Goals & Philosophy
Kennedy Piano Studio, LLC
Who we are?
The Kennedy Piano Studio is highly active all year. During the school year, students participate in two studio recitals (Winter and Spring); studio piano parties where we perform for our peers and develop camaraderie in the studio; and MATFor’s (Music Appreciation and Theory Forums) where we play music games and learn about various elements of music and music history. Students also play duets and trios with partners each year for North DeKalb’s Ensemble Olympics, studio recitals and the Federation Festival, as well as concerti with the teacher. The student is also encouraged to share playing any other musical instruments at our recitals.
Other recitals we are able to participate in are the Mu Phi Epsilon Music Fraternity’s Spring Recital and the Atlanta Music Club Young Performers’ Recitals. We also participate in the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Festival non-competitive yearly auditions and the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM). Students are also welcome to participate in competitive auditions if they desire, such as the North DeKalb Bach Competition and Sonata/Sonatina Competition, and Local Auditions.
For teen and adult students with busy schedules, we also offer lessons in a stress-free atmosphere with no recitals or competitions! You do not even need to worry about practicing!
Besides taking lessons during the summer, the Kennedy Piano Studio offers several fun Dynamic Music! Summer Camps in Piano; Theory and Composition; Ensemble; Discovery and Acting (no experience necessary); Musical Theatre; and Patriotic Camp! We also participate in the Dunwoody 4th of July Parade and decorate our own float!
A combination of music, movement, singing, acting, playing percussion instruments using some Dalcroze-Eurhythmics and Orff-Schulwerk is employed to instill a lifelong love of music in students. We use technology to enhance our learning and we also use the current “method” books on the market.
I believe anyone can learn how to play a musical instrument (or do anything they set their mind on) as long as they have a positive attitude and try. My first goal is to foster a love of music and oneself through fundamental music skills.
Only a few students aspire to make a career out of music, and with that in mind, I try to teach the student how to interpret the language of music for their own enjoyment and/or the enjoyment of others. After being given the proper tools, I try to teach the student to think for himself or herself and rationalize concepts. If a student is able to independently practice and analyze a piece of music; harmonize a melody line; and improvise, he/she will have more self-confidence. This will lead to performing with other musicians in ensembles, as well as playing solo. Aptitude does not necessarily need to be a roadblock. Proficiency will come to those who have positive determination in reaching for the stars!
I want everyone to feel relaxed, safe and at ease so that they may be able to express themselves. We can be crazy at times and we can be serious at others, depending on the situation. But no matter what, it is always a lot of FUN! As part of the fun, I also incorporate having students dance, play other instruments, sing, compose music, act, or anything else that strikes a creative nerve. I believe this helps in the process of developing musicality and a love for all types of music and helps you feel another ‘connection’ to the world and music. Some of the many items I use in my studio are rhythm instruments, balls, bean bags, scarves, a trampoline, and a computer lab to compose music.
My second goal is to have open communication between the parents, students, and myself. The keys to having a successful relationship is when the students and parents feel they can always let me know if they have any concerns about how our lessons are progressing as well as me being able to voice any concerns I might have. When my students have studied with me for years, they all know they can openly discuss how they are feeling as it relates to their musical progression and anything else that is on their mind.
Who is Leslie Kennedy?
Leslie has been teaching private and group piano lessons and private guitar lessons in her home studio since 1996. She has also taught “Mommy and Me” classes. She also teaches general music classes. Since the pandemic, Leslie has been teaching online lessons.
Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Piano Performance from Mercer University, a Master of Music Education from Florida State University, and Orff-Schulwerk Certification levels I and II. She held a Florida teaching certificate for grades K-12. She is also certified from Musik Garten for Music Makers: At The Keyboard and Piano Marvel.
In high school, beginning in 1978, in addition to teaching private piano, Leslie has taught children in public and private schools and synagogues in Georgia and Florida. She has taught children ranging in age from birth up to 12th grade, including children with special needs. In the schools, besides teaching general music, she has staged musicals, directed choirs and Orff ensembles, taught guitar, ukulele, and recorder.
Leslie is an active member of the Music Teachers’ National Association, Georgia Music Teachers’ Association, the North Fulton Music Teachers’ Association, and the North DeKalb Music Teachers’ Association. She was the President of North DeKalb from 2005-2007. She is involved in the National Federation of Music clubs and has been Chairman of the North DeKalb Senior Club since 2000. She is currently the president of the Georgia Federation of Music Clubs (until 2022). She has also adjudicated for the National Federation of Music Clubs’ Spring Festivals and for the ACM’s Guild Examinations.
Leslie is listed in Who’s Who Among American Teachers for the year 2005 and 2006. To keep abreast in music pedagogy, Leslie attends workshops, seminars, and conventions with prominent composers and musicians.
Leslie and her husband, John, have two grown sons, named Albert and Lance.