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School of Music Piano Pedagogy Lab School

2011-2012 Featured Composer:
Mary Leaf

It is my great pleasure to introduce this year’s adopted composer, Mary Leaf. We will have the opportunity this year to work with Ms. Leaf as each student in the PPLS has the opportunity to learn her compositions and also compose original compositions of their own. The PPLS teachers will encourage students to write questions to Ms. Leaf, either about her compositions or their own. At the end of the year selected students will be invited to perform Ms. Leaf’s compositions and several new works commissioned by the PPLS in a recital. Ms. Leaf will offer a master class for student performers in the PPLS and broader music community, and students will also have a chance to interact with her in a “Meet the Composer” hour. We will also coordinate with Pullman School District to bring Ms. Leaf into some of the classrooms of our PPLS students for interactive sessions with the entire class. This is going to be another exciting year for all of us, and I hope you will join with me in encouraging your students to unleash their creativity in musical expression, improvisation and composition this year at the piano!

Mary Leaf
Mary Leaf


Mary Leaf was born in Minnesota, and lived in the Midwest until she graduated from high school. She received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of Washington, and has continuing education in pedagogy from North Dakota State University in Fargo. She is active in the Bismarck-Mandan Music Teachers Association, and is a member of NDMTA, MTNA, the National Federation of Musicians, the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and ASCAP. She is active in the Bismarck area as a collaborative pianist and accompanist.

Mary is an independent piano teacher specializing in early elementary through intermediate level students. She enjoys writing music for her students that is descriptive, expressive, imaginative, and fun, while still being pedagogically sound. She joined the staff of the FJH Music Company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1999, and is now an exclusive writer for the company. She has many pedagogical publications to her credit, and is currently writing on the new Succeeding at the Piano method, edited by Helen Marlais.

Mary is the 2012 commissioned composer for the North Dakota Music Teachers Association, and her composition will be premiered at the state conference in June.

Mary and her husband, Ron Schneider, live in Bismarck, North Dakota. They have five grown children and four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling and hiking together, and this is where Mary receives much of her inspiration for writing.

Adopted Composer Events

Friday, April 20th
Mary Leaf workshops in the public schools
Mary Leaf Recital, 6:30 p.m. in Kimbrough Concert Hall


Saturday, April 21st
Meet the Composer, 9:00 a.m. in KCH
Masterclass with Mary Leaf, 10:30 a.m. in KCH
Mary Leaf Clinic, 2:00 p.m. in Kimbrough 101