About Me

KATHARINE AUSTIN:

             As the daughter of professional musicians, I grew up in a thoroughly musical environment, improvising on the piano from the age of 3, and starting formal lessons at 5.  As a student at Mills College in Oakland California, in addition to teaching my first piano lessons, I was a regular presence in the dance department, where I improvised piano music accompaniment for both undergraduate and graduate dance classes.  At Mills my music teachers included Bernard Abramowitz, Naomi Sparrow, Nathan Rubin, Robert Ashley and Darius Milhaud.  

             After receiving my B.A. degree with Honor in Music, I toured and performed in the U.S. and Europe with The Sonic Arts Union, an avant-garde music group based in New York.  I later returned to Mills to work toward a Master of Fine Arts degree in Electronic Music and Recording Media.  My post-graduate courses led me to take on a recording engineering position for movie director Francis Ford Coppola, in whose San Francisco studio I contributed to the soundtracks of many Academy Award-winning feature films. 

            Bringing my years of honed listening skills with me, I eventually left the studio and began the process of reviving my first love: playing and teaching the piano. As my student roster grew, I found great value in studying Piano Pedagogy  with master teacher, Caroline Fraser, at Holy Names University in Oakland, California.   I continued to take courses over a period of 10 summers in the annual Suzuki Institutes.   I have since contributed articles to the American Suzuki Journal.

              For over 25 years, I have enjoyed a full-time piano teaching practice. My students have received numerous awards, honors and prizes at local, state, and national levels, including Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC) Alameda County Branch Honors, MTAC State Convention Honors, MTAC State Advanced Panel Honors, MTAC Memorial Scholarship Awards, Junior Bach Competition Awards, the East Bay Piano Competition Awards, Kids Play the Darndest Things regional Piano Competition Award, and the U.S. Open Music Competition-receiving prizes in both the intermediate and advanced piano solo categories, as well as in the duo piano performance category.

             For many years I've been an active member of the Suzuki Music Association of California-Bay Area Piano Branch.  I  currently serve on the Board of the Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC), Alameda County Branch, and for several years have been the Alameda County Branch Honors’ Recitals Chair. In addition to teaching, I  am an Evaluator throughout the Northern California region for the MTAC Certificate of Merit Program.  In recent years I've been invited by both the MTAC and the Suzuki Association to give presentations on the subject of Preparing Students for Success in the MTAC Certificate of Merit Program, and other aspects of successful teaching.