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Performing Arts

U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance to offer group piano lessons for adult beginners

By Marilou Carlin

Photo by Peter Smith; courtesy the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance.

A new program offered by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance will be the only one in the Ann Arbor community to provide group piano instruction for adult beginners.

“Time for Me: Beginning Piano for Adult” is open to adults in both the university community and the general public. It will offer weekly classes in SMTD’s piano pedagogy laboratory in the Earl V. Moore Building on North Campus (1100 Baits Drive) for beginning piano students who either have never taken piano lessons or took lessons many years ago.

It will be team-taught by Paola Savvidou, adjunct lecturer of piano, and SMTD graduate student instructors who are studying for master’s and doctoral degrees in the Piano Pedagogy and Performance program.

Savvidou is available for consultation prior to enrollment to help prospective students determine if the program is suitable for them. Send emails to

Class tuition is $150 for 10 weekly 60-minute classes, which will be held Sept. 20-Nov. 29. Registration is available on the SMTD website; the registration deadline is Sept. 15.

Integrating a holistic study of the keyboard—sight-reading, theory basics, improvisation and repertoire—each class of this noncredit course has a capacity of 12 students, maximizing the opportunity for group learning. No prior study of the instrument is required. A unique component will be the inclusion of stretching and breathing exercises to help adults de-stress and develop body awareness to aid in the development of sound piano technique.

“This class offers adults a much-needed opportunity to take time for themselves to learn a new skill in a social setting,” Savvidou said. “It fulfills a need for all those who regret quitting piano a long time ago or those who have always wanted to learn but didn’t have the opportunity. Learning the piano has the wonderful advantage of feeding adults’ intellectual curiosity, improving physical coordination and nourishing their creative spirit.”

In addition to tuition, students will be required to purchase a method book and bring their own headsets and stereo plug adapter. A nonrefundable registration fee of $20 will also be required. Students are expected to practice between classes on either a tuned piano or a weighted electronic keyboard.

The new “Beginning Piano for Adults” program builds on SMTD’s long-standing Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program, which provides teacher-training for SMTD students enrolled in the MM and DMA degree programs in Piano Pedagogy and Performance, while also providing piano lessons to pre-college age students from the community. John Ellis is the program director. For more information about PPLP, contact Aya Higuchi Hagelthorn at

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