Finding Balance | Amy Rowe

Woman at piano

Amy Rowe grew up in Glendora, California, and began classical piano studies at age four. She received her Bachelor of Music degree from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, and her Master of Music degree (jazz piano) from Azusa Pacific University.

Ms. Rowe has won numerous awards, including performing at the Kennedy Center in an emerging artist showcase for the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. She maintains a regular performance schedule in addition to teaching, composing, and recording. She has been a member of the PCM faculty since 2018.

What should I do with my life? This was the big question my friends and I were asking ourselves in our early college years. I always thought piano would play a role in my future plans. I had taken lessons since I was four and had discovered a passion for jazz piano after high school, having just switched over from classical. When I was 20, I meditated on this question, and one night, under a full moon, I realized that I wanted to put everything into playing jazz piano.

Young woman playing piano with bassist in background

It’s been ten years and I haven’t wavered from this path; but I learned early on that finding balance in this profession can be complicated. I spent a number of years doing a lot of teaching and practicing at one time or a lot of performing and touring all at once, and I found that it’s easy for me to get burned out when I do too much of one thing. Then, the most devastating part of my early 20’s happened: I developed tendonitis and carpel tunnel in both of my wrists as a result of constant practicing without taking care of my body. At its worst, I couldn’t play for more than 30 minutes without being in pain.

I went to various doctors and they told me the same thing: rest and wear a brace. But this was only helping the symptoms, not addressing the root cause. Eventually, I spoke with a holistic doctor, who introduced me to yoga and taught me how to stretch properly and strengthen my body. It took two years to revert the effects of tendonitis and carpel tunnel, but through yoga I was able to fully recover.

Through this experience I became acutely aware of how badly I needed balance in my life – a healthy balance of performing, teaching, practicing, yoga, exploring, sleeping, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Woman in yoga pose

This past year has been the most exciting and rewarding for me as a musician. I’ve been balancing teaching and performing with more arranging and composing, I toured Australia with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and I even became a certified yoga instructor to help deepen my understanding of my body so that I can teach other musicians how to take care of themselves and play their instruments at the highest level possible – with clear minds and optimal energy. The same mantra for yoga applies to my life and music: mind, body, spirit. Namaste!

Young woman at the piano