Jennifer HammillI began playing the piano soon after I learned to climb up on the bench.  My mother taught piano, and I thought that the whole world played the piano.  I sang in church and school choirs and started playing for them in rehearsals from the time I was 8, then accompanied many groups large and small all through my school years.  When I was 14 and hanging out at a neighbor’s house, I found a guitar hiding in their basement.  When I asked about it, they quickly offered to give me the guitar in exchange for teaching their kids piano.  I’ve been teaching ever since!

I received musical degrees first from Western Washington University, then a Master’s degree from Arizona State University, then decided that I liked school so much that I would get a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from University of Washington.  As wonderful as all my training was, that was only a part of what I needed to become a good teacher.  I also became active in the Music Teacher’s National Association, and specifically, became an Adjudicator at festivals throughout the northwest. I would listen to an entire class of students from one teacher, giving comments to each performer and, lastly to the teacher.  I found there to be such huge variation in the students from one teacher to another:  sometimes a particular element would be strong, like nice expression but lacking in technique, or a great sense of accomplishment and intelligence, but terrible tone, or tense playing.  Occasionally there would be a teacher who could bring all the elements together in their students.  This was what ultimately lead the way for me to improve my teaching, and in fact, is a path that I will always be on.

I enjoy continuing my own study with the Golandsky Institute and working on an ever-expanding understanding of piano technique and how the body/mind works with the most ease and expression.

If you would like to watch a video of a two piano performance, click here.