Merrily grew up in Seattle, WA where she toured with the Total Experience Gospel Choir and was picked up by "Showtime at the Apollo." She has performed for Linda Ronstadt and Smokey Robinson and with Bobby McFerrin, Phillip Bailey (Earth, Wind, & Fire), Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power), and Don Was. She was the recently voted #1 singer/songwriter on Ourstage's "Artist on the Verge" competition and was a finalist in the New York Song Circle contest.
Merrily developed a music program with a local foster home, The Home For Little Wanderers, to teach resident children piano every week. She graduated with dual degree from Berklee College of Music where she studied voice and piano. In addition to JWY, she works part time in Boston as an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music in the ensemble department.
What Parents Are Saying About Merrily
"From the first time we saw her and spoke with her, it was clear that she was someone who was passionate about music. In our short time together, we have all come to respect Merrily's talent and her ability to develop the talent in others. Unlike other teachers my daughter had when she was younger, who told her what to sing, Merrily encourages our daughter to sing the songs she's most interested in learning and then to make them her own, to develop her own voice and style rather than just to imitate an artist. As a result, my daughter spends most waking moments at home practicing piano and singing. We believe that like a flower needs sun, rich soil and rain, our daughter needed Merrily to enter her life and awaken her voice. Thank you so much Merrily for your commitment to nurturing our daughter's musical talent."
"Our little girl has now had three teachers and she herself has told us how much better she likes Merrily than her other teachers. Merrily has a soft way with Maddy that she seems to really respond to...Maddy often asks to practice now during the week and Merrily has really motivated her to learn piano."
"Merrily has a great sense of how kids learn and respond to the music, and how to guide their interests. You can see this most clearly in the fact that they really like to practice. They are engaged in what they are learning and will often sit down for a couple of practice sessions a day. Although they started piano lessons at the same time and using the same book, my children (9 and 8) are playing different styles of music that suit their personalities and interests. One has gone into more blues style and the other has been playing more traditional or classical pieces. Merrily is always positive, upbeat and encouraging. The kids will often mention a comment she made about their performance in a lesson, and you can see the pride shining in their eyes at what they've been able to accomplish with her help. We will miss her greatly and wish her the best of luck [in NYC]."
"Hannah has loved taking piano lessons with [Merrily]. We have both enjoyed [her] creativity in teaching music, not just "by the book" but in ways that have really interested and engaged her. I cannot believe how quickly she is picking things up. Sometimes I have to walk in the room to see who in the world is playing so nicely!"
"I would really like to thank you for creating an environment for our kids where they really enjoyed playing piano. That is hard to do. But you made it fun. I am really going to miss you as an instructor. We are sad to see you go."