Let me tell you about the talent, skill and dedication of this month's Rock Star. Benjamin Lopes, born in Brazil, is a musical prodigy. He spends his week practicing assigned lessons along with personal choice pieces, that not even an hour lesson can provide me an opportunity to witness it all. I am told that he practices hours upon hours between lessons and IT IS EVIDENT! With great emotion and feeling, Ben beautifully plays the piano. He has this teacher on the edge of her seat the entire time anticipating his interpretation of the next phrase. He began taking piano lessons only this year, yet exhibits the skill level of a refined veteran. So much of what Ben has cannot be taught. I believe, wholeheartedly, that he is gifted by God.
I also have the pleasure of teaching Ben vocal lessons and just like on the piano, he blows me away. I am confident that no matter the instrument, he will naturally have the knack and ability to master them all. He plays the guitar and cello and performs in local plays and musicals.
Ben is a kind-hearted and gentle soul who loves spending time serving at his church; helping out at home; being a great big brother; golfing and spending time in the wilderness with Grandpa. If our future is in the hands of the likes of Benjamin Lopes, we have great things in store.
It is an absolute honor and privilege to be your teacher. Never. Ever. Change, Ben!!!
Anna Maria, a beautiful 13 year old, walked into my studio for the first time four years ago. At nine years old, she blew me away with her captivating, soulful voice and song selections. She is beyond her years in talent and taste. If you want to be dazzled, throw an Etta James, Adele or Amy Winehouse song her way. Her tone is rich and her interpretation is spellbinding. She has done hours of professional vocal studio work, perfectly executing others' visions. Her gifts go beyond her vocal ability and the recognition of those are plenty. She is currently an honor roll student in advanced classes at Hart Middle School while maintaining rigorous full-time dance instruction. She recently received the very first awarded Spirit of Sara Dance Scholarship from the donors of Eisenhower Dance Studio. She loves to write songs in her bedside journal and I wouldn't be surprised if someday you are paying to download them. Nothing seems to get in the way of nor stop this ROCK STAR!!! Keep dreaming Anna Maria! You are an inspiration to all you touch, especially your voice teacher.
Over the years, starting November 2012 to be exact, I have had the privilege of not only teaching Veronica piano and voice, but also getting to hang with her and her family on a personal level. V and I are truly kindred spirits. We don't just love music together, we talk fashion, we love bling, can't get enough chocolate and have this uncanny mutual regard for my dog, Bendel. Really the list goes on and on and I have grown to love Veronica like a daughter. We have our own little rituals that develop in her lessons and one of our favorites is her weekly hashtag. It might be fun and laced with sarcasm, but she takes the instruction seriously and comes back with the theme mastered. She is a dedicated student that has shown immense progress and growth as a musician while maintaining an honor roll status in her advanced classes. She will rush from a ballet recital to a piano recital minutes apart and perform with ease and preparedness. She has a sweet touch on those ivories (what do you expect, it is her middle name!) and who knew this shy girl could sing! This ROCK STAR is great at all she does, musically or otherwise, and I am lucky to have her in my studio weekly and more importantly, in my life.
Anna Maria Scheidemantel
Charlotte has been taking piano and voice lessons with me since she was a peanut. She is still petite enough to be considered a peanut, but only in stature. This little lady is STRONG. She is DETERMINED. And she is ready to WORK. No matter how challenging the task I put before her, and if needed, with gritted teeth, Charlotte will accomplish the goal. As a teacher, I admire those qualities and together we make great progress. However, the sweet spirit and sensitive nature she possesses is what truly melts my heart. Every. Single. Week. It is with that sweetness she is able to turn hard work into beautiful, emotion-filled music.
I know it's cliche for a teacher to say they are inspired by their students, but cliche or not, it is the truth. Charlotte's tenacity and endurance is second to none.
I also have the pleasure of teaching her brother, Jack, and he was more than eager to give a statement on her behalf: "She’s a way better piano player than I am."
Outside piano, she is a straight A student and involved in multiple extracurriculars, including dance, gymnastics and her all time favorite: flag football.
Where do I begin with this cool cat? Gavin never ceases to amaze me with his determination to be a rock star. My absolute favorite part of his lesson is the moment I finish my instruction and he pulls out something wonderful and random. He will demonstrate pieces he has written from weekly moments of inspiration. He will go the extra mile and write out the music on staff paper notating dynamics, rhythms and lyrics. He will pick out the piano parts "by ear" to songs he learns in his school choir. He has even brought a fife--Yes, you read correctly, A FIFE, to one lesson to show me other self-taught pieces. I am certain I will continue to be enlightened by this young musician. He is eager to learn and is one of the most reliable students I have ever had the joy of teaching.
I have also had the pride and pleasure of witnessing Gavin's successes and musical exception beyond my studio walls. His music teachers recognize his talent and honor his hard work by calling on him to perform in school functions and church masses. It is always rewarding to see your student highlighted, but Gavin supplements that by adding excellence to whatever he does. He performs confidently, accurately and beautifully every time he takes the stage. I am lucky to be his teacher. Continue to Rock On, Gavin!!! We, especially I, love being your audience!Type your paragraph here.
One of my favorite moments of the week has become enjoying a shot of espresso with Bob. As I'm sure many of you know, I've never liked coffee, but I look forward to this weekly ritual with my British student. As a Diesel fuel injection Equipment Engineer, Bob was sent to Michigan from London in 1979 on a year long program to The Ford Tractor headquarters. On his stint, he met his beautiful wife, Maria, a now retired dentist, to whom I owe much gratitude for gracing me with this ROCK STAR!!! For a surprise birthday present to fulfill one of his long-time desires, Maria enrolled Bob in piano lessons. For over 18 months now, he has been a dedicated student, faithfully executing his passion and can be found performing a piece from Beethoven's 9th symphony in my next recital in June. Everyday, I get to "do music," but not everyday do I get to do it with a kind, sweet-spirited gentleman like Bob. Thank you, Bob, for allowing me to be a part of your musical journey. It has truly been a delight. Type your paragraph here.
Adam, a bright ten year old, began taking piano lessons with me in September of 2011. Now, most four year olds are not ready to begin instruction and often end up putting their lessons on hold. Not this one!!! From his very first consultation lesson, his dedication was evident and I knew my studio had just landed a young ROCK STAR!!! This prodigy has achieved multiple accolades and awards with his skillful playing. He has mastered pieces ranging from Beethoven (including Fur Elise by the age of nine) to The Beatles. He has completed multiple levels of a 5-book curriculum and continues plugging away with a few levels remaining. He has placed in the National Reflections competition and in all three years entered, he has been awarded, at least, 1st or 2nd place, including making it all the way to Nationals with one of his 1st place wins. He is currently awaiting results from his fourth grade submission, where he has already received 1st place at the local level. WAY TO GO, ADAM!!!