Narissa Strong Bach
Narissa Strong Bach, a National Certified Teacher of Music, with a Bachelor of Music and Linguistics from Indiana University, grew up surrounded with music. She comes from five generations of piano teachers and grew up in the middle of one of the richest and accessible music communities in the country, Indiana University School of Music. With parents on staff and faculty at this world famous music school, she was attending operas, orchestra performances and recitals of all instruments at age 5 and meeting some of the nation’s leading artist-teachers. Narissa took full advantage of this vast exposure and has an extensive understanding of quality musicianship whether expressed through the piano, voice (she’s also a language coach), violin, or the French horn (her father’s and brother’s instrument). Her father was head piano technician at the School of Music and introduced Narissa to another level of understanding of the piano – the ability to hear when a piano is well voiced and pedals are properly adjusted as well as being in tune.
Narissa has carved out a rich career teaching piano, collaborating with artists of all types in the Twin Cities over the last 38 years. In addition to frequent adjudicating, she has developed seminars and workshops. Pedagogic and artistic topics with have been presented to popular attendance. Narissa has continued her training, including study of the Suzuki teaching methods. She has been involved in many professional music associations which have brought additional performance opportunities and educational programs to her students which have greatly embellished their studio experiences. Those include Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity, Music Teachers National Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, Minnesota Music Teachers Association, and Minneapolis Music Teachers Forum. She has held leadership roles and continues to serve as clinician and adjudicator for many piano competitions ad performance opportunities of these associations. Seeing the challenges that young pianists were facing competing against older students for performance opportunities, especially with orchestras, she started the Mozart Piano Competition in 2005 which she still runs as a program of the Minnesota Music Teachers Forum. This competition, for pianists through Grade 12, allows students to perform the rich repertoire of Mozart piano concertos without having to compete again the more ‘flashy’ Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff concertos for a chance to perform with The Kenwood Orchestra. Today, these same students have continued in music: concertizing, teaching, and placing in international competitions.
Narissa is also exceptional with beginning students, and can tell you of the many who have found a special place for the piano amidst their homework, soccer practices and swimming meets. In her own words she explains, “I regard piano study essential, as it develops the brain in a unique way to support learning in all areas of life and schooling. The skill of learning music through piano supports the emotional and physical maturity your child undergoes. The study of piano provides a vehicle for developing self-expression, physical coordination and small motor skills. The study of piano brings to your child one of life’s greatest miracles - the power of music as a means of communicating with others and understanding people across cultures and historical eras. We learn a language that can transcend the spoken word.”