Oberlin Conservatory – BMus degree in Piano Performance under professors Arthur Dann and Inda Howland
Ann Mendenhall...a brief History
Age 17 - Performed Mozart Concerto #26 with this professional orchestra at the Teatro Nacional
During the first year of my Masters program, my lessons with Dr. Wood took place in the gorgeous parlour of Craigdarroch Castle, which at that time housed the Victoria Conservatory. This made me realize how important setting can be to musical inspiration. When my parents decided to give me my inheritance while they were still living, I knew I would use it to build a studio as beautiful as it was functional.
The studio features a large teaching room with two grand pianos - a Steinway and a Yamaha - plus an upright. The vaulted ceiling provides a lovely acoustic and allows for a balcony overlooking the whole, where parents who wish to observe lessons may sit.
There is also a waiting room and a practice room. Students may arrive early and practice on the Clavinova keyboard using headphones, without fear of disturbing the ongoing lessons.
Outside the large windows are an orchard and a pond, with mountains beyond. The natural beauty of quiet Glenora further enhances the inspiring setting.
I love teaching piano in my studio, and students, and their parents, siblings and friends love coming here!
Each student receives a private piano lesson each week and a group lesson every three weeks. Assignments are organized in a specialized binder including a daily practice chart, which students fill out and parents sign. This basic structure allows the discipline of music study to become a pleasurable habit and ensures successful progress.
The course of study is tailored to the individual learning style and personal goals of each student. There is a strong emphasis on classical music, but students are also encouraged to play in all styles, including popular. The basics of music reading, listening, and technical skills are carefully laid down, and continually honed. Every student receives constant positive feedback and encouragement. Effort is always praised and rewarded.
The group lessons provide frequent, informal "performance" opportunities and help students develop critical listening skills. They also remove the isolation from the piano experience, keeping motivation high through games and interaction which are FUN.
There are two recitals each year, at which each student performs a solo and a duet. Family members enjoy these high quality and varied programs, and students find them inspiring. Participation in recitals, as well as in Festivals and Exams, is always optional; however, most students develop a keen enthusiasm for such goals.
I have an extensive music library and students are encouraged to borrow from it to develop their sight reading. The study of Music Theory is strongly recommended as a separate course, but is also always integrated into the understanding of the music.
Students enjoy the yearly "Technithon" which turns the drudgery of scales, chords and arpeggios into a fun team event with prizes to be won.
At year's end each student receives a thoughtful, detailed, and encouraging written Progress Report.
I pour every ounce of my creativity, love of music, time, caring and skill born of long experience in piano teaching, into each and every student. As I do my very best, I expect the same from my students, and am never disappointed. The lessons in self discipline and in the joy of high achievement learned through music serve us well throughout life.
Over 35 years Teaching Experience
I love the privilege of working at the piano with so many wonderful
individuals of all ages. Music is an endlessly inspiring subject to share.