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Susan C Rye

Hemlock, MI 48626 (map)


Lessons Offered

Piano, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio


About Me

A day when a student has a flash of new understanding, or surpasses all expectations (hers or mine!) in how she plays a piece, is a very good day. I love teaching my piano students, and laughter is often a big part of each lesson. In 20 years of this work, I have learned a lot:

* how to whittle away at a problem area until we find that ONE note or that ONE fingering which was throwing everything else off;

* how to listen to what a student likes in his music, and get him more of that;

* how to talk seriously with a student about why he is less well prepared than usual, and when to talk to a parent;

* what to assign when a student is in Sixth-Grade Overwhelm to just keep her in contact with the piano until she can make it to 7th grade;

* stories about composers and music history which will stick with the student, and make more meaningful WHY they should play a certain piece in a certain way;

* how to tell when a student is really ready to play that popular song he so craves.

My Musical Education Background

My piano lessons began when I was 7 and my mother heard me imitating my older sister's playing of Hanon exercises. They continued through high school and college, and I still seek my teacher's help on a difficult piece when I have time. In 9th grade, I played the piano solo with my high school orchestra in Bach's F minor Piano Concerto. I grew up in Ann Arbor, and had access to excellent teachers. My last high school piano teacher was Natalie Matovinovic, a Yugoslavian concert pianist. She is still sought after as a speaker on the subject of technique, and I improved considerably with her: playing the Haydn sonata or concerto, full-speed, was a fantastic rush, once I had that technique well in hand. When I went back to college at age 40, my teacher was Dr. Mary Scanlan. I graduated from college with a degree in piano performance at age 46.

Genres and Subjects Taught

My education was classical, and that is largely my approach to teaching. But if a student brings me music which they have picked out in the music store or printed off from the internet, and they have been working hard and are ready for it, I will gladly help them learn it and find more like it. They will continue with their classical studies, because that makes it possible for them to branch out into other things, but I like to encourage my students' enthusiasm and initiative in making music their own. My goal is to get their hands and their minds educated enough to be able to pick up most music and play it well. That way, they will have music for life!

Lesson Rates

For a half hour lesson, the rate is $18. One-hour lessons are not available at this time. I teach in my home studio, which is 30 minutes from Midland and Saginaw, in Hemlock.  If you have trouble getting here because of the road construction, give me a call and I will talk you through it!  (The cones and barrels really do move during the night!)

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

My students range in age from 7 to 87 -- seriously!!

Everyone can learn, it's never too late if you have the desire, and many people begin piano after retirement because they finally have the time to devote to it!

On the other hand, I prefer to start child-students not much earlier than 7 years old, and in 2nd grade. By that time, they are able to sit and pay attention for a half hour lesson. They can also read the words to the songs they are playing!

My Certifications and Awards

I am a member of the Music Teachers' National Association, the Michigan Music Teachers' Association, and the Music Teachers' Association of Midland.  My students participate in the KeyboardFest held in Midland annually, and in the Student Achievement Testing which is also annual. They also play at the MidMichigan Health Hospital, for Musicare.  We will be having a studio recital in April of 2019.

My Musical Influences

Favorite Composers: J.S. Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart continue to amaze. I also love anything by Leonard Bernstein or George Gershwin.

Opera is also a strong interest: Puccini and Verdi, and the bel canto operas of Rossini, Diabelli, and Bellini. Mozart also wrote some bel canto roles, as well as GORGEOUS quartets in his operas.

I am a singer as well as a pianist, and started choir in that same 7th year. Since then I have sung in church, university, and symphony choirs for most of my life. In the last few years, I sang in the choruses of "Carmen" and three Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

Most influential teachers: Natalie Matovinovic and Dr. Mary Scanlan. Robert Pratt was my favorite choir director.


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