Piano Lessons by Nancy Frase
Discovering your unique path to musical achievement
I guess a good place to start when describing myself would be with the basics . . .
I am a Colorado native, born and partly raised in the Denver area. The remainder of my growing up occurred in a farming community in the panhandle of Nebraska. I grew up feeding pigs and chickens, driving tractors and combines, fixing vehicles and helping with home remodels -- my dad was a farmer and a master carpenter and I took to the tomboy stuff way more than I took to the domestic stuff (sorry, Mom!)
As a kid, I was very involved in music. I played many different instruments (brass, woodwind, string and percussion) in the school band and I played piano for the high school choir. I also played piano and organ for church. Of course, I loved performing and sang solos for church as often as I could.
My extended family is very musical, so at family gatherings we often pull out multiple instruments and someone saddles up to the piano and someone else up to the organ and everyone else warms up their vocal chords -- and we go to town for two or three hours, making enough racket to shake loose the rafters. Most of the family plays by ear, so we don't need written music, we just stick with the old hymns and folk songs that everyone knows.
I went to college at a very tiny Christian college in Oklahoma. For our college choir, I drove the tour bus as we traveled all over the western part of the country and then played the piano during the concerts. The other pianist played strictly by sight, so she handled the very technical pieces and I handled the pieces for which there was little or no accompaniment written -- I could make it up as we went along.
During my time in college, I also sang alto in an a cappella 8-member chamber group. Then, in my "spare" time, I volunteered as an EMT at the local fire & rescue station.
After college, I headed off to Washington, DC, for almost a decade. For the first year, I worked as an intern in a large church in the children's education department. After that, I ventured into the defense industry where I honed my computer programming and management skills until I became a "hotshot" project manager. I specialized in turning around large scale, high risk and high profile software development projects that were in trouble.
While living on the east coast, I bought my first motorcycle, founded the North American Bungee Association and wrote the book "Bungee Jumping for Fun and Profit", traveled to a number of places all over the world with my mom -- and continued volunteering as an EMT and a Level III firefighter with certifications in scene management, pumper driving/operations, aerial driving/operations, confined space rescue, high angle rescue, hazardous materials, etc.
In 1997, I moved back to Colorado to be closer to my mom -- and because I missed the Rocky Mountains. I continued working as a project manager in software development, mostly in telecommunications.
Then, the economy started its bumpy ride and I got bucked off. It took a couple of years, but I finally figured out that chapter of my life (software development) was over.
I spent the next five years reinventing myself professionally. To do that, I went back to what I knew as a youngster . . . tomboy stuff and music. During the time it took to establish my piano lessons business, I paid the bills with jobs like operating heavy equipment, electrical subcontracting, school bus driving and even some land use consulting.
I've discovered in recent years that I have a knack for composing my own music, which gives me a way to express my deepest feelings. Over the last decade-plus, I've been on a personal journey of healing and growth. The music allows me to share what is transpiring inside of me, especially when words fail me. If you are interested in hearing some of my music, you may check it out here.
In closing, I'd like to summarize who I believe I am as a teacher and as a human being. I believe about myself, and have heard from others, that I am encouraging, patient, compassionate, motivating, organized, fun, light-hearted, playful and adaptive. Because I play by sight and by ear, I can relate well to the students who connect with music through logic and technical astuteness, as well as with those who connect with music through their naturally artistic approach to life. I am able to use their strengths within one aspect to help them understand the other side of the experience.
I am finding great satisfaction in passing along my passion for music to others. For me, there is great joy and healing in seeing a student's eyes light up in a moment of achievement and understanding.