Hackstock is music to student’s ears

Famous poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
Living proof of this quotation is SC4’s new Music Appreciation and piano instructor, Mary Hackstock.
In 2004, Hackstock, 29, broke language barriers and studied piano abroad in Trapani, Italy. There, she studied under Salvatore Spano, an accomplished pianist.
According to Hackstock, Spano not only taught her many things about teaching and music, he also helped her get adjusted to the Italian culture and language.
Hackstock summed up her learning experience in Italy in one word: wonderful.
Before studying in Italy, Hackstock went to Eastern Michigan University for a year, then transferred to Wayne State University in 2004 and earned a Bachelors degree in Music and Piano performance.
After attending Wayne State, Hackstock earned a Masters degree in Piano Performance from the University of South Florida.
Hackstock’s extensive education has paid off, according to SC4 student Kenneth C. Grim, a 34 year-old music major from Ann Arbor.
“She’s been very helpful. She brings a fresh approach to the music program,” Grim said. “I actually look forward to going to class. She meets you half way and makes learning really fun.”
“I try to make class interesting,” Hackstock said. “I try not to teach only out of the book and add extra other things because I know students hate it when teachers only teach out of the book.”
Tom Weidig, a general/transfer student at SC4 and a student in Hackstock’s Music Appreciation class, had very good things to say about the new instructor.
“Music Appreciation is a really fun class. The music we listen to is really interesting. And Ms. Hackstock is a righteous dude,” Weidig said.
In addition to playing piano, Hackstock plays organ and sings. She also teaches private piano and organ lessons.
Hackstock first got interested in music when she was young, but dropped out at the age of eight. When she was 13, Hackstock picked up lessons again with the goal of going into music.
“I don’t know why, but something just made me want to go back,” she said.
Hackstock has performed on stage many times, but her favorite was this November when she and several other pianists played all of David Del Tredici works in New York.
“Only some of his works are recorded, and some the pieces we played weren’t even published yet. So it was really cool just being able to put that music out there.”
Hackstock was born in Mt. Clemens to Ann and Tom Hackstock. She lived in New Baltimore until the age of 10, and then moved to Richmond. She attended grade school in St. Clair, and then was home schooled in high school.
“I hated home schooling at the time. Looking back, I think it was probably a good thing.”
When Hackstock isn’t playing piano, she enjoys tap dancing and hanging out with her dog, Oscar. Oscar is a Pekepoo, which is a Pekingese and Poodle hybrid.
In the future, Hackstock hopes to still be teaching but more in college and less in private lessons.
“And, of course, performing a lot too,” she said.

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