Virginia Gray Nance, a native Texan, received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas where she studied with William Race. She earned her Master of Music degree in piano performance from Texas A&M studying with Canadian pianist Aurora Dokken. Ms. Nance also holds an all-level teaching certificate in music from the State of Texas and spent the first four years of her career as an elementary-school music teacher.
Ms. Nance has maintained a private studio for nearly fifty years, teaching piano and music theory to children from kindergarten age through the college preparatory stage. Several of her former students have gone on to successfully major in music, including her daughter, Sara. During this time she was active in the National Guild, MTNA- Music Teacher’s National Association, and TMTA- Texas Music Teacher’s Association. She served as president of two local associations and was active at the state level, conducting a ten-piano ensemble at the state convention. With her local association, she organized and taught summer piano camps at UT Arlington. She helped organize two new chapters and was invited to judge in many piano festivals and competitions in both Texas and Louisiana, including Texas Student Affiliate competitions, the National Federation of Music Clubs Festivals, and the David Karp Festival. Her students have won piano competitions and numerous theory and musicianship awards.
In addition to her private studio responsibilities and professional activities, Ms. Nance kept up her own piano skills by continuing to study piano and organ by serving as a church pianist and performing in recitals. After putting her own two children through college, Ms. Nance went on to pursue a lifetime goal of obtaining her master’s degree. During this time she was hired by Paris Jr. College to teach piano and theory in its’ preparatory division. She served as her major professor’s teaching assistant, instructing not only non-majors, but assisting piano majors with technique requirements. She also performed in numerous university recitals serving as the accompanist, and she was selected to perform with the North East Texas Symphony. Her solo piano recital was given as the concluding requirement for her master’s degree, which she received in 2000.
After graduating with the Master of Music degree, she joined The Shepherd School of Music as Director of the preparatory program. There, as Lecturer in Music, she instructed graduate students in the teaching of music theory to young children, supervised and advised graduate student teachers, taught preparatory theory classes, created a piano curriculum, continued to teach piano to preparatory students, and planned and administrated the summer music camps. She was asked by the former Dean, Michael Hammond, to write the twelve-year theory curriculum for the preparatory program, which was used for the duration of her tenure. In addition to her University responsibilities, Ms. Nance serves at St. Thomas of Canterbury, as church organist.