Business Owner, Professor, Piano Teacher, Mom. I wear many hats! I love being a woman of the 21st century, being able to be “mama” to two beautiful children, who are the joy of my life, and then being able to step into the role of “Dr. Rabago” while teaching music. As I look back on this journey that has brought me to this point in my life, I see the threads that tie all of this together. I began my journey in music studying with my own mother at age 4. Piano became more than a pastime for me, more than a passion. I received my bachelors of music in piano performance at Trinity University in San Antonio. During this period, I also spent one semester exploring music in Vienna Austria and two summers learning and growing as a musician at the Aspen Music Festival and School.
After graduation, I journeyed to Washington, D.C. to intern with the director of education of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the performing arts. It was there, seeing the joy and wonder in the children’s faces at the concerts, that I began my interest in music and its role in childhood. When my internship was over, my home state of Texas called me back, and I completed my masters of music in Piano Performance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. While working on my masters, I became involved not only in organizing children’s concerts (as I had learned at the Kennedy Center), but also in technology. After graduation, I became the director of piano productions for isong, an internet company that produced interactive educational materials for piano and guitar. It was a wonderful time of learning about technology in music, recording performances for the software, and editing music for pedagogical purposes.
This journey brought about a curiosity in me that made me longing for more knowledge. I applied for, and was accepted into the DMA program at UT-Austin for piano pedagogy, a wonderful program that only accepts three students at any one time, allowing those three students to grow in research and to teach university classes under supervision and training. I again focused my research on technology, applying what I had learned at my previous job. Much of my research and national lectures during those years focused on technology in music, and my dissertation centered around creating an online interactive searchable database for intermediate 20th century music. I graduated with my doctorate in musical arts with a degree in music education, piano pedagogy in 2003.
My personal life then stepped to the forefront, as I purchased a house, got married, and began a private piano studio. Running a private studio has always brought such joy to me, seeing students of all ages grow in musical knowledge. My son was born in 2005 and my daughter in 2007. Watching them grow and being a part of their life has been priceless, and now more than ever, I value the role of music in a child’s life. In 2007, Trinity University asked me to return to campus, not as a student anymore, but as a professor, teaching music theory and piano. I taught at Trinity for a year and 1/2 and then accepted a position teaching piano at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Tx. In 2010 I started perhaps my biggest business journey–opening a 1500 square foot community music school in Cedar Park, TX, employing 18 other music teachers. Becoming an entrepreneur and business owner has stretched my skills and caused me to grow and learn in more ways than I ever thought possible. In 2016 I started PianoProgram as a way of sharing music with others online. I still teach at St. Edward’s University, own and direct Velocity Music Academy in NW Austin (Cedar Park), TX, and create content for PianoProgram. What a wonderful journey it has been so far.