I began studying piano at the age of seven with Mrs. Bourne in Boulder City, Nevada. When I first sat down to play, it was almost as if I already knew what to do–a duck in water. My paternal grandmother had been a well known singer in southern Nevada who sang for Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the dedication of Hoover Dam in 1935. There was also that musical strain from the Welsh side of her family.

Well-meaning people at my church insisted I was a prodigy, so I enjoyed those early years believing in that word. When Mrs. Bourne said she’d taught me all she could, my parents found a more advanced teacher, a Mrs. Ramsey. She was a sophisticated, cultured woman who gave me a glimpse into the larger, more magnificent, and yet, more mysterious world of classical music–a world foreign to the one in which I was living.

In 1954, my family moved to Las Vegas where I continued studying with a Mrs. King who frequented cowboy bars on Las Vegas Highway and who fell asleep at my piano lessons. However, Mrs. King taught me how to play “Bumble Bee Boogie” and “Malaguena,” two showboat pieces which have held me in good stead for years. Eventually, however, I became intrigued by the pictures of showgirls and dancers in the Review Journal and decided that was what I needed to be. The notion of fame, fortune and even notoriety often nagged at my good sense. Fortunately for me, becoming a showgirl was only one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up. When Mother balked at my all-consuming need to be a ballerina (a subterfuge for my secret designs of dancing on the Strip), I finally convinced myself I’d be a concert pianist. Except I wanted to be a mother, too. And, an aide to the senator from Nevada in Washington, D.C. One of my problems throughout my life has been one of distraction–being drawn to this, and then to that, struggling with where to put my full intention. “Ubiquitous,” one boyfriend called me.

After marrying and moving to Palo Alto, California with my husband, David, who’d been accepted into the Stanford Law School, I returned to music again. I graduated with a music degree from San Jose State College, taught piano in Menlo Park and Palo Alto, California, and gave concerts and recitals. However, during the following years, when the reality of being the mother of four sons hit home in a big way, I begged out of the concert pianist track. I explained to myself that I was fighting an uphill battle against an extreme perfectionism that gave me no room for playfulness.

Though I did concertize and play professionally for many years after that time, the piano gave way, after the birth of my fourth son, to a desire to write. I have, however, given many two-piano concerts in the past ten years with my favorite duet partner, Kate Handley.

My favorite composers for piano are Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms, Amadeus Mozart, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Gabriel Fauré, Sergei Rachmaninoff and William Bolcolm. Currently, I’m fascinated with John Adams’compositions, and I also love Bill Evans’ and Herbie Hancock’s jazz piano. Music remains essential in my life, and each of my three living sons are excellent musicians–a guitarist, a violinist who’s also a guitarist, and a drummer (retired). Check out jonnybarber.com and FreeRadt.com to see Christopher "Jonny" Barber and Jeremy Scott Barber.