Mrs. Sharla Van Cleave, NCTM has 0ver 40 years of experience teaching piano and theory. She attended Abilene Christian University and is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, in Piano..
Mrs. Van Cleave is currently Immediate Past President of Abilene Music Teachers Association and has held most of the offices in the association, including Student Affiliate Coordinator, and chairs of events such as Springer-Manly Music Festival, Ensemble Festival, Fall Festival and Public Relations Coordinator. She has been a piano team director representing AMTA with piano teams at the TMTA State convention and directed a piano team from Abilene MTA at the MTNA National convention in Austin in 2006.
Mrs. Van Cleave accompanies for AISD, and is an accompanist for The Celebration Singers, a community show choir. . She has performed in such venues as Abilene Community Theatre, and the Paramount Theatre, Abilene Civic Center and Moody Coliseum. Her solo performances include Artwalk, Abilene Founders Day, and the Abilene Woman's Club. She performs annually with the AMTA teacher team at the AMTA Showcase Concert. Mrs. Van Cleave maintains continuing education through workshops, seminars, classes and performing in adjudicated events. She studied with Shirley J. Anderson for 11 years. Mrs. Van Cleave is on the National Guild of Piano Teacher’s National Honor Roll, has earned the National Guild of Piano Teachers Paderewski Medal.
She has served TMTA (Texas Music Teachers Association) as a theory test grader for 16 years and has served on the TMTA Theory Review Committee. She was chair of the TMTA June Leondar Chamber Music/Ensemble Contest and also served on the Texas Music Teachers Association Board of Directors as state Certification Director for 4 years. Additionally, she has served Music Teachers National Association as South Central Commissioner for the National Certification Commission from 2015-2017. She is currently head trustee for Texas Music Teachers Association/Texas Music Teachers Educational Foundation. 2019-2022
Sharla Van Cleave was awarded AMTA Teacher of the Year Award in 1999 and 2007. She has served AMTA as President three times and as Student Affiliate Coordinator twice.
Abilene MTA was the 2002 MTNA Local Association of the Year, under the leadership of Shirley Anderson, NCTM, and TMTA Best of State in 2009 under the leadership of Sharla Van Cleave, NCTM.
Mrs. Van Cleave has been married to William (Ken) Van Cleave for 44 years and has two grown children, Steven (Vince) Van Cleave, and wife Sharon, and Laci Hall and husband Fletcher. She also has twin eleven year old grandsons Bryant and Brayden Hall.
Meet Our Teachers
Liz Moore, NCTM
Elementary, Intermediate, Advanced
Liz Moore is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music in Piano. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association, Texas Music Teacher’s Association, Abilene Music Teacher’s Association and National Guild of Piano Teachers.
Liz has a Bachelor of Music Degree from Hardin-Simmons University. She is a Texas State Certified Classroom Teacher, and Texas State Certified Teacher of Music K-12 with Choral Emphasis.
With 36 years of experience as a private piano teacher, 23 years experience as an elementary fine arts teacher and 8 years as an elementary general classroom teacher, we are blessed to have Liz’s knowledge and expertise as part of our studio family.
Liz is an experienced accompanist and church pianist and performs regularly with the AMTA teacher’s ensemble.
Liz is also fluent in Spanish as well as English.
She is a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, in Piano.
Nicole Mouat, is a collegiate member of Music Teachers National Association, Texas Music Teachers Association and Abilene Music Teachers Association. She took lessons from Sharla Van Cleave, NCTM for 12 years. Nicole is now an honors sophomore Music Education Major with a piano principal at Hardin Simmons University and studies with Dr. Mark Puckett, Steinway Artist in Residence at HSU.
Nicole participates in the community for solo performance and accompanying. She has accompanied for AISD, Wylie ISD, and HSU Texas State Choral Summer Camp. Her solo performances include Rotary International Top 50 Banquet, Abilene Woman’s Club, Abilene Center for Contemporary Arts, Abilene Country Club and Abilene Civic Center.
During her study with Sharla Van Cleave, NCTM, Nicole earned many awards including the National Guild of Piano Teachers Paderewski medal for ten years of National Programs with high ratings. She also earned state awards from Texas Music Teachers Association for Senior Participation in Theory Medal Awards. Her awards with Abilene Music Teachers Association include first place, 2nd and 3rd place in Abilene Music Teachers Piano Solo Contests with solo performances at the AMTA Showcase Concert. She has consistently earned the highest studio guild score for National Guild of Piano Teachers Auditions.
Nicole also enjoys playing for private and public events around Abilene and has a special talent for her improvisation. She is an excellent sight reader and has a complete understanding for the overall compositional form of the music. Nicole has a special feedback with her audience by an providing emotional and musical experience for her listener directly from her soul.
Through Nicole’s many years of experience at PianosAreFun as a student, she understands the needs of the student for daily practice, correct ways to practice producing more rapid results. She also provides gentleness and a soft spoken voice towards understanding the feelings of the students while being able to provide a serious manner of education and learning environment.
