Academic Credentials

  • College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
    Master of Science in Education, Music Education and Piano Pedagogue

    Bachelors of Science in Education, Music Education and Special Education (Concentration: Piano and Voice Studies)

  • Octavo School of Musical Arts
    Certification: Private Piano Instruction

  • Kindermusik
    Teacher Certification


WELCOME!  My name is MaryAlice McCullen-Senecal and I'm the owner and Executive Director of APPLAUSE Piano Studio.  

After being the youngest person to earn their certification from the Octavo School of Musical Arts, I began teaching piano in 1971. (Yes, I was very young, in fact, I was barely in high school!) I went on to earned both a Masters and Bachelor's degree in Music Education from The College of St. Rose.  After four decades of teaching piano, I obtained my Kindermusik teacher certification in 2011. All told, I am proud to say that I have taught hundreds of students over the last five decades. 

My passion in life and my goal for the Applause Piano Studio is to create a lifelong love and enjoyment of music and learning.  I believe music should be inspiring, motivating, personable, progressive and FUN!  

I hope it gives you some insight into the type of teacher and person I am. I love teaching, children and music and I hope you will consider joining me at Applause Piano Studio.  

I am happy to answer any questions you have, without pressure or commitment on your part. 


Personally, the best accolade I receive are the ones from my piano students and their parents.  I treasure the homemade cards and notes expressing a love for me and playing the piano.  I keep them in a special place, both in my home and in my heart. Here is a sampling of what my students and their families have to say:

Early Childhood Music Students and Families

“I wanted my child to have fun while learning basic musical concepts. I had no idea ALL that we both would learn and that we would have such fun together! It has strengthened the bond we share. It has brought music into our home, to share with the entire family. Thank you so much MeLaLa! “ E. and W.

“I have never met such a caring, enthusiastic teacher who has such a passion for what she does. And it’s catching! Everyday my son asks, “is today piano day?’” J.and K. K.

“My child first came to CMC to the baby class in Kindermusik. I had two other teachers during that time. When we signed up for Miss MeLaLa’s class, I thought it may be our last. I loved the program and what we were doing, but there was just something missing from our initial experience, that I just couldn’t put my finger on. At our first class with her, I couldn’t even believe this was the same program! We had such fun, learned so much and had activities that we could do every day till we came to class again. The enthusiasm and love Miss MeLaLa has for her children and families is evident. She is a talented and very special teacher. We continued throughout all the levels of Kindermusik with Miss MeLaLa. Now my child is one of her many piano students and she is just flourishing! That same love of learning and enjoyment of music is still something she expresses. She just loves playing the piano and of course MaryAlice!” A.and C. Huang

Piano Students and Families

“I LOVE piano lessons and YOU!” R.P.

“ MaryAlice, YOU are my FAVORITE teacher. I LOVE to play the piano! You and piano are my LOVE!” L.H

“My child studied piano with another teacher. He was so excited to start. That enthusiasm diminished every week. Practice was a battle. Eventually, he would hide or cry when it was time to go. But he loved to play what little he had learned! We finally decided to find another teacher. That’s when his world changed for the better. We couldn’t believe what a difference a teacher makes! Now I have a child who will practice, looks forward to his lesson and who is HAPPY! The money I have invested can be summed up in one word: PRICELESS!’” L.M.

“My daughter has a proclivity towards music. She is a perfectionist and gets easily frustrated. To her, if it’s not perfect right way, “It sucks” or worse, “I suck!” This seems to be her mantra and gives me a feeling of failure as a parent. We were debating whether piano lessons would be a good fit for her. I reminisced about my own experience as a piano student and how often I felt ‘less than’ perfect. My daughter’s friend was taking lessons and I asked about her teacher. I was overwhelmed with all the positive remarks, not only from my friend, but from her child as well! We decided to give it a try and requested MaryAlice as her teacher. She was able to adjust her schedule to accommodate us and from day one, we are truly grateful for all she has done for all of us. She is a wonderful teacher! She has taught our daughter that mistakes are how we learn; and that life has its disappointments and you can either get upset, brow beat yourself, or fix it. Most teachers would leave it there, but she gave her strategies, tools and directions to make it better. I haven’t heard the word “suck” since she has been involved with MaryAlice. My daughter is a happy child. She not only accepts that mistakes are okay, but there is an answer to fix them. This has trickled down to her academics and even her social life. Her self confidence and self image has flourished. As a student of MaryAlice it is great to have an adult voice to talk to. As a parent, I feel we are receiving more than we could ever hope for our child.” M.A. and her child A.A. (who scored the highest possible mark in NYSSMA)

“As a result of years of studying the piano, my child, has decided to go into a music career. MaryAlice is such as inspiration to her. I’m so glad that MaryAlice insisted that she earn regents credit from her high school for her piano studies, and that she participate every year in NYSSMA. I’m sure the college will want to see all the music credits she has earned, both in and out of school. I didn’t even know that this was possible! Kudos to MaryAlice. She’s so smart!” A.H.