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Grand Piano Teachers : Pair Compose Different Scores for Rest of Their Lives

November 12, 1989|MATHIS CHAZANOV | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A music teacher for 31 years at Santa Monica's John Adams Jr. High School, Kitchen later taught pedagogy, harmony and music theory to other music teachers for 15 years through UCLA Extension.

"She was not too soft with the people. She was very strict but very, very loveable," recalls Gertrude Koenig, another veteran piano teacher, who took Kitchen's classes at UCLA.

Although she gave up the extension classes when her husband died in 1970, Kitchen still teaches five private students on the two grand pianos in her parlor.

"It's not so much the money," she said. "The fact that you see results coming and you see an enlightened look on a child's face, that's what keeps you going."

women's group associated with the Masons, Kitchen no longer goes to the organization's evening meetings.

But applause from her occasional performances in old-age homes, where many of the residents are younger than she, is a tonic.

"The elderly ladies like it very much. They stood up and cheered for 'Stars and Stripes Forever,' " she said. "I like to keep active. That's one reason I lived so long."

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