The Music Academy continues to offer piano lessons online. A virtual recital series will happen at the end of each session. In-person piano lessons and organ lessons will resume when it is safe to do so. New students should fill out the appropriate “interest" form below or contact us by email.
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Music Academy Piano & Organ Faculty
Mary Beth MolenaarClose
Academy Director, Piano division coordinator
Mary Beth Molenaar graduated with a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. She holds masters and bachelors degrees in piano performance from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin, respectively. In addition to piano, her training includes instruction in organ and harpsichord. Molenaar was recently named as a Foundation Fellow by the Music Teacher's National Association, and has received numerous awards in the past including the Outstanding Service to Music Education in Minnesota Award and the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from St. Cloud State University. Her teaching experience includes working with students of all ages and levels, in both individual and group piano instruction, while on the faculties of St. Cloud State, the University of Wisconsin, and at Northwestern. Molenaar has a full-time position as Lecturer at Northwestern University. In addition to serving as director of the Music Academy, Molenaar chairs its Piano Division, and is a Senior Lecturer in the Bienen School of Music where she has taught piano pedagogy and keyboard skills classes. She also serves as Chair of the Illinois State MTA Achievement in Music program, a comprehensive piano curriculum with over 3,000 students participating in three states. Molenaar is a member of Phi Kappa Lambda, Sigma Alpha Iota, and several area music teachers groups.
Marcia Bosits is codirector of graduate studies and director of piano pedagogy at the Bienen School of Music. An internationally recognized performance and pedagogy specialist, she has presented master classes and seminars throughout the United States, Canada, and the Far East. Bosits is an officer in Music Teachers National Association and National Conference on Piano Pedagogy. She is a chamber musician and author of articles in national music journals.
Patricia Heineman-Vernon has been teaching piano to students of all ages for over 40 years. Miss Pat teaches Junior Piano classes in the Academy for new beginners and graduates of our Kindermusik program. She feels the small group setting helps beginning pianists establish excellent rhythmic and technical skills as well as providing a fun introduction to the instrument. Heineman-Vernon joined the faculty of the NU Music Academy in 2007, teaching and coordinating the Academy’s Kindermusik program for many years. She is an active member of the Northshore Music and Chicago Area Music Teachers Associations, the Suzuki Association of the Americas and the National Guild of Piano Teachers. Miss Pat previously taught at the Wheaton College Suzuki Program, Jack Benny Center for the Arts and the Suzuki Music Academy of Chicago. She regularly teaches at summer camps including Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan and the Kankakee Valley PIano Camp in Bourbonnais.
Annie Hsiao holds a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University. Her research included rhythmic analysis in Russian piano etudes, flexibility of tempo rubato, and Lisztian piano technique. She received bachelor and master degrees in piano performance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she also earned a masters degree in music theory. Hsiao received numerous academic and piano performance awards during her college and graduate years, including the University Library Award, Teaching Excellence Award, and Piano Division Achievement Award. Under the guidance of Kenneth Drake, David Kaiserman, and Alan Chow, she has performed in several recitals and has participated in numerous piano competitions. Her major pedagogy teachers include Frances Larimer, Marcia Bosits, and Mary Beth Molenaar. Hsiao currently teaches private and group lessons in the Music Academy and keyboard skills classes in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University.
Grace Juang received her Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Piano Performance from the University of Maryland. Her research examined music by Robert and Clara Schumann. She holds a master of music degree in piano performance from Northwestern University and a bachelor of arts degree in music from National Taiwan Normal University. Under the guidance of Alan Chow and Larissa Dedova, Grace has performed in several solo and chamber recitals throughout Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Taiwan. She won the 22nd International Young Artists Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. Her mentors include Marcia Bosits and Elvina Pearce. She has taught at Taipei First Girls' High School and worked with piano students of all ages and levels. In addition to teaching at Northwestern University's Music Academy, Dr. Juang is on the piano faculty of the Music Institute of Chicago. As an active member of the Music Teachers National Association, she serves as chair for the Illinois Music Teachers Association Northeast Audition and co-chair for the North Shore Music Teachers' Association Piano Competition. She is a dedicated and passionate teacher whose ultimate goal is for students to develop a lifelong appreciation for music, and many of her students have won competition prizes.
Karen Kan-Walsh is the Coordinator of Keyboard Skills and Non-Major Piano in the Bienen School as well as an instructor at Bienen’s Music Academy. Kan-Walsh graduated with high distinction in Piano Performance from the University of Michigan School of Music. Two years later she received the Master of Music in Piano Performance from the U of M as well and she completed the doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the Bienen School. As a pre-college student, Kan-Walsh studied piano with her mother, Juliana Kan, for ten years, followed by Charles Fisher, Eugene Bossart, Eugene Lettvin, Joseph Gurt, and Laurence Davis. Pedagogy studies were with Frances Larimer and Marcia Bosits. Kan-Walsh has a particular interest in piano technique, and the music of J.S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Brahms. Kan-Walsh wrote reviews for newly published music for many years for “Clavier” journal. Performances span the Chicago and Ann Arbor areas, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Chengdu, China. Recent performances focus on two-piano literature with her colleague, Annie Hsiao. She is an active member of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association, presenting on Keyboard Skills and group piano topics. Her most recent presentation was titled “Deeper Musical Experiences in Keyboard Skills.” A member of Pi Kappa Lamda, Kan-Walsh was also recognized by Northwestern University’s Associated Student Government for excellence in teaching.
