Bio

Composer, Teacher, Adjudicator, B.Mus., RMT

Thank-you for visiting! To tell you a little about myself….

Hi, I’m Rebekah Maxner. I’ve been playing the piano for as long as I can remember — I started as soon as I could walk! I heard my siblings practicing and wanted to be just like them. Music was ever-present at home in my formative years and became like a mother tongue to me.

 
Starry Dreams (Come True), a piece that imitates my early style of improvisation.

Blogger: I love connecting with piano teachers and other composers over music. My pedagogical blog posts are full of creative ideas and I love sharing them! Please let me know what you think with your feedback.

Composer: When you hear my pieces, I want you to feel the joy I feel when I create them. If a piece doesn’t give me joy, it remains unfinished. To pass my test, every note must resonate with me. If I’d rather keep playing than write it down, I know I have a winner! People often tell me that they can’t get my melodies out of their heads.

Piano teacher: I believe every child has music within. I’m here to help them discover it. To me, music is a transformative human experience and every person should have the chance to participate. Music helps us grow!

Professional activities

I’m a successful self-published composer, and my pieces are being picked up by conservatories, music festivals and music lists around the world:

  • LCM, The London Conservatory of Music (University of West London, UK), 2018-2020
  • NFMC, National Federation of Music Clubs 2020-2024 Federation Festivals Bulletin (USA)
  • RCM, The Royal Conservatory of Music, 2015 syllabus
  • CNCM, The Canadian National Conservatory of Music
  • Contemporary Showcase
Jazz! Goes the Weasel has been reprinted by RCM and LCM.

I’ve been invited to present workshops for professional teachers and adjudicate composition contests and music festivals. I also love learning from other clinicians and have attended national and international piano conferences in Chicago (2005, 2007), Toronto (2007), New York (2012), Halifax (2013), Orlando (2018) and Winnipeg (2019). My writing has appeared in print: Keyboard Companion (2007) and the Clavier Companion (2012). I belong to the Nova Scotia Registered Music Teachers’ Association and the Red Leaf Pianoworks composer’s collective.

Education

My sister, Judy Price, became my first piano teacher when I was age six. We had piano lessons but also ‘did’ music all week. She and my brother, Phil (who was a composition major at University of Toronto), introduced me to great masterworks performed by master performers. Judy found creative ways to teach me theory and composition and Phil taught me keyboard harmony before I was a teenager. At any given moment I was composing music above the level of the pieces I was learning, simply because I was exposed to such great recordings and composers.

Sketch my sister, Judy Price, drew of me improvising on the piano before I started taking lessons from her.

At 12 I won my first provincial young composers’ competition (and performed the piece before an audience of about 1000), and at 19, my Fugue for Woodwind Trio won the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations’ national Music Writing Contest.

Some other cool things I got to do as a young musician:

  • Because my brother Phil had taught me how to jam with fake book chord symbols, at 13 I started playing keys with a little group each week for Sunday School openings at church. This music was all improvised and performed by ear. I continued for four years.
  • Also at 13, my parents got me the first weighted keyboard, a full-sized Roland RD-300 with MT-32 synth and the Steinberg program with an Atari 1040. With this system I was able to record with MIDI multi-tracking and orchestrate my compositions. I still have the entire system and want to dig in someday to hear what I did back then.
  • At 17, before I had graduated from high school, I took over the position of organist and choir director at church.
  • In my university years, I played keyboard in a Christian rock band. It’s how I met my husband, the roadie!

As a late teen I studied piano with Barbara Hansen. I received my Bachelor of Music in Composition from Acadia University (’95), where I studied composition with Owen Stephens, piano and piano pedagogy with John Hansen, organ with Clarence Ledbetter and creative writing with Donna Smyth. Throughout my career, I have continued to consult with John and Barbara Hansen.

Home and Family

Our family lives in Hantsport, a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada. My husband, Paul, and I have three growing children who love homemade cookies, to hear stories read out loud, movies and LEGO. To keep things lively, we have a grey tuxedo cat, Mozart (Mo for short) and occasionally babysit chickens.

Piano Studio

Notekidds Piano Studio, my home-based teaching business, is small, personal and thriving. My students and I work and play hard to bring the best out of each other. I help my students discover the music within, and they help me learn how to be a better teacher. It’s all win-win. My students perform throughout the year: in a studio recital, in Valley Registered Music Teacher (RMT) recitals, in the Annapolis Valley Music Festival, and enter RMT composition contests. We also aspire to have at least one kitchen party a year, in the true Maritime fashion.

Rebekah Maxner. Photo credit: Carole Morris-Underhill

5 thoughts on “Bio

Add yours

  1. Hi Rebekah
    I was just reading about you as my daughter is starting to work on grade 1 LCM piano. I love the piece you have in this book – so different yet recognisable!
    But bizarrely I’d like to know is your sister an artist!! I love her drawing of you on the piano, and would love to see more of her work. Perhaps it was just a hobby?! It sure is lovely.
    Many thanks

    Elizabeth (Northern Ireland, UK)

    Like

    1. Hi, Elizabeth,
      Thanks for your lovely note! I hope your daughter enjoys learning Jazz! Goes the Weasel! It is exciting for me to know that my music is being played all the way across the ocean in Northern Ireland!
      My sister should be an artist but is a medical doctor (a GP with a family practice). She has sketched and painted several portraits (including two others of me as a child, and her own children) and her work is hauntingly beautiful and captures the life of the person. She has also painted the ceilings in several houses in truly beautiful designs. I truly treasure her art; it is very special to me. Thanks for the compliment and I’ll let her know!
      Rebekah

      Like

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