The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music education: Let us now praise music teachers and their legacy | May 26, 2017

By Jacob Stockinger

By now, the school year is mostly over at all levels from kindergarten through undergraduate and graduate school at colleges and universities.

So are music lessons, both public and private, and student recitals and concerts. (Below is Madison and UW-Madison violin teacher Eugene Purdue with student Thomas Stringfellow during a lesson in 2011.)

So now is the perfect time to talk about the legacy of creativity that music teachers have in our lives.

Here is an essay that The Ear finds to be one of the best appreciations of music teachers – even those famous teachers at Juilliard who taught violinists Itzhak Perlman, Anne Akiko Meyers and Midori — that he has ever read. It covers different methods and styles of teaching and learning. And it is filled with gratitude from students toward their teachers.

It appeared in The New York Times and was written by critic Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim.

Here is a link:

If you have an appreciation or memory of, or a tribute to, a music teacher and music lessons, leave word in the COMMENT section.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Marlys Trunkhill had recently accepted a post at UW Green Bay when I arrived in the late 70s. She’d sung professionally in New York City, including with the Robert Shaw Chorale. Her charisma, musicianship, and leadership made vocal study at UWGB into something far beyond what could be expected at a small regional school…and a life-changing experience. Her drive for precision and love for music will never be forgotten.


    Comment by Donna — May 28, 2017 @ 9:07 pm

  2. My life was enriched enormously by the time I spent with the legendary Madison piano teacher, Maria Syllum. She started everyone with authentic classical music. My mother claimed she learned to love Bach from hearing me rehearse!!


    Comment by Barbara Furstenberg — May 28, 2017 @ 6:12 pm

  3. I should also have mentioned Robt. Gantner, WI State College-EC in the 60s when I was there. He too was my private tbn. teacher & a wonderful person who played cello in the symphony.


    Comment by buppanasu — May 26, 2017 @ 12:07 am

  4. During my Ph.D. residency @ Northwestern U, I studied privately with Frank Crisafulli, then 2d tbn., with the Chicago Symphony. He was a great player, a super teacher and a very nice guy.


    Comment by buppanasu — May 26, 2017 @ 12:04 am

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