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Alumni Spotlight: Valerie Cuppens Bates

In celebration of our 60th anniversary, we will feature NSMS alumni as part of our Alumni Spotlight series throughout 2020.

Which years were you at NSMS?

I taught at NSMS from 1989-1997.

What is a favorite NSMS memory?

From the very beginning, Frances’ enduring commitment to innovation provided me with awe-inspiring respect. This carried through in the NSMS approach to teaching and learning. I was fortunate to share a student with Louise and to work alongside her as Publications Assistant. Our job was to synthesize our observations and learnings into concepts for publication. Working with both Frances and Louise taught me the value of capturing an idea’s essence, then finding elegant and surprising solutions.

I went on to do many things in my professional life, including producing educational resources for PBS and teaching piano, but it is the spirit of innovation that sticks with me: Looking at things from a child’s perspective . . . with new eyes. My experiences at The New School for Music Study made a significant impact on my life and work.

What are you doing now?

I am currently a freelance designer of educational media and publications, and an advocate for the benefits of piano education.

What role does your education at NSMS play in your life today?

I was one of the last groups of graduate students to benefit directly from the teaching of Frances Clark. I was Louise Goss’ assistant in publications and learned the value of developing outstanding educational resources. I am not currently teaching, but the influence of NSMS impacted many years of teaching after graduating. I maintain close relationships with some of my students who have gone on to teach piano.

Are you an NSMS Alum? We'd love to hear from you. Please complete this alumni connection form.


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