Elise Townsend, Teacher
Elise Townsend studied piano under Mrs. Van Cleave for four years. She has been working as an apprentice under the mentorship and training of Sharla Van Cleave. NCTM for the past two years. She now studies with Shirley J. Anderson, NCTM while she pursues her college degree.
Elise is a valued collegiate member of the Abilene Music Teachers Association. Her input, participation, and service have been valuable to AMTA. She is serious about piano studies and strives to always continue learning more. Else was raised and graduated as homeschooled. Her desire and experience with independent study provides an asset for new and innovative concepts in teaching. She is familiar with all learning styles and has a gentle, loving and patient heart for young children.
Elise began teaching more than three years ago and has already begun working to become a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. Her rapid progress in theory, technique, literature and pedagogy brings an understanding to the student’s capabilities on the bench. She combines her passion for piano with an ability to love each student as an individual.
Elise lives in Rule, Texas with her parents, two brothers, a dog, and too many cats to count. Some of her favorite activities include reading, dancing, hiking, visiting new places, taking pictures, and being outside.
About the Studio
PianosAreFun, is located in Abilene, Texas. High quality private one on one piano lessons are given to students of all ages. PianosAreFun was in the process of going online when Covid 19 hit in March 2020. Covid rushed our plans a little, but our students never missed a lesson due to quarantine. Now that we are online, our studio has grown to include students all over the world.
Our goals for all students remain the same. Our quality for lessons remain the same. It has been interesting to notice that current students have improved in becoming more engaged and asking more questions since going online.
Students all over the world, now, learn to play the piano with emphasis on reading accurately, understanding music theory and playing with expression. Focus is given on working to create a comfortable performance. Each lesson is tailored to the needs of the individual student from week to week.
Online lessons provide convenience, safety, better focus, more student engagement and loss of lessons due to illness, bad weather or location. Reliable high speed internet is required. Laptop or other large screen device provides the student a better overall experience for viewing documents, referencing specific details in the music and teacher demonstrations. The teacher's end has multiple camera views and specialized software providing better and more easily understandable demonstrations than in person . Camera's are angeled for views which provide better than in person visuals and understanding of movement and motion for technique, pedalling and key shapes for chording.
About the Students!
Due to Covid 19 March 2020, Mrs. Van Cleave's studio went on online to support students in quarantine. Since that time the studio has grown to include students located all over the world. It is exciting to see what these students will accomplish and events they may participate in.
Her local students for the past 35 years have received honors such as Texas Music Teachers Association Theory Medals Award Senior Award, AMTA Student Participation Award Winner, AMTA Piano Solo Contest winners, National Guild Auditions Founders Plaque, Bach Plaque, and Paderewski Medals. They have received ratings of Outstanding at the NFMC State Festival and Gold Medals at the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest in Austin. Her students routinely receive high ratings for UIL solos, Festivals and Pianos Solo Contests. Students perform on piano teams at the TMTA convention annually and have performed on a piano team at the MTNA National Conference. Her students consistently earn medals for the TMTA Theory Tests and receive high ratings in local events and National Guild auditions. Her students have performed and accompanied for school graduations and assemblies, and choir, orchestra, and band events. They have performed for weddings, and public events. They have also been school jazz band pianists, honor choir accompanists, and Drum Majors at their University. As graduated adults they are church pianists, community pianists and community accompanists, professional musicians and professionals in the music business as well as teachers.
Our Students enjoy participating in community events and activities such as playing at the Mall of Abilene at Christmas, Artwalk, Retirement Centers and various other venues. We have 45 minute private one on one lessons once a week, and group classes once or twice a semester so students can enjoy and observe their peers and create a bonding studio environment. Our students also enjoy helping as pages for AMTA events such as Springer Manly Music Festival.
Contact Me &
Let's Get Started
Drop a message to me here, or give me a call at 1-325-665-3057
I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to hearing from you.
My love of music combined with my enthusiasm and desire for playing the piano makes my job the greatest on earth. Most of the time I find it hard to believe that I actually get paid for “playing” and having fun. My job as a piano teacher is to help the student develop the necessary skills to read music, understand music theory, play with proper technique, and perform musically. My goal is to train the student to function independently as a musician, and share in the lifetime benefits that music provides. Discipline and responsibility are a vital part of this process. Showing my excitement about music, and having fun with the student encourages motivation, discipline and responsibility.
I believe it is my duty to take advantage of the opportunities that God has provided for me in the field of music. I enjoy sharing the gift of music and feel a responsibility to provide a well rounded musical education. I strive to build confidence in the student’s ability to perform what they have learned. I feel as much pride in students with learning problems, who are able to make the slightest amount of progress through their efforts and hard work, as I do in those who have natural talent and progress rapidly. One of my goals is to teach the student to let go of negative stress and use the lesson time as an escape from the outside world through music. I believe that God has provided and entrusted me with these students and their musical futures.
It is my obligation to do my best to serve God in this capacity; to make a difference in the lives of my students by influencing them and cultivating the intrinsic motivation that already