Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Kathy Parsons has been an independent piano teacher since early 1981. Kathy lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until mid-2007 when she relocated to Florence, OR (on the central Oregon Coast). She is still teaching piano, but has been winding that down to concentrate more fully on reviewing recordings and sheet music as well as editing and proof-reading sheet music for many pianist/composers.
Kathy started playing the piano at about age 5. Art and music were always the driving forces in her life, and she graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts with a BFA degree. When she began teaching piano a few years later, she also started writing a monthly newsletter, Pianotes, for her students that opened many doors for her and allowed her to communicate with a variety of composers and artists - especially as the so-called "new age" piano genre expanded. Seeing new age as a bridge between pop and classical music, Kathy discovered that students of all ages could readily identify with this style of music. As sheet music came into print, she incorporated the best of it into her teaching repertoire. She also included contemporary composer bios and interviews in Pianotes along with the classical composers, and eventually started doing in-home student workshops with some of her favorite contemporary composers, including David Lanz, Suzanne Ciani, Spencer Brewer, David Nevue, Robin Spielberg, Kevin Kern and many others.
When Bill Binkelman started the print version of Wind and Wire magazine in 1998, Kathy was one of the original staff writers. In 2000, she became the primary writer for SoloPianoPublications.com and stayed with that site until early 2008 when she started her own site, MainlyPiano.com. The site has become one of the primary review and interview sites for contemporary piano music and also features music that is not piano-based — MainlyPiano.com!!!. She has an ongoing house concert series that features a variety of pianist/composers as well as musicians from a wide variety of musical genres. She also edits piano sheet music and reviews many, many recordings. She was given the 2014 "MVP Award" by Whisperings Solo Piano Radio for her support of artists in a variety of capacities.
Michael Debbage was born in the north east of England, raised in the Bahamas and later migrated to the United States in the early 80’s creating an exposure to multi cultural backgrounds. With it came a wanderlust for different musical adventures that includes multi subgenres of rock, Contemporary Christian, Smooth Jazz and Contemporary Instrumental music just to name a few.
Michael has been married for over twenty years and also has two daughters thus he is significantly outnumbered in his household. His commitment to his marriage is equaled by the number of years he has served in the insurance business. However, by the turn of the millennium he was in search for a creative outlet. By this time the internet was in full stride and he tried his hand at reviewing the music that he was passionate about. With stints at About.com, Northern Light and currently Hard Rock Haven, Michael continues to post reviews that focus on his passion for rock music.
However, he also felt compelled to expand his review writing to match that of his musical tastes. Accidentally he crossed paths with Bill Binkelman back in 2002 and began reviewing Contemporary Instrumental music for Wind & Wire. With Bill’s sabbatical from reviewing, Michael migrated to Solo Piano Publications in 2005. Here, Kathy and Michael began to exchange musical opinions realizing that while they had much in common their passion for music came from two very different schools. While Kathy was raised in musical theory and a pianist in her own right, Michael’s only musical background was his ear, heart and words.
With a desire to start her own website in early 2008 Kathy moved on and created Mainly Piano. The commonality that the reviewers previously shared continued via emails despite different websites but before you could say “David Lanz” Michael has now joined Kathy’s Mainly Piano website. Eight years later and still passionate about sharing his opinions and introducing others to new musical horizons, he has found a new home to post his Contemporary Instrumental reviews.
Dr. Joseph Akins is a professor, composer, pianist and keyboard player. He has been involved with music all his life. He played in his family’s country band as a child, toured with rock bands after high school, and studied with great jazz educators in college. He has taught a variety of music classes, composed original music for multiple albums and films, and has performed in venues from small homes to the amazing Grand Ol’ Opry.
Today, Joseph divides his time between teaching for the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, composing and recording music, playing concerts and programming synthesizers. At MTSU, he teaches synthesis, MIDI and film scoring. As an award-winning recording artist, he promotes his self-released albums of instrumental music that feature him as a pianist, composer, producer and programmer.