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Mary Folkman

Laurel, MT 59044 (map)

Lessons Offered

Piano, Music

Where are Lessons Offered

In Teacher Studio

In Student Home

About Me

I am a native of West Allis, Wisconsin, where I began piano lessons at the age of 7. I also studied the violin from grade 5 through part of college. I spent some time teaching school music in Wisconsin, and also gave piano lessons. My husband and I moved to Montana in 1981, where I was a classroom teacher from that time until 2007 when I opened my Lyrical Lines Piano Studio.
I enjoy reading history, biographies, and poetry. Also enjoy visiting museums, art galleries, etc. When I was a classroom teacher, we rented out the small house on our property, which is behind the main house, and that turned into my studio when I opened it. My lessons are given in a separate building from the main house, so there is no disturbance by phone, cats, etc.
My husband and I made many trips with our travel trailer--in recent years mostly back to Wisconsin. I have two stepsons and their families back there, along with a sister-in-law.

My Musical Education Background

In addition to my lessons during elementary and high school, I received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano pedagogy from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. During my years as a classroom teacher, I received a Master of Education degree from the University of Montana in Missoula. This was where, as a sideline, I began studying with Dennis Alexander, noted teacher, composer and clinician, currently with Alfred Publishing. These lessons continued past my degree on an occasional basis until he moved out of the state. I have also attended a number of his pedagogical workshops over the years.

Genres and Subjects Taught

My piano teaching has a basically classical foundation, although I use the music of living composers extensively, and supplement with pieces in the jazz idiom when appropriate. I pair my students for duet work whenever possible. I include theory and music history in my teaching also. When appropriate, my students listen to performances of their repertoire via YouTube or CD's.
My students frequently receive superior ratings in competitions and festivals.
In addition to my own studio recital, my membership in the local affiliate of the MTNA, my students have many more opportunities to perform at adjudicated and non-adjudicated events.
I teach beginners through early advanced students, but I prefer not to take students who have not completed at least the first half of Grade 1 in school.
I continue to practice my own repertoire, and have ended my student recitals by playing something that I have been practicing. I firmly believe that teachers should continue to practice what they teach.

Lesson Rates

I give 35 lessons during the school year, with breaks at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring. The amount is totaled and divided by the 9 months of the school year. This year, a 30 minute lesson weekly (available only to beginners until they have completed the first level of materials) is $66 per month. A 45 minute lesson, computed in the same manner, is $89 per month, and a 60 minute lesson is $132 per month. A 5% discount is offered for those paying by the semester. After a verbal agreement is reached to begin lessons, I require a deposit of 50% of the first installment--monthly or semester--plus the amount to cover the first set of materials.
At least 4 lessons are required during the summer, and I am very flexible in scheduling these. They are billed separately.

Ages / Skill Levels Taught

I teach beginners through early advanced, including adults. I prefer not to take a student who has not completed at least the first half of first grade.

My Certifications and Awards

I have been nationally certified as a piano teacher since 2008 by the MTNA (Music Teachers National Association).

My Musical Influences

I would have to say that my greatest direct musical influence is my former teacher, Dennis Alexander. His artistry and pedagological skill is unquestioned, and I am fortunate to still be in email contact with him.
Of course, I am inspired by many performers and composers--Rachmaninoff, Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms. Among performers, I particularly admire Radu Lupu, Mitsuko Uchida, Jon Nakamatsu, Van Cliburn, Artur Rubinstein, and Vladimir Horowitz, among many others.

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