Bernice Tamkin has been captivated by the piano ever since her older sister began taking lessons. She taught herself the rudiments of reading music before beginning lessons at age 9. This was just AFTER her dairy farmer dad traded in their very old upright and bought a NEW piano off the back of a truck following a drawing attempt to win a piano at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. What an unbelievable and exciting day!
She took lessons off-and-on through high school, and always had a strong desire to play well, and continued working on her own. After moving to Ohio, as an adult she found a teacher, Beatrice Iseringhausen, who was instrumental in filling in a lot of gaps in her music education. She also attended a series of theory classes at Capital University and the Pedagogy Series taught by Laura Beauchamp and Mary Craig Powell.
During her high school years, she began accompanying hymn singing in her church and playing offertories and piano duets. She has filled in at several Pataskala churches and presently is the pianist for the Classic Service at her church. She has also collaborated as a duet partner playing Christmas music for a fund-raiser.
Bernice has taught at her home studio in Pataskala for twenty-five years, where she currently has eighteen students. She enjoys teaching all ages and especially loves teaching and playing duets. All of her students play a solo and at least one duet at Christmas and Spring recitals. Her students participate in National Piano Guild and Scale Olympics.
When asked about the certification process, Bernice said, “The certification process was an invaluable challenge for me. I decided to memorize the piece I played and then decided to perform a Piano Guild program – something which I had never even heard of when I was taking lessons as a child. So I played two memorized pieces – 14 pages! This project also motivated me to take some private lessons with Ashley Wise in preparation for my performance. Analyzing the four pieces of music was also an excellent challenge for me. Completing the five required projects for certification is a splendid way to re-evaluate one’s teaching and studio operations.”
In addition to teaching on and playing her 1897 Stultz & Bauer beautifully restored grand piano, Bernice is an avid reader. She is also a gardener and a quilter.
Bernice has a BA in English and is a seasonal, on-line scorer for Pearson, scoring the SAT and other essays. She has also taught writing classes at Central Ohio Technical College as an adjunct instructor.
Bernice and her husband, Ron (who plays a little piano and bass guitar), have five sons, including two sets of twins. They now have three grandchildren. Bernice’s sons have varying degrees of music interest, some of which include piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and bagpipes.