We’re excited to introduce Denise King, who teaches in Musikgarten Keyboard and Private Piano lessons. When Denise was a small child, shortly after starting Kindergarten, her mother began teaching her how to play the piano. She can still remember, over 20 years later, the first duet she ever played with her mom. What started as a simple black key duet would turn into a musical journey that would span decades and cultures.
A few years after her mom started teaching her, Denise had the opportunity to take lessons from Sylvia Hunt, a master teacher living in Caldwell Idaho.
Sylvia was deeply involved in the College of Idaho and her passion for music was contagious. Her recitals were held in either the grand college auditorium or in the beautiful Presbyterian Church where Sylvia was the Organist. Every Monday when Denise went to lessons, she would pass a fence that had a dozen brass instruments attached to it. She passed that fence for over a decade and it became a symbol of Mrs. Hunt’s legacy.
In High School, Denise met another powerful musical mentor. Her freshman year of high school was the year Dan Child took over the choir department. Over her four years of high school, he transformed the program and Denise was able to participate in multiple choirs, both as a singer and an accompanist.
Denise in a Choir Solo, Scarborough Fair
The music, the relationships with her fellow classmates, and the belief that Mr. Child showed in each individual stayed with her. He taught Denise that it wasn’t about using kids to make beautiful music — it was about using music to make beautiful kids. The power of a teacher with that kind of belief in every student creates a legacy that is impacting the world. At every Christmas concert at Middleton High, they sing the Hallelujah Chorus and every past member of the choirs is invited to come on stage to sing. That number started as 24 singers a decade ago and now their chorus is hundreds strong and growing.
With these two inspirational mentors having pushed her forward, Denise enrolled in the Elementary Education Program at Brigham Young University. She was passionate about teaching, and desired to inspire people they way her teachers had inspired her.
In her second year, she had an unexpected opportunity to serve as a missionary. She chose to defer and was sent to Guatemala for 6 weeks of training before serving in Panama for another year and a half.
Learning to speak a second language was one of the most humbling experiences of her life. Her time in Panama would build friendships with people across the globe and teach the value of every person’s identity and purpose in life, no matter their circumstances.
Denise’s mission affected her attitude and choices upon returning to school. BYU-Idaho tuition costs are largely covered by the tithing of church members. She had spent a year and a half with people who gave to God despite their poverty and would never be able to attend a university. She felt the responsibility of their contributions and vowed to make the best use of the opportunities given.
As Denise pursued her degree in Education, she chose to minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. These classes were instrumental in making decisions to maintain her Spanish and decide to pass that language on to her children someday. She was able to work in the kindergarten Dual Immersion Program in a surrounding school as a long-term substitute during her semester off and see all of these principles in practice. She also had the opportunity to take piano lessons at the collegiate level and study piano pedagogy (the study of how to teach piano playing). These classes filled her with a hunger to surround herself with people who were passionate about piano and to pursue her own musical abilities.
Denise met Cameron King near the end of her junior year. His background — being one of seven brothers and raised on a farm — was pretty much her dream come true. They married during their senior year, and after both of their graduations, they moved to Heyburn, Idaho, where Cameron worked as an Engineer for 11 months. In that time, they managed to fulfill another of her dreams and they both participated in a local production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Since moving to Utah, Denise has continued to seek musical mentors as well as involve herself in the arts. She has taught piano lessons to several students, taken voice lessons, joined Bear River Reflections Women’s Choir and accompanied church choirs.
She has learned many traditional songs in Spanish to sing with her children, and has loved watching her son and daughter find joy in music.
In the summer of 2021, Denise sought out Nan Croney to mentor her through a 13-page piano recital suite of The Lion King. Nan invited her to enroll her young kids in the Musikgarten program, and within the first two classes, Denise was hooked on the mission and results of Harmony Arts. Denise then sought for the opportunities to become involved to further her own training, and to offer her children the musical opportunities that would benefit them for life.
She ponders often on the wisdom of her previous mentors, and how music had touched her life in such a beautiful way. When she became involved at Harmony Arts, she found multiple mentors who exemplified what she most loved about music.
Denise wants to always remember that music has the power to transform our lives into beautiful experiences and keep that legacy alive for generations to come! We’re so glad to have Denise here at Harmony Arts and Music Academy. Thank you for your enthusiasm and caring attention to all of our students — we are all better because you are here!