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Claire Dunnington

"The first year I went to TOPS Piano Camp, I stayed for a week. The following year, I stayed for two weeks. By the time I was seventeen I was spending a month or more in Florida (visiting from Ohio, where I lived) to attend and later work at TOPS, so entirely had it dazzled me. It was my first experience hearing and playing with other musicians my age, and the only place I've ever learned and performed some of the wonderful four-hand piano music that solo musicians don't usually get to play. Beyond the musical education and experience, TOPS was also an immensely formative social experience for me, and I am still in touch and friends with many of the people I met there."
Claire graduated from Columbia University with a MFA in nonfiction writing in 2010. She is currently working in New York as a private tutor.



Matt Skantz

"I attended TOPS from 1999 to 2002 and went on to work as a counselor for two years after that. The environment was consistently encouraging and inspirational, with small class sizes, frequent lessons and performances, and abundant personal attention. The most important factor in my choosing to return each year was the passionate, interesting people who taught, performed, and led discussions. TOPS teachers clearly love what they do and convey their enthusiasm about a breadth of musical topics to students. Many of the music theory and history concepts I first learned at TOPS served as foundations for my college music degree. The opportunity to study piano with a variety of teachers was also a significant factor in my musical development. My TOPS teachers were all very well qualified and introduced me to unique musical perspectives. Even a week of studying a familiar piece of music with an unfamiliar teacher can influence a student in lasting ways. TOPS was one of the most significant musical experiences of my high school years and was a strong factor in my decision to continue my musical studies more seriously. I would recommend it to any young student interested in deepening their musical understanding and abilities in a friendly environment."
Matt graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a MS in Business Analytics in 2012.


Pat Ward 

Pat Ward

"I went to TOPS when I was around nine years old, and it truly was an awesome experience. Up until then, I had only ever performed piano by myself, so getting to perform and collaborate with other musicians was a great new frontier. I loved that the camp provided a nice, and well rounded atmosphere to develop my musical ability. Nearly ten years later, I attended Florida Atlantic University to pursue a degree in music. Although I ended up playing bass guitar, the piano and TOPS were a crucial parts of my overall music education. Here I am now at age twenty two, with a degree in Commercial Music from FAU, and I partially have TOPS to thank for keeping me going, and showing how fun music can be, and how much fun it is to learn from, and be around other musicians."

 Last Modified 12/18/14