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Robert L. Pace, 86, leader in music education


CHATHAM—Robert L. Pace passed away September 5, 2010, at home surrounded by his loving family. He was born June 22, 1924, in Newton, Kansas.

During World War II, he served in the Army and afterward, studied at Juilliard School of Music with the famed Josef and Rosina Lhevinne. There he met his wife of 62 years, Helen, who predeceased him in January 2009.

He earned a master’s and doctoral degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. He first taught at Juilliard before becoming head of piano instruction at Teachers College in 1952, where he became Chairman of the Music Department in 1969.

Dr. Pace was a leader in music education, as performer, teacher and author. His theories on music instruction, which stress the development of each student’s musical literacy and creativity, and his innovative ideas about group teaching, have had a major impact on music study throughout the world.

Dr. Pace served as piano editor of Music Journal, as national piano chairman of the Music Educators National Conference, and was educational director of the National Piano Foundation from its inception in 1963 until 1977, when he became executive director of the International Piano Teaching Foundation. He was a member of the original four-member committee appointed by President John F. Kennedy to make a study of music in the United States. He is the recipient of the 2003 Music Teachers National Association Achievement Award; and an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey; and the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Educators National Conference. Dr. Pace’s books have been translated into many languages, and are widely used throughout the world.

Survivors include four children, Cynthia of East Greenbush, Kevin (and Carolyn) of Erieville, Laurie of Keswick, Va. and James of New Milford, Conn; six grandchildren, Hayden Pace, Lynelle (Todd) Hopkins, Miley Pace, Frances (Charles) Lonergan, Daniel Pace and Sarah Pace; and three great grandchildren, Alden and Graysen Hopkins and Rowen Lonergan.

Family will receive friends Thursday, September 9, 5 to 7 p.m. at the French, Gifford, Preiter and Blasl Funeral Home, 25 Railroad Avenue, Chatham. Interment will be private.



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