It was my lucky day when I signed up for piano lessons with Kathleen Cizewski. Thirty years later, I am still at it! I had always wanted to play the piano as a child, but unfortunately was unable to take lessons until I was an adult. Kathleen was the perfect teacher for a busy working mother with minimal talent. She provided highly professional instruction, yet understood the many demands on my time and worked with me at a pace that I was able to handle. She was always very supportive and never critical, even when practicing fell to the bottom of my list. She provided a well-rounded curriculum that included theory, music history, and excellent instruction. I have learned so much from her.
Kathleen is an innovative instructor who has tailored part of her program specifically to the interests of adults. Twice a year the adults present a workshop, during which we play pieces based on a theme that we have selected. We also cook various dishes to tie in with that theme and share those dishes after our workshop. This social time is something that we really look forward to and we spend a lot of time preparing for these workshops (practicing, in addition to menu-planning J).
After thirty years, Kathleen has become a friend, as well as a teacher. My piano lessons are an important part of each week and have greatly enriched my life. As I mentioned, it was my lucky day when I signed up for piano lessons with Kathleen Cizewski !
I started talking piano lessons as an adult because as a child I had always wanted to learn to play piano, but was not given the opportunity. When my grandmother moved from Illinois to Alabama, she wanted to switch from a piano to a keyboard. So, I got her piano (which she got the year I was born), got it tuned and started taking lessons with Kathi Cizewsk at CLC. When she branched out on her own I stated with her and began taking lessons at KMC when it first opened, 25 years ago. I plan on taking lessons at KC for many more years, even after I retire next year.
Learning to play piano with Kathi has been a rewarding experience. I started as an adult. I knew how to read music from Band in High School but had not played the piano. I worried that my teacher would have me play Mary had a little lamb and others, but Kathi was open to other learning opportunities. I discussed with her the types of music I liked, New Age and Hymns and Kathi was very accommodating in having this as part of my lessons, along with standards, chords, scales and even some improv attempts. She is a very patient teacher, never raising her voice or getting rattled even when you make the same mistake for the 100th time.
We have about 5 concerts/recitals a year. Some formal and others informal. Everyone gets to pick their pieces and we always have a great time listening to all the music and discussing the learning process with the other students. I am certain that she could teach anyone to play reasonably well. It is a very relaxing and rewarding hobby and Kathi is very qualified. She is also a teacher at the College of Lake County and she invites us to attend those recitals as well.
I first met Kathi in 1986. I had started going to church at St. Joseph’s in Round Lake, Illinois, because my daughter Theresa was in kindergarten there. One Sunday at mass I saw Kathi in her red blazer (the choir uniform) directing the choir. Captivated by her energy, I asked Kathi if I could join her choir and play the organ on occasion. She graciously accepted me. I then learned that Kathi taught piano at the College of Lake County. I had played piano from childhood into my early 20’s, but had drifted away from it. Kathi suggested I enroll in the group piano class at the college. I enthusiastically followed her suggestion. After completing the group classes, I began to take individual lessons from Kathi. I then took lessons intermittently from Kathi for the next 21 years. Since I worked in the Chicago loop, it wasn’t always easy to coordinate lessons with work. Nevertheless, Kathi always found a way to accommodate my schedule.
The biggest impact Kathi had on my life was prior to my retirement in 2007. I informed her that I thought I would like to earn a degree in music in my retirement. Kathi promptly put me through the paces, helping me prepare for an audition at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside in Kenosha. With Kathi’s meticulous help, I was accepted into Parkside as a music major. There were many challenges during my period of study at Parkside. Kathi was there for me through all of them, encouraging me and offering me invaluable assistance. In 2012, I earned a B.A. in music, due in no small part to Kathi’s influence. I have to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Kathi for all the support she has unfailingly given me as a musician and as a friend over a period of 31 years. Of recent note, Kathi has introduced me to a flautist with whom I now happily perform. One can’t ask for much more.
I met Kathi at CLC taking a beginning piano class. As an older student I want to learn to play well so as to be able to play for others and give some pleasure but also recognizing I need to practice, practice more, and this I don’t always do. Bless her heart, Kathi always encourages and repeats what I need to learn and remains patient and CALM ! I fell I am not yet where I want to be in my piano skills but a not where I used to be and remain hopeful. Kathi has extended her skills, her love of music and friendship with a kindness and smile, and laugh that takes pressure off. An all around super person! I am very grateful to have the opportunity to be here. Thank you, Kathi.!!
