Name: Elisabeth Daniels

Hometown: Plymouth, Wis.

Title: Private piano instructor; Lakeland University piano instructor

Elisabeth Daniels was 6 years old when “my mom forced me to take piano lessons.”

As Elisabeth kept playing, she kept improving. And slowly but surely, she began to love the beautiful music her fingertips were producing.

“My mom made me stick with it, and suddenly it got to the point where it was more voluntary than forced,” Elisabeth says. “Then by late high school, I realized I really wanted to be challenged.”

Elisabeth arrived at Lakeland as a math major, but ended up double-majoring in math and music. More and more, her passion shifted toward playing music and reaching new heights on the piano.

After graduating in 2010 with a degree in piano performance and pedagogy, Elisabeth applied to and was accepted by the James Madison University School of Music. She earned a masters of music and while she was there, taught classes in piano proficiency for non-piano majors.

Now she’s back at Lakeland, teaching classes as an adjunct instructor while also building a strong clientele base of private instruction students of all ages.

“One of my favorite things about being a musician is the many opportunities I am involved in,” she says. “I can accompany, perform and teach. I’m not stuck in a 9-to-5 job.”

Elisabeth says she’s thrilled to be back at Lakeland.

“People really care about you here,” she says. “They are invested in your life. Nobody at Lakeland is just another person. I know that sounds cliché, but it’s really true. Knowing how much people invested in me at Lakeland really drove me to work harder.”

As for her mom, who urged her to excel when she was little, Elisabeth noticed something special after her graduate recital at James Madison.

“I could tell she was proud of me,” Elisabeth says.