Teaching Philosophy

fullsizeoutput_4866I believe that everyone is inherently musical. My job is to help children discover their musical selves through piano or flute study where we will not only learn the technical skills needed to play an instrument, but the expressive and creative skills that make music come alive, and help children come alive through music.

Each lesson is tailored to the student’s interests and musical aptitude, while emphasizing general music fluency so that they may develop a creative habit of playing and practicing music for themselves and others. Even though I come from a Western classical music tradition, I’m interested in a non-Western/contemplative approach: practice/play for the sake of practice/play, the importance of process, and music-making for community instead of competition. I believe that children (and even teens and adults) learn best through play, imagination, and creativity, so lessons are infused with the spirit of those elements, through sound exploration, improvisation, and composition.

I’m equal parts educator and musician. The teaching side of me is very interested in the learning process, and I continually try to improve my teaching methods through professional development courses and research in music and movement education (Dalcroze Eurhythmics), Gordon’s Music Learning Theory, piano pedagogy, and educational psychology.

Methods and Materials

Each lesson contains elements of the following: improvisation/ composition, ear-training (audiation techniques via Gordon’s Music Learning Theory and Music Moves for Piano), technique (includes scales and chords), and repertoire.

I strongly encourage students to bring in music they want to learn, whatever style it may be. My strengths lie in the classical tradition, but I also love teaching other styles of music (folk, pop/rock, jazz, show tunes,…). It’s important to me that my students learn the type of music they want to learn. I believe in a balance between exposing students to new and different kinds of music that they may be unfamiliar with (such as classical), and learning pieces that are familiar to them. In other words, my lessons strike a balance between traditional and non-traditional methods.

Performance Opportunities

Recitals: There is one formal recital per year in April or May. 

Group classes: These are 1-hour small-group classes at my studio or other location in the St. Paul/ West St. Paul area where students get the opportunity to play solos for each other in an informal setting, play duet and ensemble music, and engage in music and movement-related games. They are provided at no extra cost, are optional, and will take place 2-4 times per school year. These can be used as make-up lessons, or if your child is simply interested in attending. These classes are for students only. Two performance classes equal 4 half-hour make-up lessons per school year.

Adjudications, festivals, competitions, assessments: Through my memberships in MTNA and APPI there are numerous opportunities to perform in/compose for festivals, adjudications, assessments, and competitions. Also, through the Royal Conservatory Achievement Program (http://theachievementprogram.org/) there are opportunities to perform for music assessments (exams).