Meet The Founder

Mary Wendelken came to New Tampa from England 22 years ago. A concert-trained pianist and protege' of Tung Kwong-Kwong (from the direct teaching lineage of Beethoven, Liszt, Czerny, Haydn and others) and Piers Lane of the Royal Academy of Music, London and famous concert pianist with the BBC, she recognized, in her own words, "Where was the culture? Everywhere in Tampa Bay there was this thirst for first class music training. People from around the states and all over the world who had grown up with music, dance, dramatic arts were now living in New Tampa. Where could their children study that would have the quality of a top school in Manhattan, London, Paris, Singapore?"

It was then that I knew it was my calling to develop a school that provided top quality piano lessons for children and adults of all ages and levels. 

Our music school became affiliated with the Royal Academy of Music in the late 90's and, when they added exams for Strings and Voice, we added lessons for violin, viola, cello and voice. There was, and remains, no school for first-rate music training in Tampa outside of our school. Our school is where the beginners go to learn from the best and the talented and motivated go to take their music to the next level. We are the only Royal Conservatory of Music School for hundreds of miles. I was named one the first Royal Conservatory of Music "Founding Teachers" of the original 7 of us who helped bring RCM to the United States in 2004.

We don't cut corners: we never teach piano in "groups"- group piano only benefits the bank account of the school and is not taken seriously by the music community. We've met so many crestfallen parents who, after years of "group piano" learn their child knows very little or nothing about the piano. 

They come to us. Within a year, they are happy, their children are playing beautifully and things are moving smoothly along."

Ms. Wendelken recognizes the need for high quality music education at the piano from the very beginning stages; an education that apply principles of piano performance, learning styles,psychology and child development. “Instruction of the highest quality can be successfully used with children of almost all ages, and made fun at the same time. My teachers and I have a responsibility to teach music in a way that is easy to understand, joyful, improves the cognitive development in the student making all types of learning easier through creating a neural network within the brain that no activity outside of music can create! Music lessons contribute to the development of the child and adult by teaching them a language we are all capable of understanding- Music! Because we care about our students and help them discover their own potential, we have students with high self-esteem and who play with extraordinary heart and maturity," Ms. Wendelken observes. "Many believe that the best quality music education should be reserved for the most 'talented' : I would assert that with the right curriculum, excellent teachers who work together tirelessly toward one goal and a knowledge of how to make music "fun" - both fun at lessons and when practicing at home, you cannot fail. "

Ms. Wendelken emphasizes that first and foremost, the talented one should be the instructor, followed by an excellent music curriculum where everyone knows what is expected of them, add a lot of fun and laughter and you have all the ingredients needed for a fine musician for life.

Wendelken Piano Studio, Inc. and Wendelken Studio of Musical Arts for Strings, Voice, Musicianship and Music Theory promote an environment of friendship, support and growth for both students and parents. Steinway and Yamaha Pianos provide unparalleled instruments at our two locations in New Tampa. We also have Yamaha Digital pianos for ensemble rehearsals.  

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

Contrary to what inexperienced teachers may tell you, not every single student will be right for music; no different than every single student being right for soccer or pursuing advanced mathematics. That's a bit unrealistic, as we can clearly see. We believe, however, that most students may learn how to play the piano well and many superbly, given the right instruction. Our job is to discover the dominant way each student learns using the VAK learning style (visual, audially and kinesthetic) and use this knowledge to tap into the student’s potential. We will provide the fun, the freedom of expression, access to our years of experience as performers and teachers, and provide you and your child with a hobby (or career) of a lifetime.

What do we ask in return? Simply the desire to learn and the required time spent at home practicing. We have 22+ years of cultivating a strong, positive relationship with our students through traveling together on planes, trains, buses, vans and yes, even limos :-). We've bonded over sharing music, long rehearsals, popcorn and brownies and giggling quietly backstage. Ours is an environment that encourages and facilitates learning, discipline, friendship and happiness.