Rhona Gouldson-Chen, Principal Director
Ms Gouldson-Chen's exceptional musical abilities were recognised when she earned the Peter Killian medal for the top Leaving Certificate in Music in all of Ireland. And when she enrolled at Trinity College Dublin, her exceptional abilities earned her the Taylor Exhibition, a two-year scholarship for attaining a perfect score on their entrance aural test - a feat that had never before been accomplished in the University's history. It's no surprise that Trinity College Dublin later invited her back to lead the aural training program in the Masters in Multimedia program.
Inspired by her desire to share the enriching and transformative power of music, Rhona has found great joy in teaching students of all ages, abilities, and skill levels. She's been employed by the esteemed Leeson Park School of Music (where she served as Head of Piano) and has also had the privilege of teaching at TU Dublin Conservatory of Music. Her approach to teaching incorporates all the senses and focuses on helping students fully understand and bring to life the composer's intentions by breaking down the music and teaching efficient practice. She's passionate about instilling a love and appreciation for great music and building confidence in her students, all while helping them play with ease. Ms Gouldson-Chen holds a Licentiate Diploma from Trinity College London and is a member of both EPTA Ireland and MTNA, USA. Her students are often prize-winners in competitions and high-achievers in exams, making her a highly sought-after teacher.
With a fierce love for the piano and a dedication to spreading musical knowledge, Rhona founded the Piano Academy of Ireland (formerly Rathgar Piano) in 2006. Her mission was to help people from all walks of life "Discover the Musician Within," and her efforts earned her a spot on RTE's Nationwide. In 2008, she and her husband Dr. Archie Chen founded the National Piano Festival, a celebration of all things piano that invites players of all ages and abilities to perform and receive professional feedback. The annual Festival now includes a Limerick writing Contest, taking place surrounding the St Patrick's day festivities and is open to budding writers from all over the world. And in 2013, they upped the ante with the Dublin International Piano Festival & Summer Academy, a ten-day extravaganza featuring a concert series and top-notch international instructors and performers. This top-quality program supports the development of aspiring pianists from around the globe.
You can catch Rhona's musical stylings on the radio and on TV - she's a regular on Spokane Public Radio's Piano Bench and has also appeared on PBS-TV. In order to be close to her family both in the USA and in Dublin, she splits her time between the Emerald Isle and Washington State. When she's not playing chauffeur to her two teenage children, she can be found hitting the rowing machine or globetrotting to far-off lands.
Rachel simply enjoys her piano lessons. I don’t know how Rhona does it as I wasn’t around during the lessons but I can see that Rachel is well- motivated and is always looking forward to her next lesson. Rachel has only been in the School for 3 months and I have already seen an improvement. (I have tried two other piano teachers with her previously but did not go very far as she refuses to play for them- Rhona certainly has a way with young children!)
Dr. Ruth Low, parent
We are very happy to have Rhona teach our son Joe. We really appreciate the effort and dedication Rhona puts into teaching Joe. He absolutely adores Rhona and enjoys the lessons.
mother of Joe O’Grady
I’m happy with the progress of her lesson. In a short period of time she learned a lot of songs to play and even joined and won a prize in a festival.
Discover the Musician Within
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The mission of the IPAI is to promote and support classical piano music around the world by offering specialized piano education, both online and in-person, to individuals of all ages and skill levels.