Martha StacyFebruary 16, 2017
MARTHA STACY BROUGHT SUZUKI METHOD FOR PIANO TO OBERLIN--Over a 22-year conservatory career, piano pedagogy professor became a leading national voice for teaching young musicians.
Martha Stacy, a longtime associate professor of piano pedagogy at Oberlin Conservatory, played a leading role in the introduction of Suzuki method training to campus over a career that spanned from 1971 to 1993.
Ms. Stacy died February 16, 2017, at age 87.
In 1972—Ms. Stacy’s first full year at Oberlin—she established a children’s Suzuki program for piano that was the only one of its kind in northeast Ohio, making Ms. Stacy and her colleagues destination teachers among parents throughout the region.
The Suzuki method, developed in the mid-20th century by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki, developed out of the principle that music can be learned in much the same way that native language is learned. The method was introduced to Oberlin in 1958 during a visit by Suzuki; soon after, the conservatory became a pioneer in teaching Suzuki method for violin.
Ms. Stacy devoted a 1978 sabbatical to studying with Suzuki and Haruko Kataoka in Matsumoto, Japan. She became a consultant and teacher-trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas, and for many years she presented on the topic at conferences of the Music Teachers National Association and other groups.
Born in Arkansas, Ms. Stacy earned bachelor of music education and master of music degrees from Louisiana State University. She taught piano in Dallas schools before transitioning to college teaching with stints at Berea College in Kentucky, the University of Kansas, and Kent State University. From an early age, “I knew I was a teacher, not a performer,” she told the Oberlin Observer upon her retirement in 1993. At Oberlin, she also held various leadership roles in the honorary music society Pi Kappa Lambda.
A longtime member of First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ, Ms. Stacy volunteered for Meals on Wheels and the Oberlin Public Library, and she enjoyed walking, reading, and travel. Since 2002, she was a resident at Kendal at Oberlin, where she counted among her friends Howard Hatton, a former voice professor at the conservatory.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. at Heiser Auditorium, Kendal at Oberlin. The Rev. David T. Hill, pastor of The First Church in Oberlin, will officiate.