When my piano student, Lucy Esparza Casarez completed our Classic Series Volume 1 Piano Book for Beginners in exactly one year, I wanted to honor her hard work and accomplishment. What better way than with an interview on the school’s blog! I hope it inspires you.

Q1. How long had it been since you last took piano lessons? What inspired you to pick up the study?

A1. 43 years when I was in college. I had taken lessons from the age of 7 to 14. I inherited an old piano, had it refurbished and decided I wanted to play again.

Q2. How did you happen upon Pastimes For A Lifetime, Inc.?

A2. I found you on the Internet when I googled “piano lessons for seniors in the SF Valley”.

Q3. Congratulations on completing the Classic Series Volume 1. What were some of the highlights that were most meaningful to you?

A3. Learning to read notes with flashcards and the ear training. The entire method of teaching music in this book was enlightening. I realized I had only been taught how to play a song with no real music theory involved.

Q4. Who are some of your favorite piano composers? Do you have any particular piece or pieces in mind for future study or songs you’ve dreamed of playing?

A4. Beethoven, Bach, Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Carol King, Stevie Wonder…I could go on. I have always wanted to play “Martha My Dear” by the Beatles.

Q5. How do you prefer to mentally and physically prepare for a rehearsal? Do you have a set routine (best days/times)? How long do you usually rehearse to prepare for a lesson?

A5. Do my squeezies, stretches and a little quiet time before I sit at the piano. Best times: On weekends midafternoon, weekdays early evening and lesson day late morning for up to 2 hours.

Q6. At what age did you realize you were a musical spirit?

A6. When I took my first lesson at 7 years old. However, it was probably when I was younger, though. I don’t really remember. I had a small record player in a case and my mother told me I would play Disney’s “Davy Crocket” song over and over. There was always music playing in our home and my mother sang all the time while cooking and doing housework. She had a beautiful voice. She was my inspiration. Along with my very eccentric piano teacher, Mrs. Judith Hirt. I remember walking into Mrs. Hirt’s house for my first lesson. She was playing “I Feel Pretty” on the piano. There were four girls who were my age and went to my school, standing around her and singing. I remember feeling excited to be there.

Q7. Did anyone try to talk you out of learning the piano? If so, how did you handle it?

A7. No, never.

Q8. How old were you when you performed your first piano recital? How many recitals did you participate in? Did you have stage fright? If so, how did you handle it?

A8. I was 7 when I performed in my first recital. I participated in at least 10 until the age of 14. I did have stage fright, but once I was at the piano and began to play it would subside.

Q9. Are you interested in playing duets or in ensembles with other musicians or singers? If so, which instruments would you like to accompany?

A9. I was always sorry I did not continue my music studies as I would have loved to play in an orchestra. Especially for musical theatre. I may entertain the idea at this point in my life to play a duet or in an ensemble.

Q10. Have you ever been interested in becoming a piano teacher? Was there any particular person or event that inspired your decision to do so or not to do so?

A10. No, teaching is not for me.

Q11. Have you composed piano pieces of your own? If so, what style are they in? Have you thought of recording any of them?

A11. Never, but I would love to try.

Q12. Music can touch people’s lives, bringing happiness and hope. For example, my piano school partners with CoachArt to provide free piano lessons for families impacted by childhood chronic illness. Is there a charity you are fond of or support, that you might like my readers to learn more about?

A12. Not at this time.

In closing, do you have a favorite quote, mantra or process that you find inspiring or helpful when faced with a frustrating rehearsal, that you would like to share with my readers?

When I am struggling I always say to myself. “You know this so just do it!” I always remind myself that Linda complimented me by saying I was “literate” and have “perfect pitch”. Thanks Linda!!!!

Thanks, Lucy for gracing our blog with this delightful interview. It’s a pleasure teaching you and having you at the studio.


Did you enjoy this interview? If so, please share it with others.

For more on Pastimes for a Lifetime’s Piano Curriculum and founder/instructor Linda Wehrli, visit the website.

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