Ann Kohlbeck Boeckman '79 - Piano

Ann Kohlbeck Boeckman holds a Bachelor of Music Degree magna cum laude in piano performance from Lawrence University and the Master of Arts Degree in piano pedagogy from Western Illinois University. She joined the faculty of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music in 1992 and currently teaches first-and second-year theory and analysis, aural skills, and basic keyboard skills. Ms. Boeckman also teaches middle and high school theory classes for the Lawrence Community Music School. She teaches piano for the Conservatory (non-majors), the Community Music School, the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc, and in her private studio.

Nell Buchman - Piano

A photo of a smiling woman wearing glasses and standing outside in an archway.Nell Buchman has pursued an active teaching, performing, and adjudicating career at Lawrence University, the Lawrence Community Music School, and throughout Wisconsin for over 20 years. She has a private studio, teaches Music for the Very Young, and is accompanist and manager for the Primo and Bel Canto Girl Choirs at the Community Music School. She also teaches class piano at the Lawrence Conservatory of Music.

Ms. Buchman received her Masters of Music in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma in 1994.

She has performed at the Winchester Academy in Waupaca, Neenah Library, University of Wisconsin in Stevens Point, Pine Mountain Music Festival in Michigan, and Milwaukee’s Frankly Music Chamber Series.  She has served as soloist with North Carolina’s Raleigh Symphony and Brevard Music Center Orchestra as well as Oklahoma’s Cimarron Opera Company Orchestra among others.  Other performances include playing on public radio and at music conventions such as MTNA and MENC. Nell is also a frequent performer for the Waupaca Community Arts Board’s bi-annual Bach festival, where she lives with her husband and two children.

As an extension of her teaching, Nell continues to learn and work with students through adjudicating for the Wisconsin Music Teacher’s Association and the Music Teachers National Association each year.

"I believe anyone can learn how to play the piano and enjoy achieving success with a combination of sound learning/practice strategies, relaxed piano technique and positive reinforcement. I expect commitment to lessons, practice, and communication from students and their parents while striving to provide a nurturing learning atmosphere full of growth potential on many levels."
— Nell Buchman

Anna Reiser '11 - Piano and Taubman Approach

A headshot of a woman with short hair and glasses. She stands outside and smiles at the camera.Anna Reiser is a piano teacher, collaborative pianist and harpsichordist, and presenter. Ms. Reiser strives to give each student a unique and meaningful experience at the piano. She believes it is important to honor each student’s individuality while offering a wide range of musical experiences. She is trained in the Taubman Approach to piano playing and is passionate about helping pianists find ways to play comfortably and effectively; she specializes in helping pianists recover from playing-related injuries.

Ms. Reiser’s primary teachers include Teresa Dybvig, Martha Fisher, Catherine Kautsky, Jessica Johnson, and Mary Van De Loo.  She studied harpsichord with Kathrine Handford and John Chappell Stowe. Additional teachers and master class teachers include Gilbert Kalish, Dmitri Novgorodsky, and Susan Nowicki. Ms. Reiser holds a B.Mus., with honors, in piano performance with an emphasis in pedagogy from Lawrence University and a M.Mus. in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Michael Rivers - Piano

A man in a blue shirt smiles at the camera while sitting in a chair.Michael Rivers has been a member of the faculty at Lawrence Community Music School since 1999. A native of Geneva, Illinois, he received his B.Mus. in piano performance from DePaul University and his M.Mus. in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University. He is an accompanist for the studio of Joanne Bozeman at Lawrence Conservatory of Music and is a member of WMTA. He lives in Appleton with his wife and three cats and is an avid gamer.

