In celebration of 60 years of excellence in piano teaching and learning at NSMS, we invite you to attend a very special recital, featuring performances by NSMS alumni faculty. Join us on Saturday, November 21st at 8:00PM ET. As we countdown to the recital, we will profile each performer.
When were you at NSMS, and what was your role?
I was "junior faculty' at NSMS from 1991-1993, as I completed by M.M. in piano performance and pedagogy at Westminster Choir College. I taught a lot of private lessons and helped teach group lessons. During my second year, I had more responsibility for being the lead teacher in a couple group lessons. It was an amazing experience-building time in an atmosphere with exceedingly high standards.
What are you doing now?
After 25 years of teaching piano (two in community music school settings in the Chicago area, and 23 as a professor of music at Goshen College), my career path took an unexpected turn. I am now academic dean at a small free-standing seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana. AMBS is in the same ecclesiological family and denomination as Goshen College (Mennonite Church USA) and is also part of Mennonite Church Canada. I was not expecting to be a seminary dean, but there are many rich connections between music and theology that I am able to explore in my role. And teaching and performing piano is excellent preparation for administrative work in an academic setting.
What is your favorite memory from your time at NSMS?
Frances Clark and Louise Goss were still very active in their oversight and involvement at the New School during my time there. I remember teaching in the office with a window to the parking lot. I taught a Saturday morning lesson to a student Frances was particularly interested in, so if she pulled into the parking lot at that time, I knew she was coming to observe my teaching. This was both a joy and stressful - mostly a joy, because at some point in the lesson Frances would take the lead and I was able to watch her mastery close up.
How has NSMS impacted your teaching and your life?
I learned how to be a professional at NSMS. I was a young graduate student, but in the context of careful preparation and evaluation, held to high professional expectations. I learned that I enjoyed working for small organizations with a big impact, and that community-building and a supportive environment were important to me. Because we were always video-recording our lessons and expected to assess our teaching, I learned how to constantly evaluate my work. I take the importance of this into my role as a dean all the time.
What will you be playing for the recital?
For about five years now I've been working sporadically on J.S. Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One. I am close to feeling I have all the preludes and fugues "in my fingers" and glad to have opportunities to share them. I will play Prelude and Fugue No. 6 in E-flat major.
Join us in celebrating the legacy of NSMS in words and music! Sign up, and you'll receive links for the recital broadcast and Zoom reception. $10 minimum donation per family.