Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Patel Conservatory welcomes new piano instructor

The Patel Conservatory welcomes piano instructor Joshua Sawicki to our faculty. 
Sawicki, left, with the USF President's Trio.
Sawicki recently returned from the Chautauqua Musical Festival in New York.
“It was seven weeks of intense classes and performances,” said Sawicki. “I’ve attended three summers. I go back each year because they’ve been really eye opening in learning about myself as a pianist and as a person.”
At the festival, Sawicki has had the opportunity to study with Rebecca Penneys, professor at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
“She’s one of the most amazing educators I’ve ever known. She opens all these doors in your mind,” said Sawicki. “She showed me that every student learns differently, and you have to teach in every kind of way.”
Sawicki explains that teaching piano is all about understanding each student and what will work well for him/her. From music selection to recognizing the student’s threshold for comprehension, every choice is a delicate balance in helping a student feel equally challenged and successful.
“You have to make careful choices from moment to moment and week to week that will open up new doors they didn’t know were there,” said Sawicki.
Sawicki has been playing piano since he was four years old. He recalls the defining moment when he decided to pursue music as a career.
“When I played Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin with my high school symphony orchestra, it was a great moment for me. I got a standing ovation both nights,” said Sawicki.
He was born in New Britain, CT and grew up just outside of Hartford. He graduated from Boston University with a B.M in Piano Performance, and he spent a year at the London Royal College of Music where he studied the Alexander Technique, a method study for performers in understanding body movement as it pertains to their craft.
Sawicki is currently working on his master’s degree at USF, where he also teaches a Piano Ensemble class and is a member of the President’s Trio, a piano trio whose members receive scholarships and stipends funded by the USF president.
One of the most common questions he gets from parents is, How much should my child practice piano?
“Piano practice is like working out your muscles,” he said. “It’s better to do small amounts every single day rather than an hour one or two days a week. When you break it into smaller chunks every day, the music is always simmering in the back of your brain.”
For more information on private piano lessons at the Patel Conservatory in Tampa, please call 222-1273, or email

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