Having wanted to play the piano since age 6, Nancy Daggett Jensen was thrilled when she received a piano for her 10th birthday. She began teaching just four years later at age 14, when a neighborhood kid expressed interest in learning to play. Embarking on her formal studies at San Jose State University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1964 and a Master of Arts in 1967, establishing herself as a private piano teacher in Los Altos, California, later that same year. Over the years, she continued to further her knowledge of the field, completing postgraduate coursework at the Aspen Music Festival and School and studying under several prolific pianists. She was notably certified as a master teacher in music by the Music Teachers National Association, something she considers to be a professional highlight.
Ms. Jensen currently has a roster of 46 students, with her youngest student in kindergarten and her oldest two being adults. She teaches five nights a week and the full day on Saturday, and uses her studio to put on twice yearly student recitals as part of a community outreach program. She is also presently involved with the Steinway Society of the Bay Area, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote excellence in piano performance and music education. Ms. Jensen has been the society’s artistic director since 2010 and on the board of directors since 2015.
Attributing much of her success to her natural talent, passion for what she does and her love of kids, Ms. Jensen is continually motivated by her love of music and her drive to always do the best she can. Throughout her career, she has found that continued learning is the best thing for one’s professional growth. In that vein, she attends master classes, conventions and workshops, and remains affiliated with such professional organizations as the California Association of Professional Music Teachers and the Music Teachers Association of California, where she notably served as president four times between 1972 and 1994.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Jensen intends to cut down the amount of teaching she is doing while continuing to cultivate her legacy as someone who passed on the gift of music to the next generation. She would advise young and aspiring professionals that it takes a while to establish a reputation and that doing so can be hard work. Above everything, Ms. Jensen considers the most gratifying part of her career to be getting to develop relationships with her students and their families. She has seen some students from grade school through high school, and has been invited to several weddings of former students’ as well.