***TESTIMONIALS**

If you'd like to contribute a Testimonial, email to:
 palisadesschool@gmail.com, for our staff to post.
  
 
 
THE FOLLOWING TESTIMONIAL IS BY THE PARENTS OF A TEN YEAR OLD PSM STUDENT:

 
My daughter has been studying piano performance under Mr. Thomopoulos for over a year now. We have seen marked improvement in her playing during the time. We are thrilled with our experience with the school,and especially with Mr. Thomopoulos.
 
This School is very different from the other piano institution and educators that my daughter has studied with, in that it aims to convey the love of music to the students. Here, learning the notes and getting the correct timing is only the beginnng in learning a piece. More lesson time is spent on the artistry of music making; the expression of color and phrasing, the balancing and interaction among multiple voice lines, etc. A new student, regardless of his/her playing level, has to go through a bootcamp period in which basic playing techniques, i.e different ways the fingers can strike the keys in order to make completely different sounds, and how much pedal is applied, are studied and rehearsed numerous times. In our opinion, this emphasis on basic techniques and attention to details, has set its students apart from most outside ones. Well, this and the luxury of having lessons on a gorgeous Hamburg Steinway "B"!
 
Another aspect that we like is the abundance of opportunity for students to perform. During the school year, students recitals are usually scheduled every month. Students can also play their pieces in the internal Master Classes held once a week. Many students also take part in myriads of competitions and music festivals. As a result, students here are well seasoned in performing in public, which is a main goal of this school's.
 
When we were weighing before enrolling my daughter in the school, our concerns were how she would cope with the high demands of this school, ad more importantly, whether she will feel happy here. Mr. Thomopoulos requires that students taking lessons with him, take two lessons per week. This proved to be a big commitment for both the student and the parents, but, as we learned later, is necessary to maintain the high teaching quality and sustained rate of progress for the students. As for my daughter being happy, the answer is a resounding YES. Mr. Thomopoulos goes out of his way to make this a child-friendly experience, e.g. fun parties (aka receptions, wink wink) are held almost after every student recital. These parties became more important for my daughter that even on days that she did not participate in a recital, she still wanted to go to the after-party. And lots of other kids feel the same way. Mr. T is strict and demanding when teaching, but is very friendly with the children that they all love him. I still don't know how he pullsit off but he does, and we are thankful for it.

 

THE NEXT TESTIMONIAL IS BY THE PARENTS OF AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD PSM STUDENT:
 
 
Our daughter has attended the Palisades School Of Music since the age of four and a half.
Mr. Thomopoulos and the other teachers and secretary are all a great team. and
we've made many friends with other families of students throughout the years. Everyone is encouraging to one another. Mr. Thomopoulos is very dedicated to his profession, it's his life. He teaches seven days a week and he absolutely loves what he does. He is an expert teacher and motivator, and although a sweet man, can be tough. If your child/student has what it takes,he will work hard to get them to competition level, he'll teach them discipline and to perform with an elegance and maturity that is beyond their years. He requires that parents be involved by attending and videotaping the lessons(a very effective teaching tool) and at home, seeing to it that the video is reviewed and encouraging the student to practice.Mr. T, has drawn out the musical ability that we never could have dreamed possible for our child, who began as hopeless, to now an almost world class pianist.Our child's secondary teacher; Ms. Hyo-Jin Lee is excellent, she handles the"meat and potatoes" (if you will), and reinforces it under Mr. Thomopoulos' direction, and a lot gets accomplished at every lesson. This school is the best around. For our daughter, we believe there is no place better.
We all love Mr. Thomopoulos and PSM, words couldn't possibly describe our gratitude.


 
 
THIS TESTIMONIAL IS BY THE PARENTS OF SIBLING PSM STUDENTS:


Our two girls have been studying piano with Mr. Thomopoulos for over six years combined.  We are drawn to Mr. T ( as he is affectionately called) primarily for his unique understanding of a child's psychology and, as a result, his mastery of the balanced use of carrots and sticks in bringing out a child's maximum potential.  While he instills true fear and discipline in his students by virtue of his high standards, he also fosters pride and fun in the process for rewarding students who put in the necessary hours.  As such, under his tutelage, the child learns to appreciate the merits of hard work (through accomplishments in various competitions and more) and over time the joy of music on his/her own.

