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© 2016 by Donna LeBlanc.

HOW I STARTED TEACHING

Humphrey Bogart said it best in one of his earlier films.  “Sometimes a few measures of music speak louder than a bucket full of words.”  I love that phrase because it speaks volumes.

When I was young, my mom bought this dinosaur of a piano in the hopes of learning how to play.  She made my dad and uncles carry it up the two flights of stairs to their apartment.  I can only imagine the conversations that my parents must have had.  And if that wasn’t bad enough, the piano had to be moved yet again into the cellar of the house my dad was building.  And there it became my first friend.

Our neighborhood had no children that were my age.  So at the age of 4, I discovered that I could play tunes that I heard on the radio.  I played with my thumbs.  When my thumbs had blisters, my mom introduced me to the other digits on my hand.  WHAT A CONCEPT!  My mom was thrilled.  If she wasn’t going to learn to play the piano, then her daughter would.

Growing up, money was always an issue, yet my parents recognized my musical ability.  At age 6, I began taking piano lessons.  I studied with several teachers until the age of 17.  That is when I entered The Hartford Conservatory of Music.   I was hopeful that this was the stepping stone I needed to get into The Juilliard School for Performing Arts.  But circumstances prevented me from continuing my studies at the Conservatory, and my plans took an unexpected turn.  The next journey of my life was working in corporate America to help to support my family. 

In 1996, I bid farewell to the corporate life and decided to take a new direction.

My friend asked me to teach her daughter how to play the piano.  At first, I was nervous; teaching is a big responsibility.   But after careful consideration, I was sure that I could develop a strong program.  And after two decades, I have been blessed to have taught over 300 individuals.

My teaching method is simple:  “Build a good foundation.”   This is crucial.  My students learn how to read music.  I will not teach by allowing them to play by finger numbers.  Instruction also includes theory.  I provide all students with the basic tools necessary to help them to succeed. 

Although I teach with a loving heart, I am firm about my expectations.  And it is very seldom that a student does not meet them. 

 

I welcome students of all ages. 

TESTIMONIALS

"Donna is truly skilled at what she does. She encompasses that which all piano teachers should have: expertise, patience, enthusiasm, kindness, and dedication. She tailors her teaching approach to the individual child in terms of his or her personality, interests, and abilities. We have seen this in her teaching approach with our 15-year-old daughter for the past five years. It has been a joy and a privilege to have Donna be a part of our child's musical education and life." 

—  John & Kathleen Gentile