Since she was first introduced to the piano at the age of 12, Katrina Rivera’s passion for music has not looked back.
What began as a curiosity and simple interest has developed into a fully-fledged career in music.
From self-taught beginnings and with guidance from Crookwell High School’s music teacher, Katrina began formal piano lessons at the Goulburn Regional Conservatory in 2008.
In 2010 she commenced studies at the Australian National University (ANU) and graduated with a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in 2013, majoring in piano performance and completing her major honours research projects on the importance of the student-teacher relationship within instrumental lessons, and orchestral arranging.
Katrina also works part-time with the Music Engagement Program (MEP) at the ANU School of Music, with whom she has volunteered with since completing her honours project under the supervision of MEP staff. Since 2013, Katrina has been mentored by MEP staff to incorporate aspects of the Program’s philosophy into her piano teaching.
At the end of July, 23 of Katrina's 45 piano students, ranging from six years old to adult, attended a preparation session and two weekend Outreach visits to the Bill McKenzie Gardens in Page, ACT.
The students were able to choose whether they played a piano piece for the residents, accompanied one of the songs on the piano, sang with the residents or any combination of the above.
The students made personal contact with the residents and learnt the words to songs such as "Danny Boy", "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" and "Wish Me Luck".
In each one-hour visit they alternated between singing a song with the residents and playing a piano piece. Students also had time to chat with and interact with the residents.
The visits were thoroughly enjoyed by the residents, students, parents and staff.
Katrina is currently completing her Masters of Teaching degree through the University of New England.
As part of this course she recently completed a five week music teaching practicum with Mrs Woolley at Crookwell High.
On September 24, Katrina presented a paper on the Piano Outreach Program at the 38th Australia and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education (ANZARME) Conference in Auckland, New Zealand.
The paper will focus on how the Piano Outreach Program was carried out, directions for the future and the potential for Outreach to help students overcome (or prevent), symptoms of performance anxiety that tend to affect most musicians as they become more skilled and lessons become more and more focused on technical perfection.
The Piano Outreach Program developed as an attempt to introduce her piano students to the benefits of making music in a relaxed environment where the emphasis is on encouraging the residents of an aged care facility to make music, rather than stressing over how many notes they play correctly.
Katrina is the daughter of Manny and Kim Rivera of Crookwell.