Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping over. I can’t wait to tell you a little bit about myself and why I’m so passionate about teaching piano!
While I’ve been teaching piano for 18 years, my first career was in music education as a choir teacher for middle school and high school students at Bluffton-Harrison MSD.
After three years in that job, my husband, Drew, and I moved to Melbourne, Australia for his work. It was in that time that I realized my true passion was teaching piano.
Here’s me and my hubby. 🙂
So, when we returned from Australia, I went back to school to get my Masters in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Ball State University.
I’ve not been the same since.
Everything I ever knew about teaching piano – and music in general for that matter – started changing from that day forward and I simply can’t stop learning.
I now also have a special certification in something called “Music Learning Theory” by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning. MLT (for short) is a theory based on years of deep research by a man named Edwin E. Gordon. The philosophy focuses on teaching music based on how we learn music, not just on best teaching practices for teaching music concepts (theoretically).
The short of it, is that we learn music the way we learn language.
(If you’re interested in reading a little more specifics, I’ve outlined this approach in more detail on my page for preschool piano lessons. The approach is not just for preschool students, it’s how I try to think about teaching music to all students, even adults!)
Amy is a wonderful piano teacher. My son has greatly benefited from her musical gift!
-Amy Kaehr, Decatur
My students do not learn only to read music with a piano book in front of them. We first approach music by learning to “audiate” – that is, to hear something and actually understand what we’re hearing.
Is the meter we hear in duple or triple? What is the resting or “home” sound and thus tonality of the music? We do lots of rhythm and tonal pattern work from the start, improvisation, and even singing.
I don’t just teach students to play the piano, I teach them how to hear and understand music.
While MLT has strongly influenced the way I approach my teaching, I believe more than anything, it’s about finding balance.
Not only do students learn to audiate music as part of the process, but we balance that with other valuable skills such as sightreading, chord-based playing (chord charts and lead sheets), composition, playing by ear, and more.
My goal is to create not just students who can play the piano, but musicians who can actively participate in music in every area of their lives. My students could use their piano skills for anything from jamming with friends, to playing in a band, or competing in piano competitions if they so choose!
Our experience with Studio 88 the past 4 years has been wonderful. Our daughter loves Miss Amy and we are so impressed with how much she has learned. She has been challenged at her pace and has learned how to sight-read, play by ear, read music, and much more all in a caring Christian environment.
-Karen Kelly, Bluffton
My Other Passions
While teaching is my #1 professional endeavour, a few of my other passions include cooking, and organizing.
Thus, was born my website for piano teachers, PianoPantry.com where I write content to help other independent music teachers like myself keep themselves productive and organized. The word “pantry” is, of course, a play on the fact that I love food and cooking!
When I’m not teaching or developing PianoPantry.com, I also play piano for Calvary Lutheran church (in Bluffton) on Sunday mornings and on the worship team at my home church, First Church of Christ (on Spring Street in Bluffton) every few weeks.
I’m an active member of Music Teachers National Association, serve as President of Indiana Music Teachers Association, and am part of a local group of teachers in the Fort Wayne Area called Northern Indiana Music Teachers Association. (All three groups are are part of the same organization, MTNA, just at the national, state, and local levels.)
Two to three weeks a year I travel not only to continually keep up on professional development, but because I am a frequent presenter at the national, state, and local conferences.
Education and Awards
Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, Ball State University, 2011
STAR Award (Student Achievement Recognition), Ball State University, 2011
Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Magna cum Laude, Huntington University, 2003
Professional Development Certification Course in Music Learning Theory and its Practical Application in Piano, Gordon Institute for Music Learning, 2016
Interested in Taking the Next Step?
Feel free to contact Amy by clicking here.