Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Friends and Neighbors: Tickling the ivories came natural to Patricia Randolph at an early age


Sydney Yalshevec

Kimball resident Patricia Randolph has been playing the piano ever since she was young. She has taught many students throughout the country and the area.

Kimball is a place of hidden talents. People with talents big and small inhabit Kimball, and some even share their talents with others. Patricia Randolph is a talent nestled in Kimball and she tries her best to share it with her students.

Randolph came to Kimball around 1990, but before that she was playing music and teaching music at several colleges.

"I started playing piano at 2. You can start as young as 3 if there is a real talent or a strong influence to practice at home. I was a prodigy. I could play you anything after hearing it once," Randolph said.

Randolph grew up in Lincoln, and from a young age she could play anything she had heard, despite not having musical lessons prior to that. When she was 9, Randolph played in Omaha and Lincoln, where people actually paid to hear her play. She also played at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., at the age of 10. That was another show that brought in many paying patrons.

Randolph attended the Eastman School of Music at Rochester University on multiple scholarships. She graduated with a masters degree in music at the age of 21, after which she began to teach college music classes.

"I've taught at several colleges, and I have had many of my students go on to be teachers of music. In fact, I keep in touch with quite a few of my former students and have helped them on occasions with getting recitals together," Randolph said.

Randolph has been teaching for many years and estimates that she has had thousands of students.

"I get students from everywhere. Here locally, Sidney, Pine Bluffs, Potter and Dix," she said. "I have even had some college students come work with me over the summers. I have students that plan to be piano majors, in fact two who will graduate this spring will major in music, and so I help them to be ready for that. Most of them get scholarships."

Randolph has had a variety of students over the years, some as young as 3 and others as old as 80. Randolph also explains that she does not stick to one specific teaching technique, nor does she only teach certain music.

"It changes depending on the student. Each student learns differently so I try to teach in a way that they'll be able to grasp it," Randolph said.

Randolph has an extensive music collection, with shelves and stacks full of music that ranges from classical to whatever her students would like to learn to play.

"I like all music, I really do, so I have no problem if a student hears something on the Internet and says they want to play that, we can always figure it out," she said.

Every year, Randolph has at least one student win a competition for the Nebraska Young Artist of the Year, a top honor bestowed upon the most musically talented in Nebraska each year. There are several categories related to music, but only between three and five are awarded in the area of piano.

"Every year one of my students has entered they have won and they work hard for it and I truly believe they deserve it," Randolph said.

Randolph said that the joys she has experienced over the years have come from seeing her students turn into teachers.

"I really like knowing that they're passing on what they've learned," she said.

She also went onto explain the moment at which a student lights up, after they have discovered that they can do something that they previously believed they were unable to do, as being one great reward.

"The goal of a teacher is to get a student to the point where they are no longer in need of a teacher. That's the goal," Randolph said.

Randolph lives and teaches in Kimball. She has had a double knee replacement, had four children, and thousands of music students. She still teaches piano and fills the majority of her days with piano lessons because it is something she loves.

"I believe that this is a work that allows me to give back and it's what I've been meant to do," Randolph said.


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