I think I always was a teacher. In grade school I helped my younger brother pass his math class when no one else seemed able to help him. My first musical training was on the organ. I was in 6th grade. After studying organ for about four years I wanted to begin studying the piano. Our family had no piano but I did manage to find a piano teacher who only lived a few blocks away from my organ instructor.
I had to come up with a way of paying for my piano lessons so I began teaching organ at a local organ retailer in my home town. After taking a couple of piano lessons a person came to the organ store to inquire about piano lessons. I was confident I could teach this young beginner, even though I myself was a beginning piano student. My parents didn’t know I was taking piano lessons but after a few lessons I knew I had to buy myself a piano. I found one in a ladies basement that I could afford. It cost me $35.00. Through my high school years I taught piano and organ. I saved enough money and bought myself a baby grand.
It was also at this time that I developed a strong interest in classical music. I would go to the library before school and read up on great musical masterpieces and then purchase recordings to hear the music firsthand. It wasn’t until after I completed my first college degree that I decided to study music professionally. I continued to teach piano and organ through these years. After completing my music degree I injured my hand while preparing for my entrance exam for graduate school. It was at this time that I began my professional teaching career.
It was in around the time of America’s bicentennial. I became involved in several teaching organizations dedicated to piano teaching. I became very involved in the National Guild of Piano Teachers and became chairman of a local chapter organizing their yearly auditions. Later I became one of their selected judges and went to various cities judging piano students.
In the early to mid 80’s my teaching interest shifted to the very young. There were some excellent programs that I looked into but decided that I could create my own program that would be equally effective. I called my program B.E.A.M. (Beginning Encounters at Music). But, one day, while teaching at a Montessori School, one of the students began to call me Dan, Dan the Music Man. The name stuck and ever since that time I called my pre-school music program Dan, Dan the Music Man.
Also in the late 80’s the personal computer was coming into its own. I was reading of all the great things computers were capable of doing for music students. This combined with the coming of age of the synthesizer created too many teaching possibilities to pass up so I decided to develop a teaching studio that incorporated traditional instruction with modern technology. I called my studio SEVERINO’S Piano Keyboard LAB. It was 1988.
I worked with software developers to create a software package that could help teachers create their own teaching programs according to their own teaching philosophies. It was with this software package that I began to develop my own piano course that incorporated these new technological advances with my traditional knowledge in piano instruction.
At this time there was also software developing that could be used to create music manuscripts. Desktop publishing became the rage in the computer world so I established Piano Teacher Press. I was now able to create and publish my own music books for my students.
After about 10 years of very creative work I decided it was time to regroup and get back to my roots in traditional instruction. Computer aided instruction certainly gave great benefits to the piano instructor but nothing could replace the hands on tradition involved in playing the piano. At this time some people thought SEVERINO’S Piano Keyboard LAB was a recording studio so I thought a name change was in order. I renamed my studio SEVERINO’S Piano Lessons PLUS. The emphasis was back to the piano and all the supplemental computer aided instruction became the PLUS.
The World Wide Web exploded in the past decade and most professionals have some sort of Web Presence. I saw the educational opportunities that this would bring my studio and decided to take the plunge. So, browse around and I think you’ll see my forty plus years of experience, demonstrated in this article, reflected in the pages of this blog.