Hello friendly faces! It’s that time of the week! We’re back with a special edition CNSM Meet a Dad spotlight brought to you in part by Mary Gifford of Gifford Law. This week we’re excited to introduce you to Chicago dad of one sweet little lady and founder and executive director of Piano Power, Abraham Levitan!
Celebrating over 15 years of service, Piano Power delivers innovative, in-home music lessons in piano, guitar, voice, and drum lessons serving the North Shore and Chicago neighborhoods. Piano Power offers a flexible approach that allows students to play anything from Top 40 to classical, a focus on original composition, and an emphasis on fostering a lifelong love of music. Get to know Abraham’s music background and what sets these music lessons apart from the competition. Welcome, Abraham!
Hi Abraham! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from originally? What city do you live in now? What brought you here?
Hi, I’m Abraham Levitan. Astrologically… I’m a Gemini (just turned 45!). I’m a lifelong musician and educator. I was born in Highland Park Hospital, but I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. I live with my wife, daughter, dog, and cat in Chicago’s Logan Square/Avondale neighborhood. I’ve now been a Chicagoan for over 20 years. I came here because of the incredibly vibrant, diverse music scene, which I knew I had to be a part of.
You’re a dad, tell us about your family and brag away!
I have an amazing 9 y.o. daughter, Stella. Like me, she’s a Gemini… in fact, we have the same birthday!! I like to think that since she “stole” my birthday, I’ll be 36 forever. (That’s how it works… right?) She’s an incredibly hilarious kid, a great musician, and a budding chef, and somehow she’s able to master ice-skating and rollerblading with seemingly zero effort. I was totally clumsy as a child, so she must get those skills from mom.
Stella’s first day on rollerblades!
What are one or two fun facts to know about you?
#1: Not only do I have the same first name as Abraham Lincoln, but we’re actually the same height (6’4″)! #2: I used to co-host a music/comedy/game show called Shame That Tune, in which I made up music and lyrics about our contestants’ embarrassing diary entries.
What are your favorite North Shore local places to spend with the family?
Little Beans Cafe in Evanston, Ravinia Festival, Max & Benny’s in Northbrook, Chicago Botanic Gardens and, of course, the Green Bay Trail for family bike rides.
What are you currently… reading? watching? listening to?
Currently reading and loving “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and “The White Album” by Joan Didion. Just finished watching “Succession” and am missing it a lot… ready for a new suggestion if anyone has one? I’m a big podcast fan and love listening to The Ezra Klein Show, Plain English, Pivot, and Popcast, among many others.
Please introduce your endeavor, Piano Power. When did you launch this business and what was the impetus behind going into this line of work?
I started Piano Power in 2007 to provide busy suburban parents with stress-free, in-home music instruction. I had been teaching on my own for six years at that point, and my waitlist was getting pretty long. I wanted to help more parents get quality experiences for their kiddos from the comfort of their home. Despite the name, Piano Power isn’t just piano! We offer instruction in guitar, voice, drums, and lots more too! Just ask. 🙂
Abraham’s first solo student recital in 2002.
What is your music background?
When I was an undergrad at Yale, I was a history major, not a music major. But I’m a lifelong music obsessive, trained in both classical and jazz piano. In college I sang a cappella with the Whiffenpoofs, a legendary group that’s over 100 years old. I started writing my own songs at age 12. I have an actively-performing rock trio, Baby Teeth, specializing in big 70’s hooks and thick vocal harmonies in the style of Queen, ABBA, or the Bee Gees.
What are the teaching philosophies of Piano Power?
We specialize in high-EQ teachers, because great lessons start with great student/teacher connections. We add healthy doses of humor and humility. We give our teachers an upbeat and supportive culture, with generous pay and benefits, so that they can nurture happy, long-term relationships with our students. We serve up fun, customized, anti-competitive lessons. And we deliver them to your door.
Piano Power’s teachers gear up for a great recital!
How about recitals?
We hold our recitals every six months at a very laid-back Highland Park venue. We take the fear factor out of the mix and make them a celebration of our great kids. Some students play duets with siblings or parents, some perform with our all-star teacher house band, and some even perform self-written songs! My favorite moments are when kids can recover from a mistake or two and end in triumph. We love building confidence and resilience and reducing anxiety. Recital life lessons can be magical.
Where are lessons conducted?
We come straight to you! Rather than spending stressed-out after-school hours driving through terrible traffic and weather, you get peaceful, quality time at home, with your kiddos engaged and screen-free.
Describe something your most proud of as it relates to your Piano Power.
I’m proudest of how many students we’ve taken from elementary school all the way through high school, often paired with the same teacher the entire time! It speaks to the quality of our teacher/student relationships, and the brilliant mentorship our teachers provide over the years.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about Piano Power?
Speaking parent-to-parent (yes, my daughter is a Piano Power student too!), there’s no feeling like chilling at home while your kids play awesome music in the next room. Your heart overflows. 🙂
How do our readers learn more about working with you or reaching out to you?
Set up a call today with our Studio Director, Andrew! We’d love to hear about your kids’ favorite songs and learning style. Then we’ll get to work on a great customized match. Before you know it, you’ll get to kick back and let the music play!
About our Sponsor
A very heartfelt thank you to CNSM sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Firm (wills and trusts). Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities! Learn more about Mary by visiting her Meet a Mom spotlight here! Contact Mary directly here: [email protected].