Alyssa O’Toole, Founder and Director of Musicians Playground, has been actively involved in music and education for over ten years. After earning her Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Business Administration from Ithaca College in 2010, O’Toole left for Boston, determined to take her love for music and teaching further. In 2011 she was accepted into the continuing education program at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA where she studied under renowned pianist, Dr. Deborah Nemko, amongst many other superb faculty members. She has been greatly influenced by Dr. Lyle Davidson of the Music and Education Department at NEC, and credits much of her teaching success to the classes and mentorship she received there.
O’Toole’s passion for music was obvious since the age of 8, when she began taking piano lessons with Vera Brindisi of Utica, NY. Ms. Brindisi helped O’Toole to gain the technique and discipline needed to be an outstanding pianist early on – but most importantly, showed Alyssa incredible kindness and love in her teaching. This made learning music a joy, and in turn would motivate Alyssa to make it her life’s work to pass the same on to others. In the end, Alyssa learned from Vera that teaching is about so much more than playing a note correctly, it’s about how we love and support one another unconditionally, in our pursuits of success. Since its inception, O’Toole has gained extensive teaching experience in both private and group settings, and has served as a music and life coach for countless individuals.
O’Toole’s ability to inspire others knows no bounds. Her clients are of all ages and backgrounds; from infants to senior citizens, to under-privileged and special needs students. Those that know her describe her as a highly animated, loving, and compassionate instructor who believes all individuals deserve to feel the happiness and confidence that come from learning music. As part of her fierce devotion to making music accessible and enjoyable for everyone – O’Toole founded public charity The Hands Movement and launched the first-ever Hands Event in Boston, MA in Fall 2014. The movement strives to generate interest in learning music, and on a higher level foster connection and wellbeing amongst communities. The viral video capturing over 50 strangers coming together, to learn and play a song for the first time, scored over 40,000 views within a week of being posted. O’Toole has since run Hands events in several major cities across the country including Washington D.C., Denver Colorado, and Delray Beach. While O’Toole’s energy is vastly dedicated to making Musicians Playground a national brand, her ultimate hope is that no matter where her journey leads, that she continues to unlock opportunities to share the magic of music and life with others.