Mr. T's commitment to teaching extends to the parents in equal measure.  It is almost a pre-requisite for one or both parents to be integrally involved with the child in the learning process, from sitting in on classes to attending the numerous masterclasses /recitals /performances, to taking responsibility in the child's daily practice. As a result, the uncommitted invariably drop out after a while; what remains in the school community is a group of families who are highly devoted to their children's learning and who cheer on one another's accomplishment.  The peer support therefore forms an important pillar in the child's learning process.

Mr. T's dedication to teaching and genuine care for the students are unmistakable.  For the students who aspire to pursue professional careers in music, the sky is the limit. For the others who simply want to learn to appreciate music (and are willing to work hard for it), Mr. T provides a fertile ground for the flower to blossom.  Kudos to Mr. T and his staff teachers for their continued excellence.

Paul and Vivienne Ho
 
 
THIS IS AN ESSAY WRITTEN BY A PSM STUDENT FOR HER SIXTH GRADE WRITING CLASS.
 
 
I remember the day like it was yesterday.  It was a beautiful, cool, spring night in New York City.  I knew this was the building as I looked at it, admiring it's patterns and sculptures, and the interior with it's dull peach walls and it's french blue patterned curtains.  The red velvet rug that ran through the hall, not a single bump.  My piano teacher and my parents led me through the door, my elegant pink and black lace dress draped on the crystal marble floor behind me. As we showed our tickets and entered the stage entrance door leading to the backstage, my heart beating out of my chest, I knew I could do this, no matter how nervous I was to perform.
 
My piano teacher, Mr. Thomopoulos, is a huge and important part of my life.  Since my very first lesson and up to my most recent ones, he has helped me make a dramatic improvement in playing the piano.  Not just playing it , but understanding theory, rhythems and reading notes (which I was terrible at). One thing I've learned from him, as well as developing a lot of myself, is showing passion and stage presence in my playing.  That helps a lot in competitions and especially in winners concerts.
 
I was in a practice room backstage practicing my piece to play in the concert, Carnegie Hall is a big place.  It has three halls.  There was a small hall, a medium hall and a big hall.  I was about to perform in the small hall called; Weill Recital Hall. My adrenaline running like a speeding bullet, my fingers began getting extremely tired and sweaty. I was so nervous, my mind was on a million things. There was only one person to help and encourage me backstage. With my stomach in knots, my piano teacher, Mr. T, helped me through this.
 
He told me the most helpful words: "Remember Brie, you'll be fine, just remember also to keep a good hand position and lift your fingers high, in our last lesson; I talked about and showed you how to glide your thumb under your hand while playing your scales, especially on measure 114"  He positioned his hand on his other and propped his arm on an angle, so that he could glide his fingers easily.  All these words were so much help.  I was so greatful for the advice.
 
It was my turn to play.  I could hear the audience cheering for the person who was just performing.  I grabbed my handkerchief and walked onto the stage.  I bowed and took my seat.  I played a piece called "Fireworks" by Debussy.  As I got into the piece, I thought about what Mr. T. told me, I glided my hand as he said.  When the really deep and soulful part of the music came, you could see that I've let my passion show.  You could almost feel the music just like I could. You could see the savage thrust in my eyebrows.  I was really into it.  At the end, I took my bow, wiped my hands with the handkerchief, and left the stage, the audience overwhelmed by my performance.  "Great job!" Mr. T. said with a bright smile on his face!
 
At the end I received my trophy, took some pictures and left. I'm so pleased to have a teacher like Mr.Thomopoulos, to guide me through and encourage me.  Thanks to him, I had an outrageous performance, I'm so glad to have a teacher like him, and I'll keep learning and keep trying until I'm the best.  I'm almost positive Mr. T. will get me there.