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IU graduate wins fourth Emmy Award for 'The Piano Guy'

Indiana University alumnus Scott Houston, host and co-executive producer of the public television series "The Piano Guy," won his fourth Emmy Award at the 46th Annual Emmy Awards ceremony on July 31.

Houston, Scott
Scott Houston

"The Piano Guy" also received Emmys in two more categories this year, bringing the show's total award count to six.

"I continue to be so humbly grateful to the Academy for their recognition of our show," Houston said. "We have worked extremely hard from the very first episode to make 'The Piano Guy' a step up in content, quality and production from the myriad of traditional how-to shows available to public television programmers nationwide. We continue to be the only show dedicated to showing everyone that playing the piano isn't an exclusive club. Even better, it's never too late to start. That's a message I'm thrilled to be able to impart to millions of viewers on a weekly basis nationwide."

Houston, who graduated from IU in 1984, learned the piano techniques he now teaches in non-classical styles while attending the Jacobs School of Music.

His music education did not begin with ivory keys, however. He played in various bands as a drummer and claimed to absorb piano knowledge through "musical osmosis."

"Being in the milieu of musicians and professors and practicing eight to 10 hours a day for three years helps you understand what's going on," Houston said. "At the Jacobs School, I sort of absorbed techniques from watching jazz pianists, and developed my own methods of simplifying their practices."

Houston said classical jazz musicians, like the students he encountered at IU, tend to adhere to rigorous schedules to perfect their art. Beginners who wish to sit down and simply have some fun, he said, can draw from lessons on his show to learn quickly.

"Are they going to get a gig on the first night? Of course not," he said. "But to adults sitting on the sidelines who want to learn a musically correct way to play, I want to say -- this isn't rocket science."

About "The Piano Guy"

"The Piano Guy" is now in its 13th season airing on select public television stations nationwide. With more than 165 30-minute episodes shot in high definition, the program has shown millions of viewers the fun of playing piano simply for recreation and self-enrichment. Visit www.scotthouston.com for more information.

--by Danielle Paquette, University Communications arts intern

This story was originally published Sept. 30, 2010.