Sandy Collins – Piano

I am the fourth generation of pianists in my family and I started playing the piano the minute I was big enough to reach the keys. My mother is a piano teacher–still teaching at 80 years old!–and she started teaching me when I was three. Mom decided to send me to her teacher at Hillsdale College when I became a little “difficult” to teach. (I’m sure there are lots of parents who know exactly what I mean!) I studied at Hillsdale College from the age of 4 to 17 when I decided to take time off from classical piano studies and concentrate on song-writing and attempting to be a rock star. When I was 21 and realized I wasn’t going to be the next Carole King, and I enrolled in the Psychology program at Eastern Michigan University where friends talked me into auditioning for a music scholarship and changing majors. (Thank you, friends!) Believe me, though, I’ve found plenty of opportunities to use my partial psych degree in my teaching.


My piano studies at EMU spanned many years during which I was attending classes, practicing hours on end, participating in music competitions, working for the composer William Bolcom, teaching 30 students, and raising my three children. WHEW! I get tired just remembering it all! I received both a Bachelors and Masters in Piano Performance from Eastern, then went on to study with Dr. Logan Skelton at the University of Michigan for four years. More recently I’ve continued my studies with Dr. Joel Schoenhals, who is responsible for helping me find my job at Expressions. I started teaching piano classes at Washtenaw Community College immediately after receiving my Masters in 1997 and remained there until 2013 when I joined the Expressions crew. I was also Director of the EMU Community Music Academy and accompanied tons of EMU’s musicians for many years. All three of my children are grown now (twins Adam and Sarah, 27, and Ben, 29) and they are musicians, too! After my father died in 2001 I spent over ten years writing and producing my own non-classical CD entitled “Tribute”. By the time I finished my project my son, Ben, had completed a degree in Performing Arts Technology from UM and not only played guitar on my CD but helped me with the production of it. It was one of the thrills of my lifetime to finally release my CD in February, 2013. I love being a musician!


Side note: There is absolutely no way to describe how much I love my job and my students at Expressions. It is definitely the BEST place I’ve ever taught and this past year has truly been extraordinary. I look forward to coming to work every day and being part of my students’ musical lives.