Piano Teacher To The Stars Performs With Students For Charity

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Margie Balter started March on a high note. To celebrate and support Music In Our Schools Month, Balter featured herself and four students in a concert titled Music From Our Hearts on March 5th at the Gibson Baldwin Showroom in Beverly Hill, Calif.  Part of the proceeds from CD and playbook sales benefited the Playing For Change Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources to musicians and music education to anyone who desires it.

Among Balter's students and fellow performers of the night included Graham Berger Sacks, age 11, who appeared on Ellen in 2008 as a kindergartener reading at a fifth grade level, Will Ferrell's eight-year-old son Magnus, who performed a challenging solo piece entitled "Zanzi," Beauty Shop star, Paige Hurd, age 20, and 16-year-old Hannah Williams, who has been studying under Balter for ten years. Williams told us that "[Margie] taught me to be myself, and to believe in myself... and that if I really put the time and effort in, I can accomplish anything."

Balter's roster doesn't only include children. Under her tutelage, many Hollywood stars have learned to play for movie roles including Sandra Bullock, Tom Cruise, Kevin Spacey, Scarlet Johanssen and Holly Hunter, whose performance in The Piano won her an Oscar. Balter's key to helping her kids succeed is seems to be an instillment and dedication to passion.

She was recently quoted in a press release saying, "I burned absolutely for theater, music, and performance from as early as I can remember." She told us that her dad "always said enthusiasm is the key to life, and with people, and especially with youth, enthusiasm is key." With an unrelenting passion for performance driving Balter's success as a musician, the respect and appreciation she has for her students fuels her vocational talents as a mentor. "Recently... I conducted a master class," she said, "everyone who was witness to [the event] felt the magic. It's a circle... I inspire them, they inspire me. That's how it works."

While she conducts master classes and teaches a talented roster of students, Balter also composes her own music, writes songs with other musicians and is currently promoting her award-winning CD and playbook of original songs, Music From My Heart. In a 2008 interview with South Florida Today, she said the success of her music most likely came from her commitment to her craft. "This is a life work," she said, "it's not a flash in the pan kind of thing." Balter said all of her success is due to serendipity, hard work, lots of positive energy, a bit of comedy, and a just-go-for-it attitude. The teacher/musician/performer proves that loving one's work and finding success are not mutually exclusive and that the best way to give back is to lead others who want to learn.

Take a listen to some live soundbites of the concert, Music From Our Hearts, and some commentary from Margie herself!

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