Meet Studio 88.
My baby, my life, my dream, my passion, oh yeah, it’s also my place of work!
I GET to come here every day. I remember my undergrad professors telling us over and over that being in this profession is amazing because we don’t just get to do a job, we get to “do” our art which just happens to be our profession.
How did I come to where I am today?
A brief (well, not really) history
I’ve been playing piano since the age of 7. I spent the first year practicing at my neighbor’s house miles away until mom and dad could confirm it was worth spending money on a piano. Practicing was always a chore like it is for many children but I kept going. My high school teacher tried to encourage me to go to Taylor University since they offered a pedagogy minor. At the time however, I wasn’t interested in pursuing piano further.
In 2003, I graduated from Huntington University with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education K-12 with a Choral emphasis with piano as my major instrument. I took voice lessons, but did not earn it as a minor.
This should have been my first clue that although I loved choir, had been active in show choir in high school and was basically the teaching assistant (since I could play the piano and thus teach parts), I didn’t enjoy singing as much as playing piano. This fact truly did not dawn on me until years later.
I landed a job right out of school with Bluffton-Harrison MSD as the middle school and high school choral director. I taught 7th-grade choir, 8th-grade choir, a high school women’s choir and a small mixed show choir.
Through that time, I taught piano on the side always having around 8 students I taught from my home. During these years, I was discovering how to be a piano teacher and began reading Natalie Wickham’s Music Matters Blog. I was frustrated with many avenues of teaching in both arenas and knew I had a lot to learn. I began dreaming of opening a more professional studio.
I applied to begin master’s work at Ball State University but after three years in the public schools, my husband had an opportunity to take a job with his (then) company, Franklin Electric, working in Melbourne, Australia. Dream-traveler and adventurer I was, I jumped on board with no question, knowing deep down I was unsure about my chosen career.
While in Oz, I considered working on my masters degree but The University of Melbourne only offered a Piano Performance degree. I knew that wasn’t what I wanted and was trying still to figure things out. Thus, I continued to teach 8-10 students out of our home while working as a temporary relief worker for various businesses and engrossing myself in more piano teaching blogs.
We returned home after close to three years abroad right in the midst of the economic crash of 2009. Still unsure as to my direction especially with the economic turn, I had a surprise call from Ball State University’s Music Department asking if I was still interested in going forth with my previous application. Apparently, they had a graduate assistantship job available and it just so happened to be with a Creative Arts Council in my home-town teaching piano (contracted through the university). What an answer to prayer!
In 2009, I graduated with a Masters of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Ball State where I studied with the wonderful Dr. Lori Rhoden.
In 2011, my husband and I moved back to the town we had lived before we moved to Australia and opened Studio 88. Although Bluffton is an hour in either direction from both of our home towns, the community had come to feel like home. Of course, it helped having previous personal connections in the community in starting my new business. I did get lucky though that in 2015, Bluffton was named the Best Place to Start a Business in the entire state of Indiana!
Today, in 2016 I’m nearly 5 years into my business teaching between 35-40 students weekly ages preschool through adult.
What a blessing to be able to make a difference in the lives of each of these children face-to-face, one-on-one on a weekly basis!