Community Music School
This is an example of a HTML caption with a link.






  • Information
  • Guest Artist
  • Workshops

Pianofest 2014

PianoFest 2014

Saturday, May 3 from 9:30am-1:00pm
At The Music Center, Fremont Street adjoining the Davidson Building at Kellogg Community College.

**Register Today!!**<<<More workshops to come!

Community Music School presents its first annual PianoFest on Saturday, May 3, from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. Early registration is just $10 through May 2, and is $20 at the door on the day of PianoFest. Call Dinah Vaden at 269.963.1911x2585 to register today.

Presenters and workshop leaders include Jodine Bandlow, Brooks Grantier, Nancy Brown, and special guests Abbott and Lia Jensen-Abbott of Albion College.

PianoFest is a great opportunity for people who are simply interested in piano to those who are looking to learn new skills. This event is open to people of all ages and skill levels, however, we do ask that small children are accompanied by a guardian.

For questions or to register, contact Dinah Vaden, Community Music School - Battle Creek Coordinator by phone at 269.963.1911 ext. 2585 or by e-mail at


David Abbott & Lia Jensen-Abbott

David Abbott has been Professor of Piano at Albion College since 2005.  Previously he lived for ten years in Switzerland where he was frequently heard both as soloist and collaborative artist through Switzerland, Germany and on tours in Australia as a member of the Swiss Chamber Soloists.  His recording with that ensemble on the Swiss Claves label of Schumann’s piano quartet and quintet won the coveted Prix d’or prize for that year’s outstanding chamber music recording. 

Dr. Abbott has dedicated a great deal of his career as mentor and teacher, serving on the faculties of the Zürich and Schaffausen Conservatories of Music (Switzerland), and earlier at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  In 2010, he was asked to serve on the faculty of the prestigious Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University as a sabbatical replacement for Edmund Battersby.  He has also directed summer courses in both piano and chamber music in Europe as well as in the United States for over 25 years.  In 2003, he founded the Con Brio Music Academy at the Hindemith Music Center in Blonay, Switzerland where he works with students across Europe and from the United States in piano and chamber music. 

In 2011, Dr. Abbott was invited to teach and perform in the Republic of China (Taiwan) and also appeared in recitals with his wife Lia Jensen-Abbott in France and Switzerland.  He was awarded a Bronze medal and two special prizes at the 1980 International Music Competition in Geneva.  A graduate of the Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music, Dr. Abbott remains active in historically informed performance practice as a result of work with renowned fortepianist Malcolm Bilson.  He recently completed a two-CD recording project of solo and chamber music by 20th-century composer Dmitri Shostakovitch. 

Dr. Lia Jensen-Abbott brings a background steeped in the humanities to her piano playing and lectures.  In addition to her many performance activities, her current research interests include Beethoven, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, and Florence Price, as well as incorporating semiotic research into piano pedagogy.  Dr. Jensen-Abbott was invited to participate in the International Mendelssohn Piano Competition in Taurisano, Italy in 2009 where she reached the third round.  In 2005 she taught and performed at the Con Brio Music Festival in Blonay, Switzerland.  She has appeared as a clinician for The Gilmore Festival Keys Fest as well as a sought after performer and adjudicator around Michigan.  She has also taught at The Gilmore Piano Camp and presented lecture recitals at Murray State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Western Michigan University, and Wayne State University.  In January 2011 she performed recitals in Zurich and Paris.  January 2012 began with a lecture recital at  the Hawaii University International Conference on the Arts and Humanities in Honolulu, Hawaii.  In February, 2012, Lia made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall.  Additionally, Dr. Jensen-Abbott is active in the Michigan Music Teachers’ Association, where she has served for four years as the coordinator of the state MTNA competition.  

