Dr. Jimmy White was born into a musical family in which his mother was a former concert pianist and his father was a music theory professor. Music was the center of the home. Family time was often spent harmonizing and singing hymns around the piano as his mother played. He also grew up watching his father lead worship and his mother play the piano for the local church. His first public signing performance was at the age of 6 when he sang, "God Walks the Dark Hills" at the local Baptist Church.
This music rich environment gave rise to numerous impromptu music lessons and informal times of great learning. The first formal piano lessons came while the family was in Salt Lake City, Utah. He took a year of lessons from the rehearsal accompanist for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Moving to the Clear Lake City area in fourth grade, Jimmy, as his friends called him, never took formal piano lessons again until college. Instead he worked on his own with informal tutelage of his talented parents.
In 6th grade, he joined the band and started playing trumpet. He wasn't very good, not that any first year trumpet player is, but he managed to be first chair most of the year and was excited to try out for 7th grade band where he could be put into one of 3 different levels of bands. He was expecting to make the top band. As 7th grade approached, his audition went well. Confused to this day how it could have happened, he was put in the lowest band. Quite a blow for a musician who had been singing to audiences around the state and had already won his first piano competition. All throughout 7th grade, Jimmy battled with his good friend Brandon for first chair of "Cadet Band". He expected to be moved up to at least 2nd band if not first band as an 8th grader, but NO, stuck back in cadet band for a second year. Meanwhile, 3 more piano competition wins.
Sometime toward the end of 7th grade Jimmy began taking voice lessons from a series of not so good voice teachers. He joined choir in school in 8th grade where he was immediately put in the top choir. He became the last boy in the state of Texas to make Jr. High all region as an alto [this part is usually sung by girls]. The next year, the state made it against the rules for a boy to audition as an alto.
In high school, Jimmy intended to be in choir and band throughout. However, at the end of 9th grade, he finally hung up his trumpet and began to focus on singing and playing piano. You'll have to ask Dr. White to tell you the funny story that led to his quitting band.
He was in the top choir at Clear Lake High School, which was, at the time, one of the premier choirs in the nation. He enjoyed singing success in vocal competitions in both NATS and UIL competitions. He also racked up a series of impressive piano competition victories finishing 1st and 2nd in eight different national competitions.
He found his first truly great voice teacher in 10th grade when he began to study with Jeanette Chase. She would remain his teacher throughout high school.
In spite of a vast musical background, Dr. White chose to go to A&M University at Galveston as a marine biology major. He was good at science, but the real reason he went into marine biology ... the girl he had a crush on in high school went into that field. Quite a valuable lesson was learned, as this short period was the first time that Jimmy was away from music for more than a few days. He was terribly unhappy and after a short 8 weeks, called his mother and told her of his unhappiness. Perhaps her greatest advice ever, " Do what makes you happy." That is what he did. Finishing out the semester at A&M, he transferred to San Jacinto Junior College for a semester, where he reunited with his high school voice teacher and began to take college level piano lessons. He had finally found his life direction.
Accepted into the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University the next fall, Dr. White studied with a world renowned piano teacher, John Perry and an equally famous voice teacher, Norma Newton. The rigorous academic standards of Rice University as well as the great coaching of his teachers enabled Jimmy to make huge progress in his technique in both piano and voice. he proved successful in college level NATS competitions for singing and became a dominant force on the competitive piano competition circuit. Completing a Bachelors Degree in Vocal and Piano Performance with a Sociology Major on the side, he graduated Salutatorian and went on to pursue a higher degree.
The next semester saw Dr. White begin his masters work at Southwestern, in Ft. Worth Texas. He spent 3 busy years there and completed a Masters in Childhood Music Education, Music History, and Youth Developmental Psychology. Yes, you read that correctly; psychology. In addition to music, Dr. White enjoys working with families, teenagers and younger children as a behavior counselor and consultant.
After completing his Masters degrees, he moved off to California, where he spent the next 11 years. While in California, he completed his K-12 Teacher Certification in Music from USC. He was reunited with his Rice University piano teacher, John Perry during those years, as Mr. Perry had moved to the piano faculty of USC.
After a number of years in professional musical pursuits, Dr. White applied to the Doctoral program at The Juilliard School of Music, in New York City. After an interesting and lengthy application and audition process, he was finally admitted to the only part time Doctoral program that Juilliard has ever offered. He found great success there and rose, over time, to the top of the program. During the 26 year history of this program, only 7 people actually finished, being granted the full degree. Dr White, as he is now called, was the 7th and final recipient of this prestigious degree; Doctor of Music Education and Music Performance [known at the Juilliard School as the Licentiate in Dalcroze Eurhythmics.] After graduation, he was invited to spend the next year as an adjunct professor at the Juilliard School, working as a teaching assistant to the head professor, Dr. Robert Abramson. Unfortunately, a year later, Dr. Abramson died unexpectedly, and the Doctoral program, which he founded, was discontinued. Being the last graduate of the program and a teacher in the program's final year, Dr. White feels a grave responsibility to uphold the high ideals and practices of his greatest musical mentor, Dr. Abramson.
Dr. White began to teach piano as a Senior in High School at the age of 17. While working on his bachelors degrees, he continued to teach piano and began to get quite a large studio of voice students. During these years, he also served as a musical consultant to the King of Kings Lutheran Church, Clear Lake Presbyterian Church, and Nassau Bay Baptist Church, all in the Clear Lake Area, helping each with their overall choral programs, focussing specifically on establishing a strong children's choir program. He was selected as the musical director of Reflections, a traveling group of musicians who concertized throughout the south during this period as well.
While working on his masters degrees, Dr. White served as a vocal coach for the Casa Mañana Playhouse. At the time, this was the only full time, professional, touring group of children actors, dancers, and singers in the United States. He also maintained a successful private studio of voice and piano students and served as the director of the Crestmont Conservatory of Music. Dr. White spent 3 years working as a Music Teacher at Sam Rayburn High School, Pasadena, TX, 3 years as a Junior High Music Teacher at Burleson Middle School, Burleson, TX, 2 years as Principal at the Fine Arts Magnet School at Burleson Middle School, Burleson, TX, and 2 years as an Elementary Music Teacher Specialist for 1st Street School in Lincoln, CA. During these years of formal public school service, Dr. White maintained a robust private studio of both piano and voice students.
Later Dr. White founded and directed the Park Victoria School of Music as well as the Santa Clara Valley Music Camp near San Francisco, CA. In all, he spent 7 years as the director of these two successful programs as he continued to support a full slate of private piano and voice students as well as a rigorous performance schedule.
Dr. White completed his Doctorate from the Juilliard School, becomind only the 7th person to ever complete that particular program. After graduation, he was invited by the head professor, Dr. Abramson to become an adjunct instructor at the school. Dr. White graciously accepted this opportunity to teach at the most prestigious music school in the world. he also served as a musical consultant to the professional recording groups; the Supertones, 5 Iron Frenzy, 4 in the Fire, and the W's.
For the last 14 years, Dr. White has maintained a full time studio of students, in Houston, TX, who study voice, piano, composing, improvising, jazz, music theory and history, and audio recording and editing. In all, Dr. White has taught piano and voice for 29 years.