James Lyke Composer Arranger Author Educator
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James Lyke earned his B.S. degree from SUNY, College at Fredonia, an M.A. degree from Columbia University and the Ed.D. from the University of Northern Colorado. He served on the faculty at the University of Illinois from 1959 to 1993 as chairman of the Group Piano and Piano Pedagogy Division and retired from that position in 1993 as Professor of Music Emeritus. During his years at the University of Illinois, Dr. Lyke expanded the group piano offerings to include beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of instruction. In addition, he added group courses in jazz keyboard. In 1980, he established an MM degree in piano pedagogy. In conjunction with the piano pedagogy degree program, he set up a Piano Laboratory Program for children. This program afforded practice teaching experience for the graduate piano pedagogy degree students. His work also included supervising graduate teaching assistants in their instruction with students enrolled in applied piano and group piano classes. During summer sessions, Dr. Lyke headed Illinois Summer Youth Music Piano Camps and also taught short courses for piano teachers.

His lifelong interest in America’s classic songwriters such as Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin etc. led him to co-found The American Music Trio consisting of singer Dr. Tom Birkner (former head of Jazz Studies at
The American Music Trio Dr. Tom Birkner, Don Heitler & Jim Lyke
The American Music Trio:
Dr. Tom Birkner, Don Heitler & Jim Lyke
the University of Illinois) and Don Heitler, legendary jazz pianist of Urbana, Illinois. This group gave its first concert in 1988 on the occasion of Irving Berlin’s 100th birthday. Succeeding concerts featured programs such as all-Gershwin, all Kern, all Rodgers etc. with the singer (Tom) backed by two pianos. The American Music Trio performed in several states and at a Music Teachers National Association convention in Minneapolis. This group still remained active after Dr. Lyke went to Georgia State University in 1993. Dr. Geoff Haydon of the Georgia State University faculty replaced Don Heitler.

In 1993, Dr. Lyke accepted a professorship at Georgia State University in Atlanta as coordinator of the piano pedagogy program. In addition to his teaching duties, he was appointed Director of Graduate Studies for the School of Music. During his years at GSU, Dr. Lyke was successful in securing two grants, which enabled the School of Music to purchase a digital piano lab and accessory equipment. He also added courses in beginning piano for non-music majors and advanced keyboard skills for piano majors. Dr. Lyke retired from Georgia State University in December of 1999 and moved to Manhattan, where he now resides and continues to write for various publishers.

In March 2003, the Music Teachers National Association honored Dr. Lyke with the Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award. In 2002, The University of Northern Colorado presented him with the Contribution to Music Award (Honored Alumni Ceremony). MTNA appointed him as a Foundation Fellow in 2001. In 1990, he received the Excellence in Off Campus Teaching Award from the University of Illinois. In 1979, SUNY College at Fredonia honored him with an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Dr. Lyke has been a guest professor at the University of Michigan (1980-1981) and in South Australia at the Adelaide College (1986-1987). He has given numerous piano workshops for state, regional and national organizations such as the Music Teachers National Association and the Music Educators National Conference. His international workshops have taken him to Austria (Salzburg, Bad Aussee), Switzerland (Lausanne), France (Grenoble), Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania), and Cyprus (Nicosia).

In recent years, Dr. Lyke’s performances with duo piano partner Dr. Geoffrey Haydon have been combined with workshops in Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Dakota, Colorado and Illinois. He has adjudicated festivals and competitions in many states.

Jim Lyke & Ron Chioldi
Jim Lyke & Ron Chioldi
Dr. Lyke has authored three texts for group instruction in piano at the college level, Keyboard Musicianship, Books One and Two (9th ed.) and Keyboard Fundamentals (6th ed.). He’s also written a piano pedagogy text, Creative Piano Teaching (4th ed.) and a supplementary book for piano classes, Ensemble Music For Group Piano (4th ed.) He has arranged several works for one piano-four hands, two piano-four hand and solo collections for Alfred Music Publications, Inc., Lee Roberts Publications and Hal-Leonard Corporation. Stipes Publishing Company, LLC released his new 4th edition of Creative Piano Teaching in March of 2011. His articles on piano teaching have appeared in Clavier, Piano Quarterly, Music Educator’s Journal and Keyboard Companion. An interview of Dr. Lyke by former student (now professor) Ron Chioldi appeared in the May - June 2009 issue of Clavier Companion.

Dr. Lyke was co-director (with Richard Chronister) of the National Conference on Piano Pedagogy from 1979-1995. He served as president of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (two terms) from 1978-1982. He was appointed by the Music Teachers National Association as the first Group Piano Chairman and served two terms from 1971-1975.

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