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Piano teacher wants to raise the bar

Cherri Nicholson plays a piece by German composer Johannes Brahms at her home studio "Discovery Piano." Staff photo by Riham Feshir

After moving a grand piano from Owatonna, Minn., to Woodbury last year, Cherri Nicholson is now ready to teach.

The owner of "Discovery Piano" decided to run her own business out of her Woodbury home where she plans to apply her piano teaching skills to children of all levels.

Nicholson, who earned her master's in "piano pedagogy," or piano instruction, decided to join the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce and hold a grand opening this week.

"You don't set up a new studio overnight," she said, adding that she's looking forward to joining the Woodbury Community Expo and networking with other businesses.

Ever since she can remember, Nicholson has played the piano.

The Cottage Grove native took lessons from the same teacher until she was about 13 and then continued on at the K&S Conservatory of Music.

But she didn't always think she would end up teaching piano.

"I thought I wanted to be a nurse so I got a nurse's assistant license," she said.

After performing through high school and college, she decided to pursue piano teaching.

"I loved it so much that this, I thought, is who I am," she said. "I put my whole heart into teaching."

She enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of teaching and began giving lessons while living in Owatonna.

And after moving here last August, she said she started thinking about limiting her teaching to just Woodbury.

"Piano teaching used to be thought of as you go to this lady's house; she may have her kids running around ..." she said. "Really, the house transforms into a private studio."

Her home studio is equipped with the grand piano and a library filled with a selection of classical repertoires, duets, pops and Christmas music.

Nicholson conducts an interview with each student to determine if they're ready to start playing the piano. She said kids can generally start when they're at reading level.

"Piano is something that involves all channels," she said. "A student must learn each part of the brain at the same time."

She also encourages students to perform to build their confidence and gain that sense of gratification.

"Whenever you perform, it's kind of like a public speaking experience," she said.

Discovery Piano will join members of the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce to celebrate its opening with a ribbon cutting from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, July 26.

"I'm a dreamer and I don't always like to follow common protocol," Nicholson said. "I want to raise the bar for what people expect from piano."

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.