During the summer of 2012, Dr. Jensen-Abbott completed her first professional recording—Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel’s Das Jahr.  In July 2012, Lia taught theory, keyboard skills, and piano literature at the Western Michigan University Seminar.  She has also been a grader for the AP Music Theory Exam, attended the Music Theory Midwest’s annual conferences, and numerous piano pedagogy conferences.  Lia holds degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BM, DMA), The Pennsylvania State University (MM piano performance and pedagogy;  MA theory and history), and Indiana University (performer diploma).  She has studied with Timothy Shafer,  Edmund Battersby, and Jeremy Denk.  Currently, she teaches at Albion College where she has been a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music since 2008.  She and her husband David are co-founders of the Albion College Piano Festival and Competition, which has grown to a four-day event with over eighty national and international participants.






Workshop 1: 9:30-10:30
Ensemble Playing Practice Strategies (David Abbott & Lia Jensen-Abbott)
All levels
Learn how to maximize your time together to learn well.
Bring a duet you are working on, or want to.

First Time Through – Sightreading: Turning Yikes into Yeah (Nancy Brown)
Late beginner through advanced
Gain sight reading confidence and make your practice sessions more efficient and enjoyable through learning what to look for in new pieces. Also, if you accompany, learn what you can omit and still support the choir/soloist in those early reading sessions.

Getting Under the Lid – What Makes the Music Happen? (Brooks Grantier)
All levels
We play the keys and beautiful sounds come out of the piano. In this workshop we will look at the marvelous machinery which takes the action of your fingers and transforms it into the hammer striking the string. Discover what a piano tuner does, and get tips on evaluating a piano.

I Got Rhythm : Pulse and Rhythm in a Group (Jason Drake)
Beginner-Early Intermediate
Invent your own beats, rhythm patterns and counter rhythms, and blend with those of others. Exercises include ‘Rhythm Machine’ and ‘Jammin.’ Listen and learn with others in this fun, hands-on group class.

More than the Minutes: Cultivating Efficiency and Effectiveness between lessons
(Paula Harris & Joan King)

All levels
Effective practicing is more than how many minutes you spend, and more than just another time through the piece. Learn how to organize your practice day and week for more effective progress. Students and parents will benefit from this thoughtful approach to managing practice time.

Workshop 2: 10:45-11:45

Two Slur or Note to Slur - A Basic Guide to Articulation (David Abbott & Lia Jensen-Abbott)
Late Beginner through Intermediate
We’ll start with legato playing between the hands, followed by how to produce a solid technical foundation for two note slurs and then larger note groupings.
Learn what goes together and what doesn’t.

Chording and Lead Sheets (Jodine Bandlow)
Late beginner and up
Learn to read a lead sheet and chord along with favorite melodies. Includes what you can add to a simple chord accompaniment for interest and better leading of singers and congregations.

Using Music to Tell a Story (Sara Cleland)
All ages and skill levels
Learn to tell a story through your music and why it will help you with memory and expressiveness. Bring your own music and give it a try, or come just to listen.

Music Makers at the Keyboard (Rita Burghart)
Get a first lesson on the 88 keys! If you are a beginner, or it’s been some time since you started then stopped, this workshop gets you going, or going again.


To register, call Dinah Vaden at 269.963.1911 x 2585

or fill out this form and mail to:

The Music Center | P.O. Box 1613 | Battle Creek, MI 49016

*please do not send cash through the mail*




 Contact Us

Nancy Brown, Director
269.963.1911 x 2502

Dinah Vaden, Battle Creek Coordinator
269.963.1911 x 2585

Christianne Statler, Hastings Coordinator

Alexis Stark, Marshall Coordinator

 Locate Us

The Community Music School has three campuses; Battle Creek, Hastings, and Marshall.

Click here for maps to our locations

 Registration Info

Community Music School

Winter 2014

January 6- May 23, 19 weeks

Summer 2014

June 2 - August 22, 12 weeks

Registration open all semester

For registration and start up dates of each program please check out the pages for private lessons, Music First,and the Registration page.

 Financial Aid

CMS financial aid is available to families with under $50,000 in annual income. Other aid is available to qualifying families from area foundations and organizations. For more information, please contact the Music Center.

Some of the financial aid options are need based while others are not. Please call today to find out how we are able to keep music learning accessible and affordable for our community.

 Qualified Instructors Needed

National Guild of Arts Educators