Dr. Yeeseon Kwon provides adult group and private piano instruction in the NU Music Academy. She is pianist and associate professor teaching piano musicianship and piano pedagogy at Roosevelt University, and brings with her expertise and scholarship in piano performance and pedagogy as a teacher and performing artist. Formerly associate editor for Clavier Magazine, Dr. Kwon published numerous new music reviews and articles, and has also authored several articles in Piano Pedagogy Forum and Clavier Companion Magazine. As editor of keyboard music, Dr. Kwon collaborated with various composers, editing educational piano music and publications. Dr. Kwon is in demand nationally as an adjudicator, workshop clinician, conference and masterclass presenter. Her performances include international solo and collaborative engagements in the United States and Russia. Most recently at the National Conference for Keyboard Performance (NCKP) Dr. Kwon was appointed to the committee on Teaching Adults to further pedagogical research on issues dealing with adult learning.
Heidi Mayer, NCTM, holds Bachelor Degrees from the University of Michigan in Piano Performance and Choral Music Education, and a MMA in Piano Performance from Eastern Michigan. She earned a Diploma in Vocal Accompanying from the Vienna Academy of Music as a Fulbright Scholar. She was a faculty member of De Paul University’s Community Music Program from 1990-1993 and continues to maintain an independent piano studio in Park Ridge. Mrs. Mayer has taught private and group lessons for children in the Music Academy since 2015. Ms. Mayer was named Teacher of the Year by the Illinois Music Teachers Association in 2015 and has received teacher enrichment grants from Music Teachers National Association and National Piano Technicians Guild.
Margaret McElwain KemperClose
Margaret Kemper holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ from DePauw University where she studied with Arthur Carkeek, and a Master's degree in organ from Northwestern University as a student of Barrett Spach. As a Fulbright Scholar in Paris for two years after college, she studied with André Marchal, as well as with Marie-Claire Alain and Anton Heiller at the Summer Academy for Organists in Haarlem, the Netherlands. She is currently Organist and Director of Musicat Presbyterian Homes in Evanston and also teaches at the Music Institute of Chicago. She has served the American Guild of Organists in many positions for many years, both locally and nationally. She was National President of the AGO from 1994-1998. In 1998 She lead a delegation of organists to Prague, Budapest and Warsaw as part of the People to People Citizen Ambassador Program; and has played recitals in Moscow, Warsaw, Kiev and Rivne in the Ukraine. She also presented two master classes at the universities in Kiev and Rivne as part of the third American Organ Festival sponsored by the American Embassy.
Barbara Kreader Skalinder rejoins the Academy’s piano faculty after leaving in 1985 to serve as editor of Clavier Magazine. Kreader has published articles on teaching for Clavier, The Piano Quarterly, and Keyboard Companion, and her column “Variations” appears in Clavier Companion magazine. She is the author of the book, “The Music of Teaching: Learning to Trust Students’ Natural Development.” Kreader worked as a program director for Junior Student Seminars at the summer music camp Rocky Ridge in Estes Park, CO for seven years. Currently, Kreader works for Hal Leonard Corporation in Milwaukee, WI as a consultant for educational keyboard publications and is co-author of the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library method. She presents workshops on piano teaching and methods for Hal Leonard in cities all over the world. She earned a M.M. in piano performance from Northwestern studying with Laurence Davis and piano pedagogy with Frances Larimer. She has taught piano continuously for over forty years. In addition to teaching, Kreader Skalinder earned a Writer’s Certificate in Poetry from the U. of Chicago and is a member of Plumb Line Poets.
Debbie Masloski began her formal training at the Mozart Conservatory in Augsburg, Germany. As a recipient of the Presidential and Goodbord Scholarships she received a bachelors degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She received her masters degree from the Juilliard School where she studied with Nadia Reisenberg, Herbert Stessin and David Diamond. Masloski completed a Doctor of Music degree at Northwestern University, where her research examined the influence of social and religious trends on the piano literature. Her teachers/advisors included David Kaiserman, Francis Larimer, Marcia Bosits, Peter Webster, and John Buccheri. Masloski has won competitions both here and abroad and has appeared as soloist with orchestras including the Chicago Civic Orchestra, New Mexico Symphony, Colorado Springs Orchestra, and the UNC Symphony. She has performed on WFMT radio, is an active soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, and member of the Testore Trio. Masloski has been on the faculty of the University of Illinois, Chicago State University, Lake Forest College, The Merit Music Program in Chicago, The Jemez Music School in New Mexico and artist in residence at California State University. She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the Illinois State Music Teachers Association, Pi Kappa Lambda, and is active as an adjudicator. She also directs the orchestra program for school district 73.
