Background and Teaching Philosophy
I grew up here in Cary, listening to my parents play everything from Beethoven to sacred music on the piano. I studied piano with my mom before taking lessons with Renee McKee and then Dr. Richard McKee. I have a B.A. in Music from Campbell University where I also played in the band, pep band, and accompanied voice and instrumental students. I've also played in a small jazz combo with my husband Justin Dickson, and written instrumental music with him for piano and trumpet or bass guitar. I've played in church worship bands and accompanied for choirs, most recently for a youth choir, and accompanied for local music theater productions. I love to teach and share my love of music with my students!
I am classically trained, but can also get students started in popular, jazz, and sacred styles of music as well as song- writing and improvisation. I love to collaborate with students on whatever styles and songs they are really interested in. We'll learn about how to count rhythms, sight read, and practice techniques for mastering difficult sections of music, as well as talking about music as expression and communication. I hope that my students end up with a solid foundation in piano that they can enjoy throughout their lives, and use as a jumping-off point for any other musical projects or instruments they might be interested in.
I have a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy from Campbell University. While at Campbell, I was a Presidential Scholar, recipient of the Jack Britt music scholarship 2001-2005, and received the Senior of the Year in Music award from the Campbell University Alumni Association in 2005. I have been an active performer throughout North Carolina, performing classical music, jazz, church music, and wedding services.
"As a piano student at Campbell University , Sara Dickson was musical, perceptive and sensitive. Today, as a pianist, she is a natural musician and deeply expressive. As a teacher, she helps students find that deeper, natural expression while mastering piano technique through a positive and encouraging approach."
~ Dr. Richard McKee, Director of Piano Studies, Campbell University.
"I am a piano instructor in Cary, North Carolina. Sara is a wonderful mentor and teacher, not only teaching intermediate repertoire well, but demonstrating a passion and sensitivity to music that is contagious. She has been patient, yet challenging, bringing out the best in my daughter's playing. I whole-heartedly recommend her as an instructor and a performer."
~ Rebecca, parent of student.
"My name is Gwen. I took two summers of piano lessons from Sara, and I have learned a lot from her as a teacher. She is very experienced, encouraging, kind, loving, and much more. Everything I could ever want in a piano teacher. She is challenging, but patient, and she makes her students look forward to their lessons instead of dreading them."
~ Gwen, student, age 10.
"Sara is nice and fun! And she gives you prizes and piano bucks if you do good in practice."
~Gracie, Age 7
"Sara's knowledge of music and mastery of the piano make her an excellent instructor. She teaches her students to make music, rather than just teaching them to "play piano". Her methods are very effective and her patience with young children is a true gift. I was amazed at how much Gracie learned. Sara is a special person."
~Vanessa, Gracie's mom
" 'Sara is extremely kind and softhearted...she's been a wonderful teacher to me...' These are the words of my nine-year-old daughter. I see in Sara, in addition to my daughter's view, such an easy rapport with the piano. Her teaching is to the point, focusing on every detail. Sara's genuine mastery of the piano, and her patient, empowering methodology is simply marvelous to be a part of!"
~ Tracy, parent of student.
"As a middle-aged man who always wanted to learn piano, Sara Dickson is a godsend. Not only does she posses the skills to teach, she has the “patience of Job”. She has done a wonderful task of explaining things that in the past may have seemed elementary at the start. I for one, feel that she creates a warm setting that meets the needs of whoever wants to learn the piano. I would recommend her to anyone who desires the enjoyment of playing the piano."
~ J. Brown, adult student