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Shorewood Piano Student has Knack for Entertaining

Ten-year-old Pierson Froehlich tickles the ivories with a flourish.

Pierson Froehlich has been playing piano since he has been old enough to sit on a bench and reach the piano keys.

As a piano teacher, Pierson's grandmother Barbara Froehlich, took him under her wing at age 2.

Now 10, Pierson can not only play the piano, but he is an entertainer.

In fact, he recently played at the Shorewood Senior Center, and impressed his audience with his ability to play swing music and entertain as well as accurately complete pieces from memory.

Since first grade, Pierson has been local popular piano teacher Adam Baus' pupil, and the relationship has yielded an avid student of the craft, who eagerly learns new material in anticipation of his weekly in-home lesson. 

“I practice right up until it’s time for Adam to come,” he said.

Baus, a professional “recovering classical” pianist, has years of inspiring young performers and writing mini-musicals as a lead teacher at First Stage Theater Academy, under his belt. He sometimes sends YouTube video of other children playing pieces -- and Pierson is inspired and quickly teaches himself. Now entering fourth grade, Pierson practices every day “on his own, unprompted by us,” says his mother, Sue Froehlich. 

What sets Pierson’s playing apart is his ability to freestyle on the piano and to add a flourish and extra parts to make a contiguous show.

His last trip to the movies, he approached the piano player in the lobby and conferred about details involved in the profession, deciding that would be an exciting possible next step in this young showman’s repertoire.

This ability to add things to pieces in a particular genre, like swing or “boogie” is a direct result of Baus’ diversity of teaching techniques and material, which ranges from classical to pop songs that make kids excited to show off their abilities to peers.

This seems to be the secret to Pierson’s enthusiasm for playing for -- and with -- friends. His favorites to play now are the James Bond theme song, and Hey Soul Sister, which he eagerly plays to entertain friends and family.  

Pierson attributes much of his success (in his words, ‘fun’) to having friends who also are students of Baus and play socially, like Paul Fraser, a fellow Lake Bluff Elementary School student who challenges Pierson and shares his interest.

Pierson’s mother offers advice for inspiring such a great learning environment for a child who expresses a love of music early. “Create a group of kids – find the right match, like Pierson and Paul, because they get each other excited about it.”

You may see or hear Pierson performing in the next few years at a venue near you.

For now, he’s finishing midget’s baseball and gearing up to try for quarterback at Nicolet’s extracurricular elementary football program.

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