Recognized as a "Top Teacher of 2018" by Steinway, Brooke Balbuena is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music (NCTM) in San Antonio, Texas and teaches beginner to early advanced piano students in her home studio. Brooke holds a Master of Music (MM) degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and currently serves on the executive board of the San Antonio Music Teachers Association (SAMTA) and is the chairperson for SAMTA Achievement Auditions.
In 2017 Brooke was a finalist in the University of Memphis concerto competition and won the prestigious UTSA Graduate School Teaching Award of Excellence for her work teaching undergraduate class piano. She also earned 2nd place in the 2017 UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts Research Conference Graduate Music Division for her presentation "The Pedagogical Piano Music of Elie Siegmeister." Brooke won the UTSA concerto competition in 2015 and was the featured soloist with the university orchestra.
Brooke attended the pre-college division at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY under the tutelage of Alla Kuznetsov. She received the Eastman Preparatory Diploma in Piano with Honors in 2000 and a Bachelors Degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2003. Brooke returned to Eastman to further her studies in Music Education from 2003-2005.
Brooke's private students have earned top prizes in local and state level competitions in both piano performance and music composition. Brooke is a veteran of the United States Army and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I believe my most important job is to help my students reach their full potential as creative, knowledgeable and thoughtful musicians. My ultimate goal is to effectively teach my way out of a job by providing my students with the necessary skills to be independent and life-long musicians in whatever context they choose.
In order for my students to become life-long independent musicians there are several goals I feel they must attain. These include achieving musically literacy, understanding a variety of musical styles and genres, and developing the necessary technique to communicate specific musical requirements. This last goal is particularly important in my studio. The development of a healthy technique includes systematically and sequentially building the skills that properly and efficiently uses the entire playing mechanism free of tension while concurrently developing healthy practice habits that reinforce an adequate technique.
Additionally, I recognize and take very seriously my responsibilities as they apply to students and their families. I find that the most successful young piano students have parents or guardians who actively participate in their child's musical progress on a regular basis. As a result, I approach my interactions and communications with families as if they are also receiving a musical education. I encourage parents and/or guardians to regularly attend lessons as quiet observers and I place the initial responsibility of ensuring productive and healthy practice habits are instilled at home from the very first lesson. I consider the relationship between teacher, student, and parent(s)/guardians to be a triangle built on mutual trust. It is paramount that each member in the triangle understand the collective goals and be willing to work towards them as a team. I maintain extremely high standards in my teaching, and as a result, my students are focused and committed pianists who strive to reach their personal best.