A Symphony of Gratitude

We would like to thank Ricardo Pozenatto for this tribute to his teacher, Diana Dumlavwalla. As we continue the season of gratitude and giving, we pay tribute to piano teachers from around the country who are transforming the lives of their students. Students, parents, and colleagues are honoring piano teachers from their communities as part of the “Power of a Piano Teacher” campaign. We welcome you to celebrate your own teacher by sharing a tribute with us and donating to The Frances Clark Center.

Diana Dumlavwalla with Ricardo Pozenatto after presenting at the Florida Music Education Association (FMEA).

In the world of music education, there are those who teach, and then there are those who inspire. Diana Dumlavwalla, my piano pedagogy mentor, dissertation advisor, and now colleague and friend is undoubtedly the latter—a guiding star in the constellation of my musical journey. With every word of wisdom, she has illuminated my path, making my pedagogy not just a skill but a lifelong commitment.

I first met Diana during a national conference of music teachers, and her grace and professionalism immediately set her apart from other teachers. Diana, who was not my teacher (yet) at that time, made sure I felt welcome to my first conference ever. She connected with the teaching community and introduced me to colleagues and friends. I knew then I was in the presence of a kind soul.

As the conference days passed by, I noticed that Diana was dear to so many in the teaching community. She was also respected and admired. After watching her presentation at the conference, I could feel nothing short but inspired, and at that moment, I realized where I wanted to be.

The decision was made. The following academic year, I started my doctorate, a piano pedagogy program at Florida State University, under the guidance of Diana, or should I say, Dr. Dumlavwalla back then. After three years of dedicated work, I graduated, and while I was sad to leave, I was extremely happy with my musical, professional, and personal growth, mostly thanks to her guidance and supervision.

Diana held my hands from the beginning to the end of the program, and especially during the COVID-19 pandemic (yes, I was a student during that world-changing event), she made sure all her students felt safe, protected, and psychologically healthy as we resumed our teaching assistant duties after the brief pause. For her, our mental and physical health were always a priority, and I am so grateful for that.

Diana is a special teacher. But what makes her so special? Diana possesses an uncanny ability to breathe life into her students, and I feel so privileged to be one of them. She imparts the secrets of a holistic approach to piano pedagogy with patience and kindness while also nurturing creativity and individuality in her students. True gifts, one may agree. She encouraged me to find my own voice, allowing my unique teaching personality to flourish. Her unwavering belief in my potential was (and is) a constant source of inspiration, driving me to push my boundaries and reach my highest goals.

Beyond all those admirable qualities, Diana acknowledges the human soul in every student. Her unwavering support and encouragement in times of personal self-doubt were a source of strength that helped me persevere through challenges, both in my music studies and in my personal life. I am indeed so grateful for that.

Diana has been my guiding light. She has been my safety harbor. She has always been my supporter. Now, we are friends and colleagues. We attend conferences together, we present in conferences together, and every time we connect over the phone, the hour-long conversation passes by quickly, filled with laughter and joy. Above all, we celebrate one another acknowledging that teaching is learning, and that learning is teaching.

Diana, I hope you realize how important you are for the lives of many. Be certain that the piano teaching community is more vibrant with you, and we are all grateful for that.


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Ricardo Pozenatto, a native of Brazil, earned a PhD in Music Education with focus in Piano Pedagogy from Florida State University. He has presented at MTNA and NCKP conferences, and at Canadian and Brazilian conferences. Besides being a Coordinator of International Engagement at the Frances Clark Center, Ricardo also serves as the Florida State MTA Teacher Awards Chair.

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