Since its establishment in 1999, the Hicks/Chernysheva-Hicks Piano Performance Academy has produced students of uniquely high levels of artistry and technique. Students from this academy have been the recipients of the highest local, regional, statewide and national awards. Several of our students have capitalized on their training here to further their studies at the collegiate level and at advanced music institutions such as Interlochen and Juilliard. The majority of our students who have gone on to become outstanding performers came to us as beginners or as students with limited or poor backgrounds whose potential as pianists had been neglected. Our success has been built on our ability to direct and develop that potential in our students.

Though we are very proud of the achievements of our outstanding students, our goal as teachers is to put all of our students on a path toward self-sufficiency. After a committed period of study, our students leave our academy as well-trained musicians and highly skilled pianists who can enjoy making music at the piano throughout their lives.

Music must be performed in order to be appreciated. It is for this reason that we designate ourselves as a Piano Performance Academy. It is essential that our students develop effective skills as performers so that they can experience the joy of playing for themselves as well as the ability to bring enjoyment to others. Our emphases are on several key areas of development:

• A versitile piano technique
• A working knowledge of Music Theory
• Dynamic approaches to practicing, problem solving, and preparation of pieces for public presentation.
• A thorough knowledge of score-reading
• Understanding the underlying style and structure of the music and self-identity with the musical message.
• The development of the skills necessary for public performance.

Studio Structure

Our academy consists of two independent but cooperating teaching studios:

• The piano studio of Dr. Eric Hicks
• The Piano studio of Ms Irina Chernysheva-Hicks.
• Students study with only one teacher for their weekly lessons.
• Students in both studios come together for *Group Performance Classes (7 per year) and recitals (2 per year).
*Group lessons provide an opportunity for students to benefit from the perspectives of both teachers.

Student Participation in Activities

All of our students are expected to participate in group classes, the academy recitals and the annual theory test for their grade level. Other activities such as festivals,competitions, etc. are depedent upon the ability and productivity of the individual student. With the exception of the theory test, participation in non-academy activities is at the teacher’s discretion.

Special Concerts

In addition to our Bi-annual recitals, our outstanding students are periodically presented in special event concerts such as the ‘Super Star’ Concert in 2004 and the ‘Piano Extravaganza’ concert in 2010. These concerts are advertised and open to the public.