Ginny-Lou Alexander never planned on becoming a piano teacher.
In fact, the 100 Mile House resident never took lessons as a child and fell into it quite by accident as a young adult.
“I was working as a nanny in Enderby, and there were six children in the home who all had to be taken to piano lessons,” Alexander recalled. “So I thought, well, I might as well take a few lessons, too.”
She later became acquainted with a customer while working at a hardware store in Lillooet, who offered to teach her how to play accordion, if she would teach his children piano.
“I was a raw beginner,” she said, noting that she quickly found some simple starter books and dove right in.
After she moved back to the 100 Mile area, well-known local piano teacher Joan Ireland asked for Alexander’s help with her three children whom she was having a hard time teaching.
“After about two weeks of lessons, I realized I needed to take some lessons too,” she laughed. “And I’ve been teaching ever since, trying to keep ahead of the kids.”
It’s been a slow and steady journey for Alexander, who spent decades learning alongside many of her students, attending piano summer school in Victoria and finally receiving her music degree in 2002 after 33 years of work. She said continual learning has helped her to become a better teacher, pushing her to expand her knowledge throughout the years, she said.
“You have to know it in order to pass it on, and if you don’t know it, you better figure it out,” she said.
Many of her students have gone on to study music at prestigious universities around the country – a source of immense pride for Alexander, although she notes teaching is rewarding no matter who the pupil is.
“I’ve always been willing to teach whomever comes to me and wants to learn music or speech,” she said.
Heavily involved in the 100 Mile Festival of the Arts since the early 1980s, Alexander is looking forward to the popular event returning once COVID-19 restrictions allow. She’s happy she’s been able to resume one-on-one lessons with safety measures in place.
When she’s not teaching, Alexander volunteers as a lay missionary with the Presbyterian church. She visits the Seniors Village in Williams Lake and distributes weekly “notes” to parishioners, occasionally leading service at the church.
While her involvement in the community has mde her a well-known South Cariboo resident, Alexander said she prefers to fly under the radar.
“I just want to be there for people, and be a friend and help,” she said. “That’s my goal in life, is to be there for others.”