Mary Jean Kelsey

What people have said about Mary Jean Kelsey:

"As a professional musician and composer, I can say unreservedly that studying with Mary Jean is one of the best decisions I have made in my career. My initial hope was to better my technique but I've received so much more. Mary Jean has helped me understand that every physical movement corresponds to a musical effect. As a result of this more coordinated approach, I have alleviated my back and shoulder pain associated with piano performance. As an added bonus, she is delightful and our lessons are always fun and engaging."
–Alex Stein

"I chose Mary Jean because of her knowledge of the Taubman approach. I wanted to study a technique founded in ergonomics, kinesiology and musicality. She easily and flexibly incorporates this technique in conjunction with an innate sense of music. Studying with her has been truly transformational. The sound, interpretation and feeling I am now able to assess are like nothing I have experienced previously. She is an incredible teacher and wonderful person. I could not recommend her more highly."
–Jerry McLaughlin

"My former technique was misaligned and uncoordinated. With Mary Jean's patient guidance in employing an ergonomically sound approach to the keyboard, I now play pain free and am not limited in my selection of repertoire. An added benefit is that this synchronized movement naturally yields enhanced musicianship. She has taught me to properly orchestrate the kinetic aspect of playing the piano which greatly improves the quality of my practice as well as my performances." 
–Timothy Pavek

“Before Mary Jean accepted me as a student, I attended one of her student recitals and was so impressed by the poise, sophistication, skill level and sincerity of Mary Jean and her students. Now I can say I am one of those students and it’s an absolute honor to study with her. Her teaching is top notch.

I deeply appreciate her ergonomic, hands-on (literally) approach to teaching technique, both as a means of producing a better sound and as a way of preventing injury. She has successfully opened up my hands, which has drastically improved my timing into the keys and overall musicality. With this passionate, incredible teacher as my guide, each lesson feels like a victory. I leave each session with a fresh, abundant harvest of knowledge, the enthusiasm to keep on being the best pianist I can be, and always having enjoyed a few hearty laughs! I want to continue under her tutelage and soak up as much of her vast wisdom as I can.“

–Paul Lee Cannon

"I had been studying piano for 12 years before arriving at Mary Jean's studio and yet had no knowledge of advanced technique. After two years of studying with her, I learned the proper pianistic movement to prevent injury and improve the quality of my performance. I took the stage for my senior recital with more confidence in my musical abilities than ever before. In that time, she coached me to take skills to the next level but also encouraged me to explore my passions by pursuing a degree in music. Approaching each student as an individual, she is an excellent and delightful teacher."
–Ellen Pelos

Mary Jean Kelsey's teaching career spans over thirty years encompassing several areas of specialty.  A graduate of Butler University, she received degrees in piano performance as well as music education and was appointed to the University's Preparatory Faculty following graduation.  In 1975, Mary Jean earned her Masters of Music from Northwestern University  with a double emphasis on piano performance and group teaching.  An active recitalist, she was a member of Northwestern's Contemporary Touring Ensemble.  Her work with internationally acclaimed Francis Larimer and Gui Mombaerts earned her induction into Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honorary.  At age 24, she was appointed to the faculty of University of Michigan where she taught class piano, private piano and supervised the children's pedagogy program.  Following her years at Michigan, she was appointed chairwoman for the pedagogy program at East Carolina University.  Most recently, she has served on the faculties of UC Santa Cruz and as Director of Piano Study at the Sherman Clay School of Music, Oakland.    

In 1987, Ms. Kelsey sustained a serious repetitive stress injury which initiated intensive retraining using the ergonomic approach of internationally revered pedagogue, Dorothy Taubman.  For the past 25 years, Mary Jean has studied the Taubman technique extensively and presented workshops and master classes emphasizing preventative principles.  By incorporating concepts of proper alignment and coordination of movement, the student significantly reduces the chance of piano (and Computer) related injuries.

While seriousness of purpose and a concentrated focus are imperative for any success, Mary Jean also believes that infusing the lessons with humor and a sense of fun are equally important.  The joy, love and appreciation of a wonderful art form are the ultimate goals of any level of study.