Carol joined Columbine Music Teachers Association (CMTA), in 1990. She currently serves as Secretary, and has served as Vice President, and President. She was CSMTA theory chair several years ago. In 2017 she was CSMTA “Teacher of the Year.”
Carol takes us through the adventures of her musical career and we are inviting you to dive in and follow her fascinating journey:
Mom was a gifted pianist, playing by ear as well as note reading. Mom’s favorite composer was Mendelssohn, so I heard lots of Rondo Capriccio in E Major around the house in Chicago. I started piano at the age of 6. Dad was a Walgreen pharmacist, so I grew up in the drugstore, reading those movie magazines and dabbling in cosmetics. I was “helping” in the store. Dad owned the Walgreen store in those days. I started college at CU-Boulder in 1964. Moving from Chicago, where I was born, into the West, where my parents and I always took vacations. Since I was an “only” child I was much loved, but I was passionate about my independence, so I was happy to be 1,000 miles away from my parents, but it was a shock. Although I was very involved with state voice and piano competitions in Illinois, I chose piano for my major and was lucky to have Dr. Howard Waltz for my instructor at CU. I loved him for his gentle, simple ways of teaching the literature which I loved. Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms came alive in my hands, thanks to Dr. Waltz. I also took lessons from Storm Bull, who was head of the piano Dept. at that time. Enough said! I managed to be part of the Miss CU contest and won the talent award with Khachaturian’s Toccata. That was fun! Thanks, Dr. Waltz, for recommending that piece!
Digressing for a moment, in high school, I was fortunate to spend the summers at Aspen Music school and had outstanding teachers there too. Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame was my theory teacher. What an odd, extremely funny, very talented man he was! He’d crack a joke and then say something important about whatever theory lesson we were working on. Signs of a good teacher opening us up with laughter and then doing his soliloquy on the lesson. I remember James Levine was sitting next to me. We were the same age, 16, and he knew all the answers to the questions Mr. Schickele posed. Go figure! Levine ended up being a conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. Jeanine Dowis was my piano instructor. She was an assistance to Mme. Rosina Lhevinne, who taught Van Cliburn. We were able to meet Mme. Lhevinne. Now I realize how fortunate those days were for me. Voice lessons were Mme. Olga Ryss, and Jenny Tourel. I studied acting with Mme. Milhaud, wife of Darius, the composer. Mme. Milhaud was tiny, but mighty. She took care of Darius when he was in a wheel chair near the end of his life.
Back to college. I took a hiatus from CU after my freshman year and went to NYC for a semester to check out Julliard and the city to see if I wanted the musical performance life. The answer was a resounding NO! I wanted what I coined at the time, a “normal” life with marriage, children, and teaching. Turns out no life is normal, for sure now, right? But I’m thankful I made that decision and extremely humbled that my parents gave me the opportunity to be in Aspen during my adolescent summers and at Boulder for college. Those experiences have opened many doors for me and I am so grateful!
Fast forward. I married an electrical engineer, Mike, and I’ve never had to call a serviceperson to fix anything in the house, even after 53 married years! We have two children, Steve, who is a computer engineer, married to Barb, a medical writer. My daughter, Christine is the Mom of our grandson, Xander. We are fortunate to have Christine and Xander in our lives every day! It’s a blessing to be able to watch Xander grow up. He is 11 now. The time is going so fast!
We moved to Craig, Colorado from Broomfield for 15 years. I taught K-4 music at Ridgeview Elementary in Craig. I started a chapter of CSMTA up there. We had marginal success getting it going, and it lasted awhile. Our chapter did work with the Community Concerts bringing Wladimir Kochanski, concert pianist, to perform for the town of Craig. He was particularly good with children. The short ones in the audience went up onstage with Wladimir, and sat down on the floor to listen to him play a few pieces. He would always talk to them. The audience loved that! In that little town we had a fantastic drama teacher, Jill Grimes, who also taught English at the High School. Every summer the town was in the audience for a musical. I appeared in two of them, Wizard of Oz, as Glinda, the good witch, and Oklahoma, as Aunt Eller. We also had a Melodrama group named Boomtown Players. Those productions were a lot of fun! I became involved with the Denis Waitley program, “The Psychology of Winning” and “The Seeds of Greatness” and ran a workshop with the teachers of Moffat County, facilitating that information. Then Mike became mayor of Craig, and since I was a school teacher, our lives weren’t our own for the next few years!
