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Rory Thompson

Minneapolis MN | 55417-2228

About me

RORY M. THOMPSON, BA, MA, NCTM, has a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Piano from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the University of Iowa. He has operated the New Horizons Music Studio for over thirty years, in Iowa City, Iowa, in Ruston, Louisiana, and starting in the Fall of 1996, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I love to teach music. I choose to teach music through the medium of piano instruction, but my first mission is to teach music! I chose the name for my studio carefully...the New Horizons Music Studio. Not Piano Studio. The piano is a special instrument, useful for individuals to simply enjoy private moments, and useful for refined performances. Piano can be a very lonely instrument, if approached in the wrong manner, and a very social instrument if full advantage is taken of its role and capabilities. For this reason, I teach and encourage students to perform for others, and with others. Your encouragement and support during the times that piano practice seems lonely to a child can make the difference. They need your constant interest, even after the lessons are no longer a novelty. They need chances to play for others; and they will possibly need your gentle push to get them going.
Piano study is undoubtedly responsible for the development of my personality. I was very shy, but I learned piano quickly, and it became my chance to shine. I believe I developed poise because I learned to play for others. I learned to graciously take compliments, even when I thought that I hadn’t done that well. I learned to “think on my feet” during those performances that weren’t going as planned, but I had to “keep on keeping on!” And I know that I learned to be my disciplined and organized self (my wife thinks a little too much, maybe) through the process of practicing. Its problem-solving; its creative thinking; its organizing by understanding the whole, and addressing its parts. The studies that are so common today, pointing out the brain-function and learning advantages of studying music don’t seem that new to me. I think I learned this years ago.
All this is what my love of teaching music is based on. The thought that I can give not only music, but can help develop many important human qualities in a child...that is what drives me. I can remember how important music became to me...gradually more and more...through my successes at the piano. Because I remember, I feel I can better assist young students that begin to feel the power of music envelop them.
All of these advantages to the development of your child are attainable. The child need not excel, need not become a professional musician, to garner the advantages. It simply takes parental interest, and sometimes, firm support when the initial newness becomes work. And it does! I often think of the mess we’d be in if parents showed no interest in achievement at school. But its a rare parent that would allow his or her child to “skip the homework” because of a few complaints. When this happens, parents are firm in insisting that the homework is not only done, but also done neatly and completely. Usually, excellent grades form the basis of self-initiative and pride in the child. An upward spiral, rather than a downward spiral is created.
Some parents treat piano study as if it were a true part of a child’s education. And together, we create this same upward spiral. Others treat music study as if it were merely another after- school activity. It would be a rare child, burdened with activities every night of the week, that could make a real commitment to music study. Let’s face it, all areas of endeavor are not equal, and discrimination and priority-setting are things that parents and teachers try to help children with.
These are my ideas, my observations from years of association with students and their parents. I have seen the difference that true interest and support can make.
Mr. Thompson is a retired Associate Professor of Piano at Louisiana Tech University, teaching there from 1976-1996. While in Louisiana, Mr. Thompson’s students played in numerous recitals, accompanied soloists in recitals, appeared with orchestras, participated in competitions throughout the state of Louisiana, and in general, enjoyed and loved their associations with music and the piano.
Mr. Thompson is nationally certified as a piano teacher through the Music Teachers National Association, and is a master-certified member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. He served as the President of the Louisiana Music Teachers Association, chairman of the National Certification Board of Music Teachers National Association, Treasurer of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association Foundation, and Treasurer of the Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum.
The New Horizons Music Studio is a multi-faceted music service studio, consisting of a teaching studio for piano students of all ages and ability levels, an entertainment/music appreciation studio which designs and creates music programs for clients in the Twin Cities area, and a music production studio, creating original compositions and arrangements, with recording facilities. Mr. Thompson also is a free-lance pianist and accompanist.

Lesson details

Private lessons are offered as follows: a.) level 1 students receive a 30 minute private lesson; b.) level 2 students receive a 45 minute private lesson; c.) level 3 students receive a 60 minute private lesson. Begin-ning students may be scheduled in 60-minute partner groups (3 students) for the first three to six months of study. The teacher makes determination of levels and lessons length. Periodically, the teacher may substi-tute a group performance class for one private lesson. This will normally be done in preparation for a re-cital, festival, or other performance-related event; arrangements for group performance classes will be made well in advance of the date.
The academic year is divided into three terms, plus a modified summer term: a.) Fall Term: September-November; b.) Winter Term: December-February; c.) Spring Term: March-May; d.) Summer Term, con-sisting of 6 lessons, dates to be determined by student and teacher, with flexibility in mind. The Summer Term is not optional; by enrolling for the Fall Term, students commit themselves to a full year’s instruc-tion, including the 6-lesson Summer Term. After three years of continuous study, the teacher or the parent may recommend a summer furlough to avoid “burn-out”.

Education and Accreditation

University of Northern Iowa, Bachelors in Piano
University of Iowa, Masters in Piano
Music Teachers National Association, National Certification in Piano
Minnesota Music Teachers Association, Master-Teacher Certified



more than 20 years


$39 & under


Monday-Friday, 7:00 am-5:30 pm

Teaching location

Teachers Studio




Alfred Method
Clark Method
Faber and Faber

Instruments and Subjects

theory – analysis
theory – music history
theory – rudiments

Levels taught


Type of students

Young Adults



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