…an incredible passion for teaching.
…a polished musician, an extremely clever and creative pedagogue, and an extraordinary friend and mentor….
She has taught me more than just how to practice my technique or how to prepare for a performance. She has showed me what music means in my life, not as an extracurricular or an obligation, but as a lasting influence on who I am today.
It was with Mrs. Breth that I began to connect with music on a deeper level and develop a relationship with what I was playing: she taught me about colors, about balance, about listening, about technique and integrity, about seeking answers to hard questions.
Mrs. Breth is one of those rarest and most gifted of teachers who inspire[s her] students to work hard and think independently. Studying piano with her was not a matter of merely “receiving instruction,” but rather a natural process of “bringing forth” the music we unconsciously sensed we could create.
As a Chinese immigrant, I often felt lost at school and on the playground, around those that just seemed to fit so well in American culture. However, Mrs. Breth always emphasized that music transcends all barriers. Through her, I learned that it is always possible to find a connection even between the most disparate of individuals and communities.
Mrs. Breth was unboundedly creative in thinking of ways to practice our piano repertoire. Aside from her own exercises, she always encouraged us to come up with our own methods to help us practice and drill problem spots. From Mrs. Breth’s approach to practicing, I became a better and more creative problem solver in my musical and non-musical work, and I continue to use her strategies working with a new generation of musicians.
The hidden jewel of her teaching is her overwhelming obsession with sight-reading. Even studio members who are now working outside of music can come back to the piano to read whatever scores they want, armed with advanced skills to help them quickly learn and perform brand new pieces.
Mrs. Breth’s teaching is what solidified music as a permanent fixture in my life. Her piano studio is where I grew the most, where I became a musician, with a passion and a worldview that inform everything I do, and remain at my vital core.
The sight reading skills that Mrs. Breth instilled in me ensured that even though my practice schedule changed from three hours a day in high school to three hours a week at my college’s church, I was still able to enjoy and partake in one of my life’s greatest passions—music.
Her top priority was always to help us make music beautiful — technique was just a means to get there.