By Barbara Rowley
BIG SKY – Piano teacher Klaudia Kosiak will take on two new tasks this fall, as she gives birth to her second child in September, and—after a short maternity break—adds a second beginner class to her weekly schedule.
“With the growing number of young kids in town, I felt the time was right to give some other young students an opportunity,” Kosiak said. This will be the second year in a row that Ophir School will have two kindergarten classes.
Trained at a Polish music university, Kosiak taught throughout Poland in schools and privately before moving with her husband, Mariusz, to Big Sky in 2006. With 23 years of piano under her belt, she is the music director of Big Sky Broadway and the accompanist for the Big Sky Community Chorus.
Kosiak believes the piano teaches more than just musical skills.
“A big part of the experience is developing the discipline to practice, and that skill—discipline—may be the most important thing a student can learn. Developing the discipline to do something until you get better is a skill you can use anywhere.”
Kosiak currently teaches 15 students year round, and has 23 enrolled during the school year. She begins piano students at 5 years old and believes first grade is the ideal time to start.
She teaches 45-minute lessons in student homes and group lessons at the school on Wednesdays. This year’s classes will start the week of Oct. 22 and the Christmas recital is scheduled for Dec. 16. Kosiak’s students also perform in a spring recital, and for the past several years, several of her students have performed at the same winter concert as famed pianist Pavel Egorov.
After six years in Big Sky, Kosiak is realistic.
“I’m not expecting [students] to give up skiing or basketball so they can practice,” she said. Instead, she tells them, if “you don’t have time for practicing, just look at the music before you go to sleep and visualize the notes.”
Ultimately, Kosiak says, her students learn the skills and confidence it takes to perform in front of others. Music can be therapeutic, and Kosiak hopes her students can tap into this, especially as they become teenagers.
“Music can help you relax and move to a different world. When I was out of sorts as a child, I would go to my piano and totally space out and play. I want my students to be able to experience this kind of release, and to be able to entertain themselves and others. It is a gift to be able at any time to just sit down and play.”
Contact Kosiak at firstname.lastname@example.org or (406) 599-3709.