Meet the Opus
Instructor of Piano
How long have you been teaching?
20+ years! I started teaching while attending Gustavus College, and then started soon after graduating at Schmitt Music in Roseville, 2002.
Which Opus Music Academy locations do you work? Do you have your own studio? If so, where is it located? Do you offer in-home lessons?
What do you teach? Anything else you teach?
Piano. I also currently teach some chess. I was a calculus tutor in college and have helped several people learn some basic swimming.
What is your studio story? How did you get to where you are now?
Started in 2002 at Schmitt Music. When they closed, I shifted to in-home lessons. When the world closed (Covid), I shifted to online lessons. But now I’d like to shift back to one central studio.
What is one thing you think you do really well as a teacher?
Recognize why a student is missing a note or rhythm (typically taking a pattern too far).
What is one thing you really struggle with as a teacher?
Going long with lesson time.
What do you do to retain your students?
Get them a part of the piano club when they start doing recitals. Often at the end of the recital, I hear them asking or proposing what they play at the next recital.
Share a funny student story:
A mom told me about her kids that I was going to start with soon. Her daughter hadn’t taken lessons yet, but her son, Rusty, had lessons previously, though it had been about a year or two. At the end of the lesson, I find out her son’s name is Damian, he was just rusty with time off!
What is your niche? What sets you apart from other teachers?
I take a no nonsense approach, but someone who has fun with the journey.
I never heard my teachers play while growing up, and I see that at recitals today. It’s unusual that I perform a solo at the student recitals myself.
What is your favorite band, artist, or composer? Why?
Discovering Billy Joel in high school was a big motivator. I’ve seen him now 6 times, including 3 times in Madison Square Garden!
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I had more science related aspirations after high school and starting college.
Let’s say you’re having coffee with a brand-new teacher. What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started.?
The best method books to use, and what to avoid.
Let’s say you’re visiting with a teacher who is feeling burned out. What advice would you give to them to give life to their studio?
Take a break/vacation! Or take some lessons and regain passion in your own playing, they could be fresh ideas that can be passed onto students.
We’ve all had that one student or parent that drives us crazy. What do you do with that student or family?
“Fire” them. When you have a family that can’t respect boundaries, it brings negative energy that could distract from my best teaching and peace of mind.
What is your craziest idea? What is something you would do if money, time, and space weren’t an issue?
Wishing that there are “signing days” for the star high school artists and academics, just like they do for the star athletes. More time/money/space to those overlooked kids, so that younger kids have more options to find high praise.
If you weren’t a music instructor, what else would you do with your life?
Still teaching, but related to what I mentioned above.
Want to learn more about Eric? Email us to find out more and to set up a free trial lesson!