The Playground

The Simply Music blog

Simply Music Student – Molly Fisher

Found in: Simply Music Community


“On a recent visit to my in-laws at an assisted care living center, I got to witness my daughter Molly Fisher, give an impromptu concert to the residents living there. When she started playing, the only audience Molly had in the commons area where the piano is located, was her grandparents. Shortly after she started to play, one by one, other residents began to show up and take a seat just to listen. It was not long before every seat was taken. Molly played for about an hour and a half.

What was amazing to me as I watched and listened was how this generally grumpy group of residents responded to the music as it was played. Depending on their abilities, some socialized and made new friends, others at least smiled and laughed.  Their aches and pains and physical inabilities just did not matter, at least for a short while. I believe music, especially music played in-person on the piano, is the medicine that made that happen. It makes me very proud that Molly is able to provide such happiness.”

This wonderful testimony of the power of music was shared by Mark Fisher, whose daughter Molly is a student of mine in Omaha, NE. Molly, now 14, began lessons in 2006 and has so far progressed to Level 12 of the Simply Music curriculum. She enjoys a variety of musical genres, particularly classical and blues. However, she enjoys much success in all areas of the program – composition, improvisation, arrangements, accompaniment, reading, jazz, blues, etc.

In addition to her recent experience at the assisted care facility, she has performed at various other venues – school talent shows, studio events, other local retirement facilities, and as accompanist for her school choir.  Molly was nominated for and selected as one of 12 “Classical Kids” in 2012 on an Omaha classical radio station based on her application and recording. She was interviewed on the radio and presented at her school with an award and prizes. Then she performed Bertini’s Study in C minor from Level 11 – flawlessly and at lightning speed!

There was a time when Molly wanted to quit; however I encouraged her to stick through the “valley” by teaching Molly a song she really wanted to learn – Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi. The catch was, she could only learn it, one small section at a time, if her playlist was strong. She eventually learned the entire song in a playing-based fashion and still plays it to this day. Her enthusiasm for piano returned. Molly says, “The journey to where I am today has not been easy. There have been times where I did want to quit lessons. I just take it step by step. And when I do finish a complicated piece or a composition, I get so excited. I love the feeling. It is exhilarating.”

Molly has composed many beautiful songs, usually inspired by recent events in her life.  For example, she composed “Sarah’s Song” for her sister’s high school graduation. “Ed the Squirrel” was the result of  Molly’s observation of a squirrel going down a slide in her back yard! About the process of composing she says “When I start a new composition I look for different patterns, or motifs, that sound good. Then I try to break them down even further and sort of mesh other notes in as well. I look for a solid left hand and then the song is usually complete.”

One of her compositions, “Me and My Mini-Guitar”, was inspired by an old mandolin – a family heirloom that was discovered. However, she didn’t stop composing at the piano. She also taught herself a part on the mandolin and wrote a chord chart for her dad to play on his guitar. Her piano class then wrote a bass line that one of her classmates could play on his electric bass, and she taught the class the piano part of the composition. The class had a lot of fun jamming on her composition!

This year Molly saved her money and purchased a 12-string guitar, at which she is becoming quite proficient. Both Molly and her dad comment on how her music accomplishments have helped her to become a confident teenager. She hopes that she will someday be able to use her musical skills in a career.

About her experiences playing for residents at the assisted care facility, Molly says, “They are always so happy to see me because they know that I’m the one who ‘tickles the ivory’. And I love that they are enjoying my music too. I like that I can bring people together.”