Saturday, October 21st, 2017

S Shopper Stories


WHITFIELD MUSIC LLC

Transforming Lives Through the Joy of Music


Whether she is composing, performing or teaching, Dr. Nancy Whitfield hopes that music will <BR>“leave an indelible joyous impression on people’s lives.”

Whether she is composing, performing or teaching, Dr. Nancy Whitfield hopes that music will
“leave an indelible joyous impression on people’s lives.”

“Transforming lives through the joy of music, that’s what I do!” Dr. Nancy Whitfield replied emphatically when asked about her musical endeavors. “Whether I’m teaching, performing, writing music, or leading worship, I want music to transform, to change people, to leave an indelible joyous impression on people’s lives, just as it has for me throughout my life!”

Asked about when she first began making music, she smiles broadly and shakes her head. “I don’t remember a life without music!  I’ve been making music since before I can remember. I’ve been told that I started playing by ear at age 3.”

Concerned that Nancy might depend solely on her ear instead of learning to read music, her mother contacted a local piano teacher to inquire about lessons. At the age of five, Nancy began formal lessons, and continued with the same teacher until she graduated from high school.


“I was very blessed to have a great career,
but as a songwriter,
I often get my inspiration
 in moments when I least expect it.
When I was at work, I couldn’t just stop
and write a song on the spot
when an idea came to me!
And for me, whenever I get the inspiration,
I have to act on it right then;
otherwise, it dissipates and is gone.”

—Nancy Whitfield



Wherever there were opportunities to make music, Nancy jumped at the chance. She lettered in Chorus in high school, often accompanying vocal groups on piano as well. She played keyboard in the stage band, participated in pageants, sang in churches, played for special events, and led music for Bible School at her church. She was also the pianist for two high school musicals, one of which she played with a heavy plaster cast on her arm, an unwelcome wardrobe accessory stemming from a roller skating mishap that occurred only two weeks before the show opened!

She spent three semesters of her college career as a music major studying vocal and piano performance. Although practicality won out and she changed her major to accounting, Nancy’s love of music never waned. Even while she pursued a career in the business world, she was often involved in musical endeavors in her church and community, including serving as a church organist and later as a contemporary worship leader.

In mid-2013, the desire to return to the roots of what really inspires her led Nancy to a drastic life-changing decision. After completing a doctoral degree in strategic leadership in 2012, she chose early retirement, and stepped away from a secure 22-year career in public service to pursue what she loves most: music, teaching, and writing. In January 2014, she launched Whitfield Music LLC.

“I was very blessed to have a great career,” she recalls, “but as a songwriter, I often get my inspiration in moments when I least expect it. When I was at work, I couldn’t just stop and write a song on the spot when an idea came to me! And for me, whenever I get the inspiration, I have to act on it right then; otherwise, it dissipates and is gone.” She initially struggled with the practical side of making such a huge life transition, but today she describes it as one of her best life decisions.

“You know, I felt that I was wasting God’s inspiration when I didn’t act on those creative impulses,” she explains, “and at some point, I just decided that the price was too high. I had to have a life that honored the ability to respond when those nudges and ideas came to me.”

This decision gave Nancy time to write new music and perform it, taking her to venues in  Virginia and North Carolina as a solo artist and worship leader, providing music for retreats and other events. It also opened up her schedule to teach lessons—and teach she did! Earlier this year, she held her first studio recital in which 16 of her students performed.

“It was a great day, one that provided many of my students their first opportunity to perform for others, and I was so proud of them!” she beams. Her students have ranged in age from preschoolers to senior citizens. 

Some of Nancy’s piano students started out in a special music enrichment program she offers to younger siblings of her students. She describes how sometimes children are excited and want to play like their older brother or sister, but they are not quite ready for full-blown piano lessons.  “There are foundational elements in music we can begin to build beforehand,” Nancy explains, “such as rhythm and pitch. By addressing these developmental efforts in smaller chunks of time, it becomes more manageable for the child and creates an inclusive environment.” 


“Transforming lives through
the joy of music, that’s what I do!
I want music to change people,
to leave an indelible joyous impression on their lives!”

—Nancy Whitfield



Whether it is siblings, parents or children taking lessons, Nancy believes that music can be a great activity for families to experience together. “In a time when we are often engaged by the demands of work, school, and other pursuits, it’s wonderful to see families enjoying music together,” she says with excitement. “I hope that they are making lifelong happy memories.”

Nancy is passionate about helping people at all stages of life to find joy through music. She recalls a particularly touching moment while playing piano for an event: “An elderly lady slowly made her way over to the piano and whispered to me, ‘Your music makes me feel like I’m flying.’  I had to fight back tears!  This!  This is why I do what I do!”

Today, Nancy spends much of her time doing just what she loves most: making music. She recently completed a summer session at Shenandoah Conservatory’s Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy Institute.  Besides teaching piano and offering vocal coaching, she has served as musical director for multiple shows in local theater, and leads worship in a nearby church.  Nancy also plays for parties and private events, such as providing musical entertainment for The Shopper’s 35th anniversary celebration.

“If there is a way to use music to enrich people’s lives and bring them joy, then that’s my mission, my calling,” Nancy affirms.  “I believe God made me to be a conduit for creativity in the world, and music is one of the ways that I fulfill that purpose.”




Whitfield Music, LLC

757-620-2475
http://www.WhitfieldMusic.com