Rena Slavin is a music educator, aspiring musicologist, and pianist.
Rena’s musical training began at the Pre-College Division of the Manhattan School of Music, where they studied with Sheryl Canellakis from 2005 to 2015. While in school, Rena performed in several New York venues, including Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. They performed in the Lincoln Center Young Musician’s Concert and served on the board of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Student Producers.
Rena continued their piano studies as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. They graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Economics in June 2019. Their senior thesis, Commemoration and Nostalgia in the Music of Mikael Tariverdiev for ‘Seventeen Moments of Spring’ earned them departmental honors and the Leonard B. Meyer Prize for Musical Excellence. Rena hopes to pursue their interests in Soviet musical traditions and film music in graduate school.
Currently, Rena works as a teacher at Stellar Music Space, where they give private piano and violin/viola lessons. They are also teaching on a freelance basis and performing as part of ReSonance Duo with flutist Rebecca Schifilliti. When Rena is not practicing, thinking about practicing, or reading about music, you might find them studying a foreign language or enjoying one of New York City’s many wonderful parks.
Speaks Italian, English, Russian
Rena is reliable and lovely with our kids.
Rena is not only professional, but is incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. She's clear in her direction, patient, and highly reliable.
Rena was fabulous! Very patient assessing my prior experience and finding my level, as well as checking the online set-up. Her enthusiasm for piano and music theory is contagious!
Rena was very clear, organized, and receptive to my input. She was also great in using her curriculum to support my learning process. I played some instruments growing up and always wanted to try piano but didn't try until college. I initially had some unrealistic goals for myself, and Rena was able to help me set some more reasonable ones while also making sure I was enjoying what I was learning. I can't recommend Rena enough; she's amazing!Show More
I started taking piano lessons from Rena in my late 20s with absolutely no prior piano experience and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Rena is incredibly knowledgeable about both piano and music theory in general. She's a very patient teacher and has a knack for explaining complicated material on a level that a layperson can understand. I can't recommend Rena enough for musicians at any level looking to improve!Show More
Rena is a very patient instructor, and she explains piano techniques in a clear and understandable fashion. Enjoyed her lessons immensely!
Rena is very clear and organized. She works with me to accomplish my Italian goals and I already learned so much in the first lesson. Highly recommended!
Stellar Music Space
I am currently employed as an assistant music teacher at Stellar Music Space, a private lesson studio in Brooklyn, NY. At Stellar, I teach piano and strings lessons and offer vocal coaching to students of various ages and musical backgrounds.
I started teaching piano lessons as a hobby while in high school. I am grateful for my informal start in teaching because it led me to formulate the philosophy that has guided my pedagogical approach ever since. Not being glued to rigid, predetermined methods allowed me to see how my students learned best. While at the University of Chicago, I continued to teach and amassed a studio of fifteen private students by the end of my senior year. To this day, I go into each lesson with a flexible mindset and I see my job as helping students achieve their goals, not mine. While it is important to have clear, organized long and short-term plans, I remind myself daily that my work as a teacher must be motivated by my students’ objectives. The greatest difficulty in teaching is that students often practice in a way that does not align with their established goals. It is my job to reconcile the practice method with the long-term objective of the student. Unsurprisingly, students who have agency in the process of learning the piano are more motivated and successful. When choosing repertoire, I never force students to work on pieces they dislike, and I would never value the allegedly proven fundamentals of piano technique more than I value my students’ sense of fulfillment and their love of music.
Great Neck Public Schools Summer Music Program
During the summers of 2014, 2015, and 2016, I worked in the Great Neck Public School District's summer school program. As a student assistant in the music enrichment program, I had the opportunity to work with students one-on-one, to coach small groups, and to lead larger ensembles. I worked primarily in the strings department, teaching beginner violin, viola, cello and intermediate orchestra. I also assisted with the jazz band and chamber music programs as a rehearsal pianist and a small-group coach.
University of Chicago
Manhattan School of Music PreCollege Division
Fluent / Native Proficiency
Fluent / Native Proficiency
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