A little over a decade ago, a glimmer of a woman named Gina, came crashing into my world in her full fabulous glory. We met at a professional development day with Christopher Norton and Kerin Bailey in Adelaide. That event left three distinct impressions on me;
- It was such a thrill to meet Chris and Kerin, two composers whose work I loved to play as a student. It was a real dream-come-true fan moment.
- That professional development day was one of my first as a piano teacher. I was nervous to be in a room full of colleagues, some with decades more experience than I had! Luckily the Norton/Bailey double-bill drawcard was so compelling that, despite my nerves, I booked my ticket for the event. At the event I distinctly remember how lovely and welcoming everyone was, for the first time I felt connected to a larger piano teaching community. A community that I could learn and grow within, one that was full of deeply encouraging, kind, purposeful and genuine people.
- And lastly, there was something that made my brain itch. I didn’t really know what it was at the time, a kernel of thought forming perhaps? Observing the event was like looking through a window of possibilities into our industry. I didn’t know what it could become, I just knew that I wanted to be involved somehow, in some way. Little could I have predicted the path forward.
In the subsequent months after the Norton/Bailey fan moment (or PD event as Gina recalls it), I received an email inviting me to a roundtable discussion about the piano teaching industry held in Melbourne at Hal Leonard Australia head office. Seven or eight other teachers from around the country spent the day gaining insights about the industry. We brainstormed blue sky ideas and most importantly, discovered the print warehouse (like a lolly shop for music teachers!) This was the start of many lifelong friendships, and it was also the moment I knew I wanted to be a part of building a space for piano teachers; a space to learn, to gather and create community. I loved what Hal Leonard Australia was creating with The Piano Teacher magazine. It was so accessible, all of the articles had great gems in them, it lifted teachers up and inspired us to be continuous learners too. With Gina’s encouragement, I started to write for the magazine. This led to becoming the Piano Adventures Australasian Ambassador and beginning to present professional development sessions. Goodness, the first session I ran in Perth was…well let’s just say that I am forever grateful for Elissa Milne’s generosity and guidance.
I’d like to think that over the intervening years I’ve continued to grow professionally and personally. I have had many, almost unfathomable but fabulous opportunities arise; becoming the Editor for The Piano Teacher, national tours with teaching royalty (and all-round wonderful human) Samantha Coates, co-editing the I Want To Play That piano book series with Thembi Harris, and of course getting to be involved in so many conferences! But mostly this decade has been about the people. I’ve met the most wonderful community of teachers dedicated to enriching lives through music and a team of people I’ve worked with at Hal Leonard Australia; Gina, Richard, Nathan, Ellen, Matthew, Megan and Stacey, I’m looking at you.
This week I’m stepping away from my role as Editor at The Piano Teacher. I’m not going too far! I’ll be at NCKP in Chicago in July with Randall Faber and the Piano Adventures team and remain their Australasian Ambassador. I will also see you all at conferences well into the future and of course, continue to share my musical musings over at Creative.Piano.Professional. But for now, I’m hanging up my editor’s hat. A hat that I’m glad to have worn.
I’m ever so grateful to have been given the chance to be a part of something purposeful that makes a difference to the lives of piano teachers, for meeting the many colleagues I now call friends. And for Gina and Hal Leonard Australia, who saw me looking into the window of this world all those years ago, opened the door and invited me inside, thank you.
A note from The Piano Teacher team:
From all of us at The Piano Teacher, we’d like thank Carly for her many years of hardwork and passion in building this community. We have been so lucky to have her as part of this journey and we’re sure she’ll still pop up at events and in articles in the future.