Nancy Breth - Piano
Three events in Roshong Recital Hall:
Master Class (Free Admission)
Friday, September 30
Lecture on Teaching (Free Admission)
Saturday, October 1
Sunday, October 2
(Pay at door: Adults $15, Children $5, FLC students free with I.D.
I was four years old when I took my first piano lesson in Spokane, Washington from Mr. Jacques, a blind man who taught four members of my family in exchange for two hours of daily practice time on our 1899 Chickering. This patient man was the first of a series of excellent teachers in my life. The most influential was my high school teacher, Margaret Saunders Ott, herself a student of Olga Samaroff Stokowski at The Julliard School in New York. I taught my first piano lesson under Mrs. Ott’s guidance when I was 16. Well into her 80’s, she continued to give occasional lessons, and she remained my close friend and mentor until her death in 2010.
Spokane, then as now, boasts a remarkable week-long music festival with distinguished adjudicators from around the country. When I was a high school student, one of these master teachers, Bela Nagy, so inspired me that I determined to attend Indiana University in order to become his student. At Indiana, I also studied with the revered pianist Gyorgy Sebok, accompanied in Janos Starker’s studio, and was admitted into the chamber music class taught jointly by Sebok, Starker and Joseph Gingold. Discovering chamber music under these great artists was an electrifying experience. Though I went on to earn a master’s degree in solo piano under Carroll Chilton at the University of Wisconsin, my real love by that time was chamber music.
In the years following I performed in chamber music concerts with outstanding professional musicians everywhere I lived: the Philippines, Mexico, New York and Washington DC.
My 1980’s move into the Washington DC area coincided with a growing interest in teaching after all the years dedicated to performance. I joined the faculty of the Levine School of Music where I taught piano, piano pedagogy and chamber music and became director of the chamber music program. At the same time I opened a piano studio in Northern Virginia, an area rich in dedicated, music loving families and in brilliant piano teachers who generously shared their expertise with newcomers like me.
Over the years, as I gained experience, I put my ideas and the traditions passed to me by my teachers and colleagues into publications for use by students and other teachers. My Piano Student’s Guide to Effective Practicing and Parent’s Guide to Effective Practicing are published by Hal Leonard Corporation, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Over 40,000 copies of the former are in use here and abroad.
My book Practicing the Piano: How Students, Parents, and Teachers Can Make Practicing More Effective was published by Hal Leonard Corp. in 2012.
I have contributed articles and reviews to American Music Teacher, Keyboard Companion, and Clavier Magazine. Hal Leonard also publishes my piano trio setting of Six Songs from John Gay’s Beggars Opera, the initial publication in Hal Leonard’s Beginning Chamber Music series.
I have given lecture-demonstrations on various aspects of pianism and musicianship at state and national conferences of the Music Teachers National Association, for regional teacher groups in Virginia and Maryland, and at the Smithsonian Institution. In my own studio, I host a bi-monthly forum for teachers and parents called Talk about Teaching. I serve on the faculty of the Kinhaven Adult Piano Workshop in Vermont. In 2012, I was named a fellow of the MTNA Foundation.