About the Author

Dr. Helen Marlais is one of the most prolific authors in the field of educational piano books and an exclusive writer for The FJH Music Company Inc. The critically acclaimed and award-winning piano series, Succeeding at the Piano ® A Method for Everyone, Succeeding with the Masters ®, The Festival Collection ®, In Recital ®, Sight Reading and Rhythm Every Day ®, Write, Play, and Hear Your Theory Every Day ®, and The FJH Contemporary Keyboard Editions, among others, included in The FJH Pianist's Curriculum ® by Helen Marlais, are designed to guide students from the beginner through advanced levels. Dr. Marlais has given pedagogical workshops in virtually every state in the country and is an FJH showcase presenter at the national piano teachers' conventions.

As well as being the Director of Keyboard Publications for The FJH Music Company, Dr. Marlais is also an Associate Professor of Music at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she teaches piano majors, directs the piano pedagogy program, and coordinates the young beginner piano program. She also maintains an active piano studio of beginner through high school age award-winning students.

Dr. Marlais has performed and presented throughout the U.S., Canada, South Korea, Taiwan, Jamaica, Italy, England, France, Hungary, Turkey, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia. She has recorded on Gasparo, Centaur and Audite record labels with her husband, concert clarinetist Arthur Campbell. Their recording, Music for Clarinet and Piano, was nominated for the 2013 International Classical Music Awards, one of the most prestigious distinctions available to classical musicians today. She has also recorded numerous educational piano CD's for Stargrass Records®. She has performed with members of the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Grand Rapids, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Beijing National Symphony Orchestras, and has premiered many new works by contemporary composers from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Dr. Marlais received her DM in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University, her MFA in piano performance from Carnegie Mellon University, and was awarded the Outstanding Alumna in the Arts from the University of Toledo, where she received her bachelor of music degree.



Kevin Olson is an active pianist, composer, and member of the piano faculty at Utah State University, where he teaches piano literature, pedagogy, and accompanying courses. In addition to his collegiate teaching responsibilities, Kevin directs the Utah State University Youth Conservatory, which provides weekly group and private piano instruction to more than 200 pre-college community students. The National Association of Schools of Music has recently recognized the Conservatory as a model for pre-college piano instruction programs. Before teaching at Utah State, he was on the faculty at Elmhurst College near Chicago and Humboldt State University in northern California.

A native of Utah, Kevin began composing at age five. When he was twelve, his composition, An American Trainride, received the Overall First Prize at the 1983 National PTA Convention at Albuquerque, New Mexico. Since then he has been a Composer in Residence at the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and has written music commissioned and performed by groups such as the American Piano Quartet, Chicago a cappella, the Rich Matteson Jazz Festival, Music Teachers National Association, and several piano teacher associations around the country.

Kevin maintains a large piano studio, teaching students of a variety of ages and abilities. Many of the needs of his own piano students have inspired more than 100 books and solos published by the FJH Music Company, which he joined as a writer in 1994.


Timothy Brown holds a master's degree in piano performance from the University of North Texas where he studied piano with Adam Wodnicki, and music composition with Newel Kay Brown. He later was a recipient of a research fellowship from the Royal Holloway, University of London where he did his post-graduate studies in music composition and orchestration studying with the English composer, Brian Lock. His numerous credits as a composer include the first prize at the Alienor International Harpsichord Competition for his harpsichord solo, Suite Espanola (Centaur records). He leads a very active career as an exclusive composer for The FJH Music Company in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with over one hundred compositions now in print.

His works have been performed by concert artist Elaine Funaro on National Public Radio, and most recently at the Spoleto Music Festival, and the Library of Congress Concert Series in Washington, D.C. His numerous commissions include a commission by Clavier Magazine for his piano solo, Once Upon a Time, edited by Denes Agay and a commission by the Dallas Ballet Foundation to write the orchestral score for the new ballet, The Happy Prince, based on an Oscar Wilde short story. Mr. Brown is currently a fine arts specialist for the Dallas Public Schools and serves on the advisory board of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.


Edwin McLean is a composer living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Krzysztof Penderecki and Jacob Druckman. He also holds a master's degree in music theory and a bachelor's degree in piano performance from the University of Colorado.

Mr. McLean has authored over 200 publications for The FJH Music Company, ranging from The FJH Classic Music Dictionary to original works for pianists from beginner to advanced. His highly-acclaimed works for harpsichord have been performed internationally and are available on the Miami Bach Society recording, Edwin McLean: Sonatas for 1, 2, and 3 Harpsichords. His 2011 solo jazz piano album Don't Say Goodbye includes many of his advanced works for piano published by FJH.

Edwin McLean began his career as a professional arranger. Currently, he is senior editor for The FJH Music Company Inc.


Mary Leaf is an independent piano teacher specializing in early elementary through intermediate level students. She enjoys writing music that is descriptive, expressive, imaginative, and fun, while still being musically sound.

Mary received a music education degree from the University of Washington and has done continuing education in pedagogy at North Dakota State University. She has composed and arranged music for a family recorder ensemble, and has been active as a performer, accompanist, handbell ringer, and choir member at her church. She is also active in area contests as an accompanist.

Mary and her husband, Ron, have five children and live in Bismarck, North Dakota.


Kevin Costley holds several graduate degrees in the areas of elementary education and piano pedagogy literature, including a doctorate from Kansas State University. For nearly two decades, he was owner/director of The Keyboard Academy, specializing in innovative small group instruction. Kevin served several years as Head of the Music Department and on the keyboard faculty of Messenger College in Joplin, Missouri.

Kevin is a standing faculty member of Inspiration Point Fine Arts Colony Piano and String Camp where he performs and teaches private piano, ensemble classes, and composition. He conducts child development seminars, writes for national publications, serves as clinician for piano workshops, and adjudicates numerous piano festivals and competitions.