My name is Abby Thomas.
I was born and raised in Evansville, IN.
I went to Scott Elementary, Oak Hill Middle School, and the original North High School on Diamond Avenue.
In 2013, I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the renowned Jacob's School of Music at Indiana University.
Upon entering college in 2008, I was blessed to be accepted into the Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers, under the direction of Dr. Michael L. Schwarzkopf. He served as director of the award winning Singing Hoosiers for 17 years. He also served as an adjudicator, lecturer, clinician, festival conductor, as well as having conducted countless choirs through the United States, Europe, and Canada. I was fortunate to also have this first-class man as a professor in my choral conducting studies. Every bit of my conducting ability comes from Dr. Schwarzkopf. Watching him direct our Singing Hoosiers rehearsals everyday, and being a part of so many spectacular performances under his direction was a privilege that became a major inspiration for me as a baseline of who I would strive to become as a director myself. The Singing Hoosiers have a long and storied tradition of excellence in the contemporary vocal arts. They are known for performing popular contemporary vocal music ranging from The Great American Songbook, Jazz, Broadway, to the hits of today. Dazzling choreography and a fun, energetic and entertaining program that appeals to all audiences and all ages are a part of every Singing Hoosier performance. "Dr. S" became my 'Dad-Away-From-Home' through my time at IU and was the reason I never gave up on my teaching degree. Succeeding in The Jacob's School of Music is no walk in the park. It is hard work and takes the kind of strength that I didn't know existed, until he helped me find it time and time again. I was surrounded by hundreds of prodigies daily. There were many times throughout my college education, where I felt like I was in over my head and needed to throw in the towel and change my major-but he was always the driving force behind my courage to wake up each day, dust myself off, and try again. Thankfully, I never gave up and eventually, I proudly earned my teaching degree! I was lucky to be a member of The Singing Hoosiers under his direction for 4 academic years, filled with hundreds of unforgettable shows. We even sang in China!
I consider myself lucky to have been chosen as a member of his choir, to have been placed as a student in his classroom, and I even see the luck in getting to just be a part of the daily life of Dr. S. for those 4 wonderful years. "In my heart it will remain, my Stardust Melody."
While at school, I was also honored to be professionally vocally trained by the world famous-Teresa Kubiak. Teresa is a Polish operatic soprano who made her debut in 1970 at Carnegie Hall, in New York City. She sang at the Metropolitan Opera for 15 seasons! I trained with Professor Kubiak for 5 glorious years. Though I had been singing since I could talk, she helped me discover a voice that I didn't even know I had. That voice was not just a musical one. She taught me strength, dignity, pride, integrity, worth ethic, Faith, and pure joy. We became very close and there were so many things she taught me about life that went way beyond just the music we made. We shared countless laughs, hugs, stories, tears, tragedies, and victories together. I loved and cherished my time with Professor Kubiak, my "Musical Momma" and I am very grateful to have been accepted into her studio as a Freshman, which gave me 5 beautiful years with her.
I could not have learned from a more talented singer, or from a better woman.
In 2013, I was placed with Hal-Leonard's Published Author-Dan Andersen, for my last semester before graduation-to student teach. Dan has spent more than 30 years in Music Education. He has inspired and changed the lives of thousands of students along the way, mine included. So much of who I am as a teacher, is made of what I learned from him. He taught me how to take a giant group of diverse and emotional middle schoolers and shape them into outstanding, healthy (and happy!) musicians that were practically perfect, in every way. His classroom and his heart are full of life and love-and the transfer of these golden qualities shine brightly in the voices of each and every one of his students. Being able to learn from him was an extraordinary experience and to this day-I center my teaching style largely in what he taught me. My time at Center Grove Middle School Central with Dan was short, but Oh, so very sweet. I learned a lot about life through the music and the moments we shared together. (I also learned way too many cheesy jokes that are eternally burned in my brain...Thanks, Dan!) Seriously though-talk about a fun time? I don't think I ever stopped smiling from the moment I walked through his door! He is an incredible person and I will forever consider it an honor to have shared the road with him through that small part of my musical journey. It was indescribably hard to leave that music room, knowing I'd soon be out of college and on my own, but he taught me how to stand tall and be confident in my own teaching ability. He gave me the proper tools I needed to be able to go out and build my own program starting from a tiny dream in my heart-and ending up running a successful program full of thriving musicians, dedicated families, and full community support. Dan led me down the right path to finding my own classroom and showed me how to lead it proudly through Love and Logic (and a lot of laughter!)
