Carole Bigler

Carole L. Bigler of Big Flats, NY, died Saturday, April 18, 2009 at home in Big Flats surrounded by her family. Carole was born in Kingston, PA on October 16, 1940, the daughter of the late Hans and Irene (Papp) Lindemann. She married William Charles Bigler in 1963.

Carole was an honors graduate in Music from Syracuse University, where she studied piano and organ. Upon graduation she taught music in the New York school system for two years and did graduate work at Ithaca College with further graduate studies at Cornell University and Elmira College. She taught piano pedagogy, philosophy, and the psychology of learning around the world at music institutes and workshops, and was co-founder and vice president of More than Music, Inc., a Canadian company that has run a summer music festival in Kingston, Ontario for more than thirty years. Carole was also the author of several books on music pedagogy and repertoire, including the well-known publication, co-authored with Valery Lloyd-Watts, Studying Suzuki Piano: More Than Music.

Carole had a private piano studio at her home and was the organist for the First Congregational Church, Corning from 1967 to 2006. She also performed in professional concerts on both piano and organ and as pianist in a chamber music ensemble.

Carole had served as an SAA Piano Teacher Trainer for many years. She was well-known in the Suzuki world for her infectious humor and big smile. As well as being a popular clinician at workshops and institutes, Carol was known for her excellent, insightful talks for Suzuki parents.

She is survived by her husband, William Charles Bigler; her mother; her daughter: Pamela (Chris) Hendrickson of San Diego, CA; her son: Jeffrey (Nancy Gilman) Bigler of Boston, MA; and four grandchildren.

Friends are invited to a memorial service at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 171 West Pulteney Street, Corning, NY on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at 2. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 171 West Pulteney Street, Corning, NY 14830.

From Piano Teacher Trainer, Ray Landers:

“I know we are all grateful for her great contributions to music education through Suzuki Kingston, her many workshops, her music editing and numerous publications, her articles, and most of all her immensely creative motivational lectures. Carole influenced thousands of lives with her goodness and magnificent gifts. I will never forget her great, kind sense of humor and wise, deep understandings of human nature…and her Bach jokes…most of all, her love of people and the joy she brought to them.”

Her son has written the following,

“…what I treasure most—44 years of fond memories and a wealth of knowledge and understanding about how to use my life to help other people find confidence and success in their own lives. The measure of Mom’s legacy is its effect on everyone whom her wisdom continues to find.”

Ann Vallentyne, a Suzuki cello teacher in Hamilton, Ontario passed away quietly April 19, 2009 surrounded by her family. She was 82. She will be greatly missed by everyone in the Ontario Suzuki community.

Ann lived life to its fullest as a wife and mother of five children. However, it is through her teaching that she found her greatest passion. Ann brought the joy of music into every lesson that she taught. Whether her students have pursued a life in music or not, they have really lived the notes that they have played.

A native of Kingston with a university cello degree, Ann followed her husband Jack as he built his career. In the 1960s she found herself in Ithaca with a Cornell professor husband while she raised her three young children. Although she did some cello teaching she was quite taken with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki when he brought his Japanese tour group to Ithaca. After the Vallentyne family moved back to Winnipeg she started her daughter, Anne-Marie (now on the faculty of the Hamilton Suzuki School of Music) on violin. The family moved to Ottawa, Burlington, and eventually to Hamilton. Ann did her Suzuki cello training in Ithaca, and continued teacher development opportunities throughout her life. She was a teacher at the Hamilton Suzuki School of Music for many years.

One of Ann’s greatest contributions to the Ontario musical community was founding the Southern Ontario Chamber Music Institute in the mid 80s. This training ground for young musicians has thrived throughout the years and is considered to be amongst the best summer chamber music programs in Ontario.

Ann’s greatest legacy is the passion for music that she has passed on to each and every student. Ann’s students adored her. They adored her during their time in her studio and after. Ann was one of the most generous teachers, taking her students to concerts and masterclasses in Toronto was one of her many gifts to her students. Her wisdom and mentoring has touched every Suzuki cello teacher in Ontario for over 30 years. We are truly indebted to her for her inspiration and dedication to the art of teaching.