Mila Murray papers related to teaching music, 1965-2013, (bulk 1965-1991)

Murray, Mila


1 box (1 cu. ft.)..
The collection documents Mila Murray's career teaching music, primarily employing the Robert Pace method. Included are articles she wrote about teaching, lesson assignments, class outlines, annotated textbooks as well as correspondence and associated materials. Murray's Santa Fe Piano Conservatory teaching materials and materials associated with the New Mexico Women Composers' Guild are included.
Mila Murray was born in Rochester Minnesota on November 9, 1929, where her father, Dr. D.E. Morehead was a physician at the Mayo Clinic. She started piano lessons when she was a child. By the time she was in high school her dedication to music caused her to rise at 5 a.m. in the cold Minnesota mornings to practice music before going to school. When she was 15 years old she composed her first piano piece. She aspired to become a concert pianist. Mila attended McPhail School of Music where she met her future husband Albert Murray, a fellow student studying voice. She also attended Eastman School of Music, Columbia University Teacher's College on a Steinway Scholarship, and the California State University at Sonoma. After their marriage they moved to Santa Rosa California, Albert's hometown, where they lived on a dairy ranch outside of town named by Mila the "Lullaby Dairy." Here the cows heard classical music over the radio in the barn while they were milked. Soon the couple bought a home in town and raised five children- three girls and two boys. Mila opened the Murray Piano Studio in 1952 where she taught individual piano lessons in the living room. Some of her own offspring remember laying under the piano while she played beautiful music encouraging them by commenting that they could play these pieces ("with a bit of practice"). The portrait of Beethoven nearby on the wall looked on. Throughout her teaching career, she continued working on her own compositions. In the 1960s she discovered the Robert Pace method of piano lessons. This was theory based music lessons for children in a group setting. Among the skills taught were improvising, transposing and composition. For all of her students, her enthusiasm was contagious. In 1964 she became a consultant and clinician for Dr. Robert Pace of Columbia University. She led workshops nationwide on music theory and teacher training. In 1979 she relocated to Santa Fe, NM. In 1981 she established the Santa Fe Piano Conservatory. Here she taught piano to children and adults until 3 weeks before her death. She wrote passionately about the virtues of presenting music conceptually up to the last days of her life. She died on December 10, 1991. Not all of her compositions were for children, however, she often commented that writing an interesting piece for beginning students required as much if not more skill than writing for more advanced musicians. A number of her compositions have been played nationally including pieces for string quartet "Dance of the Pleiades", piano duets and a flute and bassoon duet. Although she loved playing the classics, her own compositions were innovative, but not without melody. Mila's published music includes "Themes and Variations", "Old Beggars", "Tres y Cinco", "Mix-A-Mode" and "The Magic Music Book" (a compilation of 12 pieces illustrated by her daughter, Ann Murray). Her interest in composition ranged from classical to jazz. She was an active member in the New Mexico Women Composers Guild and performed regularly with various groups around town including the Jinx Jenkins theater and volunteered as organist at St. Francis Cathedral. Source: Daughter, Ann Murray.
Related archival material: Mila Murray's compositions are at UNM Fine Arts and Design Library, to be included in the New Mexico Composers' Archive.
Collection is open for research.
Cite as: Mila Murray Papers Related to Teaching Music, Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico.
Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. Duplication of recordings permitted only with written permission from artist, performer, interviewer and interviewee, tribal authority, or current holder of intellectual property rights. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws.
Inventory available at the Center for Southwest Research folder level control.

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