About Mary Duncan

Mary Duncan

I am dedicated to helping you sound your best

I began studying piano at age 5, when it was clear to my mother that the little girl who came home from church, went to the piano, played a G and said, "This is the note Daddy sings on in church" (Daddy was a Lutheran minister) was ready for lessons. 

I studied for 14 years with an outstanding teacher from Mankato, MN, Anna John Silber   Silber was an artist teacher who took great care in teaching relaxed technique, beautiful sound production and the importance of memorization and regular performance.  Silber, a visionary and true music lover,  offered piano pedagogy course for her older students.  I took her course and started teaching piano as a HS student. Singing in the choir and accompanying, and listening to rock and roll on the radio were favorite musical outlets.

As a student at the University of Minnesota, I went on to earn a BA degree in Piano Performance  and a Master’s in Musicology.  During those years I perfomed several solo and ensemble recitals, performed Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with the University Orchestra, and served as teaching assistant for opera workshop and music appreciation classes.  I even got to sing a solo in Libby Larsen's opera, "Some Pig" (an adaptation of Charlotte’s Web), as the voice of the country-western singer on the radio.

After graduate school, I taught at The University of Northwestern (St. Paul),  Bethel University, and Macalester College, I taught piano, organ and music history, and choral accompanying.  I also served as music director/organist at several churches and performed as pianist with the Dale Warland Singers.

In 1995 I went into full time private studio teaching in Scandia, MN.  For 9 years I taught Musikgarten early childhood classes at my private studio and in the Forest Lake school district.  In order to meet the needs of my developmentally delayed son, I adapted that curriculum for mentally handicapped adults in day care facilities.

I collaborated with humorist Lori Gordon to develop several theatrical pieces that have become very popular with local audiences:  Songs I Want Played At My Funeral,  My Frozen Valentine: Mostly True Songs and Stories About Love,  and its sequel: I Love the Way You Talk to Chickens, More Songs I Want Played at My Funeral (2014) and Mama Came Back and We Were Dancing (2016).

I am a longtime member of Minnesota Music Teachers Association where I served in many capacities.   In 2007 I was awarded MMTA’s Volunteer of the Year Award at its annual convention.  I enjoy engaging with other teachers to talk about music and teaching.

Since 2013 I have been in training as a teacher of The Art of Practicing, an approach to practice and performance developed by Madeline Bruser, of New York City, author of the acclaimed book, The Art of Practicing: A Guide to Making Music From The Heart.  I served as both performing participant and assistant teacher at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 workshops: Mindfulness, Confidence and Performance: A Transformative Program for Musicians in Edinboro, PA.

I currently serve as assistant collaborative pianist at White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in Mahtomedi, MN where I perform regularly.  I am also on the faculty of St. Joseph's School of Music in St. Paul, MN.

Mary Duncan

I can help you connect your heart with your hands at the piano