If You Could Teach Another ClassI’m not sure I would; I have hobbies, but I need to feel very comfortable with a subject before feeling like I am knowledgeable enough to teach it.
Words from a StudentThe most touching thing a student has told me, after a recital with my duo piano partner, was, “Thank you for reminding me that music is the closest we can get to heaven here on earth.” Moments and experiences like this are why I do what I do.
Favorite Quote or MottoOne of my favorites is, “Music is life and, like it, inextinguishable.” –Carl Nielsen
Surprising Fact about YourselfI love ballroom dancing: I have taken lessons for over six years and love it almost as much as playing the piano. Also, I am very much a child; I love to laugh, play and tease, and I am lucky my husband and daughter do too!
If You Weren’t a ProfessorI’d want to be a ballroom dancer.
Places to Visit or Things to DoParis—I want to see the Louvre.
Favorite BookMy favorite book is The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. It represents patriotism, loyalty, friendship and passion. Oh, and epic sword fighting!
Hobbies and InterestsI love traveling and reading, but my favorite hobby is ballroom dancing, especially the passion and sizzle of Latin dances: rumba, cha-cha, samba, bolero and paso doble.
University Faculty Spotlight:
Dr. Maira Liliestedt
Title: Associate Professor of Music
Teaches: Music Performance
I absolutely love playing the piano. It’s one of the things that make me feel most alive. Teaching my students to play at a high level and seeing their progress and accomplishments is incredibly satisfying too.
My performances as a soloist with orchestras have been some of the highlights of my career. There is an exhilaration in playing masterpieces of the piano literature with the backing of a large ensemble of musicians.
I try to find out the students’ own goals and steer them towards those goals within the context of the curriculum. I also think that demonstrating and showing one’s passion to one’s students often helps spark the students’ own passion for learning, and in turn can motivate hard work, which is the most important element of education.
Except for the semester when my daughter was born, I have performed every semester that I have been at Mount Union, playing works for solo piano, chamber groups and in solo concerto settings.
Behind the Keys
I get to play and teach piano every day. Those are the things I love to do most, and I am lucky enough to do them for a living!
Mount Union has a very dedicated faculty. A student is able to receive personal attention, and that means students receive not just a fact-based education, but personal mentoring as well. As far as the music faculty, all the full-time members in our department are regular performers in their area, which makes us unique as our students can hear and see our passion for and dedication to music.
We try to teach students the knowledge necessary in the field, but perhaps more importantly, we prepare them for adult life by providing guidance and serving as positive role models.
For a pianist, “research” involves delving further into the literature for that instrument and offering public performances. I particularly enjoy exploring the piano music of Romantic composers (meaning those of the nineteenth century), focusing especially on the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin.
B.M., Piano Performance, Bowling Green State University
M.M., Piano, University of Cincinnati
D.M.A., Piano, University of Cincinnati