Pingree guitar teacher produces top students

PINGREE — Music teacher Rebecca Battle may live in a small town, but her students are achieving “big” things under her instruction.
Battle, who has taught music for 41 years, moved to Bingham County from California in 2005 after losing her husband. With the help of a friend - Susan Peck, owner of Main Street Music in Pocatello - Battle, who plays the guitar, flute and piano - began giving guitar lessons in Pocatello. It didn’t take long for the word to get out about the quality music lessons provided by Battle and she continued to gain students. She has gone on to offer lessons at Blackfoot’s “Music & Families.”
Since starting her guitar lessons in east Idaho, Battle has bragging rights to some budding musicians who have accomplished some great feats.
Guitar students Austin Keller and Jamie Burtowsky of Pocatello both received awards at the International Classical Guitar Competition in Nevada this summer. Keller took second place while Burtowsky received an honorable mention - with both youths winning in the 15-18 year-old division.
“This is a great accomplishment. World-class guitarists come from all over the world to teach, judge and perform at this event. Competitors come from as far away as Norway and China,” Battle said.
“Austin [Keller] has applied to go to Julliard and Jamie [Burtowsky] is studying in the music department at Idaho State University. The sky is the limit for these kids,” she added.
Battle is currently teaching guitar to seventh grader Matt Yancey of Blackfoot and 10th grader Jessica Neilson of Pocatello who she expects to be “international ready” in a few years.
Battle, who was fortunate to have grown in up in various cities in the United States and around the world, believes her life experiences have “given her gifts that should be shared with others.”
Battle said she prides herself in teaching her students “guitar technique that is ‘as perfectly human’ as possible.’ “ Her guitar technique includes a variety of styles - Fingerstyle, Spanish, Flamenco and Classical.
“I teach at a level of excellence so that I can help develop a generation of future teachers who teach correctly. I tell my students, ‘practice doesn’t make perfect’ - ‘perfect practice makes perfect,’ “ she added.
Battle, who is also an avid horsewoman, raising and training horses, said she has found peace and happiness living in Pingree, “I love my corner of the world in Idaho...teaching music and playing music. Music is a relief valve. It is a wonderful way to relax and get your sanity back.”
Battle is currently taking on new guitar students in the Blackfoot and Pocatello area.
“Seven years old is the perfect age to start guitar lessons,” she said. “However, you’re never too old to start. I have more than one student who started in their 60s and a grandmother in her 80s.”
Read more about Battle and her musical background in the winter issue of “Bingham” Magazine - in newsstands now.
To inquire about music lessons call Battle at 208-757-3768.