Welcome to the Joy in Music Piano Studio  

where music making is for everyone,

not only for specialists!

In the Joy in Music Piano Studio, you  gain confidence

as you discover joy in learning to make music at the piano.

We provide private weekly lessons for all ages and recreational piano groups for adults.

Studio is located inside Starbird Piano Store; 500 Forest Ave., Portland, ME

Contact: alicejpeterson@yahoo.com or (207)210-4214. 

SUMMER is a time for new starts--is it your time to start or refresh your piano skills? Daytime and evening openings.

 STUDIO NOTES:  The March 2018 Monster Piano Festival drew 90+ students of all ages, including three from our studio. Adults joined teens and kids at Snow Pond Music Camp for a full day practice and late afternoon performance. Ask Julia, Norah, or Anna about it--and join the fun next time!

Winter 2017-2018 Winter Groups keep us motivated and moving ahead. Duet playing keeps us connected and counting! 

During fall 2017, we will be BUILDING ON BASICS. We'll look at basic technique, reading and rhythm skills, and practice habits, and build on the foundation that exists according to each person's needs. We'll keep the group piano momentum going by adding October and December piano groups for all piano students.  Adult Private Students have a piano party November 18th, and the adult recreational group program boasts 3 classes  fall classes, including a Refresher Class for those who want to resume piano playing after time away from the piano.

In addition to private lessons, Summer 2017 included several GROUP PIANO OPPORTUNITIES--an adult class, a pre-teen group, and a Piano Prelude intro to piano for 6 to 8 year olds. The encouragement and fun of being with others while learning piano cannot be overestimated.

April/May 2017 We're gearing up for summer! New Piano Prelude groups for beginners, teen/preteen group piano labs, and yes, regular lessons! This summer, students have the opportunity to GO OFF BOOK with the help of materials developed by two master teachers (Forrest Kinney and Lucinda Mackworth-Smith) so that the student is never embarrassed when someone says, "Play me something!" Join us in our explorations!

Adults with some experience will enjoy a similar OFF BOOK journey on Tuesday mornings from 9 to 10 AM. E-mail: alicejpeterson@yahoo.com.

March 2017--Students are busy working on compositions for the Amy Beach Composition Contests. Ideas are flowing! The context rules don't allow the use of music notation programs, so we're practicing our note writing and stem direction.  While kids and teens practice their tarantellas (another winter/spring project), adults in groups are exploring folk music from the southern hemisphere. (If we can't be in summer, we can enjoy music from countries that are currently experiencing summer!)

January 2017--Accepting students for several private lesson openings. Two adult recreational group classes start in January. Follow up class for beginners starts January 14th. Register at http://www.portlandadulteducation.org under Enrichment Courses: Arts and Photography: Piano. Intermediate class starts January 31st. Register through alicejpeterson@yahoo.com.

December 2016--Students played for residents of Scarborough Terrace Retirement Community in early December. A mix of children, teens, and adults shared Christmas and non-seasonal music to an enthusiastic audience.

Our studio theme this year is "Focus on Fluency". Children and Adults spend a lot of effort learning the basics, but satisfaction comes when the music flows. We'll discovered our individual obstacles, and explore new habits that enhance the musicality of our playing at whatever level we've achieved. 

Summer 2016: Piano Prelude is a 5 week intro to piano for students age 6-9. Six students participated in this beginning piano adventure,  a great way to prepare for fall lessons.  In the private studio, 20 students engaged with piano games and repertoire to strengthen their piano skills. And on to fall!

Winter/Spring 2016  This winter our theme was GOING BAROQUE. We explored the instruments, musical forms, and composers who lived from 1600-1750, with a strong focus on Bach, Handel, Scarlatti and Pachelbel. In the internet age, we can experience/observe/listen to instruments from the smallest clavichord to a variety of harpsichords to impressive organs of all sized, and come to understand why music from the time period is written as it is.  Most interesting was our exploration of music form. Have you ever danced a sarabande? Or a courante or minuet? Our online search for authentic demonstrations, authentic instruments, authentic costuming could have consumed many hours. As it was, what we did find enhanced our understanding of the small musical pieces that comprise the Baroque suite.

Even more intriguing was our study of counterpoint. Monophony, homophony, polyphony--we especially enjoyed the youtube portrayals of fugues, which helped us see the intricacy of the intertwining voices in a way that just listening to the music does not do. Beyond that, a youtube search reveals fugues based on Happy Birthday, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVuO2MbER-w&list=RDtVuO2MbER-w,  the Angry Birds theme, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRcKTSXWV1M, and a double fugue improvisation using the Pink Panther theme and the James Bond theme https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upFQcITxX9A.

