Tampa Bay Music Academy is pleased to welcome Eleni Volonakis to our piano faculty! Eleni is a native of Rhodes, Greece and has taught piano for 18 years, both privately and in a conservatory setting. At the age of 12, she began studying with Achilles Kolasis at the “Ecole Normale de Musique” in Luzerne, Switzerland. She went on to earn a degree in Piano from Corelli Conservatory as well as a degree in Music Theory and Harmony from the Music Academy Conservatory in Athens, Greece.
In 2003, Eleni took her first job teaching piano and electric keyboard at Corelli Conservatory. In 2005, she transitioned to Rodion Pedia School in Rhodes, where she taught piano and music theory to elementary and high school students. It was during those early teaching years that Eleni discovered joy of sharing her passion for music with her students.
“When I received my first music degree, I was confused about which direction I should follow,” said Eleni. “To a young lady, all of the glamour and spectacle of being a concert pianist is very inviting: lights, scenery, people focused on you and most of all, applause and recognition for your art. It is very hard to pass by. It was during this time that I began giving lessons and working with young students. Although this didn’t lead me to the path of being a concert pianist, it gave me the opportunity to expose young minds to the incredible joy of making music. Working together with them and watching them progress was so rewarding that I decided that this was the path for me.”
In 2010, Eleni opened her own private music studio where she taught students of all experience levels, beginning at age four. In each lesson, Eleni strives to impart not only the basics of piano playing, but also knowledge of music theory. This gives her students a deeper appreciation for and understanding of music as a whole.
Eleni also has experience teaching students with learning disabilities, including dyslexia and ADHD. She has cultivated a teaching environment based on patience and mutual love of music, and many of her students have become lifelong friends.
To help our students and their families get to know Eleni better, we asked her a few questions about herself:
TBMA: What is your favorite musical memory?
Eleni: When I was nine years old my piano teacher asked my brother and me to play side by side for our recital. We were to play Mozart’s masterpiece, “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” on two grand pianos in a large local theater. When the day finally came, the theater with its lights, ambience, and a near-capacity audience left me in a state of euphoria. I still remember my delight when the audience stood and applauded. It was a memory I will never forget.
TBMA: What is your favorite musical work that you have personally performed?
Eleni: I have two favorites: Chopin Waltz No. 10 in B minor, Op.62, No. 2 and Chopin Waltz L’adieu Opus 69, No. 1 in A flat Major. They bring back memories of playing Chopin for the first time. As a pianist, I always think of Chopin as the master of personal expression. His music delves deeply into my innermost feelings and leads me to a mirror in which I find myself looking deeply at my own feelings.
TBMA: What do you love about teaching?
Eleni: There are many things! I love taking students on a personal journey of their understanding of music and piano, from their first days of exposure to the piano to a time when the piano can become either a place of great celebration or a place of escape and solace. Also, the one-on-one relationship between a piano student and their teacher is very special. For me, this is a great privilege and responsibility. I share and rejoice in the student’s progress.
TBMA: What is your favorite teaching method?
Eleni: My favorite teaching method is the Alfred Piano Method. This method is featured in a variety of books, including All-In-One piano course for children, a prep course and basic piano library, and is completely correlated and presented in progressive levels. One of the best things about the Alfred Piano Method is that they have a series that is packed with colorful graphics and is perfect for kids, and also one that is created with older students in mind.
TBMA: When do you recommend starting private music lessons?
Eleni: The best time to start piano lessons will be different for every child, but most will be ready between 5 ½ and 8 years old. My favorite age to start a student on piano lessons is 6 years old. At this age, they’ve had a year of kindergarten and are used to adult-student learning.
TBMA: What brought you to TBMA?
Eleni: In scanning local opportunities on the internet, I first found TBMA. After communicating with TBMA, the concept of “teachers for teaching’s sake” and not all of the administration that goes with it, was very inviting.
TBMA: What do you love to do when you’re not teaching or playing music?
Eleni: I greatly enjoy photography. The camera and its products work in unison, as a time-machine, freezing people and places to a specific moment in time. I love how the way these pictures are rendered is left solely to the paint brush of the photographer. I also love traveling. The more I travel, the more I see, the more I love it.
We’re so thrilled to be able to share Eleni’s expertise and passion for teaching with our TBMA students and families.
Welcome to TBMA, Eleni!
This is a TBMA original article written for our Tampa Bay Music Academy readership by Susan McClure. If you find it to be helpful, we would love for you to re-post it on your blog. Please contact us first for permission. Visit our website home for information on finding a music teacher in Tampa, Odessa, Land O’ Lakes, Citrus Park, Westchase, New Port Richey, Lutz, Trinity, Keystone, or Tarpon Springs Florida who offers private piano lessons, guitar lessons, saxophone lessons, voice lessons, drum lessons, violin lessons, cello lessons, flute lessons, or music lessons in any other instrument proficiency category. TBMA teachers (piano, guitar, voice, flute, cello, violin, woodwinds, brass, strings, drums, percussion) pride themselves in a reputation for an uncompromising commitment to excellence and special care taken for every student. We remain absolutely committed to providing an outstanding enrollment experience beyond any other in the region. Call us today. We look forward to hearing from you!