In the early 2000’s I spent almost six years studying piano with Julia Benfer, a Master teacher. She studied with some of the great teachers and pianists (see “experience” listing on the instruction page) of the 20th century, and her knowledge transformed my playing and my teaching. She was amazing. Think Yoda for piano. She died in 2009, at 99. Believe it or not, she took me on as a student when she was 92, which means I studied with her until she was 98!
During this time I also recorded Cover to Cover (2007), which, in addition to originals, has some covers on it that not only are the favorites of some of my fans, but remind me of my roots and the music that made me who I am.
In 2009 my husband and I bought some land so we could build our own house. He is pretty handy as a carpenter, although he’s a Nurse Practitioner, and I had had some experience with building and carpentry too. My father had been a builder, and so I had picked up some skills from him. That knowledge didn’t prepare us in the least for all the things we would have to learn how to do; digging the foundation, laying cinderblocks, wiring, plumbing, etc. We started in early 2011, and it took us three and a half years to complete. As you can imagine, it put a crimp in my musical career, and totally exacerbated my carpal tunnel to the point where I could barely play, and I had to really cut back on my performing. However, we are now living in our gorgeous house, built just the way we wanted. I’ve got a private studio where I can teach lessons, and we have a beautiful view of rolling farmland and trees. We made a point of planting mostly native Pennsylvania plants and mowing very little. It’s important to us to provide habitat for birds and pollinators.
After that my hands were so bad that I finally broke down and had carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand in 2018. The results are awesome! I can play as well as I could years ago. No tingling, no numbness. It’s like a miracle. I have been able to resume performing again.
One thing I haven’t mentioned at all yet is my interest in CAM, the common acronym for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Eric (my husband) and I had always been interested in herbalism and natural healing. In fact, although he is a Nurse Practitioner, he is also a Classical Homeopath. All my life I’ve been interested in music and mysticism, and the possibility of using music and sound as a healing tool. Around 2010 I started studying Sound Healing in earnest, and was just starting to learn quite a bit when we started to build the house. That kind of derailed my studies for a few years, but once the house was built, I resumed. I took Reiki training, Level I and II, and took a number of classes in various ways to use sound for healing.
Then in early 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I won’t bore you with the details here, but the short story is: 1) I am now cancer-free, and 2) I used my knowledge of CAM to help me weather my cancer treatment (which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation). It was so successful that I decided it was time to add Sound Healing to my repertoire. So I am now a Sound Healing and ReikiSound™ practitioner, and do some Sound Healing instruction. I’ve also added sound meditations to the “gigs” I do. (If you can call leading a meditation a gig.)
Additionally, my experience inspired me to write a book about my experience called Cancer Without Fear: Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine with Mainstream Treatment. (link to writing page.)
I am currently living with Eric and our four cats in our beautiful house, enjoying the wild and varied activities in my life: Teaching, performing, writing, leading meditations, doing Sound Healing and ReikiSound sessions. I am happier than I’ve ever been.