Calvert Piano tunes in to adults, seniors, retirees
“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.calvertpiano.com.
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.