Two of our students participated in a Piano Monster concert held at Snow Pond Music Camp in March. Their several months of preparation work paid off as they joined another 30 or so students in an all day practice which culminated in a late afternoon concert.

Fall 2015

Fall term was Spanish Music time!  Student learned Spanish music, improvised with Spanish rhythms, and several shared their music at the Winter 2016 Piano Celebration.  Our Practice Smart theme reminded students to 1)SLOW DOWN 2) Break it down 3) play 3 times with accuracy 4)Ask: Where's the problem? What's the plan?

Adult groups explored chords and keys, and a new beginner's group began in October.

A mixed group of all ages played at Portland Center for Assisted Living in early November, and another group played for residents of Scarborough Terrace in December.


Adult recreational students enjoyed playing folk tunes this summer, finding that "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts" when it comes to playing as an ensemble! Groups are a great way to make progress while working at your own level, because when you narrow your focus to work on one part, someone else is always playing the other part, so you have the effect of the whole piece. it's been great fun! New sessions of adult groups start in September and October.

Teens and preteen private students experienced "The Guardians of Arranmore" this summer. It could be described as Celtic flavored superhero music--interesting chord progressions combined with accessible patterns made this music both attainable and enjoyable. Teachers/composers Andrea and Trevor Dow once again hit the jackpot with this music, which some of our adult private students also enjoyed.  Our second summer emphasis was composition. Older students used chord progressions and/or patterns from Arranmore to create their own music; younger students started with Composition Prompts created by Joy Morin and created music portraying everything from medieval castles to sailing to monkeys climbing in trees. 

SPRING 2015  EVENTS: The "50 Days of Practice" incentive is drawing to an end. Many students were motivated to increase their practice through this program this spring. Medals will be awarded at the Piano Celebration on June 7th.

The studio mentors met recently to practice a couple of surprises which they will present at the June Piano Celebration. Our three mentors have helped plan and/or lead two special studio events this year.

Adult recreational piano groups took a break during May and June, and will resume with summer piano labs in July. Our summer theme is "Folk for Folk: Classic Folk Tunes for Piano". These multi-level groups will meet on Friday mornings during the summer.

Several adult student and studio friends played at Portland Center for Assisted Living on April 11th. The enthusiastic audience enjoyed singing along with several popular tunes.

Our Duet Workshop and Holiday Party held on December 7th was a great success! Our teen music mentors helped the other students create some awesome music, and creative games and activities held the interest of students ages 6 to 16 for an hour and a half. 

Scarborough Terrace Assisted Living Center was the site of our most recent music sharing activity. About a dozen students  gathered on Saturday November 8th to entertain the residents on the facility's  baby grand.  This included a couple of students from Andrea Rosenberg's studio. Parent's transported and stayed to watch the show. Music Mentors Alanna, Sophia and Stephanie demonstrated a new piece which will be part of students' lessons over the next few weeks.

Several adult piano students played a variety of music for residents of Portland Center for Assisted Living on Saturday November 1st.  Two residents played also, bringing the total of performers to six. This second visit to PCAL was a success; we plan to return for more!


March 2017: Music Teachers' National Conference, Baltimore, MD

October 2016: Maine Music Teachers' Conference, Orono, ME

October 2015 QuadState Music Teachers' Conference, Burlington, VT

May 2015: Creative Health Conference at USM, Gorham, ME
Certified art, dance, and music therapists  share their work, research, and philosophies about the creative arts therapies in a variety of populations: trauma, dementia, brain injury, oncology, and depression, among others.

August 2014: Practical Piano Pedagogy, a three day seminar sponsored by the Frances Clark Center for Piano Pedagogy, was held at the New School for Music Study in Princeton, NJ. Twenty teachers from as close as Newark and as far as Korea gathered to interact with each other and the highly qualified teachers at the New School through private lessons and pedagogy critiques, presentations and discussions, curricular planning sessions and recitals. Highlights of the conference included a recital of favorite teaching pieces by the New School staff and a masterclass of several seminar attendees taught by Marvin Blickenstaff.

Fall 2013: "Music and the Brain" was the topic of the QuadState Music Teachers' Conference held at USM in October 2013. Speakers included Dr. Robert Duke, Professor of Music and Learning at University of Texas at Austin, Alan Wittenberg, Certified Music Therapist, of Surry, Maine, as well as a local neurologist and an area musician who has experienced a brain injury.

Phone:    207-856-0240              207-210-4214

"Alice has been a great teacher. She has given the gift of music to my children, and has kept them interested in learning. I would highly recommend Alice for adults and children who want to learn to play piano."--John, parent of Samantha and Stephanie


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