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Jane Smisor Bastien


1936 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Jane Smisor Bastien Obituary
Jane Smisor Bastien January 15, 1936 - March 27, 2018 La Jolla Bastien- Jane Smisor. A loving wife, mother and grandmother and an internationally renowned piano teacher, pedagogue and musician, Jane Bastien passed away on March 27, 2018, in La Jolla, California surrounded by her family and her two dogs. A passionate piano teacher, Jane made a difference in countless lives with her composing, writing and performing. Jane and her husband James (Jim) Bastien wrote best-selling piano methods, culminating in the Bastien Piano Basics, enjoyed by millions of students and teachers worldwide. With more than 500 publications to their credit, and books translated into 16 languages, Jane and Jim made the Bastien name synonymous with innovative piano pedagogy. Jane was born in Hutchinson, Kansas on January 15, 1936. Her father Herbert Smisor worked at the First National Bank in Hutchinson, and her mother Gladys Smisor was a piano teacher. Jane's life in music began at age three when she marched across the street to ask Mrs. Leota Anderson for piano lessons. By the time she was nine, Jane had her own radio show, where she performed weekly. She went on to attend Stephens College in Missouri where she studied for two years with David Milliken. Jane then moved to New York to study privately with Isabella Vengerova while attending Barnard College. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Barnard, Jane earned her master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studied piano pedagogy with Dr. Robert Pace. While attending Columbia University, Jane met a fellow student, Neil A. Kjos Jr., who would later become her publisher.After graduating Jane was asked to establish a Preparatory Piano Department at Newcomb College, the women's undergraduate college at Tulane University in New Orleans. She taught there for seventeen years before to moving to La Jolla, California in 1975. It was in New Orleans that Jane met Jim and they married in 1961. They performed extensively as a duo-piano team. During this time Jane and Jim started writing music to address the needs of their students and began the Bastien piano book series that has inspired so many piano students and teachers. In 1963, the Bastiens entered into a lifelong, exclusive partnership with the Neil A. Kjos Music Company when Neil A. Kjos Jr. published the first Bastien piano books. Among the honors Jane received are the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Teachers National Association (MTNA), awarded to both Jane and Jim in 1999, and the rarely awarded MTNA Citation for Leadership, awarded to Jane in 2018, in recognition of her significant leadership contributions as a teacher, pedagogue and author to the music teaching profession throughout the world. Jane was a leading force in the music education world but her passion was teaching her students on a daily basis. Jane's students were her life and her inspiration. Her last days were spent teaching the students she loved. Jane is survived by her two daughters, Lisa Bastien Hanss and her husband Basil, and Lori Bastien Vickers and her husband Eric, as well as by four grandchildren, Katie and Julie Hanss, and Abby and Riley Vickers. A Memorial Service will be held at the La Jolla Presbyterian Church on Sunday, June 3, 2018, at 4pm where several of Jane's former students will perform. A reception will follow immediately in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: UCSD Foundation for the Jane Bastien ADRC Fund (F-2352) to benefit the Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, 9500 Gilman Drive #0937, La Jolla, CA, 92093; The Musical Merit Foundation of Great San Diego C/O John Peterson Treasurer, 3030 Curlew Street, San Diego, CA 92103.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Apr. 8, 2018
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