Betty M. Nolting, piano teacher, 98, of Atlanta died peacefully Saturday, April 29, 2017 at home, surrounded by family. She was born Betty Margaret Ferris on February 11, 1919 in Waukesha, WI, as the only child of Harry Louis and Florence Kissell Ferris. She was proud that her mother was a suffragette and a best-selling author of English grammar textbooks; her father ensured the survival of the Gibson guitar company in his brief tenure as its director. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Rev. Fred Logan Nolting, in 2009. She is survived by her children Barbara Jennings of Conyers; William Nolting and his wife Donna Parmelee of Ypsilanti, MI; James Nolting of Sugar Hill; Larry Nolting and his wife Barbara of Atlanta; and John Nolting and his wife Alison and grandson Alan of Belmont, NC, and grandson Eric and his wife Alecia of Apex, NC. Betty Nolting graduated from Lawrence University and Eastman School of Music. She studied with renowned teachers Joseph Lhevinne, Adele Marcus, and John Elvin. Throughout her 75-year teaching career, she exemplified the qualities of the ideal teacher: wisdom, patience, high professional standards for herself and her students, commitment to the growth and welfare of her students and fellow teachers, and a profound love of music. She had many winners in the Georgia Music Teachers Association (GMTA) and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) auditions and competitions. Several of her former students currently have distinguished careers in music, including an accompanist with a major opera company, an orchestra conductor, the chair of a university music department, and the founder of a music school. Most recently, a former student, now a saxophonist on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, performed with Yo-Yo Ma. The father of one of her former students wrote, “In an age of MTV, email and everything else, Betty Nolting has anchored our progeny to one of humanity’s finest traditions, and so, to a meaningful life. Her students grew up to be not just fine musicians, but happy musicians, and fine citizens as well.” For more than 30 years, her Teachers' Classes provided a venue for fellow teachers to perform, work through and discuss piano pedagogy, and share music with each other. Through this program, Betty had an influence upon hundreds of students. She presented sessions at many state conferences and local association meetings, and was the recipient of the first GMTA Teacher of the Year award in 2002. Betty also served as president of the Atlanta Music Teachers Association and Metropolitan Atlanta Music Teachers Association and was GMTA President from 1978-1980. Betty has made an indelible imprint on the music community, the music teaching profession, and the lives of her students. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to The Georgia Music Teachers Association Composition Fund, www.georgiamta.org, and to the Atlanta Music Club, https://atlantamusicclub.org. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 20, at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church, 3110 Ashford Dunwoody Rd NE, Atlanta. Following the service, a reception will be held in Gable Hall at the church.

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  1. Billy, I was sorry to read about your mother’s death. What a remarkable life of giving and caring for others. I can always remember her being a presence in my life as a boy, whether teaching us to sing in “Sunday School” at St. Luke’s or volunteering at Morris Brandon – where I think she attempted to teach us hard-headed kids French (though my memory may be playing “tricks” on me in my old age!). Certainly, a life well-lived, caring for others. My deepest sympathy.

  2. I was saddened by Betty’s death. Words are inadequate to express how much this mighty woman of God meant to me, shared with me and taught me.. She will always be smiling in my studio. Betty is experiencing “joys unspeakable” with Fred and family. I am praying the Lord will surround you with His peace beyond understanding and His comforting arms to strengthen you.

  3. Larry, We wanted to let you know how sorry we are to hear about your mother’s death. We did not know her but she seemed to have a great influence on a large number of people. We wish we had had the honor to meet her. May you find comfort in the Lord and we will keep you and your family in our prayers. Our sympathy

  4. Bill,

    I am so sorry to learn of your mother’s death. I know how close you were to her and how you enjoyed your visits to Atlanta! It was wonderful to read this about her life, accomplishments and remarkable 75-year teaching career! What a legacy she has left behind. Thinking of you and your family.

  5. My condolences on the loss of your mother and an influential presence in the Atlanta music community and upon me as a teacher
    She is a leader and a model of how discipline and love can nurture individuals and whole communities. Atlanta has lost a great musician and friend.

  6. Betty was such a lovely, sweet woman. I remember her from when I would tag along with my brother when she accompanied him in the early 60s, then again when I knew her as a colleague in the Atlanta Music Teacher’s Association in the late 70s, and again recently when we reconnected at her lecture on Intermediate Level Piano Repertoire for the Cherokee Music Teachers Association. My memory is a little gray, but I think I remember her tackling some real knuckle-busters in recent years as well, challenging herself to continue studying in retirement (or at least retirement age!). She has been an inspiration for us all.

  7. The members of the Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity will miss our dear sister Betty. Betty was initiated March 4, 1942 at Eastman School of Music into the Mu Upsilon chapter.  She achieved the 75 year membership anniversary and was a key person in the Atlanta Alumni Chapter’s success in hosting the 1986 International Mu Phi Epsilon convention. We were welcomed into her home for meetings and fellowship. Our sympathies to her family and all who knew her. She was indeed the teacher’s Teacher. Sincerely, Arietha Lockhart, Atlanta Alumni President Mu Phi Epsilon

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