At age 17, after studying classical piano privately for 10 years, Maria’s teacher suggested she begin accepting students of her own. Maria has now been teaching professionally for over 25 years. In addition, she has been performing pop music with various musical acts throughout the tri-state area since she graduated from college. Maria earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Clemson University where she was actively involved in university’s music programs. At Clemson, Maria continued to study classical piano, accompanied the Men’s Choir, and spent two years as the keyboardist with the 18-piece Clemson University Jazz Ensemble, performing concerts throughout the Southeast. After college, Maria resumed teaching private lessons to students of all ages and proficiency levels. Some of her students have gone on to pursue music careers, both as performers and educators. In 2010, Montclair State University granted a scholarship to one of Maria’s students who recently graduated with a degree in Music Composition. While studying with Maria, this student performed a Beethoven piece that has been viewed on YouTube over 300,000 times. Maria continues to work with new students, and especially enjoys teaching seniors, young children, and students with special needs. She believes that each student has their own unique way of processing information, and she employs learner-centered teaching strategies to highlight their individual strengths. Maria customizes her lessons to each student’s proficiency level and musical tastes. This keeps students motivated and reinforces the joy of music.