Each month, in addition to weekly private lessons, students in grades K-12 attend a 60-minute group class on theory fundamentals. Here we work on the basics of music: written workbook exercises on note reading and rhythms progressing to Major and minor key signatures and scale building exercises and proper voice leading. We also cover music terminology, ear training exercises, music history and a special focus on a composer of the month, plus a monthly music game. Theory classes are a part of our basic program and are included in the semester tuition.
Kay Ellen Wilkins (Co-Owner of the Rochester Conservatory) has been teaching piano at the Conservatory since 1988. She has been teaching piano professionally since 1984. Mrs. Wilkins has a BA in Music, Piano Major, from Oakland University. Mrs. Wilkins is also a certified early-childhood Musikgarten instructor and has been repeatedly recognized for the exemplary Musikgarten program at the Conservatory, one of only 50 programs to receive this National Honor. She has also worked as a Church Organist and Pianist and Children’s Choir Director, including 12 years at St. Irenaeus Parish in Rochester Hills, MI. Mrs. Wilkins has performed with numerous local Symphony Orchestras, including the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony and the Warren Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Wilkins has performed with the Detroit Festival Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Twice Mrs. Wilkins has gone on a choir performance tour to Italy, helping conduct the choir at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. John Lateran in Rome, the Sorrento Cathedral, and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Mrs. Wilkins is also in charge of the Michigan Music Festival, which involves over 100 private music teachers and 1000’s of students each year. In addition to managing the day-to-day activity at the Rochester Conservatory, Mrs. Wilkins really enjoys her roll as piano instructor. She is happy to be in the studio with her students, and you know she is in the building because of her bubbly personality and infectious laugh!