Sharon Zimmerman De Paula ('67)

I am a Teacher, I am a Musician

Sharon Zimmerman De PaulaMy two life passions are teaching and music. As a teenager, I realized that my “profession” would be twofold—raising children and teaching piano. I attended BYU not with the intent of acquiring a profession but with the goal of obtaining a comprehensive education. My degree in elementary education laid a fitting foundation for both.

Now, nearly 40 years after BYU graduation and in my 49th year of piano teaching, I reflect on a myriad of teaching and musical opportunities. Whether helping a young child simply clap to the metronome beat or preparing an advanced student for a university audition, the rewards of teaching and music have been immeasurable.

My most visible musical opportunity came from an 18-year calling as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My husband, Lin, had been a member of the choir for six years when I was prompted to consider my own application. All of my previous music education, teaching background, sight-reading skills, and personal convictions were utilized in that extraordinary experience. Vocal coach JoAnn Ottley would reiterate that we are not only “instruments in the hands of the Lord” but literally instruments created to produce music.