Hello my name is Natalie Kovacs. I have been a student of Rick’s since the age of 5. I am now 19 years old and have just finished my first year of college in New York City at Marymount Manhattan College. I am majoring in Musical Theatre with a minor in Speech Language Pathology.
Rick and Mary Jo have been quite the mentors. When I first began lessons with Rick, he soon introduced me to Maureen Collins at Easy Street Productions.
Rick was the reason that I was able to begin my love for musical theatre. With his help and guidance in music theory and voice, I quickly blossomed. Not only is he an amazing teacher all around, the focus that he has with making each lesson more enjoyable every time is incredible. He knew when I would start to get fidgety as a child that it was best to move onto something else to get my attention back. Learning piano is not easy as a 5-year old, but no one can teach it better.
Rick’s attention to details in how I learn are appreciated beyond words. I looked forward to our lessons every week. I was so excited to introduce him to my younger sister Leah. She is now 11 years old. Since I have had to stop taking lessons because of schooling, I can come home and watch her experience the joy in learning piano with Rick just like I did. She is at the age now where I really started to figure out that music was going to have a huge impact on me.
Rick was always so great in helping me with auditions coming up, or a
show outside of our work together. He always knew what song sounded best in my vocal range or what more I could do to really “perform” the song.
What I will say that I have taken with me the most, other than being able to know and work with such a wonderful teacher, is music theory. Rick and I really started to dig into theory once I had been accepted into college. I remember being young and having theory homework every week that he had given me, so it all played a huge part in my knowledge today. If Rick hadn’t pushed me to focus more into theory and technique, I would not have been nearly as prepared for the knowledge expected of me today.
Rick and I still keep in contact frequently and I always feel comfortable
reaching out to him if I have any questions about school or anything I could need him for. I look forward to begin my sophomore year of college and continue learning more and more from Rick everyday.
Producer of Broadway Plays and Musicals
“My training with Rick was foundational to my training as a musician and artist. His passion for storytelling through song is an early building block upon which I have built a career. He is a first-class teacher and musician that invests deeply in each student’s artistic journey while helping them achieve their full potential. My time with Rick remains deeply ingrained in me and I am forever grateful.”
Music Therapist, Educator, and Producer
“The years that I spent studying with Rick were expansive and priceless. I was only 11 when we began working together and he opened my eyes to creative possibilities that I had never known before. He guided me in the workings of improvisation, composition, singing, and functional piano and helped me to unlock my musical potential, which paved the way for personal and professional growth for years to come. His masterful and encouraging approach changed my world and brought into focus the unique opportunities a career in music could hold.
Since our time together, my path as a musician has continued to evolve. I have worked as a board-certified music therapist for the past decade and will be embarking on a new adventure as an elementary music teacher this fall. I also teach music courses for Kent State University and maintain a small piano studio. I perform locally on piano, vocals, and guitar with my musical and life partner, Blake Anderson, and I produce original electronic music under the artist name lapisleaf. None of this would have been possible without Rick’s tutelage!"
Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist with The Vindys
"The best memory I have from (working with Rick) was being introduced to jazz artists like Etta James and Billie Holiday and (I) always strived to sing like them! I still have the "At Last" music sheet (he) made notes on. I wanna’ frame it lol! I fell in love with that song and that was it for me - I knew I wanted to pursue music from then on! As they say, you always remember the way that something or someone makes you feel rather than the actual event itself. Glad to see (Rick is) still working with singers!"