July 28, 2014
Freshman Rachel Preston recently received the National Piano Foundation Recreational Music Making Studio Fellowship Award. One of four recipients this year, Preston was the only recipient who was not a doctoral student. Preston is only 19 but she has been teaching piano for six years. She was told she received the award because of her extensive teaching experience. Her current 27 students range in age from 4 to 63.
Preston started playing the piano early.
“At first, I was forced into it,” she said, recalling the effort of placing small fingers on the correct keys. With encouragement and good teachers she learned to enjoy playing. She also plays flute and percussion.
“I love music. I grew up surrounded by it at church and at home,” Preston said.
Preston teaches out of a studio in her home where she has two pianos and two keyboards. The fellowship award will fund two new digital Kawai pianos for teaching. The award also includes two years of mentorship with Brenda Dillon of the National Piano Foundation. The networking opportunities provided by this fellowship are invaluable.
Preston will use the grant to partner with local churches, senior centers and Trinity Lutheran College to offer adult recreational music making classes. The idea of recreational music making is to teach music in a very low pressure environment.
Preston’s teaching helps fund her college tuition. With the additional keyboards and expanded classes she hopes to fully fund her education.
After graduation from Trinity, Preston plans to pursue graduate studies in music and teach.