Music lessons are about waaaay more than just learning an instrument.

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Lessons on music and life from Kay Barker of Musicologie.

When I first started teaching private lessons, I had a little piano student who would scream at me in her lesson when I asked her to do almost anything. I would say, "Please open up your book to the song from last week," and she would slide her face inches from mine and yell "NO!!" I was horrified. What can you teach a child who won't open her book? Why was she so aggressively resisting seemingly benign instructions? I quickly learned that in a battle of wills against a 7 year old, the rational adult is always the loser. So we starting doing the only thing she would say yes to-- playing games. They were silly little musical games, but they allowed me to get to know her- and her me- and in the process we bonded and developed some trust in one another. When we finally tip-toed our way back to the lesson books, I discovered that her extreme resistance was due to an intense fear of failure. Anytime she doubted herself, she would shut down again. She'd rather be obstinate than wrong.

She changed my life and my philosophy. As years went by, her confidence grew and she learned to say "yes" to new songs that scared her. And I learned that my job is not "Piano Teacher" but "Life Coach for the Young."  When a student of mine sticks with a song until it feels easy for them, they've started to learn that hard work pays off. When they pick themselves back up after making a mistake, they're developing hard-won grit. My little musicians are working every day honing their fine-motor coordination, exercising their whole brain, deepening their concentration skills, making time for daily discipline, and setting and achieving long-term goals. And I'm learning and growing right along with them."


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Kay graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelors in vocal performance and psychology and a minor in piano. She has 15 years of piano and voice teaching experience with students of all ages and levels. She began teaching private lessons when she was in high school and taught at her Bexley home until 2014 when she started Musicologie with her husband Joseph.

Kay has toured nationally with folk/pop band Bella Ruse as lead vocalist and keyboardist for 4 years, opening for artists like Sarah McLachlan, Heart, Metric, and Kimya Dawson. Her songs and performances have been heard in commercials, film and television including placements on MTV and Showtime. Performer Magazine called her voice ‘truly unique’.

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