Margaret Saunders Ott – life lessons at the piano


I’ve always wished that everyone could have a lesson with my teacher, Margaret Saunders Ott. Her students left her home with a powerful sense that somehow, in that 45 minutes, the world had become a better place. Margie May, as all her friends call her…Mrs. Ott as all her students call her…has been very active in the Music Teachers National Association, or MTNA…the largest music teachers’ organization in the country. The MTNA gave Margie May their Teacher of the Year Award in 2003, when she was 83 years old. Her lessons are models of practical creativity in teaching, and of the art of revealing “the pattern that connects” as Gregory Bateson said. Margie May attended Mills College in Oakland, and was one of the first women to get a Masters degree from Julliard Conservatory. She taught at Whitworth College and  Gonzaga in Spokane, where she has lived for most of her life. Her husband, Franklin, passed away a few years ago. A farmer and farm implement dealer, he was the perfect partner for Margie May. Their home was a glowing refuge for many of the artists who played in Spokane, including Artur Rubinstein and Glenn Gould, who became friends of the Otts, as did everyone they met.

IM000421.JPGThis interview took place over several days in Spokane where we talked about her childhood, ideas about teaching, years at Julliard, life and music…and more. This program is a very short Lesson With Margie May Ott.             -Philip Aaberg

In Memorium
Margie May Ott July 18, 1920-June 8, 2010
Thank you, Margie May, for your love and wonderful teaching that is now spreading around the world through your students


Download:  Margaret Saunders Ott