Paola Savvidou, DMA, NCTM, is a pianist, pedagogue, and wellness advocate. On a daily basis she wears many hats serving as Wellness Initiative Program Manager and Adjunct Lecturer in Piano at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance while also running her own piano studio called Music Lotus in Ann Arbor, MI. She previously served as Content Development Manager for iCadenza and as Assistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy at the University of Missouri where she taught applied piano, undergraduate and graduate courses in piano pedagogy and wellness, and coordinated the Group Piano Program. In her current role as Program Manager for the Wellness Initiative she develops partnerships within the University of Michigan health services and beyond to provide education, injury-preventive services and recovery support for students, faculty and staff. As Adjunct Lecturer at U-M she teaches the “Wellness for the Performing Artist” course and runs the wildly successful Time for Me: Group Piano for Adult Beginners program.
As a proponent of healthy-living for musicians, she utilizes Laban Movement Analysis, Yoga, and creative movement within her teaching to improve alignment while deepening expressivity in performance. She frequently presents related research work at prominent conferences including the MTNA National Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the European Association for Schools of Music Conference, College Music Society’s International Conference, and the European Piano Teachers Association. Her work has won Article of the Year through MTNA two years in a row; in 2015 for her article "In Search of the 'Perfect' Musical Performance" published in the American Music Teacher and in 2016 for her interdisciplinary research article "Assessing Injury Risk in Pianists: Using Objective Measures to Promote Self-Awareness" published in the MTNA e-Journal. She has also published in the Piano Pedagogy Forum, MMTA NOTES and Clavier Companion (forthcoming). She co-authored At the Piano with Yoga with Haley Myers; a collection of duets for beginning piano students coupled with yoga poses. Dr. Savvidou is currently writing a book entitled Teaching the Whole Musician: A Guide to Supporting Music Students' Wellness to be published by Oxford University Press in 2019. In Spring 2015 she received the prestigious Purple Chalk Teaching Award by the College of Arts & Science Student Council at the University of Missouri.
A devoted advocate of contemporary music, Paola is a member of the New Muse Piano Duo with Jonathan Kuuskoski; an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers. Their concert tours have included performances across the United States, Norway, Greece, and Cyprus. NMPD’s first CD, transhuman, was released in 2017 by the Blue Griffin label.
Dr. Savvidou frequently adjudicates piano events such as the Michigan Music Teachers Association Student Achievement Testing, National Guild of Piano Teachers, and Federation of Music Clubs. She serves on the editorial board for the MTNA e-Journal and chaired the Poster Sessions for the 2019 MTNA National Conference. Dr. Savvidou previously served as President for the Mid-Missouri Area Music Teachers Association (2014-2016).
She is a trained kids yoga teacher with Rainbow Kids Yoga, holds a BM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and graduate degrees (MM and DMA) in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Translating Research Into Action: Injury-Prevention Strategies for the Pre-Collegiate Pianist,” National Center for Keyboard Pedagogy Conference, Chicago, IL, July 2019. Co-presented with Kristen Schuyten, PT.
“Preparing the Mind and Body for Musical Performance,” Spokane, WA, March 2019. Co-presented with Dr. Chris Madden and Dr. Elaina Burns.
“Yoga in the Piano lesson,” Oakland Piano Teachers Association, MI, February 2019.
“Spice Up Your Lessons: Imaginative Yoga-Based Activities for Piano Students,” Ohio Music Teachers Association, Cleveland, OH, March 2018.
“Assessing Music Students’ Injuries and Preventative Measures for the Pre-Collegiate Teacher,” MTNA National Conference, Orlando, FL, March 2018. Co-presented with Kristen Schuyten, PT.
Yoga instructor and Chamber music coach, Ann Arbor Area Piano Ensemble Camp, Faber Piano Institute, June 2017 and June 2018. Click here to read more about the camp!
"The Secret Pain of Pianists: Quantitative Study Results and Recommendations," MTNA National Conference, Baltimore, MD, March 2017
Co-presented with Dr. Jeremy Stanek
"Training Healthy and Expressive Musicians through Somatic Education," International Society for Music Education Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, July 2016
"Back to Bach: Re-envisioning Success for Today's Professional Reality," Texas Music Teachers Association, Dallas, TX, June 2016
o-presented with Jonathan Kuuskoski
"Movement and Wellness Training for Pianists: Case Study Report," MTNA National Conference Poster Session, San Antonio, TX, April 2016
Co-presented with Haley Myers
Teaching demonstration, MTNA Collegiate Piano Pedagogy Symposium, University of South Carolina, January 2016
"Inside Out Learning: Incorporating Movement into the Piano Lesson" Colorado Piano Pedagogy Symposium, University of Northern Colorado, November 2015
"Finding Your Inner Yogi: Principles for Healthy-Music Making"
Workshop at Peabody Conservatory, April 2015
Masterclass for the Peabody Preparatory Division, April 2015
"Music in the Post-modernist World"
Presentation at the University of Baltimore, April 2015
"So you want to be a college professor?"
Presentation at Mizzou Music Talks (a.k.a. TED Talks), April 2015
"Breathe With Your Wrists: Injury-Prevention for the Young Pianist"
MTNA National Conference Poster Session, Las Vegas, NV, March 2015
"Tiger Pride: Lessons in Community Engagement"
Presentation at University of Wisconsin-Stout, February 2015
National Piano Teachers Guild, Ray Township, MI, May 2019
MMTA Student Achievement Testing, Livonia, MI, March 2019
MMTA Student Achievement Testing, Theory Judge, Ann Arbor, MI, March 2019
Flint Music Teachers Association Piano Festival, MI, November 2018
MTNA Poster Sessions Chair, October 2018
National Piano Teachers Guild, Clarkston, MI, May 2018
MMTA Student Achievement Testing, Livonia, MI, March 2018
MMTA Student Achievement Testing, Livonia, MI, March 2017
National Piano Teachers Guild, Ann Arbor, MI, May 2017
MMTA Student Achievement Testing, Theory Judge, Ann Arbor, MI, February 2017
Federation of Music Clubs, Junior Festival, Columbia, MO, February 2017
Federation of Music Clubs, Junior Festival, Columbia, MO, February 2016