UW-Eau Claire, WI (music)
Emory University, Atlanta, GA (Master's)
Cheri can help you discover and pursue your musical passion. Lessons are custom-tailored to you. You can learn not only classical repertoire and technique, but also jazz, pop, and rock idioms, including gospel, blues, ragtime, and boogie woogie. Cheri’s mastery of diverse keyboard styles will pave the way. Develop your ability to play by ear, improvise, sight-read, and compose. Emphasis on theory and ear-training is the key. Adults, children, and teens are all welcome; Cheri enjoys the singular challenges of each age group.
The keyboard is the COMPLETE instrument. In addition to the irreplaceable acoustic piano, with today’s synthesizer, you can be the entire band or orchestra! Your creative options are endless. Cheri’s studio features cutting-edge technology and inspiring instruments. Lessons are taken on a new 5’8” Cristofori grand piano. You will be exposed to the widest range of keyboard possibilities, including the amazing potential of the synthesizer. Computer-based theory and ear-training programs are now part of the curriculum--a fun and effective way to learn! You can also learn music notation software and experience computer-based multi-track recording.
Students are also encouraged, but not required, to participate in the piano skills, repertoire, theory and ear-training exams sponsored by Minnesota Music Teachers Association. These are useful benchmarks of progress and great motivators.
Many opportunities are available in the area for recital experiences throughout the year, giving you opportunity to finely tune your repertoire and performing abilities, as desired. Sykes Keyboard Studio itself offers two annual recitals.
Cheri earned her B.A. in piano, 1979, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she was steeped in Bach and Chopin. Her Masters work at Emory University in Atlanta further deepened her knowledge of classical performance practice and music history. Regarding contemporary styles, Cheri was involved in UW-EC’s jazz program, and subsequently refined her improvisational skills with jazz pianists Laura Caviani of Minneapolis and Sean Turner of the McNally School of Music in St. Paul. Today she is an active jazz performer in the Twin Cities, including leader/arranger/keyboardist for her own six-piece jazz group.
Cheri has received statewide air-play performing Bach on Minnesota Public Radio. At the other end of the spectrum, her gospel-jazz performing group Wild Honey, has been featured on KBEM Jazz 88 FM’s program, “Jazz and the Spirit,” as well as KARE-11 Television’s morning program, “Minnesota Showcase.”
Cheri is Master Certified with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association (MMTA). She is a 2012 recipient of the Maureen Conway Award for Inspiring Teaching, from the Keys 4/4 Kids non-profit in St. Paul. In 2008, she completed graduate work at the University of St. Thomas in beginning and intermediate piano pedagogy, which has equipped her with a wealth of current approaches and teaching tools. Cheri is recent Chair of the MMTA’s Popular Styles Syllabus committee.
Cheri began as a music instructor in the 1970s. Before establishing the Sykes Keyboard Studio in 2009, she was a private instructor at Schmitt Music.
BONUS: Cheri is a longtime instructor in folk-rock guitar as well. Learn to play your favorite songs, employing fingerpicking, blues, and rock techniques. Learn to play by ear and understand guitar theory. It's fun! Cheri can help you discover and pursue your musical passion. Lessons are custom-tailored to you. You can learn not only classical repertoire and technique, but also jazz, pop, and rock idioms, including gospel, blues, ragtime, and boogie woogie. Cheri’s mastery of diverse keyboard styles will pave the way. Develop your ability to play by ear,
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Ear-training is part of a music education in my studio. We start with interval recognition and singing the major scale. We progress through chord progression recognition. Often a student will submit a popular song which we learn by ear, developing a lead sheet. Ear-training is essential for popular styles. In my studio, the student may also work through computer programs in comprehensive ear-training, including Alfred's Interactive Musician.
I have taught guitar privately over ten years, including five years with Schmitt Music. Part of my Schmitt experience was spent teaching beginning electric and folk guitar group classes. Instruction covers chords, keys, strums, fingerpicking, beginning electric rhythm and lead, theory, note-reading basics. I hold a B.A. and Masters in music.
Master Certified with the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, I have taught for 14+ years. I am trained classically, as well as in jazz, and am a busy solo performer and bandleader. I hold a B.A. in Piano, and a Masters in Organ. Students may learn classical as well as popular styles, including improvisation and playing by ear.
I was taught sight-singing as part of my undergraduate music major training. I have worked with church choirs for thirty years, where the skill is important. Interval study and ear-training are important. I hold a BA and Masters in Music.