My musical career began when I was born. My mother loved, loves, and still loves music and she wanted to pass that love onto her children. It was very important to her, and I’m so glad it was and still is. My earliest memories are of laying on the floor next to the piano while my mother played popular songs from the 60’s. She still has the same book and I often play from it when I visit her.
My mother has a beautiful grand piano that I am someday promised will be mine, but in the meantime, I have been blessed to inherit my childhood piano-a Kimball spinet, which I still love after all these years.
My older brother started piano lessons from a teacher who lived down the street from us. He was 8 and I was 6. I wanted to start too–I mean I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted to take piano lessons, but our my brother’s teacher would not teach anyone under the age of 8. For a year I begged and pleaded with my mother to change the teachers mind. Finally, the teacher relented and let me start lessons when I was 7. I loved every single minute of it. For fun I would play the piano. Then I would practice my lesson assignment, then for more fun, I would play the piano some more-at least until my mother told me I had to give my brother a turn. I will never forget the day my dad came home from work and walked into the music room. He said, “I thought that was Ryan playing the piano-you have gotten very good.” That made me sit up a little taller and play a little prouder. My heart was so full of love for him and for music, it made me want to practice even more and get even better. As a parent of a piano student, never underestimate the impact a few kind and encouraging words can make in your child’s life.
At my elementary school, students could join the band or orchestra in the 4th grade. My mother thought all of her children should play the piano and another instrument, so I began playing the French Horn. I did not love the French Horn, but continued playing it through high school and it opened up some musical doors for me. I often tell this story to parents whose children may love music, but not piano. Maybe they are really meant to play a different instrument-so try a different one. (All musicians should have a piano background and basic competency). If your child has a musical desire, keep looking and trying until you find the right instrument.
When I was 12 yrs old, a woman from the school district came into band class and talked about the harp. Lessons were available through the district and she would teach them as she traveled from school to school each week. This was a dream come true for me. I began playing the harp and it quickly became my instrument of first love and devotion. The harp took me to competitions and music camps around the country, and I was so privileged to study with great instructors like Suzanne Balderston, Karen Miller, and Louise Pratt. I studied music at Brigham Young University and the University of Nevada–Reno, and was able to participate in many productions there and in my community.
I married my husband in 1990 and began teaching private lessons. We added 4 children to our family in the next 11 years and I found teaching from my home a great supplement to our income which also allowed me to be home to care for our children.
In 2008 I found Let’s Play Music and have never looked back. I first taught classes from my home, as many Let’s Play Music teachers do, but within 3 years I maxed out and stayed maxed out for the next 5 years. That’s when my artist hubby and I decided if we were going to grow, we had to move the business out of our home. Hence, The MAC Music and Art Center was born. I run the music side, and my husband Micah runs the art side. The MAC has been a blessing to us as we find joy in sharing our talents and our love of music and art with all who join us.
Just a plug for the best music program EVER–Let’s Play Music is the answer for all the problems which beset young musicians. I cannot emphasize enough the strong foundation this program gives children and how it sets them up for success in private lessons in piano and any other instrument of their choosing. Let’s Play Music creates a complete and well-rounded musician, not merely a child who knows how to play an instrument. It covers all aspects of music—note reading, keyboard skills, music theory, ear training, relative pitch, composing, transposing, improvising, and I could keep going on and on…. And, the best thing about Let’s Play Music is that it is FUN! Music should be fun because it is fun! So often, teachers don’t understand how to make music lessons and learning fun for the student, but Let’s Play Music is expert at this aspect. I love to share the gift of music with my students and their families, and I love to share this wonderful music curriculum with the students at The MAC Music and Art Center.