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SMTD to offer non-credit group piano lessons for adult beginners

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) has announced a new program that will be the only one in the Ann Arbor community to provide group piano instruction for adult beginners.

Titled “Time for Me: Beginning Piano for Adults, the program is open to adults in both the university community and the general public. It will offer weekly classes in SMTD’s piano pedagogy laboratory in the Earl V. Moore Building on North Campus (1100 Baits Drive) for beginning piano students who either have never taken piano lessons, or have taken lessons many years ago. It will be team-taught by Dr. Paola Savvidou and SMTD graduate student instructors who are studying for MM and DMA degrees in the Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy program.

Also the program supervisor, Dr. Savvidou is SMTD’s Wellness Initiative program manager and adjunct lecturer in music (piano). She is available for consultation prior to enrollment to help prospective students determine if the program is suitable for them. Send emails to savvidou@umich.edu.

Class tuition is $150 for 10 weekly 60-minute classes, which will be held between September 20 and November 29, 2018. Registration is available on the SMTD website; the registration deadline is September 15, 2018.

Integrating a holistic study of the keyboard—sight-reading, theory basics, improvisation, and repertoire—each class of this non-credit course has a capacity of 12 students, maximizing the opportunity for group learning. No prior study of the instrument is required. A unique component will be the inclusion of stretching and breathing exercises to help adults de-stress and develop body awareness to aid in the development of sound piano technique.

“This class offers adults a much-needed opportunity to take time for themselves to learn a new skill in a social setting,” said Savvidou. “It fulfills a need for all those who regret quitting piano a long time ago or those who have always wanted to learn but didn’t have the opportunity. Learning the piano has the wonderful advantage of feeding adults’ intellectual curiosity, improving physical coordination, and nourishing their creative spirit.”

In addition to tuition, students will be required to purchase a method book and bring their own headsets and stereo plug adapter. A non-refundable registration fee of $20 will also be required. Students are expected to practice between classes on either a tuned piano or a weighted electronic keyboard.

The new “Beginning Piano for Adults” program builds on SMTD’s long-standing Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program (PPLP), which provides teacher-training for SMTD students enrolled in the MM and DMA degree programs in Piano Pedagogy and Performance degrees, while also providing piano lessons to pre-college age students from the community. Dr. John Ellis is the program director. For more information about PPLP, contact Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn at ahiguchi@umich.edu.