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posted: 5/19/2014 7:38 AM

Learning to play the piano with the Schaumburg Park District

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  • Carole points out the next note as I remember every good boy does fine and face.Schaumburg Park District

    Carole points out the next note as I remember every good boy does fine and face.Schaumburg Park District

Tim Mucha, communications coordinator, Schaumburg Park District

Remember every good boy does fine and face!

Whether you're brushing up on your skills or looking to learn from scratch, the Schaumburg Park District has piano classes for everyone. Instructors hold group or private lessons in the six Clavinova piano lab at the Community Recreation Center, 505 N. Springinsguth Road. Group classes include Kids on Keys for ages 5-7, On Key for ages 7+ and Wee Play Piano for 3-4 year olds.

After completing my personal training session for a story a few weeks back I decided it would be a good idea to muster up the courage to enroll in a piano lesson for another story. I called District Cultural Arts Assistant Carole Bryan and requested a time to meet where we can conduct a private piano lesson. Carole has been with the Schaumburg Park District since 1996 when she started as a sub-contractor for adult classes. She went on to become full-time and developed not only the adult program but the Wee Play Piano program. From early on Carole knew she wanted to be in music but didn't picture herself as an instructor but instead as a conductor.

I came clean and told Carole I hadn't touched a musical instrument since the fifth-grade when band was a requirement. I had played the saxophone that school year then quickly moved on to sports as junior high started. Music has never been one of my fortes.

"I love teaching adults," said Carole Bryan. "It's so fun for me to watch someone's mind and hands work together as they read the music and put the pieces together."

We sat down at a piano and went over the basics and the layout of the keys. Carole taught me which key will play what note and how many of each note was across the piano. Next, we moved on to staffs, clefs and every good boy does fine, a mnemonic device to remember the E, G, B, D and F notes that make up the five lines of the staff and face, the mnemonic for the notes in the spaces between the lines of a staff. After taking some time to teach me the basics of notes and how to read the music Carole pulled out a sheet of music for me to actually play.

Carole helped me read what note should be played. She would name the note and I would quickly try to find it on the keys in front of me. This went on for a few notes and then she stopped telling me which key to play and started reminding me of every good boy does fine and FACE so I could figure out what key was next on my own. Then Carole really threw me to the wolves and just gave me her pen to follow as I tried to remember every good boy does fine and FACE at the same time as remembering where the keys are. She stepped in every so often to assist me and kept reminding me that once my head remembers the note my hands will go to the keys. After playing a few lines of music, she would ask me if I recognize the song and my answer was always no. She'd play the song for me so I could listen and know what it was supposed to sound like and then hand the keys back over to me to try again.

Carole did a wonderful job of making me feel comfortable and confident with the instrument. She took her time and showed true patience as I stumbled here and there. I truly enjoyed my piano lesson from the Schaumburg Park District. I'm even looking into taking private lessons further with Carole so I can continue my learning.

The Schaumburg Park District has grown from two private instructors to 12 and they are adding a 13th to teach Indian style piano. Recitals are not a requirement for any individuals taking lessons although if you wish to participate there were 97 in last year's spring recital and 80 in the latest holiday recital.

For more information on group and private piano lessons with the Schaumburg Park District, call (847) 490-7015 or visit