Paula Grissom-Broughton ‘99 MMus holds a master’s degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the Bienen School. She is currently chair of the department of music at Spelman College, where she has served on the faculty since 2008. She previously taught piano, music history, and music theory at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina.

An active scholar and researcher on the subject of race and gender in the music classroom, Grissom-Broughton has presented her research at local and national conferences. She is a former winner of the Atlanta Steinway Piano Competition and remains an active performer, collaborative pianist, guest clinician, and presenter for various panels and workshops.

What made you choose the Bienen School of Music?

I chose the Bienen School of Music because my mentor and undergraduate music instructor Joyce Finch Johnson ‘57 MMus, ‘72 DMus was a graduate of Northwestern. She highly recommended me to continue my studies at Bienen because in her words, "It's the best academic environment that will cultivate my 'whole' self—intellectually and musically." She was right!

Which professor influenced you most during your time at the Bienen School of Music?

The professor that influenced me most was Marcia Bosits. She was encouraging during my most challenging points at Bienen. She showed that she cared about me as a person, not just a music student.

Tell us about a particular experience that impacted you during your time at the Bienen School of Music.

There was no one particular experience that impacted me during my time at Bienen. In fact, my entire time at Bienen was impactful. The friendships that I made along with the relationships that I cultivated are priceless. There were times when I felt that I was not "up to par," but my friends and music faculty supported me in making sure that I succeeded.

What lesson did you learn at Bienen that has continued to resonate with you in your career?

Resilience will take you a long way, even when your talent is at its weakest point.

Top three of your Desert Island Discs (any genre)

Ella Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook
Sheku Kanneh-Mason - Elgar
Beyonce - Homecoming: The Live Album

  • alumni
  • Marcia Bosits