Legend says that a tiny, precocious, five-year old child named Tara Bridge once asked her mother for private piano lessons. Her mother, being the amazing supportive person she is, while perhaps also looking for a way to occupy her rambunctious daughter’s spare time, readily agreed to sign her up with the local neighborhood piano teacher. Luckily, the teacher was accepting new students, even very young, excitable children whose feet couldn’t even reach the sustain pedal! With time and an extensive amount of practice, it became apparent that a true passion for music had been ignited, one which would continue to grow through thirty years of study. So goes the legend.
As she pursued her musical endeavors, Tara became an accomplished musician. Throughout high school, she was the accompanist for the nationally recognized show choir at Fairfield High School, the Choraliers. With her feet now firmly able to touch the pedals of the piano – who knew there was a sostenuto pedal as well? – Tara played the piano in her first orchestral pit with Hamilton Civic Theater at the age of fifteen. She was the youngest pianist to have ever performed in the pit with this theater company. In addition to inspiring an interest in the repertoire of musical theater, these experiences led to the realization that Tara would indeed continue to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond.
Upon high school graduation, Tara continued her musical studies at the McNally Smith College of Music in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While earning her Associate’s Degree in Multimedia Production, Tara acquired technological skills in music and multimedia programs, including Finale, Final Cut Pro, and Digital Performer. Along the way, Tara began writing music. This talent was used extensively throughout college to score a variety of student-created films, as well as to write a piece performed by the Wittenberg University Hand Bell Ensemble. Tara finds that her ingenuity for music composition continues to be of great use in the design of group and private lessons: Tara believes it takes an extraordinary amount of creativity to effectively teach to every child’s taste and interest in music.
Intrigued by the prospect of teaching in the public school system, Tara chose to attend Northern Kentucky University, where she majored in Music Education. Selecting concentrations in both piano and voice, Tara studied under the direction of renowned pianist and teacher, Sergei Polusmiak. Alongside earning a 4.0 GPA, a feat accomplished as result of her true enjoyment of learning (and sleepless nights), Tara was the accompanist for private voice lessons, the Northern Kentucky University Chorus, and the opera workshop under the direction of Gayle Grout. Tara graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education in May 2010, earning her teaching license through the state of Ohio. She is currently licensed to teach music to grades pre-K through twelve.
During the 2011-2012 school year, Tara taught music at the Alliance Academy Charter School in Cincinnati, Ohio. She delivered instruction at grade levels K-8, designing lessons that included choral music, recorder and percussion performance, and Orff methodology. Tara also taught grades 7-12 at St. Bernard-Elmwood Place High School during the 2013-2014 school year. During her tenure at St. Bernard-Elmwood Place High School, Tara created the Premier Honor Choir, as well as a Bucket Drumming Corp. Teaching in an urban environment helped to shape Tara’s teaching philosophy: children who are led by a consistently positive, nurturing teacher, will surprise the world with their talent and drive for success. This is true regardless of a student’s prior skill set or personal background.
Tara is also employed by Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati, where she serves as the rehearsal accompanist for all high school choirs. Serving in this position, she has had the opportunity to observe the highly skilled choral director, Joe Whatley. Her horizons continue to be broadened by being frequently exposed to new music and being asked to sight-read a continually expanding choral repertoire.
Tara finds further opportunities to expand her musical influences through her involvement in local area theater productions. She is active as an actress, singer, and music director. In 2016, she appeared in the production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Stained Glass Theater of Newport, Kentucky, performing as one of the three Soul Girls. In 2017, Tara appeared in the production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change with the Loveland Stage Company, a role for which she was nominated for an ACT Orchid Award for Excellence in Musical Theater Performance. Most recently, she served as the vocal director for the production of Nine to Five with the Loveland Stage Company. During the Spring of 2018, Tara will appear with the Fairfield Footlighter’s Production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, in a reprisal of the role she performed last Spring. Tara also enjoys performance opportunities with Kings Island, where she works each year for the Halloween Haunt event at the park.
In addition to her work as a public school music teacher, accompanist, and actress, Tara served as the music director for the Crème de la Crème Preschool in Mason, Ohio during the 2014-2015 school year. Similarly, Tara currently serves as the music program director at Wilde Kingdom in Fairfield, Ohio. In this capacity, Tara is responsible for designing and implementing music lessons for children aged birth to five years of age. She is tasked with selecting appropriate music repertoire, directing the children’s ensemble, and organizing all music performances given by the school, including those for Christmas and graduation. Utilizing an approach inspired by a variety of methodologies, including Dalcroze, Orff and Kodaly, Tara designs lessons which involve creative movement, singing, dance, imaginative play, and instrumental performance. These experiences in particular have brought Tara an immense, indescribable joy – watching these young children enjoy studying and interacting with music have reminded Tara greatly of her childhood self those many, many years ago and her own first ventures into musical study. They have also promoted within her an even deeper admiration for the power of music, which can shape the entire course of the life of a child. She knows, after all, from firsthand experience.
Legend says that a tiny, precocious, five-year old child named Tara Bridge once asked her mother for private piano lessons. Today, Tara doesn’t remember that first inquiry into music those many years ago. She barely remembers learning to read notes or rhythms, or even the first song that she learned on the piano. Tara does, however, remember her first piano teacher. She was very fortunate to have studied with a teacher who consistently led her to feel valued, welcomed, and, above all else, loved. It is this very relationship, that of a dedicated teacher leading a hopeful student, that has motivated Tara to pursue teaching private piano, voice and preschool music lessons at the Loveland Music Academy.