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Saturday, December 16, 2006 

Big Al's Piano Teacher Passes Away

I was informed today that my piano teach passed away on November, 21, 2006. Ms. Loida taught me so much about music and piano. Every Wednesday between 4:15-4:45 I took lessons from her. I hated it so much that I never practiced and I always tried to play it off as if I did... she knew.
I went to her for several years at the Vallejo Conservatory of Music, but I switched to teacher that taught me Jazz. I deeply regret that decision. I would have been a much better piano player now had I stayed with Ms. Loida.

A few things that I remember:
- She was really strict on me that I often cried.
- She used to pat me (hard) on my back so that I could get the beat.
- She always made me play these dumb classical songs. All I wanted to play was Pop and Jazz music.
- She would often times leave the room as I played practiced my scales. Sometimes I would hit a wrong note and her hearing was so good that she knew which note I hit and which note should have been hit.
- One time she scheduled me for a piano recital and I wasn't ready. Oddly enough my grandmother died that week and I got excused from that recital. That would have been really bad had I performed.
- I think I'm a pretty good piano player now, but I wonder how good I would be if I actually did practice.
- The last song I remember is Sonitina, Opus 39 by Frank Lynes and I can still play it.

Ms. Loida - you're gone but not forgotten. Thanks so much for sharing your musical wisdom. You will be missed.

From TimesHeraldOnline.com:

Maria Loida Tirtawinata
Sept. 21, 1935 - Nov. 21, 2006

Maria Loida Tirtawinata passed away in Los Angeles. Born in Baguio City, Philippines, to Brigido and Florencia Cruz, Loida received her bachelor's degree in music from the University of the Philippines. In 1961 she was a Fulbright scholar at the UCLA Graduate School of Ethnomusicology, specializing in Indonesian music. She married Eddie Tirtawinata in 1962, and a son, Daniel, was born in 1963.

The Tirtawinatas settled in Vallejo in 1973 and Loida began teaching classical piano at home. In 1977, she opened the Vallejo Conservatory of Music where, in addition to piano, she ran a preschool using Montessori-style technique. Loida was also very active with the Solano Branch of the Music Teachers Association of California. Di-vorced in 1983, she continued teaching at the conservatory until her retirement in 2002. She moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to live with her son and daughter-in-law Sachi Yagyu.

A memorial gathering for friends, students and family will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, at the home of Norman Ortiz, 111 Corkwood Street, Vallejo (707) 642-0377.

Donations in Loida's memory are being accepted for the Music Teachers Association of California Loida Tirtawinata Scholarship, c/o Norman Ortiz, 111 Corkwood Street, Vallejo CA 94590.
Published in the TimesHeraldOnline on 12/12/2006.