Heath teaches piano and organ privately and
is also Associate Director of Music and Organist at
St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, where she directs
the Boy Choir and works with a variety of choirs.
Heath Music Studio offers piano and organ lessons to
children and adults.
Generally piano lessons can begin around age seven.
While most students take one-hour lessons, 45 minute
lessons are available to young beginners. Study
includes reading music (notes and rhythm), learning
repertoire pieces both from reading a music score
and by rote, technical exercises, regular
sight-reading activities, and music theory.
Composition and improvisation are included in the
curriculum, and are much more accessible than many
people realize. Musical styles taught include
classical, jazz, ragtime, pop, and choices of
repertoire are influenced by student, parents and
During the year, three piano recitals take place.
These recitals, which are a blend between formal and
less formal are wonderful opportunities for students
to share the music resulting from practice. Families
are encouraged to bring a small snack to share after
Some special events that have taken place in the
past include dramatized student piano performances
of Peter and the Wolf by Prokofiev, and The Empty
Pot by Demi. Seymour Bernstein’s collection, Birds
was presented by the students, along with art work
created by students in a workshop lead by artist,
Bill Rock. Diane has also created Musical Stories
for her young students, including Snake and Friends
and The Tiger's Tale.
Additional playing and accompanying opportunities
are available at St. Columba’s church, and families
are strongly encouraged to create performing
opportunities at home, church or synagogue, schools,
retirement communities or other places.
Young students decorate their piano lesson
assignment books during the year with stickers
recognizing their achievements. Stickers are earned
by learning 10 pieces, completing 100 pages of
sight-reading, learning 10 scales, composing a piece
of music, participating in a performance, etc, and
provide an opportunity for the student, teacher and
parents to pause and say, "Great Job! What an
accomplishment!" Even teenaged students enjoy
accruing colourful piano notebooks each year.
I enjoy working with adult students at all levels.
All work with adults is guided by student objectives
which vary widely. Adults have the option of
registering for the standard 14-lesson semester or
customizing smaller blocks of lessons. Occasionally
adult students get together to play for each other,
with no spectators allowed, in a very supportive
Lessons are generally one hour, but 45-minute
lessons are also possible.
Progress and practicing have a direct relationship,
and so students should base their expectations on
how much time they will be able to spend at the
piano. A minimum of 30 minutes per day is
recommended, and more practice time will produce
Inspirational reading for adult students:
Playing the Piano for Pleasure
Great advice on how to practice. Good for left brain
people - or those who want encouragement in that
Just Being at the Piano
Mildred Portney Chase
Very mellow. Good for right brain people - or those
who want encouragement in that direction
Piano Lessons: Music, Love, and
True Adventures Noah Adams
A fun book written by an adult beginner.
Never Too Late: My Musical Life
Story John Holt
Includes Holt learning to play the cello as an
Making Music at the Piano:
Learning Strategies for Adult Students
Barbara English Maris;
A lengthy workbook/resource manual for adult
Ms. Heath has taught music to elementary through
high school students at National Cathedral School,
Sheridan School and the Maret School in Washington,
DC, where she created a two-year general music
curriculum providing a tandem exploration of the
history of western music and formal elements of
various types of world music.
Ms. Heath earned the Bachelor of Music Degree in
Liturgical Music from Hartt School of Music and
Master of Music Degree in Organ Performance and
Choral Conducting from Indiana University. She also
holds a diploma in Piano Pedagogy from The Levine
School of Music, and has been certified as a
Listening Fitness Instructor by The Listening Centre
in Toronto. Her organ teachers were David Almond,
Edward Clark, Larry Smith, and Marilyn Keiser. Piano
study was with Mary Stanton, Alexander Farkas and
Complete information about Heath Music Studio,
including information about fees, can be found at