Ro Myra
Austin, TX
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Ro Myra

Ro M.

Austin, TX
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Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
I've been playing piano by ear ever since I was 4 years old. In high school, I studied classical piano with one of the best instructors in the world. At university, I was bored with learning composition written by dead white men, so I decided to start composing my own pieces.

I'm excited to hear what your goals are with piano. Whether you're wanting to learn current pop songs, or classical pieces, I've got you covered.

About Ro M.

“I grew up in a small, dried-up oil and farming town in the middle of nowhere Nebraska,” says Ro Myra. “I spent most of my life running away from it, and now I’m right back where I started.”

‘Nowhere, Nebraska,’ Myra’s extraordinary debut, is more than just a musical homecoming, though. Recorded over the last few years in Denver, Nashville, and Austin, the album is a complex reckoning with the past, a nuanced, literate reexamination of small town life in the shadow of heartbreak, self-destruction, and second chances. While the arrangements here are broad and sweeping, Myra’s storytelling is sharply focused and firmly rooted, offering up rich, detailed character studies with keen insight and deep empathy. She writes with a novelist’s eye, isolating moments and emotions with surgical precision, and she sings with a weathered grace that makes even hard truths go down easy. The result is a warm embrace of an album all about memory and forgiveness, growth and pain, freedom and fate, a collection that calls to mind everything from Kathleen Edwards and Mary Gauthier to Lucinda Williams and Sheryl Crow as it makes peace with the past in order to more fully inhabit the present.

“This album was born out of an intention to become more of an observer in my daily life,” Myra explains. “I wanted to go back to this childlike state, to this honest, authentic space where I could try to understand the people and the places that shaped me, and maybe come to a better understanding of myself in the process.”

Born in Nebraska’s rural southwest corner, Myra knew from an early age that her future lay beyond the cropland and countless miles of empty prairie that surrounded her. Music was her first and most precious escape, a world of infinite possibility right there at her fingertips, and she dove into it heart and soul. Growing up, Myra lacked formal training, so she invented her own notation system and taught herself piano, spending every free moment in the back bedroom of her grandmother’s house picking out songs by ear. In high school, she began studying classical piano with a teacher who believed in her more than she believed in herself, and by the time she hit seventeen, Myra was off to college to further her classical education.

“University seemed like the only way to get out of my hometown for good,” she explains, “but it still felt like something was missing. Everything I was studying and playing was written by long-dead white men, and there was no room for me to improvise or be creative or experience the true fullness of what music had to offer.”

So Myra shifted her focus from the arts to academics, eventually earning a pair of master’s degrees in education and international social entrepreneurship. It was while pursuing the latter in Montana that she met renowned contemporary composer Dr. Eric Funk, who became not only a teacher, but also a trusted mentor.

“Dr. Funk told me about this professor at Yale who’d taken him under his wing and let him study for free, and he wanted to pay that forward and do the same thing for me,” says Myra. “He got his colleagues in on it, too, and suddenly I was able to return to music in this really profound, life-changing way.”

Yet Myra still felt a lingering guilt around her passion for music, like it was a selfish pursuit in a world so full of hardship and suffering, so she continued to dedicate herself to more traditionally altruistic causes. She helped launch an education and healthcare non-profit in Buenos Aires, worked with an international aid group distributing wheelchairs and mobility devices around the world, and taught underprivileged students in impoverished communities through the Princeton University-founded non-profit Teach For America.

“I was having a hard time coming to the grips with the idea that I could also have a meaningful impact on people through my songs,” Myra explains, “but Dr. Funk really opened my eyes. He said to me, ‘You can keep on running away from music if you want to, but you are music, and you can’t run from yourself.’ That helped me realize that what the world needs more than anything is people who are fully alive, and I’m never more fully alive than I am when I’m writing music.”

Taking Funk’s advice to heart, Myra began work on her debut, recording at first in Denver and then in Nashville, where she now resides full-time. Though disappointing setbacks meant practically starting over from scratch, and a health scare forced even more delays, Myra refused to give up. She produced the entire collection herself, fleshing out her vision of a record as raw and windswept as the fields of Nebraska with a diverse cast of players including Elephant Revival drummer Darren Garvey, bassist Vanessa McGowan (Brandy Clark), multi-instrumentalist Joshua Grange (Lucinda Williams, Sheryl Crow), and fellow singer/songwriter Phoebe Hunt, among others.

“I wanted people to be able to listen to this record and feel what it’s like to stand in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska on a hot summer day, to feel the heat just radiating off of the wheat fields,” Myra explains. “I wanted it to sound like what growing up there felt like.”

