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Introducing Wanda Cook, Artistic Director

August 5, 2014

Wanda Cook, founder and artistic director, has been teaching piano for over 30 years. As a fourth generation piano teacher, she brings a heritage of pedagogy and tradition into the present.

 

Wanda received the majority of her piano training from her grandmother, Helen Genevieve Pinkstaff Spillenaar, a Julliard graduate. It was under the direction of her grandmother that Wanda learned to appreciate the way in which technical control empowers artistic delivery.

 

In 1988, Wanda graduated from Simpson college with a degree in Business Administration and Biblical Literature. Although, at that time, she did not choose to study music, Wanda taught piano lessons in her mother's studio, The Ogden Conservatory of Music, and found employment as a music and theory tutor in the Simpson music department.

 

In the mid – 1990’s Mrs. Cook returned to her roots and uncovered her passion for excellence in piano teaching. She began studying in depth the concepts of piano pedagogy her grandmother used to empower her own musicianship. 

 

Noted piano instructors such as Isidor Phillip stressed the precision of simple but deliberate movements, along with faithful use of the metronome and exposure to a wide variety of composers influenced Mrs. Cook’s teaching approach.

 

Her student’s experience an emphasis on melodic phrasing, in the style of Abby Whitehead. "The whole body should be present in the phrasing so the soul can be heard."

 

With strict application of tradition but with a fresh and inspiring manner, Mrs. Cook grew her piano studio to over 70 students. She is credited with transforming hundreds of children into fluent and proficient pianists.

 

She has trained teachers to apply her methods with the aim to construct pianists from a developmental model that addresses informed practice, applied technique, musical phrasing, tonal control, and empowered performances.

 

Mrs. Cook’s teaching approach can be referred to as that of the “Chopin Tradition.” Today she teaches advancing students who possess the desire to pursue their greatest potential.

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