Dawn Ivers wasn’t sure what to expect at first when she moved from California to McPherson, bringing her business of teaching piano lessons with her.

Ivers will officially launch Dawn’s Piano at 615 N. Maple St. in McPherson on June 4, and said she quickly got plugged in to the McPherson Area Piano Teachers League.

“They’re super welcoming and excited that I’m here and that’s nice,” Ivers said.

Dawn’s Piano will host an open house from noon to 7 p.m. May 25 for people to stop by and preview the teaching studio and get information about lessons.

“It will be set up like a formal studio, but it is the front room of our house,” Ivers explained.

Ivers took piano lessons all through her school years, but switched to giving lessons when she began college.

“I started teaching on the side — just a few friends and acquaintance’s kids to make a little extra money part- time and by the time I graduated from college, I had a wait list and enough students to try it full time,” Ivers said.

Ivers said she likes being self-employed, having a flexible schedule and having the opportunity to challenge herself as a music teacher.

“I’m very self-motivated, so I tend to do best when I’m the one pushing me, because I push myself pretty hard,” Ivers said.

After teaching full- time for eight years, Ivers said what she likes most is being able to work with children either individually or in small groups, guiding them as they learn about music.

“I love music and I like partnering with my students in their discoveries,” Ivers said.

Dawn’s Piano will feature both a baby grand and a digital piano for students to play on, not only to learn songs but also music theory, ear training and sight reading.

“I have a lot of theory games,” Ivers said.

Ivers will teach piano students from beginner to early advanced levels in lessons that take between 45 and 60 minutes.

Group sessions of up to four children will also be offered at Dawn’s Piano.

“That way I can offer something that’s a little bit of a lower cost,” Ivers said. “...It’s long enough that they’ll get individual attention as well as the group aspect.”

In group sessions, students play songs at the same time using different octaves on the piano.

“It’s really good for pacing and meter and learning to listen while you’re playing, so it’s good training for ensemble playing,” Ivers said.

Ivers emphasizes exposure to different genres of music, encouraging her students to become familiar with styles from classical to jazz to pop tunes.

“I think it’s important to have a little bit of both — stretch them just a little bit into the music history and also throw in some songs from ‘The Greatest Showman’ or whatever it is,” Ivers said.

While music history is an important aspect of learning piano, Ivers feels it sometimes takes more modern tunes to get students hooked on music.

“I like to give my students the music that’s going to make them want to play and that they’re going to connect to emotionally, because that’s a really important part of being a musician and if you’re always playing music from old dead guys that you don’t understand yet, it’s hard to emotionally connect to that music and to put yourself into it,” Ivers said.

Dawn’s Piano will offer an eight-week session this summer.

“It’ll give people a short-term, no obligation, no commitment chance to try it out and see if it suits,” Ivers said.

Learning the piano can benefit children in their younger years by increasing their spatial reasoning and in their older years by staving off the onset of Alzheimer’s.

“There’s a lot of research into the cognitive benefits of taking piano lessons as a child,” Ivers said.

Ivers hopes her studio’s downtown locale will help attract clientele.

“It’s real nice because if a parent wants to drop off a kid and grab a coffee or something, I’m real close,” Ivers said.

For more information about Dawn’s Piano, visit dawnspiano.com. 

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.