A Valentine’s Tribute to Transformational Piano Teachers

Share the love this Valentine’s Day by honoring piano teachers who are working every day to make the world more kind, inclusive, and connected through the transformational power of music. We welcome you to celebrate your own teacher by sharing a tribute with us and donating to the Frances Clark Center. Students, parents, and colleagues are honoring piano teachers from their communities as part of the “Power of a Piano Teacher” campaign.

Paula Flynn with her teacher, Eric Unruh.

The teachers featured here are making profound contributions to students at all stages, from the youngest beginners to college students, and to those who study later in life. These inspirational, personal stories testify to the timeless impact piano teachers have on their students and their communities.

Join us by honoring your teacher today through the “Power of a Piano Teacher” campaign.

Barbara Gill honors Vedrana Subotic from Salt Lake City, UT

From studio to stage, Dr. Vedrana Subotic has been such a caring mentor and friend to me for over 20 years. Her artistry, pacing, and tone distinguish her as a fabulous performer, and her kindness and concern for her students extend past graduation. A life lesson she taught me was to follow-through whether it was in a crescendo to an arrival or in life. If I said I would do something, she expected me to do it! Vedrana was the first teacher to make me practice in front of her. She taught me to think of how simple the piano is to play (left, right, or hands together), and yet how many colors can be made on the instrument. I love that Dr. Vedrana Subotic came to Salt Lake City many years ago and I’d like to think it was just for me!

Jeremy Adriano honors Eileen Evans from Surprise, AZ

I feel incredibly lucky to have had the wonderful Eileen Evans as my childhood piano teacher. When I think back to my time in her studio, I remember a cherished home. The atmosphere was consistently warm and inviting, creating a sense of coziness that made playing during my piano lessons a truly relaxed experience. Inspired by those fond memories, I’ve crafted my own home piano studio with the same intention—ensuring that my students feel the same comforting warmth, coziness, and relaxation during their lessons.

Paula Flynn honors Eric Unruh from Casper, WY

I had been teaching piano in my home for about 16 years when I decided to go back to college and seek a degree in music education. I was a 37-year-old, non-traditional student at a community college. I had it in my head that I already knew what I needed, I just needed the degree. I declared the piano as my primary instrument and was thankfully placed in Dr. Eric Unruh’s studio. During the first week of class he assigned me Mozart’s Piano Sonata in F Major, K.332. I went home and quickly devoured the first movement, arriving back in his studio the following week ready to “show him a thing or two” about “all that I knew.” He offered me, instead, the opportunity to eat a heaping helping of humble pie. I had all eight pages ready to go, but we didn’t move past page one. Every Mozartean nuance was found on that first page and we grilled and drilled. After my first lesson, I realized how much I still had to learn, that I had an excellent and kind teacher ready to help me grow. His patience with me, his use of metaphors, his references to Jane Austen novels and so much more helped me discover a deeper level of music making. I cherish his continued friendship all of these years later. I still seek his counsel on pieces as I now realize fully that I still have so much to learn. Thank you, Eric! Much love!

Wendy Bachman honors Louise Goss

From the first moment that I stepped into my teaching audition at The New School for Music Study in 1988, Louise’s big smile made me feel at ease. Her positive tone of voice and willingness to help was a constant. When working with the students and modeling how to teach concepts, she always conveyed the utmost in enthusiasm. My favorite way of teaching triplets with the full-body arm swing is from Louise. Every time I teach it, I always tell my students, “This is how Louise taught us” as we enthusiastically say “1 a la, 2 a la.” As a graduate student in the Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Performance program, I was preparing to get married the same day as I graduated! I was busy with my studies and had not given a lot of thought to the wedding plans. Louise kindly stepped in and asked if she could help me plan my wedding! We drove out to have lunch at the place she thought would be perfect for the reception. I was more than thrilled that Louise Goss and Frances Clark could be guests at my wedding. The years after graduation we kept in touch with cards and gifts as our family started. Louise’s words of encouragement still mean so much as I read those cards today. I am grateful beyond words. 


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