Englewood music instructor has unlocked potential for decades

Teacher of piano, vocals, theater seeks new Denver-area students

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One story that sticks out to longtime music teacher Marcie Dlin is when a young boy, Mitchell, doubted his ability to sing. Dlin, a theater instructor, had written a song for Mitchell’s character.

“I said, ‘Who told you you couldn’t sing?’ He said, ‘My music teacher,’” Dlin recalled. “I said, ‘Well, I’m not going to be that music teacher.’”

When the boy got up to sing in her program, he was smiling from ear to ear.

Dlin, who lives in Englewood and grew up in southwest Denver, has taught music for about 30 years: She’s worked in senior centers and assisted living locations, and with elementary, middle, and high school students and day camps. She ran her own summer theater camp for 12 years and taught choir and drama at Kent Denver School in the south Denver metro area.

But the pandemic cut half of her business activity, and she’s been looking for new students.

“If somebody wants to learn music and doesn’t think they can, they should come see me,” Dlin said. “I don’t care what age they are.”

She’s focused on one-on-one lessons during the pandemic — now back in person with an online option — and looks forward to offering group lessons again “as soon as it feels safe,” she said.

“I’d love to get some local kids,” Dlin added.

She performed professionally for the first 13 years of her career, singing in pop, rock and jazz bands, as well as in piano bars. She’s also performed at the Telluride Jazz Festival, she said.

But when she volunteered to work with a group of elementary school kids, it changed her life, Dlin said. She ended up getting a degree in musical theater from the University of Northern Colorado and went on to teach others.

She has collected photos of children she taught and of the shows she’s been involved in, and she can rattle off stories of where her students have ended up: One is a theater major in Oklahoma; another is a high school choir teacher now. Dlin still keeps in touch with some of them.

She teaches private piano and voice lessons, and she directs plays.

Her group performance classes are small, around five people. Her piano lessons are normally one-on-one, but she’s considering starting group piano classes of about four or five students.

“If they want private lessons, I’ll do that. If I have enough people for a class, (I’ll do that),” Dlin said.

She charges $50 to $60 for a private lesson for an hour for piano and vocals. Piano classes would run around $15 per session. Vocal classes would cost $40 for a two-hour session, she said.

She isn’t sure when her summer theater program will happen again, but she used to host it in a three-month format and “had the kids all day,” she said.

Dlin has taught a wide age range, with many students sticking with her for long periods of time. Her oldest student is 78 years old and has been with her for 12 years, Dlin said.

“I don’t just specialize in people who have potential, you know?” Dlin said. “My passion is helping anyone who wants to make music to be able to do that.”

She added: “There’s all kinds of different voices and all kinds of different music, and it should all be explored.”

Dlin can be contacted at dlinspin6@gmail.com.

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