News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

September 6, 2010 — Vol. 26 No. 29

Preparatory Piano Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Abbi Clark and student practicing piano.

Idaho State University's Preparatory Piano Program - which has received rave reviews by both its students and instructors - is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the purchase and use of a Steinway piano.

The Steinway piano was purchased with assistance from the Bistline Foundation, which provided a $7,000 grant. The other half of the cost was covered by fees collected by the teachers in the Preparatory Piano Program.

Kori Bond, ISU associate professor of piano and director of the Piano Preparatory Program, expressed appreciation to both parties.

"The Bistline Foundation has regularly and annually supported the ISU Summer Piano Institute, and now it came through with a timely and generous grant when we had the opportunity to buy the piano," Bond said. "This is just one of many ways the Bistline Foundation and the family have supported the arts and music in our community."

Bond said the purchase of the piano also says a lot about the program's teachers, who are ISU piano students.

"Our ISU teachers have invested a lot of time and effort into the program," Bond said. "They are proud of their work and devoted to the program, and they helped pay for the Steinway to benefit of the program's students."

The Steinway is set up in a piano practice room and studio that is used by ISU students and where many of the Preparatory Piano Program lessons are taught.

The ISU Department of Music program uses ISU piano students as instructors to teach the public, from preschoolers to seniors, piano. It is an arrangement that has worked well for both parties.

"This incredible program, led by Dr. Kori Bond and assisted by Abbi Clark, is an ISU highlight, providing quality piano instruction to a large number of community children at a very affordable cost," said Herbert Maschner, an ISU anthropology professor and interim director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History, whose 8-year-old son Alexander participated in the program during the 2009-10 academic year.

"We have students of all levels and all ages, including kids, college students and adults," said Kori Bond, ISU associate professor of piano and director of the Preparatory Piano Program. "Probably about 70 percent of our students are pre-college age. We have had them as young as 5 and as old as 70."

The program has taught approximately 500 students in the last 10 years, and now it has grown to where it teaches 60 to 80 students per semester. Individual teachers, depending on their experience, will teach from two to 20 students per semester in private, one-on-one lessons.

But, the program is about much more than the experience and enrichment it gives its students: ISU music students, who are the program's teachers, also benefit.

"For me it has been a good time and a wonderful opportunity to learn to teach with other ISU students," said Evan Heath, a piano performance major who has taught in the program for five years. "It allows me to share ideas and experiences with the other teachers and I feel like it has allowed me to greatly improve my teaching."

Bond said that it is very important for pianists to learn good teaching skills because teaching piano is a necessary part of their careers.

"Needing to have experience teaching is more true of pianists than most other instrumentalists, and there is a huge market for people wanting to take lessons," Bond said. "Many ISU piano students will make part of their living teaching piano. Students need the experience and skills they learn from this program."

Students in the Preparatory Piano Program have a recital at the end of each semester and they can be invited to perform in a master class, taught by Bond or a guest clinician. The children's recital is more formal, the adult performance more casual, generally among class members.

The cost of the program is $156 per semester for weekly half-hour lessons, and students have the option for taking 45-minute or hour lessons.

The program began Aug. 30, but there are still several slots open. The program is usually full by the end of the second or third week of lessons. The program accepts late applications and fees are prorated, and it is not too late to register now for fall, or too early to make arrangements for spring semester.

For more information on the program contact Bond at (208) 282-2551 or bondkori@isu.edu.