that in my child! These qualities will see her through in life and I am so glad that my daughter, Nisha had this wonderful opportunity to have Mr. Conway as her teacher!”
“My daughter was going to start middle school when we moved to Fremont from Irvine. Not knowing anything about Hopkins Junior High School, I started inquiring about the school. The very first thing I heard was that my daughter will get a chance to participate in one of the finest quality Junior High music program across California directed by Mr. Conway! My daughter had been learning music since 3rd grade and was thirsty for more. So it was only fitting that this vast ocean of beautiful music by a deeply passionate dedicated teacher lay ahead of her!
So my daughter’s 2 year musical journey at Hopkins Junior High began — she learned challenging music and discipline that is required to perform at her best. She developed a deep respect for Mr. Conway and was constantly motivated to practice hard and yet have fun along the way. All of the competitions and performances she attended gave her valuable experience and winning so many accolades was icing on the cake! A big reason why my daughter has continued playing music, and most likely will through her life, is her positive experience at Hopkins Junior High Music Program, thanks to an amazingly dedicated music director and the talented students that are part of it. Other young musicians arriving at Hopkins also deserve this opportunity to continue the musical journey through their crucial middle school years and carry it through their lives.
Beautiful music is a soothing warm touch in this often harsh world. Let the warmth continue.”