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Professor has dedicated life to teaching music

Scott Beard

Scott Beard

April 29, 2007|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - It is three o'clock on a Wednesday and the faint sound of a piano fills the empty corridors of Shepherd University's Creative Arts Center.

Down the hall, a professor jingles his keys as he locks his office. The usual bustle of students going to and from class is gone.

It is spring break.

"I will see you next week," Professor Scott Beard says as he opens his office door and waves goodbye to one of his piano students.

Closing the door, he sighs and sits behind his desk.

Classes do not start again for four days, but Beard has dedicated his life to teaching music.

"No art without life, no life without art. I have really adopted this as my mantra," he said.

Teaching music is more than just a job for Beard, who started teaching in 1984 after he decided against a career in science.

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His job, he joked, is owning the Ridgefield Farm and Orchard in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., with his partner. He said many of his students work part time at his farm to earn extra cash.

Music has a lot of impact on a community, Beard said.

"What a teacher says and does is handed down to the next generation," he said.

In fact, many of Beard's students are teachers themselves.

Eight years ago, he started a program through his pedagogy class under which university students would give music lessons to local children.

"The kids take lessons for free and the students get great experience teaching," he said.

While most of Beard's life is spent teaching music, he still finds time to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City and to work on a book he is writing.

"It is a piano ensemble textbook," he said. "I already have a book published. It is just a sideline thing I enjoy doing."

Beard said he hopes to perform more in the future, but admitted he probably will spend most of his time helping others.

"I am one of those people who it is hard for them to say no," he said. "I want to help."




Q&A



Name: Scott Beard

Hometown: Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Occupation: Professor of music

What was your proudest moment?: "When I had a student in a national contest. It was like being a coach, it was not me, it was someone else, but it was a wonderful experience to be in the mix of something so significant for them."

Whom do you most admire and why?: "I look to a lot of great artists of the past. I admire people who are great human beings as well. For instance, the soprano Leontyne Price, her great attitude is a shining example of how to carry oneself in the public light."

She was the first African-American to sing leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received and who gave it to you?: My grandmother. She said always be polite and carry a clean handkerchief.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve?: To really concentrate on all my scholastic endeavors along with preparing for concerts. I would like to work to be a better teacher.

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