During the 2018-19 school year, he was nominated and won the Legacy Award" in his school district. This was obviously no surprise to me...
Dan Andersen is an amazing educator, mentor, musician, husband, father, grandfather, and now-a great colleague and friend.
“Love on your kids,” he said. “Love these kids and support them and support their interests and support what they do and then they’re going to turn into you, right?, and then you’ll be here supporting them as grandparents while they’re supporting them as parents.”
Collectively, this trio of iconic teachers above have helped shape my talents, my life, my heart, and my classroom.
A small piece of each of them is carried deep within me everyday, which makes up a very big piece of who I have become as an educator.
"If there ever comes a day we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." -Winnie the Pooh
-Music is not what I do...It's who I am.
I'm well aware that not every kid who comes across my music room will find a life-changing love of music like I did...
but for me-the chance that I might find one, will make it worth every hour spent teaching all those who are just passing through.
After earning my Bachelor's Degree in Music Education,
I became: a Choir Teacher in the public school system for 2 years-where I built a choir program from the ground up and started an after school choir program who performed out in the community; a Choir Teacher in the private school system for 2 years-where I built another music program from the ground up, started 2 after school choir programs, created a volunteer based youth Cantor Choir that led music at the school mass each week, taught private music lessons on the side, opened up a group piano lab in my choir room, where 50+ kids came to learn after school each week, directed musicals and plays; wrote two musicals; accepted an offer to be a Voice Teacher in a local music academy for 1 year-where I taught hundreds of voice lessons; started an inner-city after school community choir program where I volunteered my time teaching music to children who didn't get to have it in schools; directed many community musicals in the tri-state area; wrote hundreds of songs; another musical; and now, my most precious project-
I've opened my own music studio, where I teach private and group lessons
in Voice, Piano, Ukulele, Guitar, Acting, Dance, and Theatre,
(which is probably what brought you here to the website in the first place!)
At Dream Street Studio, we spend a lot of time performing out in the community and we have 4 recitals each year.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many of my students continued to study with me virtually- without any recitals, performance opportunities, or community events, which was hard and came with many challenges-BUT, it was a new and exciting experience that we made the most of and I think we came out stronger-than-ever, because of our brave effort to make sure "the show went on"....and it definitely has!
We are back to in-person lessons now, but I am so proud of those kiddos who stuck with it. If teaching music through Covid taught me one thing-it's that you really don't know what you have until it's gone, and I am still continually realizing how blessed I am to be able to have all these rising stars back in my room each week to create music, memories, love and life.
My students bring a joy and peace to my life (and heart) that I could never go without.
Teaching is my passion, because I like to help other people find theirs...and make it fun along the way.
I chose the name "Dream Street Studio", because I like to think that this little music world I've created,
can be the exact road my students need to take on their musical journey,
no matter how far they might have already traveled before our paths cross.
MY dream is that "Dream Street Studio" will become a place...a home...where each student, ages 1-100 can come find out:
-which of the performing arts areas hold their strongest passions;
-become educated in the programs they study;
-grow in their God-given talents through hard work, dedication and practice;
-become an educated and trained musician-carrying on, yet again, another small piece of each of those original
iconic teachers mentioned above-who collectively helped to create a big piece of who THEIR teacher has become;
---and then leave our happy little music world---
to go out into the much bigger world,
but with a bold and daring desire to chase every single one their dreams with power-house strength
...that all began over on our side of the street. ♥
With me, my students gain the technique, theory, education, ability, and full-speed-ahead-drive, to learn how to become excellent musicians (and people.) ...and then go follow their dreams and watch them all come true!
I am happy to announce that the newest addition to my studio is: Musical Theatre!
We now have a weekly group acting class, a Christmas Musical, a Spring Musical, and a Summer Musical
that will all be a part of our annual performance season!
(Coming Soon: Dream Street Studio Presents: International Virtual Choir! *more details to come!)
Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for listening to my "why?", and I really hope to see you soon.
*All Lessons are available in Private or Group settings*
Your support and contributions will enable us to meet our goals and expand the opportunities within Dream Street Studio, which will extend outward to a better community. Your generous donation will directly fund our musical programs.