When a teacher wants to understand more about the technical world that interfaces with our teaching environment, Shana Kirk is the person to contact. When we had to shut down a year ago, on-line learning was suddenly thrust upon all teachers. Somehow we had to figure out how to work with students via Zoom on the computer. We needed to know how to set up the teaching studio, advise students to set up their environment, and maintain sanity.
Early into our COVID-19 experience many teachers turned to “Teaching in the Time of Covid-19, Resources for Online Instruction at the Clavier Companion website. The sponsor for this website is the Francis Clark Center for Keyboard Pedagogy. Shana was one of the first presenter with them in March 2020, and has been a tremendous support for the past year. Shana provides wonderful workshops and programs for our local associations which delve into how to handle “Technology for Inspired Teaching.”
Shana joined DAMTA as a graduate student in 1998. She served in several board positions, putting out the newsletter for several years and served as President 2002-2004. She helped out as a technology advisor for National and helped start the webinar series, co-writing the tech-connect column for MTNA.
Since moving into the technical side of piano instruction she is not currently teaching but does enjoy adjudicating and giving teaching workshops for the local CSMTA associations.
In reflecting on gratifying experiences with volunteering, Shana shared that it is very important to plug into the teaching community as a piano teacher. It’s important to see other teachers and meet their students. Otherwise, you evolve on your own island and gradually get out of touch with the rest of the world! The most gratifying volunteer experiences were probably the years I spent emceeing the Spookathon and getting to know the Mounsey family and the Tilleman-Dick family. Both families have represented incredible energy and philanthropy in Denver, and it was so inspiring to see all the lives they touched.
When asked, “What motivates you to place so much importance on volunteering in your life?” Shana responds: “Honestly, it’s really hard to rein it all in, and I have gotten better and more balanced in recent years I think. I was also on the board of the Playground Ensemble, which I left when COVID19 meant there was suddenly incredible demand for my online teaching knowledge and my work hours tripled!”
There is so much important work to be done in promoting the arts and making sure our communities remain vibrant and meaningful for everyone. I especially believe in the power of the arts as an everyday practice that should not be reserved only for professionals. I love that Denver is full of so many different musical interests and history, and can’t wait to get back to playing and attending live music!
Shana tell us a little about your personal life: We are our only relatives in Colorado. Everyone else lives in Tennessee. So we’re pretty low-key. But we live in Park Hill, which is sort of known for knowing your neighbors, we often feel like we DO have a family here. When I’m not working in music, I love to be outdoors. We have two dogs that irrationally rule our lives, and if I’m not out with one of them, I’m biking or gardening.
My husband Greg is a psychiatrist with offices in Denver and Las Vegas, specializing in addictions and working primarily with the aviation community.
Our son Ben is 17 and a hardcore athlete and social animal. He never sits still! He took guitar lessons from Leslie Dawe, then Vince Madison, and then he was in musical theatre for a while, too. These days, he’s very focused on football and track, and college applications, and you can usually find him at one of Denver’s many beautiful parks throwing some ball or other. He attends Denver East High.
Our son Henry is 13, quieter, and loves multi-player online gaming. He even participates in competitions sometimes. He was a very reluctant music student, but he did take lessons long distance from Paul Sheftel for a year or two. He attends McAuliffe International School and has, not surprisingly, thrived with school being virtual this year. He’s also very, very witty and observant, something he learned from Paul even more than piano.