Knicely Done: Most Valuable Pianist
When Paul Parker was named 2005 Teacher of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association he was already well past the normal age of retirement.
Now thirteen years later, at age 86, Paul is still actively teaching, although he did try to retire last year.
"There were a couple of parents who were not happy with that thought," he explained in an interview with WOWT 6 News. "I have cut down considerably.to just one day a week. That will come to a close shortly."
His interest in piano began at age nine and he started teaching when he was nineteen. He also excelled in the flute, saxophone and clarinet and gives lessons in those instruments as well.
Many of his students have earned Music Olympics superior ratings with distinction along with college scholarships.
"I'm not demanding, we do a lot of correcting," he said. "I teach the youngster or adult how to solve problems, because if you learn how to deal with a musical problem and then what to do step by step you'll get there much faster. You'll enjoy the results and that's where the fun comes in."...
Twelve years ago Paul received an unexpected phone call.
"When Gretna United Methodist Church called they were looking for a piano player," he said. "I certainly wasn't looking for more work."
That's where you'll find Paul on Sundays and other special services and church weddings.
"I'm still chasing notes at 86," he said. "So it's a never ending process. I'm grateful for that."
Paul now has a cabinet full of church music and he spends a lot of time each week planning for each service.
"It takes lots of effort and work and it's a real joy, a great challenge and fun to do. You not only have to come up with the right notes, you have to say something, and that something is up to you."