SPOTLIGHT: Carolyn Nelson

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Profession: music teacher and composer






What’s your musical background?

I started piano lessons at age 5. My father was quite a wonderful pianist as well as the choir director at Grace Baptist. Because of his encouragement to “get involved” I began helping out in the kids clubs at church, learned the guitar so we could have worship in our youth group, and played the piano for my choir and drama departments in high school. I was the accompanist in our high school productions of Bye Bye Birdie and South Pacific and fell in love with “live theatre”. Over the years I have been involved in many aspects of piano playing whether it be in schools, theatre, family gatherings, local churches, or private venues. I have also been a high school and community college music teacher.

What do you love most about it?

I love being able to play to enrich and bless someone’s life with music that I can fill with passion and joy. I love that I have the opportunity to coach students in learning piano. I also love to make people laugh with my music (and silly antics, at times!)

How do you encourage musical creativity with your students and others?

One area I love to help my students (and others) see and experience is what I call the “character” of a song. In music terms–we call expression in music dynamics–but I call it much more than that. I love to help people see the intricate and extraordinary beauty in what our Creator has given us in song. Music should never be boring, but rather fun and interesting for the pianist to play as well as their audience to listen to. One of my favorite things to do is find a short story and have my students create music that goes with the story! 

Are there other areas of your life where you exercise creativity?

Cooking and decorating our home. I have always dreamed of either owning/running a restaurant called the Muffin Ma’am (soups, salads, breads) or having an Air BnB!

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