"I believe that students should have fun when learning something, but also understand that hard-work and discipline is needed in order to have fun."
A California native, Laurie Kono Merchant moved to New York in 2004 to study at Manhattan School of Music. "I lived in Los Angeles my whole life and it helped that I had an older sister already living in New York. That made the move easier and fun." Laurie began playing piano at the young age of three. "I fell in love with the sound of the piano and how great it felt to push down on the keys."
Laurie believes that each student "should have fun when learning something, but also understand that hard-work and discipline is needed in order to have fun. There's nothing more satisfying than achieving a goal. Each student is unique and it is always my goal to make sure we approach learning through what best matches the student's needs." Laurie is open to teaching younger students though her experience is focused on students six and older. With younger students "I like to sing songs, make up songs, and if we can learn one skill a lesson, that is ideal." Laurie also enjoys teaching adults and "appreciates that we can talk about the history of the music and composers. I always have fun with adults." Laurie also teaches classical improvisation to her students, improvising in the style of different classical composers.
"Sergei Prokofiev is my all time favorite composer" says Laurie, although she loves all genres of music. "I also try to listen to pop music just to get an idea of what younger kids are listening to these days." Laurie enjoys solo playing especially thinking of how to program music on recitals. She also enjoys playing in chamber groups and has a piano duo called the "Koshka Piano Duo."