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Community Member Connects on Campus and Fulfills a Lifelong Dream

Stillwater resident Sheron Allen recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to play the piano.  A retired social worker and grandmother, Allen attended Introduction to Piano at the Seretean Center, one of many great opportunities to connect on campus through the College of Arts and Sciences Outreach non-credit programs. 

Allen was inspired by her mother who was a church pianst, and who also played in the home.

“Mother would say, ‘Shug, come sing this song I’m practicing.’  They called me Shug,” Allen recalled.  “She would play, and I would sing.  And we just had the best time. “ 

Her mother played by ear, so she could not teach anyone else to play piano.  Allen always wanted to take lessons, but never got the chance.

Allen’s daughter, Sherryl Nelson, Assistant Registrar at Northern Oklahoma College-Stillwater, was aware of her mother’s dream to take piano, and enrolled Allen in Introduction to Piano as an early Christmas present.

sheron allen portraitAllen was initially concerned about finding her way on campus due to the campus size, so she made several practice runs with her daughter.  Even after getting acclimated to campus, Allen was filled with doubt and did not believe she could complete the course.  Instructor Natasa Karaca quickly put those fears to rest.  Natasa encouraged Allen and helped her to believe in herself.

 “She was wonderful,” Allen said.  “She settled us down, settled me down anyway.  She has a teacher’s heart, and I love it.”

Allen found learning piano was easier than she expected, attributed largely in part to her instructor’s ability to teach the material. 

“She was saying you just use the same three fingers.  Because I was thinking I was going to have to be doing all this stuff.  So it was a lot easier.”

Another benefit Allen found in the group class of twelve students was the connection the students formed during class.  The class bonded and encouraged each other. 

The final class in December culminated with a public performance, where Allen played “Minuet” by Leopold Mozart.

Allen continues to practice and applies what she has learned outside of class. 

“We’re doing a song at church, ‘Great are you Lord,’ and it’s only four chords, so I’ve been playing it when I practice singing at home.” 

Allen said some of her friends were curious about her motivation to take piano now.  She enthusiastically said, “Don’t have any inhibitions, just go.  It is a wonderful experience.  Natasa is amazing.  She made the difference; she really did.”

Allen plans to enroll in Introduction to Piano II when it is offered..

For more information about Community Education programs offered through CAS Outreach, contact Christine Nichols, christine.nichols@okstate.edu

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