About Joan Hickey
Joan teaches and performs jazz piano as a free-lance artist in the Chicago area. Performances include the Chicago Jazz Festival the Green Mill, and other venues around the Midwest. Hickey toured Italy, Sweden, and Denmark with the Jazz Members Big Band. She has been awarded 2 National Endowment for the Arts grants and two Illinois Arts Council grants in music composition. She was a finalist in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz competition at Kennedy Center, and her quintet was a finalist in the Hennessy Jazz Competition. She has two CDs under own name, “Soulmates” which was nominated for Best jazz C.D. at the Chicago Music Awards, and “Between the Lines”. She was featured in the Women in Jazz festival in Chicago in March, 2008. Joan has a Masters in jazz performance and a B.S in music education.
Joan is on the jazz and piano pedagogy faculty at the University of Illinois U-C and maintains a private studio of students in Wilmette, Il. Many of her students have gone on to be professional musicians. She coaches jazz combos at New Trier high school and various summer camps, including ISYM and Midwest Young Artists. She has been a judge on the Notre Dame Jazz fest, Chicago Luminarts jazz competition, and the American Pianists Association Cole Porter Fellowship.
“Hickey remains one of the most appealing and distinctive pianists in the city…(she) produces gorgeously singing lines and unexpected harmonies…The gentility of her touch is matched by the intellectual accomplishment of her improvisation.” Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
“Pianist Joan Hickey’s Soulmates, featuring renowned bassist Buster Williams, is as notable for her songwriting and arranging skills as her keyboard chops. A vibrant harmonic glow informs her jazz and pop classics and originals”
Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun Times
“At first one hears a floating, rhythmic grace and a rare sense of melodic neatness-a way of shaping the improvised line so it always falls right into place…the beat is powerful and omnipresent, generating the shape of each phrase. ”Larry Kart, Chicago Tribune
The art of teaching music involves the balancing of knowledge, intuition, enthusiasm and energy that should be directed solely towards the needs of the student. This includes pinpointing strengths and weaknesses, and teaching the student to learn to teach himself or herself. In addition, I seek to instill a passion for the subject and to provide a perspective of a bigger picture in which to place the subject. Finally, the better a teacher knows oneself, the better one can correctly judge how each student needs to be treated depending on his or her psychological and emotional needs. My hope is that the student comes away inspired and self-sufficient.
B.S. (music education), University of Illinois
Masters in jazz performance