Clavier Companion - May/June 2017 - 11
Following the 2015 National Conference on
Keyboard Pedagogy, Elvina and I spent several days
talking about her life and career.
Elvina, let's focus on those experiences which
you believe were the most significant factors
in shaping your remarkable musical and
pedagogical career. How did it all get started?
Photo credit: Raeleen Horn
It began in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I grew up as the
only child of a great mother and father, along with a
dog named Inky. Not one of them could read or play
a note of music. Classical music and composer names
such as Bach and Beethoven were unheard of in our
home, and there was no piano.
When I was about five, my parents volunteered
to store a neighbor's piano in our home for two
years while he was out of the country, and so this
enormous, old western saloon-style piano moved in
with us and consumed virtually all of the space in one
Elvina Pearce in 2014.
room of our small house. Almost immediately I began
to doodle around on it and soon discovered that with
one finger I could pick out tunes such as "Twinkle,"
"Yankee Doodle," etc. Then I discovered how to play
using both hands! Almost at once this big old piano
became my favorite play-pal.
After two years, the neighbor returned and
reclaimed his piano. By then I was in love with music
and thoroughly smitten with making it myself on the
piano. Losing the piano was devastating!
So what happened?
Well, around that time, an itinerant piano teacher
appeared in our neighborhood offering lessons in the
home for fifty cents a pop. Nearly every kid signed up
and, of course, I also wanted to enroll. When I asked
my parents for permission, they agreed, but with one
stipulation-if I took piano, I'd have to discontinue
dancing lessons which I also loved! They reasoned