Driven by passion, senior hones music skills

Bather+has+been+playing+piano+for+fourteen+years%3B+she+is+also+an+active+member+of+BSM%27s+choral+community.

Celia Smithmier

Bather has been playing piano for fourteen years; she is also an active member of BSM's choral community.

The grace and finesse that comes with playing the piano is hard to come by. As for senior Avery Bather, she has been honing and improving her skills with the instrument since the tender age of four.

The skill that I’ve developed is something I will have with me for the rest of my life, and though I do not intend on pursuing a career in music, I will never stop performing and serving my community through music.”

— Avery Bather

Coming from a musical background, Avery’s mother, Patricia Bather, who used to perform herself, started her daughter on her journey as a pianist. “My mom is my biggest influence just because she’s such a huge supporter of music and she’s always been there trying to push me to do my absolute best. Even when I don’t want to practice or work for something she keeps me going and it’s really important to her,” Bather said.

The Minnesota Music Teachers Associations conducts yearly contests where pianists can showcase their skills. Artists begin at the age of seven and compete in the appropriate age group before they get too old or they win their group. When the group is won, the pianist move on to the next level of the competition. The final stage for the youth performers is Senior Young Artist. “You have to have certain pieces and there are certain things that you can and can’t play and this is the highest level in this specific competition. I had prepared four pieces for this competition and you kind of have to blend them into one,” Bather said.

In the 2013 Senior Young Artist Competition, Bather wowed the judges and won the contest, in addition to having the chance to play at the state honors concert along with sixteen other winners of lower-age groups. “I felt super proud just because it had taken over a year to prepare for it and it was kind of like the one thing I was working towards my entire piano career,” Bather said.

Bather credits much of her success to her piano teacher, who has been helping to bring the best out of her since first grade. “She is really harsh sometimes and makes me work really hard, but I’ve developed this relationship with her which is so different from anything else. It’s nice to have someone to go to who is completely separated from any other part of my life, and she knows me so well. Now senior year, she is almost like my grandma now,” Bather said.

Her family’s support and contribution to her piano career has not gone unnoticed in her eyes either. “They’ve been really great. Carrie [Bather], my sister, also plays. It’s something we have always done together. We come home every day, do our homework and then start playing piano. My mom has been very supportive because she’s the one who encouraged me to start playing. My dad goes to every single recital or performance, and he loves it, which is great,” Bather said.

Regardless of the numerous awards and honors, Bather does not play piano solely for the competitions and the glory as it has become a way of escaping from reality. “It’s the one area of my life where I’m able to be as creative as I want and totally let loose. I get in my zone and it has turned into a place where I can go when I’m really stressed, and it calms me down,” Bather said.

Bather hopes to take her talents to collegiate level to perfect her flair for the piano. “I plan to continue studying piano and voice in college and hopefully double major in music in addition to my science major. My current plan is to major in both psychology and music and minor in neuroscience. The skill that I’ve developed is something I will have with me for the rest of my life, and though I do not intend on pursuing a career in music, I will never stop performing and serving my community through music,” Bather said.