From Folk Concepts to Original Style
I believe that theory ought to follow practice. Thus, I would like to begin by thanking those persons who taught me to play music. Francene French taught me the accordion when I was seven years old; she fascinated all in the class with her playing and teaching. Although I loved the accordion (even before it was cool!) I wanted also to play the piano. I bought my own piano at age 12 and taught myself. When I entered the University of Texas at Austin, three excellent pianists helped me to unlearn the bad habits that come with being self-taught: Betsy Parker, Betty Mallard, and A. David Renner. They instructed me lovingly in the art of the piano in a rich, historically informed and comprehensive manner. Those years of study are like gold to me.
Virtually all the piano students at University of Texas in those days were like a family: we went swimming, bowling, dancing and watched Jeopardy together. Many of these remain among my closest friends today; they were and are a great support to me in every way.
There were a great number of history and theory professors at UT from whose instruction and ideas I benefitted, especially Dorothy Payne, Douglass Green, Elliott Antokoletz, and Patrick McCreless. I frequently and happily notice aspects of their teaching in my own, and I even quote them in class. My inspiring piano pedagogy professor Amanda Vick Lethco also became my most important writing instructor...
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