Calvert Pi­ano tunes in to adults, se­niors, re­tirees

Maryland Independent - - Business - By CAROL SMITH csmith@somd­

“I wanted to do some­thing that I have al­ways loved, that I’m pas­sion­ate about,” said Amy Deal, owner of Calvert Pi­ano lo­cated at 7021 South Flint Hill Road in Owings.

Calvert Pi­ano uses easy-to-un­der­stand learn­ing con­cepts and state-of-the-art ed­u­ca­tional tech­nolo­gies to teach groups of up to six adults how to read mu­sic and play the pi­ano. The stu­dio of­fers a unique, stepby-step les­son pro­gram where stu­dents can set their own pace to learn the pi­ano and ac­com­plish their mu­sic goals.

Deal, a pi­ano in­struc­tor with 17 years of teach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, said she comes from a mu­si­cal fam­ily and has played the pi­ano since the young age of 6.

“I’m one of three. I’m the old­est and I have two younger broth­ers,” Deal said. “My mother in­sisted that we all learn an in­stru­ment. I chose pi­ano, and later on played the oboe as well, in school and in col­lege.”

“My par­ents played the gui­tar and sang in church, that’s how they met,” Deal added. “Mu­sic was al­ways a big part of my up­bring­ing. We al­ways had mu­sic in the house, in some way.”

In the years that fol­lowed, Deal con­tin­ued to ad­vance her pi­ano skills along with her mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. She earned a bach­e­lor of mu­sic de­gree in pi­ano per­for­mance from Con­verse Col­lege in South Carolina, and re­ceived a mas­ters of mu­sic in pi­ano per­for­mance from Lou­i­si­ana State Uni­ver­sity, where she said she was granted an as­sist­ant­ship po­si­tion to teach pi­ano to non-pi­ano mu­sic ma­jors, and took cour­ses in pi­ano ped­a­gogy, the study of teach­ing pi­ano.

“I think I have al­ways known that I love work­ing with adults,” Deal said. “But, I re­ally dis­cov­ered that I loved teach­ing in groups in grad­u­ate school.”

In her post-grad­u­ate years, Deal taught pri­vate pi­ano lessons and a leisure adult group pi­ano class where she lived in South Carolina. As a res­i­dent of New York, Deal said she trav­eled the roads with her mo­bile stu­dio to teach pi­ano in Brook­lyn and Man­hat­tan.

In 2012, Deal ob­tained Na­tion­ally Cer­ti­fied Teacher of Mu­sic des­ig­na­tion in pi­ano from Mu­sic Teach­ers Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion. Af­ter her fam­ily’s move to the area last year, Deal said she pur­sued her pas­sion to teach the pi­ano with her launch of Calvert Pi­ano last month. The stu­dio’s room is equipped with seven dig­i­tal pi­anos and head­phone sets to teach up to six stu­dents at a time.

“I teach adults in groups,” Deal said. “I teach them from the very be­gin­ning, go­ing from zero previous knowl­edge, peo­ple who have never had a les­son of mu­sic be­fore in their lives. I also teach stu­dents who have taken lessons ear­lier in life, per­haps decades ago, and would like to re­turn to the in­stru­ment.”

“The first eight weeks help you get from that zero previous knowl­edge to sight read­ing,” she said. “Be­ing able to sit down and see a piece of mu­sic in front of you that you have never seen, never heard be­fore, and be­ing able to find your place and play it.”

Af­ter week eight, Deal said the lessons change for­mat to a more ad­vanced struc­ture where she works with the class on an in­di­vid­ual ba­sis to help stu­dents ap­ply the con­cepts they’ve learned to mu­sic of their choice. She said stu­dents are wel­come to con­tinue tak­ing lessons for as long as they wish, and un­til they’ve met their goal.

“They’re prac­tic­ing in­cor­po­rat­ing that bit of con­tent into their play­ing, and I’m go­ing around help­ing them,” Deal said. “There are two head­sets at ev­ery key­board. I just pick up my head­set and I can work with them, oneon-one, for a time help­ing them get un­stuck, get­ting them through those chal­lenges of work­ing at their pi­ano ... then we usu­ally do a group ac­tiv­ity, take ad­van­tage of that so­cial com­po­nent. We’re usu­ally build­ing rhythm and pulse, prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant skill for sight read­ing.”

“My goal as an ed­u­ca­tor is to ed­u­cate the stu­dents so that they don’t need me any­more, so that they can be an in­de­pen­dent learner,” Deal added. “At that point, that’s when I say my job is done and you’re ready to con­tinue the jour­ney on your own.”

“When I re­tired, I fi­nally de­cided I had time to try to get good at mu­sic again, be­cause it’s been a lot of years since I have played pi­ano,” said Calvert Pi­ano stu­dent Nancy Wat­ters of Hunt­ing­town. “I was look­ing for a class that catered more to adults. I didn’t want a tra­di­tional sort of mu­sic les­son that I had when I was a teenager, I wanted some­thing that was a lit­tle bit more of a men­tor­ing ap­proach where I could pick my pieces and work on the skills that I thought I needed.”

“I like the group ap­proach, it’s dif­fer­ent to me. It’s some­thing I haven’t done be­fore,” Wat­ters added. “I get some­thing out of ev­ery les­son. In a lot of ways, in­stead of just be­ing a pi­ano class, it’s a mu­sic class … the classes are small enough where you get a lot of in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion. You have other peo­ple in there, so there’s a com­mu­nity feel about it, so that’s nice, too.”

Deal said she of­fers a free, one-on-one com­pli­men­tary in­tro­duc­tory pi­ano les­son for any adult who may be in­ter­ested in tak­ing her class, and that she has a new class for adults, se­niors and re­tirees that will start Tues­day morn­ing, Nov. 6, as well as a new evening class to ac­com­mo­date work­ing adults that will be­gin Wed­nes­day, Nov. 7.

“It’s my goal to help my stu­dents get to their goal,” Deal said.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Calvert Pi­ano and the lessons of­fered, go to www.calvert­pi­


Amy Deal, owner of Calvert Pi­ano lo­cated at 7021 South Flint Hill Road in Owings, uses easy-to-un­der­stand learn­ing con­cepts and sta­teof-the art ed­u­ca­tional tech­nolo­gies to teach groups of up to six adults how to read mu­sic and play the pi­ano.

Pic­tured are pi­ano stu­dents Jan McBain, front left, Gail McGin­ley, back left, and Nancy Wat­ters, back right, tak­ing a class taught by Amy Deal, owner of Calvert Pi­ano lo­cated at 7021 South Flint Hill Road in Owings.

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