Melanie Shaffer is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for teaching beginning piano. She achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher by first receiving a degree in Music Education from Elmhurst university, then going on to direct the Lancer Band Program at St. Michael Parish School in Wheaton, IL in 2019-2020.
Melanie is a classically trained clarinetist who spent her years at Elmhurst College studying clarinet under Gail Crosson, being the principle Bass Clarinetist in the Elmhurst Wind Ensemble, playing second tenor saxophone in the Elmhurst Jazz Lab Band, and expanding her love of music. She has participated in the Chicago Clarinet Ensemble and performed alongside notable clarinetists such as John Bruce Yeh, Jorge Montilla, and Michael Lowenstern. Melanie developed a love of musicals in high school and enjoys performing in pit orchestras for local community theater groups, like the four years she spent with Fremont Street Theatre Company in Palatine, IL.
Melanie has been teaching piano, clarinet and saxophone (alto and tenor) since 2019. She believes that all students benefit from customized instruction, a personal 1 on 1 relationship with a teacher, heavy emphasis on rhythm and from an instructor who is willing to meet the student where they are at.
"My favorite piece to play lately is Erick Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1. It was featured in The Queen’s Gambit and quickly became something I could not get out of my head. It’s simple, almost minimalistic, but it’s so moving and inspires such emotion. The key is F minor giving it a lovely, dark, mysterious feel. It’s the sort of piece that stays with you and cannot be tuned. Additionally it’s written in a very modern notation style, with no bar lines or key signature. It was a delightful challenge to learn, and I love being able to play it!"