What you see here at the Music Discoveries Shop is the result of 25 years of twists and turns in my professional career in music.
When I was studying for my Masters degree in piano pedagogy at the University of Michigan I thought it would be fun to create a pre-piano group lesson program for children. With the support of my mentor, Joanne Smith we brainstormed a name for the class and came up with Music Discoveries.
Now with an established independent piano teaching studio and full class of students, I began writing music for their specific needs. My philosophy at that time was to create imaginative music with teachable moments. I used a blend of visual, tactile and aural learning styles by encouraging patterns and the full use of the keyboard. The result was hugely successful. My collections were picked up by the Frederick Harris Music Company, who over the years have published six collections of my piano solos and have use them in their Royal Conservatory of Music exam books for two decades. Freddie the Frog and In My Dreams in particular have become standard collections for teachers in North America.
I moved my teaching studio and started over. That meant I suddenly had a large group of young children and I turned my focus to creating a program for beginners. Using the Barnyard characters Clara the Cow, Cici the Cat and Farmer Fred along with colorful teaching aids like alphabet cards and rhythm blocks I created the Music Discoveries curriculum. I produced and sold books and teaching resources independently. It was hard and it makes me appreciate the amazing resources we have at our fingertips now.
Two nights each week I would finish teaching early so I could rush downtown and take courses at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I studied web design, digital photography, digital illustration and animation. I worked hard to learn the software and the work flow that would allow me to dream up projects and make them happen. I maintained a successful blog for piano teachers and became known as Pianoanne. Teachers followed me to discover creative ideas and teaching resources for their own studios.
My husband gave me my first harp for Christmas (now I have 5 harps). This sent me down a whole new path and I’m still on it. I call myself a hybrid because I enjoy so many different types of music at the harp. My early experiences were with harp therapy and I am a Certified harp therapist with hundreds of hours of experience playing for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. I also studied Reiki and I love using the harp to create healing space for people. I’m also inclined to enjoy classical music at the harp and studied classical technique for almost two years with my talented teacher, Katherine Fitch-Loza. I’m not perfect, but I have developed the necessary skills to achieve better tone and fluency. My husband and I formed a duo called Nappuccino, which features harp, guitar and rhythm instruments. We have a great time doing a blend of Celtic and contemporary covers for weddings and events.
Twenty five years after my first creative seeds were planted, Music Discoveries is both name of my teaching studio and also my independent publishing label. I feel a strong commitment to creating quality resources that support music teachers and their students.
My artistic goals include:
- encouraging a sense of playfulness and joy for learning
- creating music with teachable moments
- writing music that helps beginning musicians feel expressive and successful
- celebrating all learning styles with music that is visually appealing, feels comfortable to play and has a strong sense of imagery and expression.
Thank you for your comments, interest and support. I am an entrepreneur and every little like, comment, share or ca-ching puts a skip in my step and energizes me to keep going with what I love to do.