Anahita Khorsandi opened Ava Music School at 311 Maple Ave. W in Vienna last year, offering piano, guitar, violin and vocal lessons—both private and group for children (starting at age 3) and adults.
“Being aware of the significant therapeutic effects of music and arts in the development of mind and spirit of humans of all ages and specially the children, makes us strong believers in what we have undertaken,” she says.
Highly skilled at the piano, Khorsandi started playing at the age of 6 in her home country of Iran, and credits her teachers—Mr. Pardis and Mojgan Salehi—with providing her the skills she possesses today. She also studied piano in a conservatory of Tehran for several years, moving to the U.S. at the age of 17.
“I always had a passion for music,” Khorsandi says. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I came here, but I decided I wanted to open a music school.”
Knowing that she wanted to teach piano to students of her own, Khorsandi studied marketing and business at the University of Massachusetts so she could learn how best to operate a successful studio. She founded the Ava Music School based on the philosophy that developing emotional depth, artistic maturity and a genuine love of music is the essence of musical study.
The staff at Ava Music School is made up of incredible teachers, including Sheida Jenkins who teaches music for wellness; Sheida Jenkins who teaches piano and music composition; Antonio Espinal, who teaches piano and vocals; Niloufar Rahmanzadeh, who teaches piano; Pendar Kordnavahsi, who offers group piano lessons; Dr. Nikan Milani, another piano teacher; and Arman Nasrinpay, who works with violin and viola students.
She hopes to add more to the staff, including a guitar instructor in the months ahead.
Music is important for children to learn at a young age, she notes, because it helps them build up confidence.
“Myself, I was a very shy kid; I wouldn’t talk and I didn’t want anyone to notice me,” Khorsandi says. “One day I decided that I wanted people to see me. I was 11 and piano was my thing.”
She calls the piano her “best friend,” and whether she’s sad, mad or happy, she can be found playing and pouring her emotions into her songs.
“I think kids should play, no matter what instrument they decide,” Khorsandi says. “I tell parents that I don’t know if their kids will become a pianist, but I promise that they will fall in love with music. That’s my goal. If that happens, then the passion comes and the hard work comes.”
As a teacher, Khorsandi gets her students interested with rewards and just making positive connections, helping them to get off their phones and video games and sit down at the piano to play.
“We take the best student of the month and give them a trophy, and the students work hard for that—they love to be shown and be seen,” she says. “Before COVID, we had a recital, and all the parents would come. We hope that we’re able to do that again soon.”
Not surprisingly, Ava’s Music School suffered a bit when the pandemic began, but Khorsandi did what she could with virtual lessons and made sure her kids continued to stay interested in their instruments.
“In January, all my students came back because they wanted their lessons in person,” she says. “I still teach online to adults, but I think it’s really important to teach kids in person to get that connection and keep them interested.”
Khorsandi hopes to grow her school so every day there are group lessons going on, because she feels that helps students learn the basics best.
“I’m also trying to open my own piano gallery,” she says. “One part of that would be to repair old pianos and resell them, and another part is to rebuild customized pianos. I have someone who is coming on this year to help me with that.”
“In my opinion, everyone should learn an instrument because it makes a big difference in a person’s life,” she says.
During the summer, Khorsandi will host a two-week summer camp, combining music instruction with other fun activities.
For more information, visit www.avamusicschoolllc.com.