Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy / Chair of Keyboard Studies / Executive Associate Dean
Diane Helfers Petrella is currently Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Chair of the Keyboard Studies Division and Executive Associate Dean at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, where she teaches applied piano and piano pedagogy courses and coordinates the group piano program. From 2001–2006 she held a similar teaching appointment at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI. She has also taught at Texas Wesleyan University, the University of North Texas and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and was on the piano faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for ten years, serving as chairperson of Blue Lake’s piano department, 2000–2002.
Diane and percussionist Nick Petrella formed the Petrella Ensemble in 2002, which has since taught and performed throughout the United States and in Mexico, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic, actively performing and commissioning new music. In 2006, Nick and Diane published The Musicians Toolbox, Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Music, which has been embraced by NAMM, supportmusic.com and other music advocacy organizations, and was contracted for distribution by Alfred Publications in 2012. Nick and Diane also collaborated on “I’ve Got Rhythm, I’ve Got Phrasing,” published in the August/September 2012 issue of American Music Teacher.
Diane has presented at the national conferences of the College Music Society, Music Teachers National Association, and the National Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Forum, and served as President of the Missouri Music Teachers Association, 2010–2012. She has appeared as a soloist with several regional orchestras and is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, speaker and adjudicator throughout the United States, including her recent appointment to the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory, Toronto, Canada. Diane has served as a member of the Program Committee for the 2014 National Conference of the College Music Society and as Chair of the Collegiate Chapter Award Committee for the Music Teachers National Association. The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance awarded her the Kauffman Award for Outstanding Service in spring, 2015.
Diane holds a DMA in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas, an Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University, an MM in Piano Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BM in Piano Performance and Music Education, magna cum laude, from Eastern Illinois University.