Approach to teaching


I opened the Breth Piano Studio in 1982, serving all ages but with a focus on pre-college students. My teaching is based on the conviction that any person who loves music and works diligently over time can attain a level of skill and understanding that is the gateway to a rich, lifelong engagement with music.

My role is to show students how to build a strong technique, to help them develop musicianship, and to pass on the musical traditions given to me by my teachers and their teachers before them. My goal is to produce graduates with the physical and musical capacity to thrive and grow as musicians long after lessons are over.

Students in the Breth Studio gain poise and confidence in their abilities by playing in competitive and noncompetitive events as well as in community performances. Student honors include prizes in local events, at the state level in Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, among others, and at the national level. Several students have performed with the National Symphony Orchestra as a result of wining the high school division of the NSO Young Soloists’ Competition. Duet teams have three times won the National Senior Duet Competition of MTNA. Students from the Breth Studio often take part in prestigious summer piano institutes and chamber music camps such as Aspen Music Festival and School, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Interlochen, Point Counter Point, Indiana University Piano Institute, International Institute for Young Musicians, Itzhak Perlman Music Institute, and the Tanglewood Institute.

Graduates of the studio have continued their studies at leading music schools such as Indiana University, Julliard School California Institute of the Arts, Cleveland Conservatory, New England Conservatory, and the Eastman Conservatory; some now teach on university piano faculties.

Most Breth Studio students, however, go on to other careers, as architects, lawyers, doctors, computer scientists or fashion designers whose lives are enriched by music.

Adult members of the studio are serious lovers of music desirous of improving their skills and entering into a community of like-minded individuals. Most belong to piano performance groups within and without the Breth Studio, and many also enjoy playing in recitals, festivals, and the four-hands workshop at Kinhaven (Vermont), where I teach every June.