CCM alumna Judith Jain has become one of the foremost piano pedagogues in Tampa, Florida. Her music school, the New Tampa Piano and Pedagogy Academy, was recently featured by PBS affiliate WEDU.
Jain received a Master of Music in piano from CCM in 2003 and returned to complete a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano in 2012. She also has a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Indiana University, Bloomington, and she held a post-graduate fellowship at the New School for Music Study in New Jersey. During her time at CCM, she studied with Frank Weinstock, Michael Chertock and Awadagin Pratt.
Jain also found the instruction she received from Michelle Conda, CCM professor of piano, influential and invaluable to her preparation for her future career.
“Dr. Conda, beyond teaching the practicality of finding the way to communicate our knowledge of music in an effective and meaningful way to our students, also has a vision of the pianist as an entrepreneur, instilling business skills and teaching us how to navigate the work force that came after graduation,” Jain said.
The New Tampa Piano and Pedagogy Academy has grown continuously since its founding in 2014. It currently employs four teachers, in addition to Jain, and has about 200 students.
Last year, 16 students from Jain’s academy took the Royal Conservatory of Music practical piano examinations, and all 16 received an A-plus rating. The students were ages 7 to 13 at the time of the exams. According to statistics from the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program, only 6.5 percent of teachers had all of their students achieve over a 90 percent rating on their exams, and most of those teachers only had one student take the exam. Additionally, only about 16 percent of last year’s testers received an A-plus rating.
Jain, like many music teachers, understands that the goals of music education go well beyond teaching a student how to create art.
“When my students become independent and self-motivated learners, I feel proud,” Jain said. “When my students are able to see how the lessons of music equate with the lessons of life, I feel proud. When my student learns a strategy that goes beyond fixing or learning a measure of music, but becomes something that they can apply to their learning of any music, or to life at large, I feel proud.”
She hopes that the next generation of piano pedagogues will be unafraid to explore the possibilities that their careers can hold outside of the concert hall, and that they will be equally unafraid to explore their own personal possibilities.
“I hope, during college years, pianists learn about themselves, how they learn, and are unafraid to explore all kinds of teaching and playing, in addition to other opportunities, such as basic business classes,” Jain said. “The more well-rounded you are, the more chances for success you have. I also hope that as you strive to grow as a professional, you also grow as a human being. We are entering an era in which professional qualifications are not enough.”
Jain and her academy were recently featured in a segment on PBS affiliate WEDU; you can find the video on the WEDU website.
Story by CCM graduate student Alexandra Doyle