Recently I decided to take a visit to Lexington PIE Teacher, Beth Mankel’s, music academy – Studio 88. As I pulled up, I noticed Beth’s Harley Davidson parked outside and knew that I was in for a unique visit.
Beth’s mother greeted me at the door with her trademark smile and guided me past the law offices and upstairs to the studio. I walked in and gasped at the vibrantly colored walls and modern decorations all around me. The school looked like the perfect melding of a lessons facility and a modern art gallery. There were comfortable chairs everywhere, big windows and a smattering of tasteful decorations in every room. I thought of my old piano lesson days when I would walk into my teacher’s house and focus on nothing but the smell her 9 cats, and smiled enviously. I would have loved to take piano lessons in such a beautiful place.
With a warm smile and a quick hug, Beth walked out and greeted me. She showed me around the school and introduced me to some of her students. We quickly toured her guitar lessons and voice lessons studios, and then made our way into her famous Roland piano lab. I’d heard about this legendary “state-of-the-art” piano lessons facility from James and I have to say that he might have undersold it a bit. Designed to perfectly accommodate up to four students at a time (each with his or her own Roland digital piano), the room reminded me of the college-level piano training classes I had to take back at my university. It was truly amazing. The walls were covered with music posters, inspirational quotes and – at the front – a whiteboard with a message from one of Beth’s students that read, “Mrs. Beth, you ROCK!”
Beth explained that group piano lessons at Studio 88 are powered by student motivation. Peer dynamics and enthusiasm make progress in a group setting more rapid while dramatically reducing student attrition. Classes are offered to children, teens, and adults in groups of four of the same age and/or level. Beth takes the time to teach students proper playing technique using fun songs and her own experiences as a professional musician to drive their interest. It’s no wonder that her students often make music a lifetime skill!
As my tour concluded, Beth and I discussed her band’s upcoming performance at Gist Piano Center Lexington’s Chocolate Party and Grand Opening Celebration. The Beth Mankel Group will perform from 2:30pm – 3:30pm at Gist and you won’t want to miss it. Here are a couple of sample clips from The Beth Mankel Group:
If you’re in Lexington, you owe it to yourself to visit Studio 88. The music is great. The teachers are friendly. …and the facility is amazing. Truly, everything is great at Studio 88!
Stay tuned for my next blog entry as I take a stroll over the visit my friends at The Music Institute of Lexington.