After a lifetime of teaching piano to young people, Lillian Bartolo wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop her from teaching; she just had to get creative.
Lillian’s lifelong love of music started when she was a young girl. “I had two brothers. One played the guitar, and the other brother played the mandolin and violin. We had jam sessions,” she says.
Lillian studied music at the Chicago Conservatory, with emphasis on the Curtis Piano Method for Piano, and continued studying with Elsie K. Brett, an exceptional specialty teacher. She educated hundreds of piano students of all ages, from kindergarten through high school and adults. "My husband had a home built with a recreational room large enough for two grand pianos, perfect for small recitals.”
Teaching has been a rewarding job for Lillian. “Sometimes I can’t believe I am getting paid to teach piano,” she says. “It’s just such a joy.”
As time went on, Lillian reduced her class size, but she didn’t want to give up teaching entirely. After her move to Park Place, Lillian was thrilled to learn that she’d still be able to offer piano lessons right in her apartment.
In early spring when the pandemic hit, safety precautions and social distancing guidelines prohibited in-person piano lessons. Knowing the importance of continuing lessons, she didn’t want her students to lose any ground they’d gained. With the help of Park Place staff, Lillian learned how to use Zoom to teach lessons. It didn’t take long before Lillian was teaching students without any staff assistance.
Even though many students have pursued careers other than music, Lillian knows she has made a lasting impact on them. After keeping in contact with many students, she’s learned that they not only have a love of music, but no matter which field they’ve entered, they all agree it takes dedication, discipline, and “practice, practice, practice.”
Lillian sees everything, including her piano lessons, the pandemic, the availability of technology, and her life at Park Place as part of a larger plan.
“When I was looking for a facility to move into, I see now where God’s hand was directing me to Park Place,” she says. “I am so grateful.”