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Music Prep Student Profile: Barbara Kooiman

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Music Prep Student Profile: Barbara Kooiman
Barbara Kooiman, secretary to the vice provost for research at Oakland University, has taken piano lessons in the Music Preparatory Division for 10 years.

Although she had played the piano by ear for many years prior to starting lessons, she wanted to expand her knowledge and skills by studying with professional music educators.

"I went as far as I could on my own," she explained. "I could mostly just play in the key of C or A minor and wanted to learn other keys, how to read music, and play more complicated pieces."

Through Music Prep instruction, Kooiman has enjoyed learning how to read music, play pieces she's always been interested in, and how to use chords and chord combinations to expand her skills and interests.

"My piano teacher, Bibianne Yu, is a marvelous teacher and lots of fun to work with. She expects a lot, but she is always very encouraging," the Rochester resident said.

"Her teaching technique makes me want to learn all I can. Also, she holds private recitals, which she calls piano gatherings, at one of the homes of her adult students. We have these gatherings three times a year and have come to know each other and appreciate each others’ unique talents."

In addition to finding a way to creatively entertain herself, Kooiman, views her piano playing as a means of broader self-development – one that is highly rewarding, even if no one else is listening.

"Taking lessons has expanded my horizons. I have played in church or as background music at various functions, both at the university and externally," she said. "I had put together three faculty and staff talent shows and played the piano in all three shows."

Kooiman believes that a critical component to the success she's had in improving her musical abilities and enjoyment is having found a highly skilled instructor who supports her, but also maintains high expectations.

"Bibianne has a vast amount of music knowledge and gears her teaching style to the needs of the student. She knows me so well that I can’t get away with anything," Kooiman said. "I don’t know how she knows when I’m using incorrect fingering without even looking!"

Kooiman has referred several friends and acquaintances to Music Prep for music instruction, and several have followed up on the recommendations. She noted, "I think it’s a wonderful program, and the teachers are top quality."