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Not the retiring type

Jan Ericson continues to find fulfillment in musical career

Created date

May 8th, 2018
Jan Ericson teaches piano lessons at a private studio she leases about three miles from her home at Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park, Kans.

Jan Ericson teaches piano lessons at a private studio she leases about three miles from her home at Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park, Kans.

Three afternoons a week, Jan Ericson leaves her home at Tallgrass Creek in Overland Park, Kans., and heads to a private piano studio located about three miles away. 

“It’s my ‘office,’” smiles Jan. “I teach piano lessons to young people, and I love it.”

Jan’s students range from ages 8 to 18, and her “office” is in a building called the Musicians Studio. The building houses ten separate studios leased to practicing and teaching musicians, filling the hallway with the tuneful sounds of their instruments.

“It sounds like a conservatory,” says Jan. “These are some of my favorite sounds.”

Jan teaches about 12 hours a week. The highlight of each year is the recital she hosts for students and their families at an impressive recital hall.

“The students perform their pieces on a nine-foot Steinway piano, which is very special,” she says.

Made for music

Jan is among several Tallgrass Creek neighbors who are not fully retired. Several years ago, she closed her studio and “tried to retire” but found it just wasn’t for her.

“I missed my students too much,” she says. “I continue to teach for me as much as for them.”

Jan has a rich musical background. After earning a degree in vocal performance from Houghton College in New York State, she sang professionally in Chicago for 15 years. During that time, she performed solos in many productions of George Handel’s highly acclaimed The Messiah.

She and her late husband, Hartley, moved from Chicago to Leawood, Kans., in 1981, and Jan continued teaching piano.

“For me, it’s never been work,” notes Jan. “It’s what I love doing.”

These days, Jan enjoys being around colleagues at the Musicians Studio who share her passion for music.

“I think I’m created to be a music teacher,” says Jan. “As long as there’s a need, I’ll keep teaching.”

Ever-expanding audience

Jan doesn’t leave her passion for music at the studio. At Tallgrass Creek, she switches hats and volunteers as the conductor for the 30-member Tallgrass Creek Chorale.

The group practices weekly and performs frequently at various community functions, including the annual Veterans Day celebration.

“There’s a lot of laughter and joy, and it’s invigorating to learn together,” says Jan. “I love passing on what I have always loved to people of all ages.”

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