Abbotsford piano teacher Jean Ritter receives a teacher of distinction award from the Royal Conservatory of Music, national recognition for just two people in each province or region in Canada. Submitted photo

Abbotsford piano teacher earns national recognition

Jean Ritter was recently named a teacher of distinction by the Royal Conservatory of Music

Laughter, Jean Ritter says, is the key to her success as a piano teacher.

Now the 49th year of her career, Ritter is reaping the benefits of her success, with national recognition for her work. Ritter was one of two B.C. music teachers recently named a “teacher of distinction” by the Royal Conservatory of Music, an annual award given to two people in each province or region: B.C., Alberta, Atlantic Canada, Manitoba; Ontario and Quebec; and Saskatchewan.

Ritter says she didn’t even know that the RCM had that award for teachers.

RELATED: Abbotsford teen earns gold medal for violin skills

“The extent of Jean’s impact is a testament to her ability to maintain strong relationships with students, both past and present. She has built and maintained these relationships because she cares about her students as individuals,” RCM CEO Dr. Peter Simon said, introducing Ritter at the awards ceremony.

“In the words of one past student, Jean ‘poured as much thought into my personality, psyche, and daily living as she [did] into the intricacies of the score.’”

Ritter is an RCM-certified teacher with advanced-level specializations in piano and theory, teaching music theory and history to students of all ages and skill levels, as well as preparing soon-to-be teachers for RCM teacher certification exams.

RELATED: Abbotsford music teacher wins national award

Her key to success, she says, is urging her students to enjoy the music lessons.

“I tell my students there’s one thing that has to happen in every lesson: there has to be laughter,” she said.

“It’s hard work to learn the piano, but we have to enjoy ourselves. We have to have fun doing it. I have a really high standard, so I could either have these students with a very dry lesson, or we can enjoy ourselves and I just find they learn way better when they’re having a good time.”

She says she tries to personalize the music she brings to lessons to the student, based on their personality and interests.

RELATED: Seven-year-old Kevin Chen to perform with Abbotsford Youth Orchestra

“There’s a lot of students that don’t care to go into very classical stuff. I think we just need to expose students to learning, not so much to have a specified track that we have to place them in,” she said.

“I think as long as we want to love music, learn to play music and expressing themselves, that’s my greatest thing is to inspire them.”

That way, the lessons sink in, and stick with the students for life, she said, adding that she still enforces learning things like technique and the rest of the foundation of piano playing.

“The world of music is so vast, to restrict them to one way of studying, I think, is robbing them of what they can explore.”

It’s clearly a system that works – three of her students have gone on to win RCM gold medals.

“I’m very proud of them,” she said. “That’s quite a distinction.”

Ritter received the award at a ceremony at the Chan Centre at the University of B.C. in Vancouver on Nov. 3.

Report an error or send us your tips, photos and video.

Dustin Godfrey | Reporter

@dustinrgodfrey

Send Dustin an email.
Like the Abbotsford News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Abbotsford’s Jake Virtanen, Vancouver Canucks playing waiting game for new contract

Yale Hockey Academy product files for arbitration with Canucks, hearing set for Oct. 28

Schnitzelz restaurant returns to Abbotsford

Fried meat establishment moves from Aldergrove to Abbotsford

Abbotsford student dies after medical incident in class

Rick Hansen Secondary School offering additional counselling for students who require it

$93,000 in COVID-19 emergency support available to Abbotsford charities

Applications now open for grants through community foundation

167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

ERT, VPD response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

Most Read