Glover Piano Studio in South Deerfield looks to provide musical foundation for kids

  • Dorothy Claire Glover uses a whiteboard to teach music in her Glover Piano Studio, located in the Tibetan Plaza in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dorothy Claire Glover in her Glover Piano Studio, located in the Tibetan Plaza in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Dorothy Claire Glover plays piano in her Glover Piano Studio, located in the Tibetan Plaza in South Deerfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Friday, November 04, 2022

Moving more than 1,000 miles away often signals the permanent closure of a small business. Dorothy Claire Glover, who moved to Franklin County a few months ago, is going against that trend.

Glover, 30, hopes to share her passion for piano with residents through Glover Piano Studio, now located at 265 Greenfield Road in South Deerfield’s Tibetan Plaza. In Mississippi, she ran her studio from her house, but she opted to rent a studio space here.

“I know I don’t have an accent, but I have lived in Mississippi my whole life,” Glover joked at her piano studio. “I think for me, the biggest difference is mental. Running a studio from an independent location instead of my house feels very different, but I love it. I don’t ever want to teach from my house again.”

Glover, who started teaching piano in high school, said she wanted to be an elementary teacher when she was growing up, but after experiencing an elementary school classroom, she decided to pursue a teaching career that allows for more one-on-one and small group activities.

“I job-shadowed an elementary school when I was in high school and I was like, ‘This is like herding monkeys,’” she said. “I always have wanted to work with kids. … I started teaching (piano) my senior year of high school — I think I charged $5 or something — and I loved it.”

Her dream, however, was almost short-lived. One week before her freshman year of college, she developed tendonitis in her right arm after helping her father with a vinyl flooring project. The injury left her unable to hold silverware or type on a computer, let alone play piano. Working with a rehabilitation doctor from Kansas City, Glover was able to get back on track with her learning and teaching career. She is continuing her lessons and rehabilitation with Greenfield-based Julia Bady, who is a local piano teacher and also an expert in rehabilitating musical injuries that come from repetitive movement.

“It was so much time, it was so expensive, it is special,” Glover of the feeling of overcoming a difficult injury. “It changed my perspective.”

While working through her injury, Glover was able to grow her piano studio in Mississippi, teaching more than 40 students per week in one-on-one and small group lessons. In moving to Deerfield, she hopes to do the same thing and is already tutoring a dozen students of all ages. Glover is also the United Congregational Church of Holyoke’s director of music.

“My motto is ‘interest leads the learning process,’” she said. “So whatever they’re interested in, that’s what I teach. … It really depends on what the kids want.”

Glover teaches students from kindergarten through 12th grade and runs two different programs.

One is for students in first grade and under, which she said has “informal instruction.” Students will learn very basic music concepts and keyboard geography, as well as general “aural awareness” as they begin their musical journey. These classes are typically 40 minutes long and cost $120 per month.

Her second class, for students in second grade and up, is an hour and 10 minutes of general group music lessons, basic music notation and one-on-one private lesson time. Rather than assigning musical notation homework, Glover said she takes class time to teach that and has kids practice their instrument at home. Lessons are $165 per month.

“I find that kids only want to play their instrument as homework and if you assign them written stuff, they don’t do it,” she explained. “It makes such a difference in their weekly progress.”

Piano, Glover says, is a “great place to start” for any prospective musician because its pitch is fixed and the instrument is intuitive enough that students can attempt to play it on their first lesson, compared to something more complex like a violin.

“I would say the majority of my students don’t end up sticking with piano as their primary instrument,” Glover said. “But I feel I can give them a really good foundation as far as general music goes, and it will translate to another instrument.”

Parents are encouraged to set up a free meet-and-greet with Glover to see if their child is a good fit. Before signing up for classes, however, parents must have a full-size keyboard with weighted keys — meaning the sound changes depending on how hard the key is pressed — a music rack and pedal. Glover said she can help parents find less expensive keyboards online so they don’t invest too much money for a student who is just starting out.

“I also tell parents there’s no point in paying for lessons if you don’t have a keyboard,” Glover said. “It’s better to buy a keyboard, have it in your house, and see if a kid goes up to it and plays it. If they never go up to it and play it, then they’re probably not interested and maybe should find another enrichment activity.”

Glover Piano Studio can be found on its Facebook page and Glover can be contacted at gloverpianostudio@gmail.com or by text at 601-421-5032. Glover is also in the process of launching a new website for her business.