Continuing on with featuring our incredible instructors, this week we have none other than Cassie Whetstone to celebrate. She is a relatively new instructor for us, but already making a huge influence in her students’ lives every chance she gets. We are lucky to have her on board! Read more about Cassie below, and at the link near the bottom of the post.
To begin, what do you teach at Vibe and how old are your students?
I teach piano, and my students right now range from 5 to 11 years old.
What is your favorite concept or skill to teach?
For me personally, I love the theory aspect of things. Understanding the rules or “how-tos”, and how they blend with the beauty of music is super important and fascinating to me.
Talk about your background in music, all the way from your very first experience with an instrument.
I began taking lessons at around age 6 or 7… (many years ago) and I had the most wonderful piano teacher ever. She was patient, understanding, and relatable… she knew when to push me but also when to diverge from the normal schedules and routines. She knew how to balance classical training with what I really wanted to learn. In college I declared as a music education major at Taylor University, but two years later I decided that wasn’t exactly my complete passion. I ended up switching to piano performance and retained a minor in piano pedagogy. Now, I’m in Indy teaching piano lessons and accompanying a school choir to keep up my own skills!
A penguin walks through your front door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?
He says, “What’s for lunch?” Because I am already making fajitas.
When you begin lessons with a beginning player, what are some initial goals you help create with the student?
I try to figure out why they are interested in taking lessons, because their own initial goals are very important. In those first few lessons, I want to capture the fun of accomplishing and learning. We practice finger exercises, but also some games to make the initial ownership piece fun. They will also certainly grow in their musicality very quickly!
What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
All-Star [by Smash Mouth]! For sure.
What are some of your favorite method books to utilize and prescribe?
I typically go with the Faber books [Piano Adventures], but I grew up on the Alfred Piano Library. I use a little bit of both, depending on student needs.
Do you remember one of the first times you “fell in love” with music?
It’s been such a part of my life, so it’s hard to think of an exact moment… I do remember being a young beginner piano student, and when my aunts and uncles would come over I’d drag them into the piano room and be so excited to show them what I was learning and practicing.
You are the newest addition to a crayon box. What color are you and why?
I would have to go with some sort of purple… iris like the flower.
Why do you feel that music education is important for developing members of society?
There are so many benefits… it develops a sense of discipline, accomplishment, fine motor skills, and the brain is working actively on the creative side. It is a cross between succeeding creatively, and the academic side. It’s a gift to you and others, and is a piece of life that is always beautiful.
We are so thankful for Cassie, her time, and her talents that influence her students so significantly. Read more about Cassie here.