MS. Sara West
Ms. Sara West is an accomplished pianist, pedagogue, and researcher. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from James Madison University, where she studied with Dr. Eric Ruple. Ms. West also holds a Master of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Wyoming, where she studied with internationally-renowned pianist and pedagogue Theresa Bogard. She is currently continuing her studies at the University of Maryland, where she is pursuing a second Master’s degree in Musicology.
During her time at the University of Wyoming, Ms. West won the prestigious John P. Ellbogen Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching Award for her successful teaching of undergraduate courses, including music theory, history, and piano. She was the first music student in the university’s history to win this award. Ms. West was also hired as a Lecturer, in addition to her appointment as a Graduate Assistant, allowing her to fully design, structure, and deliver a history class to undergraduate music majors.
Sara has performed in recitals, festivals, and competitions across Maryland, Virginia, and Wyoming, as both a soloist and a collaborative pianist. She has received several piano performance scholarships, including the Margaret Arth Music scholarship, the Cunningham Piano Scholarship, and the Townsend C. and Clydene Allen Memoral Scholarship. Ms. West has also received full assistantships from the University of Wyoming and the University of Maryland. Ms. West’s piano playing has been hailed as “breathtakingly beautiful,” “intensely musical,” and “poetic” by musicians across the country.
Ms. West is interested in the mental health of musicians and dedicates her research to best teaching practices with mental health in mind. Ms. West completed her master’s thesis on mental health struggles and injury in musicians, and she strives to apply her findings to aid her own students. Ms. West is trained in several different piano techniques, including injury prevention, allowing her to customize technical approaches for each of her students. She loves to teach musicianship and interpretation to her students, in addition to technique. Sara enjoys teaching lesser known repertoire as well. She has taught students ages 4 to 56, and is open to students of all ages and stages. Ms. West hopes to foster love for music, and for the piano, in each of her students while helping them achieve their goals.