Axelle Verboon is a 402 Artist Instructor who teaches piano, violin and viola. She was born in Belgium and moved to the United States when she was 5-years-old. After living in Maryland for a couple years, she and her family moved to Nebraska when she was 7-years-old.
She tells The 402 that she has lived in Millard most of her life.
“Me and the Millard Public Library were best friends when I was younger.”
“The first lessons I took part in was piano. One of my favorite memories of playing piano was on my parent’s piano. It was ancient, like 1880s, old saloon style piano with carvings. I’m pretty sure it was from Europe. It was horrible. It was so out of tune. It was a terrible piano, terrible, terrible, terrible!” Axelle laughed. “But I just remember they had this little tiny red piano book. I remember I was five or six and I just learned how to read. So I was looking at this book and was like like, ‘Oh! I could play piano!’ There were pictures and diagrams so I taught myself how to play like three songs. I just remember being so excited and telling everyone, ‘Hey guys! I can do this!’”
Axelle and her sibilings were required to play piano until they were 15-years-old. “My mom would make us practice 2 hours a day. It was basically what we did. Back in the day there was six of us all playing piano at the same time. We had two pianos going. One was on one side of the house and the other was on the other side. Otherwise we would start at 9am and we wouldn’t finish until 9pm. It was like our jobs growing up.”
By the time Axelle turned fourteen, she felt as if she had reached her highest potential on the piano. “I wish I could remember all that knowledge that I had as a middle schooler,” she laughed. At this point in her musical career, young Axelle decided to make the transition from piano to strings. “So I started learning violin and viola and that was a really humbling experience because I knew how I wanted it to sound or how the song should sound but I couldn’t get it right the first time. It was very frustrating.”
“I remember days I would get so frustrated I would be like, ‘I quit!’ Then I would go play the piano and I would be like, ‘Ok I can do this,’ then go back and play the violin.”
As Axelle grew up she always knew she would pursue music as a profession. “It was just something that I knew and always had done.” Attending The University of Nebraska Omaha for Music Education, Axelle is certified music teacher for kindergarden-12th grade.
“I currently teach at OPS. I am the traveling music teacher for five schools. I teach the Beginner Strings Program at Washington, Beals, Belle Ryan, Hartman, and Miller Park.” Along with teaching strings Axelle teaches piano as well as beginner cello and bass. “I do teach cello and bass but only to beginners and once they hit a certain level I tell them, ‘You must go forth and find another teacher because I have given you all that I know.’”
“Starting to teach made me a much better musciain. Everytime I teach a concept it comes out a little different. You have to really know your students. I have to learn how to communicate with each and every one of them that it would make sense to them personally.”
When asked what she believes is one of the most important aspects of taking lessons along with learning fundamental skills, Axelle responded with,
“Seeing students grow as individuals. Music is a tool for life experiences such as discipline and dedication. It is more of a gift that can be used and not just an end in itself.”