Prenshaw Piano Philosophy of Teaching
Instilling a passion and ability to skillfully express music is the studio’s desire for each student. The student can expect to learn fundamental musical concepts, how to play musically and confidently, and according to their personal learning style. They will be trained with a classical emphasis, but encouraged to learn many different types of styles so they may become a virtuoso pianist. Along with knowing how to play different styles, the student will be instructed on technique, theory, aural skills, composition, music history, sight-reading, as well as other skills which create an adept musician.
My Musical Journey
When I was about eight years old I began formal lessons. I had been exposed to music and specifically piano from birth, but my parents wanted me to be a strong reader before I began learning how to read music. Lessons were through a kind and well-rounded musician with a laid-back temperament. My sisters and I met him at a church each week and I attempted to sit still through my lesson before returning to play. Most weeks practice time was left to my own discretion which basically meant it was nonexistent. When my parents did help me I found it difficult and frustrating.
About the age of ten a teenager who we knew from our church came to our house to give lessons. My sister took fifteen minute lesson about playing by chords and my friend and I took thirty minute classical lessons. My friend and I made it a game as to who could postpone the lesson the longest and who could get away without practicing and still make it through the lesson.
At the age of eleven my friend, Annie, invited my family and I to her piano recital hosted at church. I noticed the students were extremely accomplished but quickly became bored and distracted. At the conclusion of the recital my mom motioned for me to come join her in talking with the piano teacher. The teacher had gray hair and a stern look and scared me to death. She was so formal and proper and had such well-developed means of teaching piano, such as the flash card “minute club” or the incentives for practicing such as getting you picture on the piano if you had practiced the most that month.
During my first lesson I took my old sheet music of an arrangement of Fur Elise and several other things I had been learning. I remember being embarrassed by my lack of aptitude, but my teacher was very kind. She put me in primer and level one books with large “babyish” pictures. I was motivated to progress out of those books and to fill up my practice charts. I got in the routine of practicing every day before school and was encouraged by the compliments of friends and family. I continued lessons through high school and began devoting more time to piano.
When I was fifteen, I began going to preview days at colleges and contemplating a major. From early childhood I knew I wanted to work with children and ultimately raise my own children, but in the mean time I thought it would be fun to follow in my mom’s footsteps and become a kindergarten teacher. As I looked in to it further, I was overwhelmed by managing that large of a group of children and frustrated at the prospect at not being able to thoroughly personally knew each individual. I extremely enjoyed babysitting one-on-one or several siblings at a time and being able to build a relationship with each of them. Since I was progressing in piano at the same time it became a natural concept to look in to teaching students one-on-one. The Master’s University offered an program of musical excellence as well as solid Biblical teaching and morals. I couldn’t wait to attend as soon as I graduated from high school.
At the Master’s University, I was awed and inspired by my peers and piano facility and their musical abilities. I struggled to keep up, but I grew tremendously. I learned about composers, technique, classical repertoire, theory, pedagogy, aural skills, performance etc. I also got experience teaching one student for two semesters and was evaluated and critiqued on my teaching style and tactics. At the beginning of my senior year I presented thirty minutes of challenging memorized music.
When I graduated, I gradually built up my own studio of twenty-one beloved students. I learned so much in teaching them and how individual students learn. Intermittently, I continued lessons form myself and progressed in my own study. In April of 2016 I moved across the country to be closer to my boyfriend. I started work at a studio and began by subbing for a teacher on maternity leave and then started obtaining my own students.
Since then I have began building my own studio again and taking lessons for myself from the former principal pianist of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra. Occasionally, I perform for retirement homes to encourage the elderly and to refine my own performance skills.
Who is Emily Prenshaw?
I was born in the suburbs of San Diego California and lived among the avocado trees in a beautiful home with my two sisters, loving mom and dad, and faithful yellow lab. I was homeschooled and very involved in my local church as well as sports and piano lessons.
In 2013 I unknowingly met the love of my life, David. He was a groomsman in my sister’s wedding and flew out all the way from Tennessee to show up in my back yard and sweep me off my feet.
I attended The Master’s College (now The Master’s University) and successfully obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Communication.
In August of 2015 David traveled back out to California to “visit some family” and I drove up to San Francisco to reconnect with him. We could not deny our feelings for each other and started officially dating a month later. We flew out to visit each other several times, and after seven months of long-distant dating, I moved to Knoxville. He proposed three months later in front of a waterfall while I was on a family vacation in Idaho.
March 4th, 2017 David and I were married at Gettysvue and I moved in to his house here in Knoxville. We have been having a great time setting up house, decorating, painting, traveling, working on projects, and going on dates.
Things I love:
Flowers, the beach, pets, gardening, piano, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, children and babies, novels, my sweet husband David, decorating, baking, the color purple, summer, chocolate, being productive, long walks, Easter, sleepovers, pizza, sparkly things, memorizing music, the Bible, coffee, movies, swimming, hamburgers, my family, having things organized, new clothes, hugs, helping people learn