Joanna is graduate of Cairn University with a Bachelors in Piano Performance, and continues to work at Cairn as an accompanist. She has grown under the mentorship and instruction of her high school teacher, Karen Burgman, and her university instructor, Kenneth Borrmann. Teaching piano has been a vital and delightful part of her life for almost a decade. She has been a church musician since 2013 (traditional hymnody).
Musical collaboration is another of Joanna’s passions and she has ¬accompanied many vocalists and instrumentalists over the years. She is the director of Sola Gratia Musicians, a homeschool choir based in Hatfield for which she also served as an accompanist from 2006 to 2013.
Joanna resides in Abington where she enjoys many hobbies including writing, gardening, enjoying movies and their soundtracks, organizing, arts and crafts, and volleyball. She also dabbles in arranging and composing, and had the opportunity to conduct a choral performance of one of her arrangements in 2013.
Q & A with Joanna
How did you get into music?
Growing up, I was surrounded by music, from choirs I was involved in from age 6 or from my two older brothers practicing piano every day. The passion of excellent music teachers ignited the same fire within me and I continued with her musical studies throughout college. I began teaching at 16. Friends of my family approached her with children who wished to be instructed and since that moment I have so enjoyed my years of teaching as well as connecting with each and every student. I simply cannot remember a time when her life that was not filled with music!
What is your teaching style?
I strive for musicality and technical proficiency, considering a piece of music executed with technical perfection is not enough – it lacks the expression and emotion that lends to music its true power. When one can play a piece of music not simply correctly, but as a piece of art with passion, beauty, motion, and a story, it is the most exciting achievement. While placing a high priority on cultivating musical excellence and piano proficiency, cultivating a relationship with my students is very important. Since my teachers were incredible role models and were invested in not only my musical education and development but also in my personal growth, I she wish to do the same for each of my students. I enjoy the chance to impart my love of music and in a one-on-one setting exercises the freedom and creativity to meet the specific needs and goals of each individual student.
What advice would you give to new musicians?
Both consistency and inspiration are essential. When disciplined students spend time at their instrument every day (or nearly every day), the greatest potential for progress is created. When a student has goals that inspire them – such as a certain song to work up to or a certain performance to prepare for – both the mind and the heart become engaged – a necessary combination in order to make a true musician.
Since her family adopted her dear Latvian sister, Joanna has a special place in her heart for children who are in orphanages and foster care and in need of permanent homes. She volunteers at an orphanage in Latvia every summer and assists in any way she can.