Hi Kiersten, can you start by telling us about your childhood experience with piano and what drove you to become a pianist and teacher? Also share some information about where you grew up and experiences that helped shape your passion at a young age
I started piano lessons when I was 7 years old after begging my mom to let me take lessons for about a year. We had a deal in our family that if you started piano lessons you had to get to a certain level before you could stop, so my mom wanted to make sure I was old enough to make the commitment. I made it!
When I was 14, I began studying with Dr. Natsuki Fukasawa, who really inspired me to more actively participate in the music and not just play the piano. He inspired me to continue learning and develop my passion for music. While studying at Brigham Young University I found I loved teaching, and it’s been my goal to guide my students to love music and feel confidence and happiness in their hard work and talent the same way I was guided by my teachers.
Our Opus 1 spring recitals are fast approaching. Can you tell us about your most memorable performance experience and a time you made a mistake at a performance and how you learned from it?
I think my most memorable performance was performing the ‘I Got Rhythm’ Variations by Gershwin with the Merced Symphony when I was 17. I LOVE playing in ensembles, and playing with such a large ensemble and such a great piece was really just the most wonderful and fun experience!
The worst performance I ever had was when I was performing Ravel’s Boat on the Ocean. I had a huge memory slip, not because I couldn’t remember, but because I went in to the performance with a very nervous and negative attitude about my ability to play the piece that made me second-guess myself. After finishing, I realized that instead of worrying about my weaknesses, I could have instead built my confidence by concentrating on how much preparation I had done, having fun, and enjoying the performance. This would have helped create a much more positive experience.
When you're not teaching or practicing, what do you do for fun that people would be surprised by?
I go to my parent’s farm! I love being outside, being around the animals, and getting dirty while I dig ditches, fix fences, gather eggs or clean the chicken coop. If I’m outside, I’m a happy camper!