Teaching Style, Touch, Dynamics and Harmony
Ruthann is a firm believer that beginning students do not have to sound like beginning students. She is aware that musical training expands learning, mindfulness and helps develop success in other areas of expression—for instance school subjects and sports. She emphasizes style, touch and dynamics to help individuals develop the “normal” style and then unfold their unique style! Phillip Keveren an editor and teaching consultant with the Hal Leonard Company emphasizes duet playing for modeling style techniques. Ruthann agrees. Playing duets also teaches the importance of listening, respecting and responding to others and prepares students for further musical ensemble work, as they pick up other instruments. Students and parents alike are delighted with mini performances with duet triumphs.
Education and Professional Background
Ruthann Pippenger, BS in Music and English; MA in Guidance and Counseling, Ball State University. Ruthann, a church and high school orchestra pianist by age 14, began teaching piano at age 16. She combines her background as an international consultant in expanded human potential, coaching, interfaith studies and stress release with teaching. She integrates this knowledge including Chi Gong and Brain Gym to meet individual needs. She accompanied the Ball State University Chorus and the Concert Choir, plus numerous instrumental, vocal artists and choruses before, during and after university. Her piano professor at Ball State, Mildred Milford, and her high school piano teacher were both in a direct line of training from Beethoven. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the National Music Honor Fraternity for Women.
Students Ranging from Age 5 to Age 78
Ruthann’s students range from age 5 to 78. She enjoys teaching young people and adults who are interested in beginning or returning to earlier studies.
Special Needs Students
She raised a Down syndrome daughter which taught Ruthann the importance of clarity and repetition for special needs students. She teaches individuals with autism.
Ruthann hosts an optional recital-reception in her home at the winter holidays to honor students’ efforts. A less formal recital is held in the spring time.
Favorite Publishers and Books for Learning
Pre-readers use the engaging writing and lessons books, My First Piano Adventure for the Young Beginner by Nancy and Randall Faber, published by Hal Leonard.
Children from age 6-9 use the Hal Leonard, the All-In-One Piano Lessons series. This offers an easy, thorough and fun beginning to the essentials of keyboard/piano playing and provides a basis for interest in all styles of music.
Older beginners and adults start with the Faber Piano Adventures material published by Hal Leonard.
Students are encouraged to choose supplemental materials for their individual interests: classical, boogie and blues, jazz, spiritual, etc. Publishers most often used are Bastien, Alfreds, G. Schirmer, Inc., John Thompson and The FJH Music Company Inc.’s Recital Series.
Edna-Mae Burnam’s, The Dozens a Day series, is Ruthann’s favored exercise material.
Some Expectations for Parents
Because I enjoy seeing students succeed, I encourage parents to be involved. I remember fondly my mother’s support coming from the kitchen as she cooked and I practiced. She empowered my growth as an artist and expanded my artistic thinking.
Since you are investing money, please sit in on the last 5 minutes of every lesson to track my progress with your child. At home, it takes 15 seconds to start the lesson timer and 5 minutes at the end of the practice session to give support and hopefully be impressed. Your child will be grateful. Your investment of time and money will be insured!
Many parents believe that their child/ren should be and will be self-starting with music lessons. I can assure you that 99% of students are not self-starting. I have had one student who was. Her motivation was to earn a scholarship to a college music program. She also had daily parental involvement from her father sitting in his office a few feet away from the piano! She earned that scholarship and is winning awards for song writing!
My motto is: May I create peace, joy, truth, harmony and beauty every day of my life.