Judy LaPrade is a life-long musician and teacher. She grew up in West Virginia where she played and sang in church. By junior high school she led and accompanied the patient choir at the local state mental hospital, then as an adult took the Blues into schools and music therapy groups for people with developmental challenges. These experiences set a path to build bridges between therapy and the creative arts, and she’s been teaching both ever since. She also played, sang, and wrote music for several years with the Elktones, an eight piece band of wild and wonderful West Virginia women.
Judy began standard classical piano lessons at a young age with a strong ear. She longed to put printed music aside and play with other people, but didn’t know how. So when a friend steered her to Blues camp in 1985, she felt she’d come home. She fell in love with traditional acoustic Blues and early string band music.
She’s taught Beginning Blues Piano for many years to people both new to piano and current players who want to learn Blues on piano. A teacher’s teacher, she also loves working with established musicians who want to transition to piano. She creates the classes she always wanted: learn Blues theory and patterns then use your ear, voice, body and heart to play and improvise. Her students play and sing in class with no printed music, only lyric and chord sheets. She has helped many students build skills and courage to play by ear and jam with other musicians. A current health coach, she brings that same passion and patience to piano class. She brings fun, humor, and accessibility for a non-intimidating approach that removes blocks and builds strengths. We honor and experience the Blues masters and culture as we take learning out of the head and into the body and heart, where the Blues live.
Her life partner of 20 years is a world class Blues player, which offers ample opportunity to deal with her own fading performance anxiety. Her current passion is singing Appalachian ballads of Nimrod Workman and Ola Belle Reed, a deep connection to the mountains and coal fields of her family origin.