Anna Orias (then with her maiden name, “Anna Miller”) started teaching piano in the living room of her home as a sole instructor in 1992. Anna recognized that students needed their teachers to model musicianship and to organize their study of music. She also knew how important it was for students to see peers accomplishing their goals and finding successful ways to work through their educational challenges. She developed a program where students spent 5 weeks in one-on-one instruction with her and on the 6th week, the students would come to class together in small groups to work on specific subjects.
Over the years, these subjects became more specialized. Anna found that combining traditional recitals with academic events and informal performances created well rounded, confident musicians. Anna always had a waiting list of students, often 30 students long. In 2004, Anna moved her studio out of her home to her parents’ converted garage. She hired teacher Sarah Cappelli and filled her time slots in a few weeks. In 2007, she incorporated the studio as a non-profit organization, Musically Minded Piano Studio. The waiting list was still long, so jazz piano teacher Angie Spinelli was hired to meet the need.
The studio continued to expand and more teachers were added offering a variety of instruments. It soon became clear that a larger space was needed to meet the high demand for lessons and in Fall of 2010, Musically Minded Academy was formed at 5776 Broadway in Oakland, CA. This 6000+ sq. foot commercial facility hosted 600 people per month in classes, concerts, camps, workshops, teacher trainings and more.
In 2017 we were evicted from our facility and are now offering lessons in many private studios all around Oakland. We are also building new group classes at the College Avenue Presbyterian Church in Oakland.
We are continuing to enroll new students every day and are receiving support from the city of Oakland as we adjust our programing and aim to thrive in a difficult real estate environment. We thank Roberto Bedoya, the Cultural Affairs Manager for the city of Oakland as well as Kelly Kahn, who is on special assignment by Oakland’s Mayor, Libby Schaff. We are working with NCCLF and CAST to stabilize our organization after the loss of our building. Thankfully, our student base is strong and our students have told Anna, “wherever you go, we will go!”