Note: After reading my bio, don't forget to review my resume, audio recordings and videos here.
The Studio was established in 1987 as a way to help put myself through college, and from there it has evolved into my life’s work. But really, the business started back in 1964, when I started my own piano lessons at the age of 4 in Leavenworth, Kansas and fell in love with the piano. Since my Dad was in the Army, we moved quite often, but the first thing my Mom did after registering us at school was find a piano teacher and start my lessons again. My first teacher in California taught all of the scales to me and was so impressed with my progress that she wrote the first “Letter of Recommendation” I ever received … for my Mom to show the next teacher.
Mom told me that they never had to remind me to practice - I was drawn to the piano and would play on my own accord for long periods of time. My second teacher taught mostly from method books and then “Boogie Woogie” and “Polka’s”. When I got to 5th Grade in Bonita, CA, I took Für Elise to my third teacher and told her I wanted to learn it. She told me it was too hard for me … so I took it home and taught myself the entire first section of the song. I went back to her & played it … and she was amazed! So she gladly taught me the rest and began opening the doors for me to really “move up” in my piano studies. I think this is why I love to challenge my students … and help them meet the challenge.
I became hooked on Classical music and wanted more, so my parents signed me up for membership with the Certificate of Merit Program, sponsored by the Music Teacher’s Association of California. They also obtained a membership for me with the Art Publication Society out of St. Louis Missouri, which was started by Leopold Godowsky.
Throughout elementary school, I performed in school Talent Shows as well as the MTAC Recitals. During High School, I not only was in the choir, but I also accompanied the choir on the piano during practice and at our local performances. My devotion to the piano was first expressed by my “Senior Quote” in my 1977 High School Yearbook from Campolindo High School in Moraga, in which I said: “Music is my life … it speaks my feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, and especially love, when I am at a loss for words.”
During late High School and the first years after, I continued performing in MTAC Recitals, earned awards at several MTAC and “Piano Club of Berkeley” Competitions, earned a few scholarships for music at Columbia College in St. Louis, Missouri, and received an Elementary Teaching Certification from the Art Publication Society in St. Louis, Missouri.
Then, out of necessity, I went to work as an Office Assistant, moving up the ranks at various firms to Office Manager & Executive Assistant within seven years. During the early 80’s, I also experienced a different kind of stage when I played keyboard with a country-western duo out of Nevada. It was this experience that helped me to realize I was not a “stage performer” … I was actually stage-shy! And I started to think about other ways that I could continue in my music studies, and thereby continue doing what I loved.
In the mid-80’s, I realized I needed to return to college in order to continue “moving forward” in life … so to help me pay for it, I started teaching piano lessons … and Hegarty Piano Studio was born. When I realized that teaching piano and sharing my love of music was what I wanted to do as a “career”, I also began taking classes in Early Childhood Education, although I have not yet completed a Certification in that subject. Then, when the personal computer “came of age” (yes - I am that old - lol) and midi recording technology became available to the general public, I began studying Sound Recording as well. Please read the “About Hegarty Piano Studio” for more details about the studio and it’s growth over the years.
I still spend some time performing, most recently notable was at the “Model-A Ford Car Association’s Annual Regional Round-Up” held in 2011. I really enjoyed learning the “old songs” from 1928-1931 and performing them for the 400 Model-A Ford car owners at Dan Foley Park in Vallejo. (Videos are available on YouTube.)
I have recorded and produced three Christmas CDs, an Irish Music CD for my mom and a CD of love songs for my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary … and I have been producing Student CDs since 2005. I still spend time recording and hope to have completed a “Favorite Classical Piano” CD in 2014. In addition, with over 25 years of teaching experience, I have recently been writing a book called “The Piano Strategy Guide” and expect to publish the final version in 2015.
But my main love is teaching … and most of my time now is happily spent working with my students, thinking of new ways to teach & inspire them, and always nudging them and the Studio to move forward. I feel very blessed to be able to teach & share every day what I love the most - music - with people who unknowingly inspire, motivate, and teach me daily in return.