My name is Melissa Surman, and I am the owner/ instructor of Gloria Music Studio, as well as the author of The Joyful Grammar of Music. I began my lifelong love of music at the age of five while strolling through a music store in the mall with my mother. My mom soon put me in piano lessons and I began teaching myself to play the piano from our church hymnal, and reading through classical works. By third grade, I was put into the position of church pianist, since my dad had recently become pastor of a small church. In high school, I pursued voice lessons, choral music, May Festival Youth Chorus, theater, and was the accompanist for myself and other voice students at recitals. Music simply remained my way of serving my church; it did not become a vocation until I began college. At that time I switched my major from Physical Therapy to Music Education. One of the music professors asked me to teach his daughter to play the piano, so I began teaching my first piano student at age 19.
During college I participated in the May Festival Chorus, performing at Cincinnati Music Hall with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. In 2002, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the College of Mount Saint Joseph with a Bachelor of Arts in Music, emphasis in both voice and piano.
In addition to teaching privately and being a mom, I work as the Music Director at Saint Vincent De Paul parish. I also serve voluntarily in all avenues of music and children's ministries at Delhi Hills Baptist Church; I have worked professionally as an accompanist for Mount Saint Joseph University's theater productions and choirs, in addition to accompanying for area high schools.
In late 2017, I began work on The Joyful Grammar of Music, a grammar stage music curriculum for home and private school use. I received my Kodaly certification from the Chenaniah Summer Music Institute in Moscow, Idaho, which is held at New St. Andrews College. During the process of writing the curriculum I was able to start a homeschool music program in my neighborhood, offering primary and intermediate general music courses for children, as well as a choir for homeschoolers grades 3 and up.
I thoroughly enjoy being surrounded by the beauty of music, and I consider it my main avenue of service to God and human expression. I feel privileged to be able to pass on to what others what I have learned. As a home-educating mother of five children, I strive to follow a Classical Christian philosophy of education, where all subject matters are integrated around the seven liberal arts. The desire to implement a classical approach to teaching and learning has affected my music education philosophy.
Along with serving in the Classical Conversations program as a tutor and director, I am a member of the National Association for Music Education and Organization for American Kodaly Educators (OAKE). In the piano and voice lessons I teach, I emphasize ear training, note reading, chords, scales, and music “grammar”, theory, and history. I incorporate the Kodaly methodology into my general music courses and private lessons. My mentor Lamar Robertson once stated, "Every lesson should have two things: beauty and joy." It is important for my students to develop a discerning ear for true beauty and to receive instruction from a nurturing, joyful approach. I agree that, as J.S. Bach said, “the chief end of music is to glorify God.” I do not believe that only certain music can glorify God. I believe that God's truth, beauty, and goodness can be realized through many lovely genres of music. When music is composed and performed well, it is beautiful, and it brings us to the realization of God’s greatness.