Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gist Piano Center Discontinues DVD Recording Service

For the past several years, we have had the privilege of recording thousands of student performances as part of our Partners In Education Recital DVD program.  It has been our honor to preserve these memories for our PIE Families over the years and we are grateful for each and every one.

As technology changes, however, different media come and go (see image below).  …and just like the items listed below, DVDs have moved past their prime.


Thus, due to the changing face of visual media, we have decided to discontinue our recital DVD service (effective immediately).  We thank you all for your years of talent and enthusiasm!

Stay tuned for further updates on new benefits coming to PIE Teachers and their families in 2016!


Chocolate Party and Roland Announcement!

Open to the Public

Roland Digital PianoYou’re invited to join us for a MAJOR Music Industry announcement from Legendary Piano Builder, Roland Corporation.  A Roland representative will be onhand to announce how Roland is partnering with other industry legends, including Hal-Leonard, Alfred, Sheet Music Direct and more to change everything we know about the Piano Industry.  You won’t want to miss this historic event!

Chocolate PartyTo celebrate this announcement, Gist Piano Center and Roland are joining forces with famous Louisville-based chocolatier, Cellar Door Chocolates, who will setup a full chocolate buffet – FREE for event attendees!  Gist Piano Center will also offer champagne and sodas to age-appropriate guests throughout the evening.

Finally, Gist Piano Center will introduce the all-new FastTrack program and demonstrate some exciting new things coming to Kentucky this Fall!  Here are the dates and times:

  • Monday, October 12:  6-8pm (Louisville):  Roland Launch Event (Open to Public)
  • Tuesday, October 13:  10am-Noon (Lexington):  Piano Teacher’s Event with Roland
  • Tuesday, October 13:  6-8pm (Lexington):  Roland Launch Event (Open to Public)
  • Wednesday, October 14:  10am – Noon (Louisville):  Piano Teacher’s Event with Roland

Piano Teachers

Join us for an unforgettable session JUST for you on Tuesday, October 13 (10am – Noon) in Lexington and Wednesday, October 14 (10am – Noon) in Louisville.  Piano Educator, Clinician and Roland Education Consultant, Laura Zaruta, will be here to show you how this new announcement from Roland, Hal-Leonard, Alfred and Sheet Music Direct can change the way you teach!  You’ll learn about incredible new apps, exciting technologies, our new FastTrack program and more!  This meeting will thrill you to the core!  Don’t be left behind.  Make time to be here and see how “This changes EVERYTHING!”

Roland LX-7 Digital PianoAlso, bring your smart phone and tablet.  We’ll be suggesting a TON of new music apps that will make your life easier and we’ll even help you see how EASY some of this new stuff is to use!

RSVP to Heather Hamilton (for the Lexington meeting) or James Harding (for the Louisville one).


Ask James – How Did Halloweekend Come About?

Halloweekend Logo - old vs newVery few people know that Halloweekend actually began in 2007 as a piano sale.  I was working for a music company in Iowa at the time and, as luck would have it, we were forced to reschedule our Fall event due to a scheduling conflict.  The only available weekend was the weekend before Halloween, which is not a traditional time to talk about piano playing.  As I was setting up for the sale (and struggling to find a marketing plan for the event), I received an iPod player piano system (new technology at the time) and I decided to make it the centerpiece of the entire weekend.   Friday and Saturday night, we hosted “ghostly performances” by “Ludwig Van BOOthoven” (who performed “not quite live” in our recital hall).  The kids were in awe of what looked like a ghost playing the piano.  The concerts were very short, we gave out some free candy and we even hosted a pumpkin decorating contest.  It was a fun weekend, but not a great piano sale.

Halloweekend 2008

Susan McPeters from WQPT Television (Quad Cities, IA and IL) reads spooky stories to Halloweekend families (2008)

Early the following year, one of our piano teacher friends (a member of a program that I would eventually retool and call Partners In Education or PIE) mentioned to me that she would really love to have a fun and informal performance event around a theme.  Christmas was too busy… so we needed another holiday that would make sense.  My mind immediately went back to Halloweekend.

Thus, in 2008, we launched our first Halloweekend piano recital.  It was a simple matter (without all the “SAVE YOURSELVES…a ton of money” puns), but the kids LOVED it.  We even invited a local TV personality to come in and read spooky stories to the kids.  We didn’t have all the flashy lights and our tiny fog machine was too small to make any difference, but Halloweekend 2008 is still one of my favorite memories from Iowa.

