Gramercy Music School: About Us
Executive Music Director
Background and Teaching Philosophy
My name is Wendy Yen and I started learning piano at age 4 and began teaching piano lessons, music and digital technology for a Yamaha family company in Vermont at age 12. I have played at concerts, competitions, nursing homes, weddings and hospitals, and always for my mother, from the beginning of her early-onset Alzheimer's a decade ago to her now very advanced stages. Sometimes, it only takes one piece to re-create a hundred memories.
Music often becomes the soundtrack to our lives as we shelter at home or walk the streets of our neighborhoods. Learning music improves resilience, brain cognition and creates new neural pathways; whereas, playing music demonstrates spiritedness that cannot be expressed by words alone. Music - even in its silent pauses - has an invisible touch. Certain instruments, musical styles, lyrics or bands may bring healing - others may cause intense joy or grief - or a feeling that cannot yet be named yet. Either for you or your child, you have the chance to see that music is very much what feelings sound like.
At Gramercy Music School, I focus on a student-centered approach; meaning, not all of my lessons are the same, nor are they from the same books.
- For students who choose improvisation and want to learn to play by ear, we practice 7th chords while improving with our right hand, and apply how to play it happy, sad, funny, angry, etc.
- For students who prefer to learn classical music and their goal is to play Fur Elise, we make sure they get there by learning to read notes, music theory and studying easier versions of Fur Elise until we are ready to move on to more complicated ones.
- For students who have learning differences like ADHD, reading below grade level, autism, aspergers, dyslexia or are not neurotypical like my own son and many of my most advanced students, I always find ways to teach so that they understand and music lessons are a positive experience.
Wendi is on the Board of Directors at MusicBreeds, a nonprofit that works with economically disadvantaged communities to ensure youth who love music have access to instruments, music teachers, music production classes, life and business skills, entrepreneurship classes, and mentors who can guide them whether they want to pursue a college degree in music or go onto a career in the music industry.
Wendi was born in Tokyo, raised on a dairy farm in Vermont, studied in Paris, volunteered in Bolivia, worked in Prague, has traveled to 65 countries, and lives in Manhattan with her family. Wendi graduated with both her BA and MBA from Cornell University, and her certificate in integrative health from Columbia University in collaboration with IIN.