That sense of place lies at the heart of ‘Nowhere, Nebraska,’ which opens with the soaring “She’s Not The Road.” Like much of Myra’s writing, the song is imbued with a sense of loneliness and longing, her characters searching for connection in a sea of disappointment and inherited trauma. The bittersweet “Irene” reckons with the desperation that keeps partners trapped in abusive relationships, while the melancholy “Mama” tries to make sense of the dysfunctional emotional cycles that get passed down from generation to generation, and the uneasy “Half The Time” grapples with substance abuse and the challenge of loving someone who isn’t really there.

“When I’m writing classical pieces for orchestra, I like switching up time signatures so that the piece feels like a living, breathing entity,” says Myra, “but ‘Half The Time’ was my first experience trying that in a song like this. I built it around these alternating bars of 4/4 and 5/4 to make it ebb and flow in this really organic way, to capture that sense of never feeling fully settled or sure of yourself.”

Myra’s characters spend much of the album coping with their pain and uncertainty through escape, either via the road, the bottle, or, as on the languid “Railroad Weed,” a cloud of smoke. By the record’s end, though, there’s an abiding sense of acceptance, an understanding that inner peace comes not from outrunning your problems, but from acknowledging them. “I dream of dancing in the valley til my tears dry,” Myra sings on the shuffling “Jump In The Water,” which learns to find grace and forgiveness within. “Transcend the monstrosity in me / Regret lingers here but I found the key.” Gentle album closer “More Than Just Okay” similarly promises that salvation is closer than we think, with Myra practically whispering, “You might feel like disappearing when the windy road won’t straighten / But you’ll see the light, you will become the light.”

“When I was very young, I remember making up songs spontaneously and singing them to myself whenever I was most afraid,” Myra explains. “I think ‘More Than Just Okay’ is me singing to my past selves and my present self and really anyone else who’s listening, just trying to remind them that everything they’re seeking is already inside of them.”

Ro Myra may have left home, but home, it seems, never left her.


*** Lesson Details ***
Music lessons should be all about you and your unique goals and learning style. Be ready to have fun and enjoy the process of learning! We will be making short-term goals together to ensure that you will ultimately reach your long-term goal. Dreams are attainable and I want to help you get there!

*** Specialties ***
Speech level singing, classical and contemporary piano, classical and contemporary music composition, songwriting, music production, and audio engineering.

Reviews

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Nicole
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Ro is beyond talented. She helped my daughter, who was struggling emotionally, to have a creative outlet that she LOVES. It builds her confidence and she enjoys every single lesson. When my daughter sings songs that she wrote with Ro while playing piano I cry every single time. It actually creates a deeper love of music because it’s personal to her. It’s not like other lessons where she is memorizing music she can’t relate to, I cannot recommend RO enough. Ro has helped my daughter during this pandemic immeasurably!

Posted Oct 13, 2020
Doug
Profile-location-online Online

It's been incredible to see my son grow in his songwriting, audio engineering, and guitar skills. Ro has been a great teacher and mentor for the past 3 years now, and I can see the huge positive impact she's had on Michael's life. I'm so grateful she offers online lessons.

Posted Oct 12, 2020
Sheryl
Profile-location-online Online

My 6 year old daughter is always looking forward to her lessons with Ro every week. They seem to have so much fun together and my daughter is learning voice, piano, and songwriting at the same time. Ro really amazes me and I'm so glad that our friends recommended her to us.

Posted Oct 9, 2020
Dylan S.

Great with kids

My 4 year old daughter expressed an interest in playing the piano but neither my wife or I know how to play. I'm very pleased we found RaShelle. She's patient, positive and enthusiastic. Our daughter looks forward to each lesson, which is more than I could have hoped for. And, she's learning a lot.

What impresses me most is that RaShelle is also helping her learn to sing in key while she plays. My daughter is only 4 and already knows how to do things that I can't. That's pretty exciting.

Posted May 3, 2013
Dee F.

Enthusiastic Teacher!

RaShelle has a God-given musical talent and it shows in her enthusiasm for music - not only in piano, but guitar and singing, as well.

RaShelle's love for music~ is evident in the way that she teaches and inspires you as a student to want to excel to the same level of excellence.

I strongly recommend this young woman as a teacher.

DeeDee

Posted Feb 26, 2013

Photos & Videos

5 Photos & Videos

Experience

Singer-Songwriter at Country Music Hall of Fame's Words & Music Program
Aug 2016 - Present

Country Music Hall of Fame - Nashville, TN

Voice, Piano, Guitar, & Songwriting Instructor
Aug 2019 - May 2020

Musicians Woodshed - Austin, TX

Education

International Social Entreprenuership, M.A.
Aug 2008 - May 2013

University of Montana

Spanish & International Studies, B.A.
Aug 2004 - May 2008

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Languages

English

Professional Proficiency

Spanish

Professional Proficiency

Certifications

Teaching Certification (K-6)
May 2013

University of Missouri-St. Louis

Awards

Dennis Washington Horatio Alger Fellow
May 2008

Dennis Washington Foundation

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