Piano student takes on the art of teaching

August 03, 2009|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Abigail "Abby" Martinez was taking piano lessons for only two years when she started sharing her newfound talent with others.

First, she taught two of her friends in the neighborhood of the Emerson Drive home she and her family have lived in for three years.

Then she added her mother to the roster, her youngest sister, Crystal, and over time, a few more students. Her youngest student was 3 when she started taking lessons.

With the help of her mother, Victoria Martinez, Abby created an informational form she keeps for each of her students, as well as a system to track their progress.


"My mom is kind of like my secretary," Abby said.

Abby continued to take lessons herself and is currently instructed by Barbara Peters. Abby said her piano teachers have been role models for her own teaching style.

Now 13, Abby will attend the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts when the school year starts. Her focus, though, will be on vocals, at the urging of her chorus teacher at Northern Middle School, Nicole Smartwood.

"After college, I'd like to sing on Broadway, or be a voice or piano teacher," said Abby, who added that her piano background will help her sight read music. She said that as a voice student at the Ingram school, she'll also study piano.

Because the school day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Abby said she'll have to give up playing volleyball. It's a sacrifice she's willing to make.

"I love singing and piano so much, I'm going to be fine with it," she said.

Unfortunately, she'll also have to give up teaching piano, which she'll mark with a final recital for her summer students.

"I love the kids. I enjoy getting connected to them and making it enjoyable for them," Abby said.

She'll also give up taking private lessons, instead taking her required piano studies at BISFA.

"They keep warning us we're going to be very busy, so I'm stopping piano for high school," Abby said.

With her earnings from teaching piano and baby-sitting, Abby planned to save up to buy a baby grand piano. Now that her focus is on voice instead of piano, though, that might change.

Abby is the daughter of Hector and Victoria Martinez. Her family attends the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Mount Aetna Road, where she will do scripture study before school every morning.

She hopes to attend one of the Brigham Young universities, as her older siblings did. Her older sister graduated from BYU-Idaho and her brother, a recent North Hagerstown High School graduate, will attend there in the fall.

Abby is looking forward to being part of the first class at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.

"I'm excited about it. They said it will definitely be really good on college applications," she said.

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