By Debbie Adams
Music teacher Carol McCulloch—fondly known as La La—and her piano students celebrated Halloween by attending (in person or online) their music lessons in “Halloween Week at La La’s” attire.
“With so much stress in all our lives, my piano students and I are including a bit of fantasy during this Halloween week–virtually and in person,” said McCulloch. “We’re practicing in costume and enjoying treats, (no tricks) at lesson’s end. We were also using more games than usual for learning purposes–just an outlet for fun in an otherwise tense time!”
Costumes were a bit out-of-the-ordinary and definitely creative, including “This Week’s Sheet Music,” “This Cool Cat Plays Purrfectly,” “A Fox Tickles the Ivory,” This REY of Sunshine is Delightful,” Pink-Haired Lab Tech ‘testing’ Her Assignment,” “This Graduate Knows Practicing is Key,” “Vade Skater Rolled in for Lessons,” and “Monsters Aren’t SCARCE at La La’s This week.”
McCulloch has been teaching piano for over ten years after retiring from careers in the print news profession and as an English teacher. She began playing piano in churches at age 14 and has served as pianist, organist, and choir director in various Roanoke Valley churches over the years.
“As a young piano student, I was highly motivated and inspired by one particularly creative piano teacher who made my lessons challenging, interesting and fun,” McCulloch explained. “Had she not ‘let me be me,’ I would not have fallen in love with playing the piano the way that I did.”
She has taken it as her mission to “teach the love of music, especially piano, to typical and special needs students,” with lessons customized to fit each student. “I believe each person is gifted differently without being made to feel different.”
The name “La La” is what her grandchildren call her, so it’s naturally her favorite name. “The icing on the cake is that it has a nice music connotation, so La La’s Piano Players seemed a logical choice” for her business.
With piano lessons disrupted by the pandemic since March, McCulloch resumed in-person lessons in her home following VDH guidelines in October. Some students chose to continue their lessons online.