After nearly 40 years of teaching, Dye Family Professor of Music Anne Mayer has been named College Marshal at Carleton. The honor is bestowed on the senior member of the faculty. The Marshal's responsibility is to lead the faculty procession at Opening Convocation, Honors Convocation and Commencement. This is the first time a female faculty member has served as Carleton's College Marshal.
Mayer, who has taught at Carleton since 1959, received a Master's of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music. A Fulbright scholar, she has studied in Vienna, London and Salzburg with renowned concert pianists Paul Badura-Skoda, Jeorg Demus, and Alfred Brandel. In addition to teaching music and piano at Carleton, she has performed with numerous groups in the Twin Cities, appeared with the Minnesota Private College Concert Series, and given recitals at Carleton each year.
Mayer also enjoys studying early keyboard instruments, specifically the fortepiano, which helps her understand how songs written by Haydn and Mozart were meant to sound: "The dynamic markings and, really, the whole feel of the piece is altered when played on a modern piano," she said. "Not having a harpsichord is no excuse not to play Bach, but it's important that pianists understand what these old instruments were like in order to do the piece justice."
Mayer enjoys playing works from all eras and encourages her students to play pieces by various composers even if they feel it's beyond their capability. "My students won't accept me pushing them to try new things if all I play in my recitals is Mozart-I have to teach by example," she said.
The students like the challenge. Piano lessons at Carleton are popular, with anywhere from 85 to 130 students requesting instruction each term. According to Mayer, Carleton students are a good group to teach, because "they are motivated to learn--for the most part--and the extra fee and time commitment help convince them to practice."
Mayer has remained at Carleton for almost 40 years because of its liberal arts tradition, which brings her into contact with a broad range of students and faculty. The opportunity to teach students who aren't necessarily interested in careers in music is an important one, Mayer said. "If a talented music student decides to major in biology instead of music, he or she should still be able to study music without being penalized for not being in the department."
As part of a phased-retirement plan, Mayer has taught only private piano lessons and a keyboard harmony class in recent terms, but she continues to give recitals and concerts. She will play a solo recital in February, a concert in the Twin Cities in March, a recital in April with Assistant Professor of Music and S. Eugene Bailey Conductor of the Carleton Orchestra Hector Valdivia on violin, and a concert with the Carleton Orchestra in May. She will retire at the end of the school year in June.
Although glad to be retiring, Mayer will miss the rewards of teaching. "Many students come in for lessons and say they're doing this 'for fun.' Then they come in week after week, unprepared, struggling through the pieces, and I say, 'Is this fun?' At that point they either quit or, more likely, finally zero in and start to acquire some discipline. I see them become inspired to practice and caring about improving their playing-knowing that I may have had some influence in this is very rewarding."