"I have a casual but focused teaching style. Parents are welcome but not required to sit in on lessons. Students have a voice in choosing their repertoire. Reading is taught mostly by interval. Students are encouraged to perform as often as possible."
— Michael Rivers

Larisa Topolkaraeva - Piano

A woman with short brown hair smiles at the camera standing in front of a lush green foliage.Larisa Topolkaraeva has been a faculty member at the Lawrence Community Music School since 1994. A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Dr. Topolkaraeva began her piano studies at the age of five with her pianist mother. After receiving her B.A. in piano performance from the Tbilisi State Conservatory she moved to Moscow, where she earned her master's degree with highest honor and Ph.D in piano performance and pedagogy from the Russian State Academy of Music—formerly Gnesin's Institute—in Moscow. Prior to her move to Appleton, she taught piano at the numerous music academies in Tbilisi and Moscow. 

Throughout her teaching career, Dr. Topolkaraeva's students have actively participated in and regularly won top prizes at different piano competitions, including WMTA Badger, Solo & Ensemble, and Steinway Junior among others. Her students have also participated in summer music programs at the Aspen Music Festival and School and Interlochen Center for the Arts among others. Her former students have been accepted into undergraduate music programs at the Oberlin Collage, Northwestern University, UW-Madison, Colburn School of Music, and Lawrence University. 

"Every student is different, and each of them has a very rich inner world and countless abilities.
My mission is to help each of them individually to find the way to uncover and open up their abilities and realize their full potentials. My goal is to guide them to the most precious, magical world of music, to expend their horizon of imagination and creativity, to build up their confidence, and to help them to develop and expand their musical, technical, and intellectual skills."
 Larisa Topolkaraeva

Mary Van De Loo '89 - Piano and Piano Lab Class

A headshot of a smiling woman in a burnt orange sweater. She's sits in front of a brick background.Mary Van De Loo teaches piano pedagogy and coordinates the keyboard skills program at the Lawrence Conservatory in addition to maintaining a studio of pre-college students. She is the lead instructor and coordinator of the Piano Lab Class at the Community Music School. A member of MTNA, she is a sought-after workshop clinician and adjudicator, and she has had articles published in Clavier and Keyboard Companion magazines. Prior to her position at Lawrence, Ms. Van De Loo was Director of the Division of Preparatory Music at Indiana State University, where she taught piano and coordinated all activities for the pre-college piano program. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in piano from Lawrence University and a Master of Music degree in piano and piano pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma. She has studied piano with Theodore Rehl and Digby Bell and pedagogy with Kathleen Murray, Jane Magrath, and E.L. Lancaster.

Catherine Walby '97 - Piano

A blonde woman with glasses smiles at the camera in front of a soft red backdrop.Catherine Walby has taught at Lawrence Community Music School since 2000. In addition, she teaches class piano and secondary piano lessons at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music. She ran the week-long Playing Together Piano Camp each summer from 2003-2018 and served as theory teacher and keyboard department coordinator in the past.

Ms. Walby received a B.Mus. in piano performance with a pedagogy emphasis and a B.A. in biology from Lawrence University. Her primary teacher was Kathleen Murray for both piano and pedagogy. She received a M.Mus. in piano performance and pedagogy in 2000 from the University of Oklahoma, studying under Jane Magrath, Andrew Cooperstock, and Howard Lubin.

As a member of MTNA (Music Teachers National Association), Ms. Walby has served as Appleton district auditions chair since 2001, State Badger keyboard chair from 2005-2009, and WMTA state president from 2009-2015. She also served as state secretary for several years and has been actively involved in the local Fox Valley MTA.

Ms. Walby continues to play actively, collaborating with colleagues, college students, and Community Music School students on recitals and juries. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and baking with friends, reading, traveling, gardening, and visiting family.

"I would describe myself as a traditional piano teacher. This means that I begin students in a method book that takes them to a late elementary/early intermediate level. At that point, we begin (or continue) exploring standard piano repertoire such as Bach and Mozart. We focus on the classics while also exploring other areas that interest the student. I encourage students to participate in recitals and festivals, including a local concerto competition once they reach 6th grade. All students study theory as well as music history. I strive to develop students’ critical thinking skills through their music study.  While I have had students go on to study music, my primary goal is to create lifelong musicians who support and understand the arts for themselves and the broader community."
— Catherine Walby