Jennifer Merry has been on the faculty of the Northwestern University Music Academy since 1989. She currently teaches private and group piano lessons and Kindermusik classes. From 1992 to 2006 she also coordinated the pre-piano program and taught a number of classes for 5 and 6 year olds. She holds two Master of Music degrees from Northwestern University; one in piano performance and pedagogy and one in music education. She also holds an undergraduate degree from Eastern Washington University in piano performance. Ms. Merry's piano teachers have included Mary Jane Clark, James Edmonds, David Rostkoski, Carmen Or and Alan Swain. She remains active as a piano accompanist for choral groups, singers and instrumentalists. Ms. Merry was an early recipient of the D.H. Baldwin Fellowship Award for Excellence in Teaching, a national award which recognizes talented young music teachers and helps them to establish private studios. She has reviewed new music for Clavier and American Music Teacher magazines, and has contributed articles to Keyboard Companion magazine. In addition to teaching piano, Ms. Merry taught general music and chorus for 5 years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Glenview. She also sings alto in the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, the city's oldest musical organization.
Susan Ramey OsbornClose
Piano, Adult and Pre-Piano Coordinator
Susan Ramey Osborn received a Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern University, a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Smith College, and a Professional Teaching Certificate from The New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ. She also studied at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, France, and L'Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris under a Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship. Her performance teachers included Robert Miller, Serge Petitgirard, Michael Zenge, Phyllis Rappeport, Francis Whang, Jacob Lateiner, and David Kaiserman. Dr. Osborn studied pedagogy under Frances Clark, Louise Goss, Sam Holland, Frances Larimer, Elvina Truman Pearce, and Marcia Bosits. In addition to teaching at the Academy, Dr. Osborn is on Keyboard Skills faculty of Northwestern University and the Piano faculty of Interlochen Arts Camp. Her teaching experience includes both private and group instruction for students of all ages and levels. As a performer, she has presented numerous recitals and has appeared as a soloist with orchestras. She is active as a performer and adjudicator in the Chicago area, a member of the honorary music society, Pi Kappa Lambda, and a member of Music Teachers National Association.
Chicago-born pianist Michael Pecak has performed to great acclaim throughout North America and Europe on both historical and modern instruments. Having completed degrees in piano performance at Northwestern (BM) and Indiana Universities (MM), Michael went on to the Conservatory in Warsaw, Poland, as a Fulbright Scholar. A consuming interest in historical performance brought Michael to Cornell University where he was a Graduate Fellow, working with Malcolm Bilson. Recently, Michael earned his DMA degree in fortepiano and historical performance practices at McGill University in the class of Tom Beghin. Michael has taught piano at Opus Ithaca School of Music, Indiana University, and Piano Trends Music Co. As a scholar, he has published on Beethoven and Chopin in Keyboard Perspectives and with The National Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw.
Jia-Yee Tang received her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Piano Performance from the University of California, San Diego. Her previous teachers include Virginia Weckstrom, Marcia Bosits, Elizabeth Buccheri and Stefani Walens. She is the recipient of the Dr. Milton H Saier, Sr. Memorial Award from UCSD and the MTNA Student Achievement Recognition Award from NU. Past musical activities include attending the Aspen Music Festival and giving a recital featuring the works of contemporary composer George Crumb. She is a member of MTNA and will serve as a board member for 2008-2009. She has been on faculty at the Academy since 2006 and also teaches at the Highland Park campus of the Music Institute of Chicago. In addition to teaching, she remains an active accompanist in the Chicago area, primarily working in collaboration with musicians from Northwestern University.
Katie Randolph (Hamada) completed her Doctorate in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at Northwestern University. She earned a Masters of Music from the Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelors of Music from Northwestern University. A passionate teacher, Katie is on the piano faculties of Northwestern University’s Music Academy and Depaul University’s Community Music Division. She is also a certified public school music teacher and Suzuki instructor. Her work as an educator has taken her through Chicago Public Schools to present piano music for Ravinia’s One Score, One Chicago and to Chicago suburban schools as an orchestra conductor and chamber music coach. Her students have earned gold medals and placed in local competitions.
As a performer, Katie has given solo recitals in Chicago and abroad in Finland and France. She has been a soloist in concerto performances with the Northwest Festival Orchestra, Schaumburg Youth Symphony Orchestra, and ensembles at Northwestern. She also collaborates as a chamber musician and has performed with the New World Symphony. She is the recipient the Amelia A. Hoff Scholarship, Emma Peters Hooper Scholarship, and the Farwell Award from the Musicians Club of Women. Katie’s teachers include Sylvia Wang and Nina Svetlanova.