Today we’d like to introduce you to Cynthia K. Wunsch, M.M.
Cynthia K., let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After deciding that a career in computer programming was not for me, I chose a new direction, and that turned out to be completely unexpected–classical music! It was all the more unexpected because I had been thrown out of piano lessons as a child!
So, at age 30, being able only to point to middle C on the piano, I set out to become an opera singer and took beginning courses in music. A few weeks later, I was helping all my classmates with their lessons. I entered the Master of Music program at Texas A&M University, and was about to graduate, when I got the opportunity to enroll in the International Master Class at Janáckova akademie múzických umení v Brne, in the Czech Republic. As soon as my piano arrived, I began practicing, and as soon as I began practicing, people began knocking on my door and asking for lessons. I quickly began performing and living my dream of singing opera in Europe. After a few years, I came back to finish my Master’s degree, and as soon as the ink on my diploma was dry, I returned to Europe and performed in many countries for quite a few years.
Finally, ready to settle back in the United States, I moved back to Texas, and immediately saw the needs that so many musicians and music students had. I decided the time had come to repay my debt to all my teachers, and began to teach again. Fortunately, thanks to my many gifted European teachers and years of performing experience, I was able to develop efficient methods to learn music and perform reliably. My students rewarded my unique curriculum by learning quickly and achieving their dreams, and I couldn’t be happier.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Musicians lead complicated lives. When I moved to the Czech Republic, I could say only “please” and “beer.” So, imagine trying to rent an apartment, buy groceries, do your banking, and everything else with only those two words! Fortunately, I quickly made friends who were happy to help me learn the language.
Another challenge is that in starting out, you have to be humble and accept even the smallest parts. That old saying about there being no small parts, only small actors, is true! In addition, you have to remember that opera is a business, and so you need to be as prepared and efficient as possible, and be willing to blend into the background in order to ensure the success of the production.
The obstacle that I’ve had to overcome when I started teaching full time is to help people understand that music as a hobby and music as a career are two very different things. Rather than a pleasant way of passing the time (although for many of my students that is their goal and they love their lessons), if you are going to invest your time and money in music lessons, you should have a usable and potentially profitable skill at the end of your investment.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Strike the Right Note – what should we know?
I teach classical piano, classical singing, and voice for speaking. I have eight million pages of piano music available, and the scores to over 600 operas, as well as library privileges in universities all over the U.S., and in several foreign countries.
My “claim to fame” for piano lessons is that my students can begin reading music and play a piece of classical music with both hands at their very first lesson. My fourth-year students are typically playing twenty-page sonatas from memory.
For voice, I teach my students about the mechanics and technique of producing sound, which involves a fairly thorough understanding of functional anatomy, acoustics, hydraulics, aerodynamics, and general physics. If you know how your voice works, you are able to speak or sing efficiently and without effort, at any volume.
Once students have mastered vocal technique, those who are interested move on to singing. They learn to read music, pronounce languages, master interpretation, and even hone their acting skills.
When my students are ready, they have resources at their disposal to start their own businesses, if they choose.
One other thing that sets me apart is that I am in the process of writing four books on music, and three volumes of piano technical exercises. I am also developing two courses: one in piano, and one in music theory. I’m sure there will be more to come!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I’ve had enormous help from my teachers: Marsha Henderson, Anna Bárová, Debra Allen, Hana Oherová, and Sylvia Kodetová, to name only a very few. My friends who helped me learn foreign languages in all the countries I’ve lived in helped a lot. Marie Jouannic at the Centre Européen de Poésie d’Avignon was really instrumental in helping me settle in France.
When I moved back to the United States and decided to start a formal business here, the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) helped tremendously in developing my business mindset and skills. Several networking groups such as North Dallas Netweavers and the North Carrollton Networking Group helped me find more resources for my students.
No mention of thanks would be complete without my parents, who dutifully if not cheerfully helped me in my six moves across the Atlantic, provided continual support and encouragement, and gave me the courage to take a chance on such a seemingly uncertain career. They continue to be a great example of how families can support each other.
- Classical piano lesson – 30 minutes – $40
- Speaking voice lesson – 30 minutes – $40
- Classical singing lesson – 30 minutes – $40
- Website: www.striketherightnote.com
- Phone: 972-416-1488
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/strikerightnote/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StrikeTheRightNote
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/strikerightnote
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/strike-the-right-note-carrollton-2
- Other: http://www.youtube.com/user/striketherightnote
Cynthia K. Wunsch, M.M.