Staccato Music

Chris Cogswell is a creative, enthusiastic piano teacher, with a passion for working with students with special needs. Chris believes every child and adult should have the opportunity to learn to make music, regardless of their natural talent, or physical, or academic capabilities. Learning to play a musical instrument can make a profound impact on a child's academic, social, and emotional development, and can help to keep adult minds stimulated and sharp. 

Chris began taking piano lessons at the age of five from her Aunt Evelyn from whom she adopted her love and passion for music. A precocious child, Chris's musical interests were limitless. Aunt Evelyn provided Chris additional opportunities to study other instruments including accordion, organ, violin, and guitar. 

Throughout her school career, Chris enjoyed accompanying and singing in choirs, playing xylophone and auxiliary percussion in marching and concert bands, and accordion in the pit orchestra for a high school musical. She attended Metropolitan State College (now Metropolitan State University of Denver) and University of Northern Colorado, majoring in Music and Special Education. Chris is happy to be back at Metropolitan State University of Denver, finishing her Individualized Degree in Inclusive Piano Pedagogy, focusing on engaging the needs of all students.

Adaptive Piano teachers design their studios and curricula to address the specific challenges students with special needs require. From personal experience as a musician with severe hand arthritis, Chris is vigilant about honing her technique to avoid further injury and adapting music for her specific needs.

Chris's experience includes eighteen years teaching private piano, thirty years accompanying church services and choirs, and singing in numerous choirs. Chris has been honored to perform with The Lutheran Chorale as soprano soloist on works by Handel, Haydn, Mozart, and Bach on several occasions.

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Chris believes in student-centered education; before the music, pedagogy, or performance goals. She maintains that having fun is an important aspect of the lesson, and that playfulness in the lesson engages the attention and energy of the student, promoting deeper learning. If students are having fun, musical proficiency will follow. Chris enjoys the opportunity to nurture other positive characteristics such as creativity, curiosity, confidence, and discipline, as well as providing an emotional outlet, and helping students understand how the process relates to the end result.

Chris consistently involves students in their musical education through the use of the Piano Adventures Curriculum, and by seeking out, writing, and/or arranging personalized supplementary materials that celebrate their individual interests and talents. Through a combination of respect, listening, patience, innovation, and enthusiasm, she provides helpful feedback and physical modeling when developing and practicing new skills. The piano is Chris's tool for introducing students to many styles of music, helping them progress as musicians, and developing a lifelong appreciation of music.


* Private Piano Teacher: 1999 – Present

* Presented her "Thinking Outside the 'Bachs'" Curriculum with Yamaha at the 2018 Music Teachers National Association Conference in Orlando Florida

* Accompanist and Children's Choir Director at Peace With Joy Lutheran Church, American Lutheran Memorial Church, and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church from 1978 through 2010.

* The Lutheran Chorale – Soprano Soloist: 1988 – 2000

* Earning and Individualized Degree in Adaptive Piano at Metropolitan State University of Denver from 2013 – Present

* Studied Music and Special Education at University of Northern Colorado from 1985 – 1986                                                    

* Studied Music and Special Education at Metropolitan State College from 1984 – 1985                                                                                                                                    

Other Experience: 

* Co-Authored "Take My Hand, The Caregiver's Journey", a welcome, practical guide for the emotional journey of caregiving. Published by Torchflame Books January 2018

* Sunday School Teacher and Coordinator: 1983 – 2010

* Sign Language Instructor at Rooney Ranch Elementary School, Hutchinson Elementary School, Dunstan Middle School from 1998 – 2005

* Professional Child Care Provider: 1986 – 1997

* Available on request.

* Foothills Music Teacher's Association 
* Colorado State Music Teacher's Association 
* Music Teacher's National Association