Education &  Teaching

Bob Milne has a Lifetime of Experience Teaching both Adults and Youngsters

He's been described as a "Natural Teacher"

At The Eastman School of Music

In 2002 Bob conducted a master class in piano playing. Since he is self taught and never took piano lessons, the prestigious school wanted to know more about his methods.

Bob told them,

"Never try to show anyone how good you are. Show them how good the music can be."

Later on that evening, Bob played a concert to a SRO audience consisting of many of the top classical players in the world. He received multiple standing ovations. 

At Florida Atlantic University

Bob was a featured adjunct  music history professor at Florida Atlantic University for over twenty years. 

His classes were among the most popular of the entire lifelong learning program. 

At the Interlochen Arts Academy, Northern Michigan

Bob's unusual abilities became known to the Interlochen Center for the Arts. They asked him to present a seminar to the teachers and students concerning his methods. 

Bob told them,

"Never just play the notes: make the piano sing. You don't talk in a monotone and the piano shouldn't, either."

Note: Bob's "Unusual Abilities" have been studied by both the Library of Congress and the Penn State University Hospital (at Hershey), Neurology Dept.

 Both of these can be found on this website under the page names of "The Library of Congress" and "Brain Study."

Radiolab produced a podcast "A Four Track Mind" on the brain study findings and began running it 2011. It is still running to this day. It can be heard on the Brain Study page.  

At The Michigan Ragtime (Music) Retreat

Bob Milne is the founder and director/teacher of the Michigan Ragtime Retreat, now in its 20th year. 

The name has been changed to the Michigan Music Retreat to include Bob's extensive knowledge and experience of classical music.

Before switching to piano,  Bob was a virtuoso French horn player as a student at the Eastman School of Music,. He went on to become ass't 1st horn in the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Baltimore Symphonies.

As a piano teacher, Bob has seen some of his students become world class pianists. 


Bob teaches the life, history, and music of Scott Joplin as well as many other ragtime composers. Joplin's amazing influence on music actually launched the ragtime era in the late 1890s. 

This business card of Joplin's was found in the early 1960s in the wreckage of the Maple Leaf Club (Sedalia, Missouri) where he played and first became famous. 

The Maple Leaf Club is thought to have been an underground railroad, helping people to escape from the oppressive south while passing through a dangerous area. 

Eubie Blake

Bob knew Eubie Blake, a ragtime era legend, during the late 1970s - early 80s. The knowledge of ragtime performance styles learned from this man is priceless, fascinating, and not in any books. 

A treasured memoir.


Bob teaches the history of boogie-woogie, which was developed in southern back woods barrelhouses in the years following the Civil War. This roaring style eventually became known as any of the following: "Barrelhouse music, Dudlow Joe, Ragtime, Blues, and Rock n' Roll." 

Bob puts on a boogie-woogie performance with Chuck Leavell, pianist with the Rolling Stones. 

At Stanford University

In 2012 Bob taught a master class at Stanford. He lectured on piano technique secrets and the studies done at Penn State.  

The students pose with Bob afterwards.

An Ambassador of Music for the U.S. State Dept.

Bob and Linda Milne with members of the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

Arriving for a school concert near Kanan-cho, Japan. Bob is welcomed by the school officials and students. 

Young students ask Bob how he can move his fingers so fast. He tells them to drum their fingers on their arms "like this." Then he points out that they, being young, can actually move their fingers faster than he can. The only difference is that Bob knows what notes to put them on. He told them -

"Knowledge is far better than rote memory. Learn the simple chords, be able to play them at will, then play anything you want."

Three months after Bob returned home, a Japanese delegation from Kanan-cho came to Lapeer, Michigan, and presented Bob with two certificates.

Photo: Lapeer mayor Al Gelhausen stands next to Bob as the Japanese delegation presents Bob with certificates of appreciation. 

Note: the suffix "cho" means "town," as in "Kanan-town."

Bob is declared an Honorary Member of Kanan-cho, Japan

This certificate reads in part:

"I, Robert B. Milne, do hereby proclaim and declare, with humble spirit and a grateful heart, that the town of Kanan in the Prefecture of Miyagi is and shall remain my


This proclamation is made in appreciation of the warmth and sincerity of the people and officials of Kanan, from my first visit to Kanan on 12/02/2000."

This certificate reads in part:

"Your piano concert deeply impressed students, teachers, and audience of Kanan Town. In praise of your passion for music and devotion to international cultural exchange between Japan and the United Staates of America, we would like to honor you."

(Signed) Mayor of Kanan Town, 2000.12.12

Kiyomoto Hahiura

At The University of the South: Sewanee, Tennessee

The University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, was founded in 1866. 

Vice Chancellor Dr. John McCardell met Bob at a concert in the west, and in 2016 invited him to perform and teach master classes at the University of the South. Bob returned yearly for concerts and teaching. 

In May of 2023 Bob was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for "lifetime achievement in music."

Dr. McCardell on left: Bob 2nd from right

Odds & Ends

Anna Maria Island (Florida) Concert)

As a concert artist of over 25 years, Bob averaged 250 performances per year. Since his performances were always educational, plus he was listed as "among the best pianists in the world," he always attracted huge crowds. Here the crowd has filled the seating capacity and is now in the foyer of the Roser Memorial Church. 

Bob is the white dot at the front. 

The audience also fills the choir loft of the Roser Memorial Church.

These photos are typical of Bob's performances.  

Odds & Ends:

 An Opera

In 2011 Bob wrote an opera called

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

It retells the famous story of Washington Irving, first published in 1820. Bob's opera has been called a "masterpiece" by conductors, opera singers, and fans alike. 

Barnaby Palmer, opera conductor, says "Bob's opera is a masterpiece."

Odds & Ends:

 A Piano Concerto

Bob composed a piano concerto in the early 1990s. Since his father came from Aberdeen, Scotland, Bob included a bagpiper in the score.