As no doubt Evan’s oldest student ( I’m pushing seventy!), perhaps I, more than anyone, appreciate his wonderful combination of piano skills and unlimited patience while passing that knowledge on to this novice.

Obviously, I had major concerns several months ago when I first came to Evan with the desire to learn to play the piano at this late stage in my life. But those concerns were soon erased by Evan’s understanding of my “age situation,” and his low-key, ever-encouraging teaching tecnique. By asking for little more than a genuine interest in learning and an expectation that practice become a regular part of my day, Evan has made me a believer in the possibility that I may become some sort of piano player yet!

I look forward to each and every session with Evan. The fact that we meet at his home provides a nice combination of privacy and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s just too bad he wasn’t around thirty years ago–I would have sent all three of my daughters to learn from him!

– Al Mager

 

I studied music and piano for many years before entering Evan’s studio. Until then I had a hard time connecting with most of my music teachers and thus progressed slowly. In the +/- 2 years I studied under Evan I believe that in that time I made much more headway than I had under other teachers. Evan’s style was inclusive and adaptable and I believe that made the difference; he helped me figure out what I really wanted from music and how to go about getting it; he was able to show me how to best utilize my practice time and how to use my musical interests to excel. This thought process transferred into my academic life as well, better preparing me for the independent nature of collegiate study in any field. Furthermore Evan’s professional performance experience added to his teaching abilities, giving more weight to his guidance regarding the way lesson material is applied in the “real world”. Today I am not a professional musician but I still play piano and keyboards almost every day. I am a recent masters degree graduate in a professional field, but I spend many evenings and weekends playing music with a number of bands and other avocational musicians in the Chicago area, and I plan to continue to do so for the rest of my life. Evan is a great teacher and apt at guiding his students to wherever heights their music may take them.

– Bill H.

 

During my four years in high school, I studied with Evan Rea on piano. In my first year I was pretty ambitious to learn some harder music. I remember asking Evan what it would take for me to play “Maple Leaf Rag” for lessons. He told me, “You would have to learn it in three weeks.” To which I responded, “How am I going to be able to do that?!?” His response was that I should practice it 50 times a day. Needless to say, my first week back was not good, but Evan didn’t let me give up. Long story short, my parents heard “Maple Leaf Rag” 50 times a day for 2 weeks and I ended up earning high marks at a small individual competition.

The way that Evan viewed music was completely different than what I received in band and choir. He had a passion for what he was doing and always gave you 200% the effort that you put into a lesson. I had just started playing/singing music when I started with Evan and he really pushed me to do more than I thought I could. He helped bring confidence to my playing by constantly encouraging me to push harder and practice more. Music is still part of my life today as I play trumpet professionally. I still play piano and have not found a better, more involved teacher than Evan. My teacher at Eastern Illinois University even told me that I could easily make the top piano studio given the way I played. I owe that to Evan. He always told me that I would be playing professionally when I got out of college, but I never believed him. And here I am. I can still hear Evan saying “You’re playing well; don’t stop for the little mistakes” (when performing). That was probably the hardest thing for me to learn and it never hit me until I reached college how everyone makes little mistakes, but you have to look at the big picture of a piece. He definitely left a long lasting impression on my musical abilities.

– Brian W.

 

I personally worked with Evan, through America Girl Theater in Chicago, from the age of 12-16. He was my Musical Director for my four and a half years of performing there. Evan’s consistent patient and positive energy when running vocal warm-ups before performances kept me focused and warmed up my voice properly, while having fun! I loved working with Evan!

In the a capella group, Ambassadors, Evan created the arrangements of many songs we performed. He challenged us not only by the material we had to sing, but when working together we had to sight read songs as well. He was always making sure we were prepared. His direction was also very easy to follow. Thus, I have been able to harmonize in groups and hold out my part. This has helped me in choir and even in auditions when asked to sight read.

Musical Theater is still a major aspect of my life and I hope to major in it through college. Evan has been, and will always remain, a positive influence in my life and the lessons learned through Evan I will maintain through my career.

– Danielle P.