The Halloweekend Staff

James Harding, Heather Hamilton and Matthew Presley are searching for missing students at Halloweekend 2012.

In April of 2009, I moved to Louisville and joined the Gist Piano Center family.  My first priority was reaching out to piano teachers and their students as I had done in Iowa.  With some help from the very supportive and enthusiastic folks at Gist, I was able to build what is now our Partners In Education program – the largest piano student and teacher outreach program of its kind in the US.

Over the years, Halloweekend has grown into the largest Halloween-themed piano event in the United States.  This year, we’re expecting over 300 students to participate…if they dare.  Halloweekend has been featured in national magazines, area newspapers and even the local TV news. Everyone who has participated in the spooky fun has gone home with some lasting memories.

Who knows what horrific future awaits us at Halloweekend 2015?!  Only those brave enough to attend will find out…


New Faces at Gist Piano Center!

Our family is growing and we’d like to introduce you to our three newest faces.  Please join us in welcoming them to the Gist Piano Center family!

In Louisville

Darian Payne was part of our internship program with Bellarmine University and she has officially joined us as our Director of Public Relations.  A recent graduate of Bellarmine, she majored in  Music and Arts Administration with an emphasis on  Piano Pedagogy and Accompanying (with a minor in Business).  You’ll see her work on our YouTube Channel, on Facebook and in all of our media (and social media) outlets.  Darian also plays viola spends her free time with her two Chihuahuas,  Roxxi and Chilli.  Check out Darian’s FIRST YouTube video at Gist!


In Lexington

Lauren Hines
Lauren Hines has been a pianist for over 12 years.  A consummate artist, Lauren loves to paint and draw in her spare time.  She also has quite the zoo at home with a Chihuahua named “Taco Bell”, a rabbit named Ellie, and Vincent and Picasso – her two fish.  You can see Lauren part-time in our Lexington store and at the exciting PIE events coming up soon!

Gist Piano Academy in Lexington is proud to welcome our newest piano teacher – Kate Sivy – to our Lexington studio!  Kate has been teaching piano for over 15 years.  She has a Bachelors in Piano Performance from Geneva College and a Masters in Piano Performance from Ohio State University.  Specializing in students from five on up, Kate is a fun person who loves to share the Magic of Making Music with her students.  Welcome, Kate!


New Beginnings for Piano Students at Gist Piano Academy

We are happy to announce the addition of two new teachers to the faculty at Gist Piano Academy this Fall!

Nancy Stelter, GPA faculty

Nancy Stelter, GPA faculty

Nancy Stelter grew up in Pennsylvania and recently moved to Lexington from Rochester, New York. She has extensive experience in teaching, performing and accompanying in her home studio and at a variety of music schools, including: the Eastman School of Music Community Music School, Millikin University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nancy uses an integrated approach, combining modern teaching methods, theory and classical repertoire. Her main emphasis is on developing strong music reading skills and expressive playing while having fun making music!   You can read more and see more of Nancy here. She is currently accepting private piano students as well as offering group classes for adults!

Beginning Piano Class for Adults – starts October 2nd at 11:15am (10 weeks)

Judith Chen Davis has spent many years of her life coaching her students through the Royal Conservatory of Music program and currently teaches piano at Campbellsville University. She believes that students should have a fun time learning the basics of music and it is her goal to create students who are proficient at the piano as well as life-long lovers of music. Judith’s students frequently receive Superior ratings at the Kentucky Music Teachers’ Association’s State Keyboard Festival and she has served KMTA as a Festival Clinician in 2012 and 2013.

Judith focuses both on the private piano experience and on group learning. In both programs, she offers a healthy dose of music theory and aural (or “ear”) training experience. She is currently accepting private piano students as well as offering group piano classes for adult beginners and an exciting class called “I Used to Play Piano” for adults who used to take piano lessons.

Beginning Piano Class for Adults – starts September 26th at 10:30am (11 weeks – first class is Free!)

I Used to Play Piano – starts September 25th at 6:00pm (11 weeks – first class is Free!)


Contact Gist Piano Academy at (859) 254-8492 x400 or for more information about piano lessons!