Ten minutes with Kate Spyker

When was your first piano lesson?  

1980 or 1981, I was 6 or 7. I remember one of my parents showing me a form and  asking me if I wanted to learn piano – yes I did! 

Do you have any favourite memories of your teachers? 

I remember lovely concert parties at my primary school teacher’s house, with lots of yummy food! And I remember my dear high school teacher, Sister Mary Alphonsus, with great affection. I failed an exam once and she had many fierce words to say about the examiner!! 

Tell us a bit about your background and how you came to piano teaching as a  profession.  

I come from a very musical family, both on my mother’s and father’s sides, so I am very lucky. I always loved music at school: my favourite memories are of singing in choir, and learning new piano repertoire. Exams were a bit nerve wracking but I kept doing them! I went into medicine but after working for 9 years I left and began to teach a few friends’ kids. I then got an instrumental teacher’s job at a school and decided that if this was me now, I’d better go and get myself a Music degree, so I did a Bachelor of Music part time finishing in 2020. I’ve been teaching for 14 years now and am learning every day! 

How many students do you generally teach a week and what ages/ranges? 

I currently have 35 students at 2 schools, from ages 5 to 15. The majority of my students are Junior Primary/Primary school age and they range from brand new beginners to  those who are about Grade 4 AMEB level. I’d love some higher graded students but I also love littlies. 

What are your go-to winners for repertoire for intermediate students? 

I’m really loving a huge amount of modern and interesting repertoire for all ages and styles at the moment. I frequently buy single pieces online too – whatever my students are interested in!

What music do you listen to in your down time?  

ABC Classic FM or SBS Chill are my go-tos in the car, otherwise I have a very eclectic  playlist of movie music, classical, 80s, 90s, and lo-fi chill. 

Do you do any musical things for yourself? 

I’m currently trying to teach myself Jazz piano with the help of my son who’s studying 3rd year at the Elder Conservatorium at the University of Adelaide. I’m not sure we even speak the same language but I am trying!! 

At the end of the teaching day what is your dinner winner? 

Definitely this recipe!!! This is an amazing quiche and never fails. I add heaps of extra veg like  mushroom, capsicum etc.  

Kate is located in South Australia. She is a wife, and mother of 3 angels (!!) who are 21, 18, and 13. She also has a  5 yr old Kelpie x Staffy who guards the house by jumping on the trampoline and barking at people on the other side of the fence!  

She’s grown to love teaching piano – it has its challenges as does every profession  – but it is the relationships with students and their families that she loves. That and seeing lights switch on as students learn. Music has been such a gift to Kate and she loves to be able to share it.

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