||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
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.