By Wendy Elliott
New Minas piano teacher Barbara Hansen is this year’s winner of the Deep Roots Valley Arts Award. The 10th annual award was presented to Hansen on Sept. 29 for her dedication to her students.
Hansen was nominated for the award by her young student Chantal Peng, who says, “she knows what she is doing. She devotes all her love and energy to her students. I love Mrs. Hansen.”
Young pianist Lucas Porter of Port Williams credits her with preparing him for music competitions at the national level.
“Her continuous support in her current and past students' endeavours speaks volumes about her character and about how much she cares about her students' success,” he said. “It is without a doubt that Barbara deserves this award.”
Music professor Dr. Christianne Rushton studied with Hansen for a decade, starting at the age of eight.
“It was a thrill to hear that my former teacher is this year’s recipient of the Valley Arts Award. This award is given to someone who has ‘made a significant contribution to the arts in the Valley.’ I firmly believe there is no one within this community of musicians and teachers that better embodies this definition than Barbara,” Rushton said.
Hansen taught Rushton how to play, but “she also taught me patience, diligence, self-awareness, confidence and determination. I needed all these skills to pursue my studies and continue my professional career.”
Halifax-based musician Krissy Keech recalled that as a teacher, Hansen applied many of the pedagogical techniques that researchers have shown to be the most successful.
She gave me patience, proper technique, the value of slow practice, the ability to express myself properly at the piano and the connections I need to advance my musical career. And when all else failed, she believed in me. Student Aude Urbancic on Hansen
“But best of all, lessons were outrageously fun. She ultimately inspired me to study music in university, imparting her sense of passion and respect for the music,” said Keech.
Another former student Aude Urbancic acknowledged that Hansen gave her all the tools she needed to succeed.
“She gave me patience, proper technique, the value of slow practice, the ability to express myself properly at the piano and the connections I need to advance my musical career. And when all else failed, she believed in me,” Urbancic added.
A native of Edmonton, Hansen received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Toronto. She also is an associate (ARCT) in piano performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Hansen has long been associated with the Acadia University School of Music as an accompanist, examiner, and a staff member of the Summer Piano Camps. She maintains a piano studio in New Minas and is active as an adjudicator and an examiner. A member of the N.S. Registered Music Teacher’s Association, Hansen also belongs to the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers.
In 2008, the provincial association awarded Hansen Teacher of the Year award. She was the first teacher to receive this honour in Nova Scotia. Many of her students have won awards in local, provincial and national competitions and several have gone on to professional careers in music.