I studied with Cathy for ten years until she moved to Washington, DC, and I graduated from high school. It was the best decision I ever made. My piano lessons quickly became an outlet where my quiet, shy personality could flourish. The piano became my voice and my soul. At an early age I became interested in composing my own music. Cathy began to foster my creativity and introduce improvisation into our lessons, where my compositions became more structured and complex.I was 13 when I decided that I was ready to move from one lesson a week to two. Instead, Cathy suggested that I work with Paul one day a week and continue my normal piano lessons. Paul was an integral part of my development as a pianist and composer. He taught me theory, exposed me to many composers and genres of music and continued to develop my composition skills by bringing me out of my comfort zone. He encouraged me to try different styles and move away from the simple fifths and fourths I used in my left hand. Additionally, using tools such as Logic and Finale, Paul taught me how to incorporate multiple instruments into my compositions and transcribe my music into scores. I definitely wouldn’t be who I am today without Cathy and Paul and I am forever grateful for their guidance and everything I’ve learned from them.
There are not enough superlatives I can use to describe Cathy Waldman. I came to piano later in life after studying as a child, and Cathy is the best. We started lessons in her home and she was willing to take on a middle aged, frustrated, dyslexic student. Her teaching skills and her ability to adapt and change her methods to my needs have allowed me to learn and love the piano. She is endlessly patient and with her encouragement, enthusiasm, and positive approach I have overcome many of the frustrations that led me to give up trying to learn the piano in the past. After she moved out of state, Cathy assured me we would be able to continue our lessons via FaceTime. Using a laptop and a webcam, Cathy is in my music room every week teaching me and guiding me in the same way as when we were in her living room. Her warmth comes through the computer screen and I don’t feel our lessons have suffered at all. Cathy’s passion for the piano and music easily translates through the computer and I’m thrilled that she continues to share her knowledge and hope to continue learning with her guidance.
Paul is a phenomenal teacher. He always looked at my music with a careful and sympathetic ear, introducing and refining the tools and techniques that helpedme grow as a composer while writing the music that I wanted to write. Along the way he introduced me to many of the composers that I would come to cherish the most, and taught me some of the most important fundamental skills of music theory and instrumentation and orchestration. I’ll always be grateful for my time studyingwith Paul.