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A native of Brooklyn, NY, Richard Devens received his BS in Music Performance from Brooklyn College, where he studied with Augustin Anievas and Michael Rogers. He received his MM in Music Performance from The University of Arizona, where he studied with Nicholas Zumbro. Additional studies were with Richard Fabre.

He is active as a vocal, choral, dance, and instrumental accompanist, as well as a solo performer. In addition to The Music Conservatory of Westchester, he has performed at the Trinity Church Noon-day Concert Series, St. Paul's Festival of the Arts in Nyack, Bargemusic, Alice Tully Hall, as well as in Russia. He loves music from all periods, but has a special passion for the Romantic piano literature. A particular interest of his is piano music written for the left hand alone. In addition to his classical performances, he also plays at country clubs, for weddings, parties, corporate events, and black-tie affairs.

Richard believes that since all students learn at a different pace and have their own particular interests, instruction should be tailored accordingly. He stresses that the fingerings we utilize are often determined by the size and shape of our hands, and that the "finished product" matters more than the time it took to achieve this result. Most importantly, he feels that although mastery of an instrument requires hard work, the process should also be fun.

He believes in establishing a solid foundation. This includes: proper seating, posture, hand position, fingering, rhythm, reading, technique, theory, and ear training. The goal is to eventually make the student musically self-sufficient. He always stresses that we are never in competition with anyone but ourselves. No two people learn at an identical rate, or in the same manner. The final result is more important than how you get there.

He feels it is important to never raise his voice or resort to sarcasm. Everyone deserves respect and encouragement. Having trouble with a particular piece or passage does not mean a student lacks "talent." Often, a different fingering or approach will solve the problem.

Regular recitals are always available to all his students. By having a "deadline," students are motivated to prepare as thoroughly as possible. It also teaches them how to deal with nervousness and jitters. If a student does not perform as well as he or she would have liked, this is never viewed as "failure," but only as a learning experience.

In addition to his musical activities, Richard is a writer. His articles have appeared in all the major martial arts magazines, as well as in music magazines. "What is Talent?", in the September-October 1992 issue of "Piano Guild Notes" argues that how hard we work is more important than how much "talent" we have, and that talent can be increased. The November/December issue of this same publication contained a full-length interview with Romantic virtuoso Earl Wild, and was the cover feature. In 1997, the ground-breaking "Martial Arts For Kids" was publioshed by Weatherhill, Inc.

Richard has been teaching for over 33 years. A former faculty member of Marymount College, he is currently on the faculty of The Community Music School of Dutchess Community College and The Music Conservatory of Westchester. He teaches in his studio in Fishkill, but also travels to students' homes. Rates are $40 for a 30 min. lesson and $70 for an hour lesson at his studio. There is an additional charge if he travels to your home, depending on the distance. All ages and levels are accepted, and he stresses to adults that it is NEVER too late to learn how to play the piano. All that is required is a piano, a burning desire to play, and the realization that mastery of an instrument DOES require regular practice.

Studio Location
Fishkill, NY 12524
(845) 896-5130