The Montclair Music Studio is proud to introduce Piano Instructor, Dana Rizzo.
Born and raised in NJ, Dana was exposed to music from an early age. She started learning piano with her mom when she was three, began violin in the 4th grade, and played with the school and community orchestra all throughout high school. Dana also taught herself guitar at the same time.
Her family was always the biggest musical influence on Dana. Her mom would play piano and Dana would join her. Her dad played drums when he was young, and she has a younger brother who is in the midst of becoming a great trumpet player.
Other influences include Vanessa Carlton, John Schmidt of The Piano Guys, and Yuja Wang.
Getting to Know Dana…
What brought on your interest in music?
I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I would play duets on the piano with my mom and perform for my family. There would always be music playing at our house, whether it was inside while doing homework or outside by a summer pool party. In school, I accompanied our concerts on the piano, played violin in the orchestra and honors string ensemble, and joined the choir. When I reached high school, I discovered a new appreciation for it and decided that I wanted to pursue music education as a career. I had been so inspired by my teachers and ensembles, that I wanted to give back all that music has given me. Music is my passion and it will always play an important role in my life.
When did you start your studies?
I started playing the piano when I was 4 years old. I took private lessons and played a lot by ear, composing my own songs here and there. Once I entered high school and started preparing for college, I started playing more seriously, focusing on harder repertoire and developing my technique.
Was yy Your family involved in music?
Yes! My mother was my main influence. She plays the piano and sparked my initial interest in it. My father used to play the drums. My younger brother is an incredible trumpet player. All of them have always been supportive with my music and they will always be my #1 fans.
Have you participated in any extracurricular organizations or music clubs?
In college, I was the Vice President and President of our National Association for Music Education (NAfME) chapter. I still stay involved with workshops, performances, and conferences. I also play violin in the Paramus Community Orchestra every summer. My non-musical involvement includes being a Girl Scout up until high school, where I earned my Gold Award.
What are other types of instruments in your repertoire?
Though I consider piano as my primary instrument, I often play the violin, guitar, ukulele, and sing.
Have you played at other venues?
I have performed on piano at the Jed Leshowitz Recital Hall at Montclair State University, Grace United Presbyterian Church in Wayne, local coffee houses, and in schools as an accompanist and pit musician for musicals. I have also had the privilege of singing with the MSU Chorale at NJPAC, the State Theater, the Mayo Performing Arts Center, and in Venice, Rome, and Florence Italy.
Any favorite hobbies other than music?
When I am not making or teaching music, I am very dedicated to horseback riding, which I have been doing since I was 7 years old. I also enjoy photography, hiking, and relaxing with friends and family.