Canby Music, Canby’s locally owned source for instrument sales and rentals, supplies and lessons, has recently expanded its stable of musical talent and instruction with the addition of Christian Engerman and Lana Szenasi.
Like many budding young musicians, Engerman got his start in school — albeit at a younger age than most.
“I started with the violin at the age of 5,” Engerman said.
Engerman grew up in the tiny Two Rivers Farm School, an Aurora-based private institution and nonprofit in which students are required to learn to play one of three instruments: violin, harp or cello.
He chose the violin — arguably the most difficult to learn of the three, or of any other instrument — and for the next decade or so, he learned to play the likes of Vivaldi, Bach, Tchaikovsky and others.
“For the first 10 years of my life, I only ever played classical music, over and over again,” he said with a laugh. “It got pretty stale, so after I graduated and went to Molalla High, I stopped for a while. I felt like I wasn’t being forced to play it any longer, and I kind of felt free.”
He eventually joined the school’s wind and jazz ensemble at his friends’ urging, finding new forms of music that hadn’t been written 400 years ago, and rediscovered the joy of playing music for himself.
Through his kung fu instructor at the Balance & Harmony yoga studio in Canby, who also taught guitar, Engerman began to branch out into the new instrument — and still-newer forms of music.
He connected with Canby Music owner Brian Haines after graduation when he was looking for work, and the two clicked. Engerman joined the team in May 2021 and teaches violin, guitar, piano, drums and ukulele.
On the side, he is studying music recording at Clackamas Community College and experimenting with writing and producing his own songs. And he’s learning a lot about a particular aspect of the music business: instrument repairs.
“Obviously, being a musician, instruments break,” he said. “And strings break. I actually didn’t know how to change a string on my violin until I started working here. I always just took it somewhere to get repaired, and I would feel guilty. I would feel like, ‘I should probably know how to do this myself.'”
Szenasi also started her music career in school, albeit in a very different region of the orchestra. Her first instrument was trumpet in the seventh grade at Baker Prairie Middle School.
She studied under the then-new band instructor Nick Luchterhand, who coincidentally would join the high school’s staff at the same time Szenasi was coming in as a freshman.
“He started when I started, he switched when I switched,” she said. “So it’s really cool that for six years of my musical career, being able to have one teacher throughout your entire school career.”
Early on, it didn’t necessarily appear that Szenasi and her chosen instrument were going to be a match made in heaven — but that would soon change.
“I wasn’t really too into it in middle school, honestly,” she said. “I thought it would be easier than art class. But then I got into high school and suddenly, this drive just hits me. I realized, ‘This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.'”
While she enjoys performing as part of a band or ensemble, she has come to find teaching is one of her biggest passions.
“There’s just something about learning a new piece and performing it for the first time, especially as a group,” she said. “That’s where I’m truly in my happy place. But I also love passing that onto a community of kids who want to learn. They’re kind of equal puzzle pieces that both bring joy.”
That passion makes her a particularly good fit at Canby Music.
“I feel like this is just the perfect place for me,” she said. “I love it here so much. Being able to teach kids music is just exactly where I feel the most at home.”
Szenasi is also a student, studying music education at Portland State University. She teaches trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, saxophone, flute, clarinet and piano.
She encourages anyone with an interest in music or learning an instrument to stop by and see what they offer.
“It’s a party over here,” she said with a laugh.
“Come learn something,” Engerman agreed. “Instruments are fun; music is great.”
Canby Music is located at 590 NW 1st Avenue. For more information, call 503-263-2263 or visit canbymusic.com.
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