Teacher Feature: Piano Instructor, Rachel Danielson
Teacher Rachel Danielson has become a welcome edition to The Music Abode teaching team!
Rachel recently graduated from Chapman University with her BM in Performance for Keyboard Collaborative Arts. One might wonder what that entails! Keyboard Collaborative Arts is a well rounded emphasis that focuses on piano skills including professional accompaniment for other instruments, composition, and music technology. Combined with her classical uprisings, this makes Rachel a very versatile instructor.
Rachel is currently a worship choir accompanist as St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and has been teaching piano for over 5 years. She enjoys the challenge and creativity of teaching and building relationships with her students. Some important advice she recommends for students is to set goals for yourself during practice. When learning something new, do not become discouraged. It takes time to develop a talent! If a whole page of music seems daunting or scary to approach, cut it down to one line. Practice that one line (or even a few measures) until you get it, then move on! When you’ve finished doing that, don’t forget to put it all together so you’ll come to know the feel of the piece as a whole.
A fun memory Rachel has goes back to when she was three years old. Her parents are fond of telling her how she watched a full orchestral music program on PBS TV. Assuming she had fallen asleep on the sofa, her mom came to check on her and found Rachel attentively watching the pianist and orchestra. That was when she told her parents she wanted to learn to play piano. She was presented with the best piano keyboard for beginners. They waited until she was four years old to begin lessons. At that age she practiced so much, her mom had to tell her to take a break!
Over time, practice became frustrating for her because she had less and less time to do it. And, of course, the difficulty of the pieces increased as she progressed. In high school, she actually wasn’t sure if she would continue with piano. She had a goal to apply to a Conservatory of Music following high school, but her piano teacher, and respected mentor and friend, told her she was not ready. This was very discouraging. But, she took the challenge head on. Within the few summer months, under the wise instruction of her teacher, she worked very hard. She practiced and practiced, until she had learned and memorized all of her audition pieces. Rachel then auditioned and applied for the early application to her top school pick, Chapman University and received her acceptance letter soon after!
Rachel’s words of wisdom:
Music, and the work ethic that comes with practice, will stay with you throughout your entire life. It doesn’t matter what age you begin learning, or how ‘talented’ you are. Talents come with development and practice. And with that, you can accomplish anything.