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Susane Reis

"I started piano lessons when I was five," says Susane Reis, who grew up in Turlock, California, the daughter of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores. "My interest in creating my own sounds was not nurtured by piano teachers." Still, she stayed with lessons through high school, began taking on students of her own at 18, and changed her major at CSU Stanislaus from business to piano performance. "I had 35 students by the time I graduated," says Reis, who entered the UO's piano pedagogy program three months later, in the fall of 2009. "A lot of piano students aim to be professors. My goal is to teach children and beginners and make it enjoyable." On July 26 of 2011, a month after graduation, she opened the Eugene Piano Academy at 507 Willamette Street. "I found this place last April," she says. "I bought electric keyboards on Craig's List and found a 1945 Steinway grand piano. I learned about business from a 'small business for dummies' book." Reis bases her group lessons on the Harmony Road Music Course developed by her mentor, Jan Keyser of Clackamas, Oregon. "Kids are encouraged to write their own music, as well as become readers and performers," she says. Registration for winter term classes ends January 9. Learn more at eugenepianoacademy.com.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 8 December 2011

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