One of the years I was teaching K-4 in Craig, Amadeus had won the Academy Award for best picture. The 4th graders wrote congratulations letters to Mozart. We sent them on to, what was at the time, KVOD in Denver. The broadcasters thought they were worth reading on the air, so Denver heard what the Craig 4th graders wrote to Mozart! A child wrote, “Mozart, I don’t know if you can get news there up in heaven, but the story of your life won first prize! Congratulations on a job well done here on Earth!” That was fun too!
Musically, when we moved to Littleton in 1990, I joined CMTA, Columbine Music Teachers, and am still a member. I have been Secretary, Vice President, and President. I was the theory chair a while back state-wide. Currently, from the seeds of Denis Waitley, I continue my work with Dr. Joe Dispenza. Dr. Joe is a chiropracter and neuroscientist who has written the books, You Are the Placebo, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and Becoming Supernatural. In fact, our CMTA group will be reviewing Breaking the Habit in our May meeting. The study is mostly about meditation, but really so much more. I have been learning about the heart and brain connection, the energy centers of the body, healing circles for folks, and learning how to change bad habits by not living in the past and celebrating living in the present moment. The meditation piece is especially important for music instructors because the very habit of meditating, which in Sanskrit translates “becoming present,” allows us to become free of our monkey minds, to be able to have creative enrichment to build on for planning lessons and events. It also helps with our own practice. Musicians are particularly vulnerable to mental, emotional and physical injuries, and using some time out from practicing, doing lesson plans, to become nobody, nowhere, with nothing, in no time or space. This will activate the subconscious mind and allow us to have ideas that would not normally show up in the dense 3rd dimension we live in. Maybe we should do a session on meditation sometime?
Carol DuBe’s teaching credentials include: NCTM, Bachelor in Music, Reike Master I’ve been teaching piano for 52 years. Of course, it sure doesn’t seem like that long! I guess keeping busy helps. It’s really important as we get older to do just that, and CSMTA is the perfect place to stay busy. I admire all the folks at the helm. What a 24/7 job that is! I sure applaud those who work hard to make our teaching lives a bit easier. In the end, though, I believe that everything we do is connected to the Source, helping humanity.
My teaching involves students of all ages. I love teaching all ages because the little ones keep me moving and the older ones keep me practicing! One of my very talented Russian students won local, state, and district competitions. Consequently, both of us went to Washington D.C. for the national competition. She performed the Liszt Piano Concerto #1 with her as the solo and her teacher as the orchestra on the second piano. It was quite an experience to be involved in the national end of MTNA and wonderful for her to take in the sites of the capital.
I must mention something about Chopin. I was fortunate to take a vacation in France with a tour group interested in Chopin. We did a master class there, saw all the places Chopin performed and lived with George Sand, the pen name of Mme. Aurora Dudevant. We went south to Nohant and visited their chateau where they lived 180 years ago. I can say that it was an amazing afternoon, my hair was on end with the energy in that place. Those two sure left some of themselves there. What I remember of the area are the sunflower fields, the glorious Chopin music, and the wine. Five years later, my friend whom I met on that trip, invited me to go to Warsaw, Poland for the Chopin International Piano Competition. This was in 1995, and for a whole month of Chopin! I jumped on the chance. Although Poland was still just warming up to independence at that time. I met my dear friend, Jon Nakamatsu, in Warsaw. He was our guest artist at CU-Boulder for the CSMTA conference some years ago. I received rave reviews of his talent. The update is that he is still recording, concertizing, and teaching. What a great guy he is and so unaffected by his fame. Along the way, he won the Van Cliburn gold medal. We discussed his winning that one day in Poland. He is now married to a lovely chemistry teacher, Kathy, and they have a preschool son, who already has a tux and is playing the piano.
This is getting long. I’ll stop now. Thanks for reading. And thanks for being a musician and teacher of music, enriching lives every day! As Jon said once, “How differently people read music creatively. It keeps making me wonder at what point is any of this exhausted? I think it’s impossible to exhaust great music’s possibilities.”