Student Testimonials

pria Pria Louka Alumna, Westminster Conservatory,
undergraduate student Princeton University

I would like to thank my teacher, Rita Shklar, for the gift of music, one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I will never forget what you taught me because all your lessons came from the heart. Thank you for imparting your passion for music to me; it has given me the purpose, courage, and strength to be myself. It has inspired me to live bravely and make art, to go to the very brink of feeling. Thank you for music lessons full of stories and life energy and humor. You are an imaginative, incredibly intuitive teacher who can give the most accurate advice, who can listen and perceive deeply, who can play the most powerfully and the most sensitively. Your love of life is contagious. I am so grateful to have been your student these past four years.

davesDave Schlossberg
Alumnus, Piano Performance major, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)
I first met Professor Shklar when I auditioned for her and the other Piano professors at The College of New Jersey. Despite my lack of traditional classical training, Professor Shklar agreed to take me under her wing, seeing some potential in me. What followed were some of the most enjoyable and fulfilling years in my music career. Professor Shklar broadened my knowledge of classical repertoire and sharpened my technical ability, but more importantly, she helped me discover my own personality at the piano. I blossomed under her tutelage, learning how to draw on my own experiences to communicate to my audience. She helped me interpret my natural sense of humor into a type of musicianship. Professor Shklar challenged me and encouraged me to be the musician she knew I could be. Years later, I am a professional musician. I play for many different groups, and accompany many different instrumentalists and vocalists. However, I will never forget the role Professor Rita Shklar played in helping me reach my potential. I use the lessons I learned from her all the time to add color and life to my playing. I highly recommend her as a teacher and as a consummate professional musician. She has a wonderful sense of humor and an intuitive mastery of the piano, and superior pedagogical skills. Thank you Professor Shklar!

Fraidel Leah Kletter
Alumna, Westminster Choir College Pedagogy Certificate program, adult piano student.

I am privileged to have studied with Rita Shklar, both as a student in the theory classes of Westminster Choir College’s Piano Pedagogy Certificate Program, and as a private piano student during my tenure in the certificate program.
The progress that I made in the 3 semesters of piano studies with Rita was beyond what I expected I could reach. Rita is a daring and creative teacher. She is not afraid to challenge her students with more difficult pieces, taking them to a level which they could not imagine they could achieve. Rita teaches with passion and compassion, astute intellect and intuition, and the right balance of humor and earnestness. What I most appreciated was how she demonstrates exactly what one is doing incorrectly, i.e., how a mere change in hand, arm, or finger position is all that is needed to facilitate a difficult passage. Further she insists on musicality every step of the way – including Czerny! She is deeply dedicated to her students, looking at each student as an individual, and might spend hours searching for a piece that is appropriate for a particular student.
Rita is an artist at the piano, original and imaginative in her teaching and playing, a teacher’s teacher.

kamnaKamna Gupta
Alumna, Westminster Conservatory, undergraduate student Princeton University.

[2014]  I was a young 12-year old when I began taking piano lessons with Rita. Since they began, lessons were often the highlight of my week. Rita’s sense of humor made each lesson incredibly fun (I often considered videotaping them just to laugh at them later!). That energy and humor manifested itself in the music: each piece I played told a story. At the same time, Rita instilled in me a love for making music in a thoughtful and decisive way. She always knew how to communicate the music. Beyond helping me through technical difficulties, she always made sure that I enjoyed and was passionate about what I played. She also convinced me that with enough time, I could learn any piece. Thanks to Rita, there is nothing I am afraid to play; she has given me the confidence and courage to believe that if I love a piece, I am able to play it, including pieces from the most difficult repertoire. Over the years we played music ranging from Liszt’s etudes to Argentinian tangos. We went to several competitions and I was able to win the Grand Prize for the Carnegie Hall performance at the Music-Fest competition and also won the Golden Key music festival. Rita helped sow the musical seeds that in college I decided to turn into my life. I am graduating this upcoming June 2014 from Princeton University with a degree in music as an aspiring orchestral conductor, still playing the piano, and learning new instruments such as voice and the double bass.

leonidasLeonidas Tolias
Alumnus, Westminster Conservatory and Young Artists Program: undergraduate student Princeton University.

[2012]  Lessons with Mrs. Shklar are, at a minimum, a cultural experience. Whether listening to her explain why the piece that you are playing is the definition of court etiquette, or why Russian music could be so depressing at times, Mrs. Shklar always manages to intimate you with the music you play. Her technical advice makes playing difficult passages infinitely simpler, and her style of teaching is incredibly efficient. I accomplish as much in a single lesson with Mrs. Shklar as I do in days of practicing on my own. She is also incredibly good at choosing music that fits individual students. Mrs. Shklar manages to match the personality of the music with the personality of the particular student in a way that makes the pieces so much more fun to play.

Rita Shklar