Gratz Opus 118 Music And Dance

Gratz Opus 118 Music And Dance

1 hire on
6 employees
6 years in business

About this pro

We offer instruction in the following areas: piano, guitar, voice, violin, drums, reed and brass instruments, taught by established teachers in the Valparaiso area at competitive rates!  We also carry sheet music, methods books for many instruments, along with other musical accessories. Gratz Opus 118 officially opened in 2016 under new ownership. Gratz Piano was the previous name, a music store and studio established in Valparaiso for well over 20 years.

I have a Bachelors degree in music (Spelman College)as well as a Master of Music degree, concentration in piano performance from Miami University (Ohio).  I have been a piano teacher in the Porter-Lake County area for over 25 years.  I worked for 16 years as the piano instructor at the Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts High Ability Academy (2000-2016).  

Making good, quality music is my passion, piano music is my greatest joy and I'm committed to sharing this love of music with as many people as I can. This passion and commitment was recognized in 2019, when I was selected as a finalist as a 2019 Influential Woman in the area of the Arts by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women's Association.  

Gratz-Opus 118 has a staff of 6 teachers who are committed to quality music instruction.  All of us have been music teachers for some time and we work with students of all ages and levels.  It is my pleasure to work with these teachers, and to interact with the students of all ages who study here. It makes my day!

     My favorite part of teaching is watching people discover their musicality and seeing the satisfaction when they have accomplished something musically.  Success breeds more success!  Students want to achieve more, learn more challenging repertoire and perform when they've had success.

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Valparaiso, IN 46383
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

  The first and most important aspect of beginning music instruction is to discover what the student hopes to eventually accomplish with the instrument.  We have a 1st and 2nd lesson, listening to the student play or begin with instrument orientation if the student is a beginner.  Appropriate instructional materials are obtained, and the musical adventure begins!

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I personally have a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Spelman College, Atlanta GA, (1980) and a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from  Miami University, Oxford, OH. (1982)  I have also attended a number or conferences and workshops related to piano pedagogy.

I consider myself to a lifelong learner--continuing to work on my own piano performance.  I am also affiliated with the Frances Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy, and continue to develop my piano pedagogy skills.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

Gratz Opus 118 has a rate of 22.50 for a weekly 30-minute lesson.  Lessons are billed monthly, $90.00, payable in full at the beginning of each month.  Students may opt for a 60- minute minute lesson week, the rate would be doubled to $180.00 monthly.

How did you get started teaching?

I began teaching class piano as a graduate assistant. while working on my Master's degree at Miami in 1980.  I have been teaching piano ever since.

What types of students have you worked with?

I have successfully taught students ranging from beginners at young ages to college music majors who were pursuing a degree in music education.  I was an adjunct piano instructor for 6 years at Valparaiso University.  Students assigned to me at VU were often music education majors who needed to fulfill the piano proficiency requirement.  I also taught in the preparatory department, Partners for Music.

My assignment at Wirt-Emerson was to teach all students who wished to concentrate on piano performance as their art major.  (Wirt-Emerson is a public school/magnet school for visual and performing arts in Gary, IN). The school goes from grades 6-12, and as the only piano teacher, I had the opportunity to teach some of those students for 7 years.  One of those students went on to major in music and college and has succeeded me as the piano instructor at Wirt-Emerson.  I took early retirement this past school year in order to become owner/Executive Director of Gratz Opus 118. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

On March 25, we held our monthly studio recital.  Students representing our various teaching studios had the opportunity to perform.  Since we have been doing these monthly recitals, I have observed the musical growth of all the students who perform.  It's a relatively informal setting, but the students are having frequent opportunities to get over performance anxiety and have fun while sharing their musical gifts.  We had student representation from "all ages and all stages".  They all performed well and are happy to perform.  It was great to see the growth!


What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Find out as much as you can about that teacher's experience/training.  If you can, talk to someone who's studied with that teacher.  Give yourself at least 1 month of study with that teacher to make certain that your personalities work well together.  By the end of 4 lessons, you should know whether or not it will work.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

 A student should let his/her teacher know what kind of music they would like to play.  Although every good music teacher is going to teach students how to read music, there can be some flexibility in the type of music the student wants to play.