Julia O’Dell is one of the classiest, most well-respected piano instructors in the city of Amarillo, Texas. Her studio is in her warm, inviting home where she teaches children and adults of all ages. Her love of music and her love of her students are both apparent in the dedication and devotion with which she trains her young artists.
Her techniques. Julia O’Dell teaches students beginning at age six, using classical methods. Every lesson, they review the music theory which she has assigned and her students play scales and exercises to develop their technique and finger muscles. Together, they work through music books designed for the age and level of experience of each child, working on however many pieces the student feels comfortable with practicing during the same time period.
At various intervals throughout the year, her students have the opportunity to play in piano recitals, which are the combined efforts of many piano instructors in the Amarillo area. At these recitals, the youngest and most inexperienced players recite their pieces first and the recital gradually moves on to the older and most experienced students. Her students also have the opportunity to take music theory exams on the rules and practices governing music and composition. Not only do these music theory exams develop a better understanding of how music works, but they instill a deep sense of accomplishment in each child for learning and demonstrating core principles.
Her teachings. Julia O’Dell does not criticize or become angry if her students have not practiced or if they make a mistake in their playing. She always emphasizes moving on and returning to the mistake after the piece has been completed. She is not concerned about excuses, mistakes or laziness. Her style of teaching is focused on the practicing of the piece, until the fingers automatically move to the correct places and the memorization becomes second nature. She does not berate, condemn nor put down. She always focuses on the positive, and her behavior encourages the student to be better next time and to keep improving. She is a gifted instructor in motivation.
Her reputation. Julia O’Dell has an unblemished reputation, especially with the students which have grown up on her teachings, moving from elementary renditions of Ode To Joy to complex pieces by Scarlatti. She is tactful, graceful and classy. Always polite and pleasant, she demonstrates gentility and the love of all things music to everyone around her. Her passion for the piano has inspired me to return to practicing and composition multiple times throughout my college career.
If you are looking for a gifted and yet gentle instructor, who is well-informed and thoroughly knowledgeable on music practice, performance, theory, composition, rendition and technique, I highly recommend Julia O’Dell. She has not only been my teacher, but also my friend, for over nineteen years.