Eric Kimm takes a classic approach to loving music

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MANISTEE – Music is unique among the many arts that exist in the world because it includes so many different styles that can be interpreted and enjoyed by the public.

There seems to be something for everyone in all walks of life with rock and roll, jazz, classical, country, folk, bluegrass, rap and more, all of which have a strong following of people who play and listen to it. This is something that is equally true for the people of Manistee, where everyone seems to have their own particular niche that they love.

For Manistee resident Eric Kimm, that niche is classical music, which he enjoys performing and playing the piano. Kimm has been studying and playing classical piano since 2007 when he graduated from high school.


“Before that time, I started basic piano lessons when I was 9 years old,” he said. “I’ve always had a love for classical music since elementary school.”

Over the years he has worked with several piano teachers. Among them were Julie Renzema, Susan Brooks, Adrian Cole and John Clements. Over the past four years, Kimm has advanced her studies in classical music under the guidance of renowned pianist and instructor Carrie Selbee.

Playing the piano was something Kimm took on with real zest at a young age. Kimm expanded this love of music when he began to participate in various music festivals with the encouragement of his first music teacher.

“I continued to love it and after my first teacher left, I resumed my classical training lessons in 2007,” he said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on many musicians’ ability to perform in public. Much to his disappointment, Kimm has found his opportunities limited over the past two years.

Before that time, he was making a name for himself in the region with performances in several venues. His natural skill and fluency on the keyboard caught the attention of many local classical music lovers.

“I’ve played Hardy Hall at the Ramsdell (Regional Center for the Arts) and the United Methodist Church where they were kind enough to let me use their shrine and their little grand piano,” he said. “I’m thinking of starting to play again later towards the end of this year, but not in the coming months.”

Kimm has said that music from the romantic and contemporary eras are some of her favorite musical compositions to perform.

“Lately I’ve been enjoying Melody Barber’s music, and her music is more for people who are just starting to develop their piano technique to become a good pianist,” he said. “When I’m looking for more challenge, I also like to play Manuel Corona who is a Cuban composer.”

Kimm said Barber created colorful and beautiful pieces of music that are very expressive, while Corona has an upbeat style that is fun to play.

“Corona has more of a Cuban appeal and some would say his music is somewhat similar to Chopin,” Kimm said. “There are also pieces of him that have an obvious Cuban touch. He uses a lot of Cuban rhythm in the music itself. It’s more music with a kind of Afro-Cuban Latin sound.

Kimm said the music is heavily syncopated in style, and much of his work would be more subdued to fast in its style compared to other work.

“He also composed a few slow pieces as well as his waltzes and love pieces,” Kimm said.

Kimm said during his performances that he relies heavily on muscle memory and that sometimes helps him not having to remember music.

“What’s important to this is that if you get lost, you either have to go back to where you remember the music or you’re done performing it,” Kimm said.

His hopes are to continue playing in the future as he has a true love for the piano and music. In the meantime, Kimm continues to work on improving his art under the watchful eye of Selbee, whom he credits with helping develop his skills.

“I always take lessons with Carrie Selbee, and she’s very good because she was a college professor,” he said.

Kimm said he has a musicians Facebook page called EricKimm that he hasn’t updated much lately, but it has information about him and he urges people to check it out.

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