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April 2014 Teacher Spotlight

Amy Van De Hey
Piano & First Steps in Music Teacher, Heid Music Green Bay

avandehey

Click for video introduction
Amy graduated from St. Norbert College in 1996 with a Bachelor of Music degree. After taking time off to start a family, she began teaching piano at Heid Music in 2004. She believes music is a therapeutic medium to express emotions that cannot be defined with words. Outside of teaching, Amy enjoys singing with the Dudley Birder Chorale, directing the children’s choir at Union Congregational Church, gardening and spending time at home with family and friends.

 

What is your favorite part about being a teacher?
Honestly, my students are just the best!  They are tremendous human beings who happen to be fine piano players.  The majority of them have been coming to my studio for years.  Three of my current students have studied six or more years with me.  I believe my students would consider me a friend as well as a teacher.  We've experienced a lot of music and life together!  

Tell us a little bit about First Steps in Music, and why you enjoy teaching it.
First Steps in Music is an introductory music class for infants, toddlers, and their parents.  It involves movement to music, playing simple musical instruments, finger play, tickle and wiggle games, and lots of singing.  The songs we sing in class are traditional folk tunes, chosen for familiarity and to ensure they are passed on from generation to generation.

People are often skeptical that such young children can learn musical concepts.  However, this is an opportune time to introduce music into a child's life.  Studies have shown that from birth to age five, a child's brain develops at its most rapid pace, processing information and creating connections at lightning speed.  Why not take advantage of this learning boon and jumpstart a child's music education?

I really enjoy teaching First Steps in Music because it combines two of my very favorite things -- music and kids! I love watching children experience new facets of music:  be it hand drumming, or dancing in a round, or singing an echo song.  It is very rewarding to watch the parents bond with their little one as they participate in these activities together. It brings back wonderful memories of when I participated in similar classes with my own children.

(For more information on First Steps in Music in Green Bay, email educationgb@heidmusic.com or call 920.498.2228.)  

What is the best advice you can give to a beginning student? 
Set a consistent practice schedule. I ask my new students to practice 10 minutes every day, with every day being the operative words.  New material is much easier to learn and retain when broken into small repetitive sessions.  Sporadic practicing or cramming at the last minute always yields poor results.  Essentially it comes down to learning how to budget one's time, and having the discipline to practice faithfully.

Tell us more about one of your favorite hobbies.
I love to garden. It's very therapeutic for me to have my hands in the earth, and all summer long I will undoubtedly have dirt under my fingernails. Many of the flowers in my garden are transplants from my grandmother's garden. Grandma has pictures of me as a kid standing amongst these very same flowers, and we are both grateful I am able to continue caring for them. 

What is one of the things on your “bucket list”?
I would sure like to go to Hawaii.  Especially after the winter we've just had!