Janet Wallace Leffek was born in Tamworth, near Kingston, Ontario, in 1934, but from the age of eight lived first in Sussex, N. B., and then in Gunningsville (now Riverview), near Moncton. She studied piano, first with Mrs. MacIntyre in Sussex and then with Ernest Freeborn in Moncton. At Moncton High School she accompanied choirs and the school orchestra, and played tympani. She obtained the degree of Bachelor of Science in Home Economics (cum laude) from Mount Allison University in 1955, but also studied piano and piano pedagogy with Evron Kinsman and accompanied many singers.
After a year spent teaching Home Economics and Music at St. Mary’s Rural High School in Sherbrooke, N. S., in 1956 she travelled to England, where she studied piano with Robin Wood at the Royal Academy of Music and in 1957 was awarded the LRAM diploma. She sang for two years with the Royal Choral Society, who performed regularly in the Royal Albert Hall with the London Symphony under Sir Malcolm Sargent, David Willocks, and others. Later she studied for a year with Joan Barker at Trinity College of Music.
In 1968 she met Yvonne Enoch, who introduced her to the group teaching of piano, and later she attended courses conducted by Frances Clark and Louise Goss in Princeton, and by Robert Pace. She also attended two summer courses of the Enoch Piano School in England. In 1971 she was hired to teach piano in groups in the Halifax school system, and the programme grew over 12 years until over 200 children and three part-time teachers were involved. All told, Janet taught piano in Halifax for 30 years. She was rehearsal accompanist for the Atlantic Symphony Choir for nine years, and was accompanist for a wide variety of instrumentalists and choral groups.
Janet has given lectures and workshops on group piano teaching in Nova Scotia and England, and taught the piano pedagogy course at Acadia University for one year as a sabbatical replacement.
From 1985 to the present, Janet has adjudicated at over two dozen music Festivals in the four Atlantic provinces and British Columbia. She has acted as a piano examiner for Conservatory Canada.