- Mary Robb
(b Illinois, Aug 27, 1881; d Dec 10, 1956, San Mateo, CA). American piano educator and writer. Whiteside received her earliest education at a public school in Vermillion, South Dakota. She majored in music at the University of South Dakota, graduating with highest honors in May 1899. After working as a piano instructor at the University of Oregon from 1904 to 1907, she moved to Germany, where she continued music studies with Swiss pianist rudolf Ganz . Upon her return to the United States, Whiteside joined the newly established Portland division of the University of Oregon School of Music in 1917 as the piano faculty member. In 1923 she relocated to New York, where she set up a successful piano studio. She resided there for the rest of her life, developing a philosophy of piano pedagogy that centered on “basic rhythm.” Whiteside’s pioneering approach taught that continuous fluid movement in the entire body was fundamental to musical expression. When playing with basic rhythm, the whole body responds naturally and emotionally to the contours of a musical phrase. Students absorbed technical facility through emotionally involved playing and an awareness of musical meaning in the pieces they studied. Piano exercises and drills were not part of Whiteside’s method because she believed that they encouraged mechanical playing and ignored tone production and musical phrasing. Many of Whiteside’s successful students were composers and pianists including ...