Abby Thomsen

Piano teacher

Abby Thomsen’s career is multifaceted, incorporating teaching, performing and administrative elements.  Prior to moving to Massachusetts, Ms. Thomsen was District Manager for Baldwin Piano Company and served on the accompanying faculty at the University of Akron (Ohio).  She began her tenure at Baldwin overseeing and teaching group piano classes at the three Ford Motor Companies in Cleveland, Ohio.  These classes were the arts elective component of an educational program provided by Ford for their employees to receive college degrees.  These keyboard classes ultimately became the most popular and highest enrolled classes offered by the Ford Motor Company.  From there Abby went on to become District Manager for Debut Music Systems, the education division of the Baldwin Piano Company.  She traveled throughout the eastern part of the country as a spokesperson for the benefits of hands on music education in schools through group piano classes.  She installed keyboard labs throughout this region and trained teachers in group piano teaching.  

After relocating to Massachusetts, Abby established an acclaimed piano studio in Longmeadow and currently teaches students ranging from age 5 to 75.  Many of her students have gone on to study music at Juilliard, Curtis and other prestigious schools, and have serious musical careers themselves.  She has students in various other parts of the US whom she teaches over the internet.  She has performed extensively as a collaborative pianist in recitals throughout the country and has served on the accompanying faculty of the Hartt School of Music.  Ms. Thomsen has worked as musical director for numerous amateur and professional theater productions.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Music in performance from The Ohio State University and a Master’s in Music in accompanying from the University of Akron.  Today she continues to perform, accompany, and adjudicate piano professionally for schools, universities and festivals throughout the region.  As a soloist, her piano arrangements of pop, classical, and show tunes are featured at area restaurants, private parties, and weddings.  She frequently performs with her husband, Peter Thomsen, a singer, choral conductor, and sound recording engineer.  During the time that Peter Thomsen was Director of Choral Music at Longmeadow High School, Abby was active in accompanying for the program, touring with the vocal ensembles in Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary, as well as performing at Carnegie Hall and Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood.

As a student of Miss Abby Thomsen, I was so lucky to have a teacher who pushed me technically and artistically to my limits. I really loved being able to apply everything she taught me across all genres of music, from Baroque to musical theatre to Impressionism and even more. One experience that I still think of very often was when we worked on a piece originally composed for a woman who could only use one of her arms to play the piano; learning about her experience definitely opened my eyes to entirely different aspect of music, and taught me to appreciate even more the love that artists must have for their craft.
— Catherine A. Lupien
Working with Abby Thomsen is a major reason why I seriously pursued a career in music. I came to study piano with her at age eleven. Abby’s combination of her warm personality, passion for music, and disciplined teaching style all came to shape and mold my love for music. I look back fondly on the years I studied with Abby- she has and always will be a mentor to me. I’m proud to call her and Mr. Thomsen my friends. I cannot recommend her highly enough to those who want to learn and study the piano.
— Griffin McMahon, Organist and Choir Director at St. Andrew’s church, Martha’s Vinyard
I studied piano with Abby for 12 years. She always challenged me to work harder and harder, helping me to reach my true potential as a musician, and she did so with compassion, as she cared about me as a person. At our monthly performance classes, I not only overcame nerves, but I was forced to become a better listener so I could give useful comments to my peers. When I went on to study music in college, I felt well prepared in all my endeavors. Abby is a truly wonderful person and teacher!
— Kristen Flanagan, Senior at UMass, piano major
Abby Thomsen is, without a doubt, the greatest teacher I have ever had. I started taking piano lessons with Abby at the age of five and continued with her until I graduated high school at 17. Although I am no longer in Western Massachusetts, Abby continues to teach me every day. I was one of Abby’s youngest students at the time and she really pushed me. I remember being challenged with the rigorous work, but feeling motivated and wanting to succeed. She always helped me and did not make me feel ashamed when I did not understand something. As I grew older and started playing more challenging music, she started letting me pick some of my repertoire. When I was thirteen, I suffered from a major injury that caused me to stop playing piano. Abby was constantly checking in to make sure I was okay and trying to help me in any way she could. Although the doctors told me I would never be able to play piano again, Abby helped me strengthen my muscles and basically retaught me everything I had known. When it was time to apply for colleges, Abby was there to help in every way. She helped me learn all of my piano music and accompanied me when I had to sing my vocal auditions. Abby was one of my main inspirations for becoming a music teacher. Presently, I am a middle school choir director in Sunnyvale, California and I have my Master’s Degree from New York University in Music Education and my Bachelor’s Degree from Texas State University in Music Education with a minor in Theater. Every day that I teach my students in choir, or my private piano students, I think of Abby. Without her constant support and patience with me, I never would be where I am at today. Abby’s talent on the piano is exquisite, but her talent in teaching her students is absolutely one of a kind and for that, I will always be grateful.
— Ilanna Tariff