The year was 1938, and the second world war had yet to begin. A young, 16 year old Frieda Hart began as a teacher to give piano lessons to those around her, in her small mid west American town. 78 years later, at the ripe of age of 93, and she continues to do the same.
What began as a hobby 78 years old, Frieda Hart turned into a profession. Growing up milking cows on her fathers farm in the 1920’s America, she utilized her piano skills she learned from a close Uncle, putting them to good use and teaching local children around her. Today, she still has an impressive five teens a week walk through her doors and continue to be taught by the master herself.
Things, however, do change. Of course, the world is a completely difference place since Frieda’s lessons began in 1938, and so has the world of pianos. Digital pianos have replaced her love of the grand piano of back in the day, and she’s seen many a cultural change in piano music, having started off, of course, in the Jazz era of the roaring 20’s and 30’s. She still, however, continues to teach, despite the growing demand for change in the 21st century, to play on her century old Grand piano. The only issue, she states, is that once she’s on that piano stool, it takes her longer these days to get back up again!
Frieda, a small lady with wispy hair and kind eyes which show her maturity and age, refuses to give in to popular trends, and still favours old church hymns and choir songs when teaching. Her first students were Roger Woelfel and his sister, who lived next door. Roger is 88 now, matching the number of keys on a piano, and although he doesn’t play in his old age, cites Frieda as his inspiration to learn back in his youth, and still will never forget her lessons.
Fantastically, many of the students have indeed gone on to have musical careers of their own, all down to Frieda’s hard work and dedication towards them, including Sigmund Snopek, who often played keyboard for the post-punk rock band the Violent Femmes.
Frieda states that she feels incredibly lucky. She can still see and think clearly, drive a car, and most importantly, play the piano. It’s a hobby she picked up as a farm hand over 78 years ago, and something she has passed down as a teacher for many generations.