When I first began studying the piano at the age of 8, I thought I would be a concert pianist. Though I have not yet achieved this position in orchestral music, I have gained a deeper understanding, knowledge and appreciation of music and its origins. When I first met Kathleen Cizewski at the College of Lake County, I had not seriously sat a piano and played in years. What began as a class required for my degree program quickly shifted to a desire to become the best pianist I could be. KMC has played an important part in my life; leading me to appreciate all the sound and music around me and to see the emotional aspect music can have on a person. My wife and family greatly enjoy my piano playing abilities and I have gained a confidence in my life that I never before had. Thank you Mrs. Cizewski
I started learning piano about 3ago, (2014) from Kathi. It was Kathi who taught me how to play piano with feelings and passion, not just the keyboard playing !. It was she who made me love piano and music. Now, I brought my 7 year old daughter (2017) to Kathi’s Musicians’Center School of Music in Grayslake and am confident that my daughter will love music and piano too !
Mrs. C was my first piano teacher in a group piano class at CLC. Although I've always been a band student, her fun, well organized and focused class jump-started my piano experience. Soon after that I transferred to a four year school and continued with group and private piano lessons, and music theory. After graduating with my Bachelor of Music Education in band and orchestra, music came full circle and I was re-antiquated with Mrs. C. That's when I started teaching for her at KMC.
It was my first teaching job after college. I was hesitant and unsure of being a private teacher, and wondered if I could really make a difference. It was Mrs. C who saw in me something I didn't; a passion for giving back to kids and adults wanting to learn music.
However, my focus soon shifted towards what I thought would be a better living, and I chose to work for corporate America while doing part-time work as a professional musician and band director. Looking back, life was still all about me. It became years that I tried to mix oil and water; juggling and wearing two different hats each day. Although she was too kind to say anything, I think Mrs. C knew music was the only hat I was supposed to have.
Now, my career is full-time music education and performance. I am blessed with many private students, excellent bands and performance opportunities. Private lessons are my most valuable time. Mrs. C taught me through her actions and caring, that each lesson is an opportunity to invest time in someone. Such valuable time! It is especially rewarding giving kids the most valuable thing we can give them; our complete attention.
Thank you Mrs. C, Mr. C, and especially my Heavenly Father for using KMC, and these wonderful people to help bring me to a career that's in alignment with my purpose. =) Happy KMC anniversary! Love you guys so much!
Paul Hefner http://www.allbrass.mymusicstaff.com/Home
(written by Brenda Whelan, Chanell’s mother)
My daughter Chanell has been taking piano lessons from Felix for about 7 years. She has learned so much, not only to play the piano beautifully, but a sense of discipline and accomplishment. She has a great love for music and has a sense of pride to be able to express what she has learned over the years through playing the piano. My son Tyler has taken piano lessons in the past from Felix for about 3 years while he was a younger teen. He has taken the skills he has learned through music and carry with him throughout his life.
I was a student for 3 years learning to play piano from Mr. Felix Cizewski He was always very friendly and an incredible teacher, encouraged me to challenge myself in order to improve my piano playing every day. Although I was often shy and quiet, he was always understanding and helped me with any issues I had when practicing a piano piece. I’ve kept a lot of his advice and teaching over the years and with them continue to improve in all aspects of life. Through learning to play the piano with him, I found more confidence in myself and learned to always challenge myself to improve and do my best. I really enjoyed his teaching and the piano recitals he hosts with his wife annually, and we are still great friends to this day !
Gabi loves Music – pop to 60’s - 70’s rock to classical. She began taking piano lessons at age 7. She loves to listen to songs and try to identify the various instruments that are being played. I believe that her instructor, Noel, has been an inspiration in her greater appreciation for music.
Erika Miessner, 3 years with Mr. Cizewski
I’m very glad that I took up piano again after dropping it as a child. I can visibly see myself improving as I practice each song and can appreciate music in ways that I couldn’t before. I understood what it feels like to play an instrument. I have never considered myself musically talented, but learning piano has taught me that talent does not matter if you are willing to put in the time and effort.
Grace Park, Guitar, 2 years with Mr. Noel Velasquez
I started guitar after eighth grade, age 13, after seeing friends and family playing. I came to KMC and immediately loved playing guitar. I was taught songs I wanted to learn while at the same time being taught proper form and general musicianship. I have two other guitars and have taught myself ukulele. I feel that I have learned well and fast at KMC and I have acquired man6y musical skills, such as learning by ear and being better at more difficult chords and songs in just two year. I‘m very happy I decided to take lessons and I love playing guitar.
) is a licensed school dedicated to the enrichment of the lives of music lovers with excellence and artistry in performance and music instruction. KMC'S professional performance faculty offers instruction of various musical genres in piano, keyboards, voice, guitar, ukulele, theory, arranging, music history, composition, sight reading and ear training. KMC students annually earn 'Superior' ratings in National Guild Evaluations, and have earned Top Ratings in International Composition Evaluations. Many KMC teens and adults have been hired for various music jobs including music teachers in the schools after earning their Bachelor's Degree in music. KMC Adults and Young Performers have private lessons all year, and several opportunities to get together with their peers to share their performance and other music activities at recitals, workshops and master classes. KMC welcomes all ages, beginner through artist level.