Lucas Ryder


Expected graduation date: May 2013

Degree objective: MM in Piano Performance/Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy

Instrument: Piano

University highlights, achievements and awards: Pi Kappa Lambda, Outstanding Graduate Assistant for School of Music (2013), Selected performer for ISU Contemporary Music Festival (2012), Member of Sycamore Singers (Spring 2012), Member of ISU Chamber Players (Spring 2013)

High School: Neoga High School

Undergraduate Institution: God’s Bible School & College – Cincinnati, OH

Hometown: Neoga, IL

Family ties to ISU: None

I chose to attend ISU because… Well, there is an interesting backstory here! I had originally applied to attend ISU in Fall 2006 as a music major (I think I even had been assigned a roommate!); however, circumstances took me to Cincinnati. When I was looking for graduate schools, I decided to check out ISU because of its proximity to my hometown and my familiarity with the school from applying five years before. Probably the biggest reason I chose to ultimately attend ISU for my Master’s degree was because of the immediate rapport that I felt with Dr. Beverley Simms and Dr. Janet Piechocinski during my audition and interview. The ready availability of financial aid was certainly a contributing factor as well!

When I have free time, I like… reading. Some of my favorite authors include C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Ted Dekker. Having a delicious, hot beverage only makes reading more enjoyable. Last spring, I ran a marathon, so I also enjoy jogging!

My favorite places on campus to study are… There is a wonderful spot in the Cunningham Library where there are two tables in a little nook near the music reference books. I also love to study/work in the atrium of University Hall.

My favorite professor is… a tie! Dr. Janet Piechocinski has revolutionized my approach to teaching the piano. Her incredible knowledge of the field and passion for the profession are inspirational! Dr. Beverley Simms has so many characteristics of a master teacher. She meets her students where they are and develops effective strategies for progress. Her contagious enthusiasm and standard of excellence are the driving forces of the piano department!

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with… my family. I grew up in an incredibly close-knit family environment; however, over the years, we have landed in some very different settings. My older sister teaches Kindergarten and lives in Florida and my middle sister teaches High School electives and lives in Kansas. When we are together, along with my parents, laughter is always involved!

If I knew I could not fail, I would… build my music studio into a successful, self-sustaining business in my own building with a performance space for recitals! After graduation, I plan to…return to Illinois and continue to develop the Lucas Ryder Music Studio! I currently have nearly 20 students and love every minute of teaching music.

The one ISU experience I will always remember is/will be… Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on tour with the ISU Chamber Players to five high schools in the Chicago-area. This was such a wonderful opportunity. Fun times, good music, great people!

If I knew then what I know now, I would… Avoid procrastination; it never feels good. I would make more time for people; I have learned that life is all about relationships!

If I could serve as a mentor for future ISU music students, I would tell them/suggest that they… get involved in what they love NOW! Do not wait until you graduate to begin performing or teaching. Take every opportunity to perform on your instruments; the experience is invaluable. Teach a beginner on your instrument; you will learn so much from them! And most importantly, take RISKS! You have no idea what you are truly capable of!

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