Paola Savvidou

Group Piano/Piano Pedagogy

Paola Savvidou, DMA, NCTM, is a pianist, pedagogue, and wellness advocate. On a daily basis she wears many hats serving as Assistant Teaching Professor at East Carolina University, Wellness Initiative Program Manager and Adjunct Lecturer in Music at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, while also running her own piano studio called Music Lotus in Ann Arbor, MI. At ECU she teaches courses in piano pedagogy and group piano. In her role as Program Manager for the U-M Wellness Initiative she develops partnerships within the University of Michigan’s health services and beyond to provide education, injury-preventive services and recovery support for students, faculty, and staff.

As a proponent of healthy-living for musicians, she utilizes mindfulness, yoga, and creative movement within her teaching to improve alignment while deepening expressivity in performance. She frequently presents related research work at prominent conferences including the MTNA National Conference, the International Society for Music Education Conference, the European Association for Schools of Music Conference, College Music Society’s International Conference, and the European Piano Teachers Association. Her work has won Article of the Year through MTNA two years in a row; in 2015 for her article “In Search of the ‘Perfect’ Musical Performance” published in the American Music Teacher and in 2016 for her interdisciplinary research article “Assessing Injury Risk in Pianists: Using Objective Measures to Promote Self-Awareness” published in the MTNA eJournal. She has also published in the Piano Pedagogy Forum, MMTA NOTES and Clavier Companion. She co-authored “At the Piano with Yoga” with Haley Myers; a collection of duets for beginning piano students coupled with yoga poses. Dr. Savvidou’s book entitled “Teaching the Whole Musician: A Guide to Supporting Music Students’ Wellness” was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. In Spring 2015 she received the prestigious Purple Chalk Teaching Award by the College of Arts & Science Student Council at the University of Missouri.

A devoted advocate of contemporary music, Paola is a member of the New Muse Piano Duo with Jonathan Kuuskoski; an ensemble dedicated to commissioning and performing works by living composers. Their concert tours have included performances across the United States, Norway, Greece, and Cyprus. NMPD’s first CD, transhuman, was released in 2017 by the Blue Griffin label.

Dr. Savvidou frequently adjudicates piano events such as the Michigan Music Teachers Association Student Achievement Testing, National Guild of Piano Teachers, and Federation of Music Clubs. She serves as chair-designate and member of the editorial board for the MTNA eJournal and as a member of the Wellness Committee for the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy.

She is a trained kids yoga teacher with Rainbow Kids Yoga, holds a BM from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and graduate degrees (MM and DMA) in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.