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Beck’s Forte: Teaching

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An inspiration to students and teachers alike, Nora Beck, professor of music, strives to teach more than music history. Students in her classes learn to juxtapose language and music, music and history, reality and imagination–all in an environment nourished by her expertise and passion.

Beck’s approach to music education earned her the distinction of Master Teacher by the American Musicological Society at its annual conference in November 2007. Beck is only the third teacher to earn such an honor from AMS.

Students in Beck’s courses in music history and appreciation are not at all surprised by her award. Music major Ariana Lenarsky CAS ‘09, a transfer student, says her experiences in music history at her former institution had been either dry or frenzied.

“Professor Beck teaches gracefully,” Lenarsky says. “At the end of my first semester at Lewis & Clark, I feel confident discussing the ideals of Romanticism, the politics of late-18th-century Vienna, and the lovesick mishaps of every composer from Beethoven to Verdi–yet I don’t feel as though I’ve swallowed a textbook.”

Beck engages her students in class discussions and activities, sharing freely her deep knowledge of the field and making history palpable in her classroom.

“I’ve given my heart to music education,” Beck says. “I believe teaching is a trade–a trade you must learn well. I feel incredibly honored to have been selected for this award.”

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