About

Welcome! My name is Melody, and I am a piano teacher and pianist. This is my piano resources blog, The Plucky Pianista (pronounced pia-NEE-sta, with more emphasis on the third syllable than the others), and here is the story behind the name. Someone who is plucky is courageous, brave, and spirited, and has lots of resolution and fortitude. I believe that it DOES take courage, resolution, and sometimes fortitude (among many other things!) to teach piano, and I do my best to exemplify those characteristics throughout all aspects of my teaching. A pianista is simply the Italian word for pianist. And there you have it…The Plucky Pianista! This blog includes teaching resources, ideas, and links to other blogs, and hopefully inspiration to fuel your own passion for teaching!

About Melody Payne, Ph.D., NCTM
Dr. Melody Hanberry Payne is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music and an award-winning piano instructor who began her full-time teaching career at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has also taught at Louisiana State University, Sterling College, Mississippi College, and Emory and Henry College. In 2009, Mississippi College presented her with the Pittman Young Faculty Award for excellence in teaching and for leading and directing the Taylor School, the MC Department of Music's musical outreach program for children and adults in the community. She is a classically trained pianist and enjoys providing piano lessons for children and adults of all ages and abilities. She has experience teaching special needs students including legally blind (using Braille materials), Tourette's Syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, Epilepsy, and severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. 
Dr. Payne has presented research on practicing, early- and intermediate-level pedagogical piano compositions, and piano performance accuracy at the National Conference of the Music Teachers National Association, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the Mississippi Music Teachers Association State Conference. She has presented lecture recitals and workshops on beginning group keyboard experiences, intermediate piano literature, practicing, and technology in the piano studio at local and state levels.
She is a member of the Music Teachers National Association, the Virginia Music Teachers Association, and currently serves as President of the Blue Ridge Music Teachers Association, the local chapter of VMTA. Additionally, Dr. Payne is an experienced adjudicator and instructor whose students consistently are top performers and winners in festivals and competitions.
She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy and Doctor of Philosophy in Music with emphases in music education and piano pedagogy from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, where she studied piano pedagogy with Dr. Steve Betts and piano with Prof. Constance Carroll. 
Melody and her amazing husband Greg live in Marion, Virginia, a small town nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

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