I believe that storytelling is the key to human interconnectivity. By communicating and bonding over shared human experiences, we become better individuals, better community members, and better citizens. Storytelling is at the center of my approach to music. Music is a universal language that allows us to communicate across social and cultural boundaries and connects us to one another. My first responsibility as a teacher is to empower my students to share their stories with vulnerability, artistry, and passion.
It is extremely important to me to meet students where they are. My teaching style draws on my experience as both a college instructor and a personal coach. Whether I am teaching piano to a four-year old or flute to a ninety-four-year old, I hold my student to their own highest standard. I hold frank conversations with my students about their goals and we set clear metrics for tracking and achieving those goals. Whether the student is taking lessons for personal betterment, to have fun, or to become a competitive musician, I will be a champion for their personal success both in and outside of the practice room.
Lessons combine the study of fundamental skills with plenty of pieces chosen by me and by the student. Although I am a classical music specialist, students are encouraged to bring film music, pop and rock songs, jazz, and their own compositions to lessons. A former student of Suzuki, I now use a holistic approach that encourages ear training, sight reading, and improvisation. I want my students to see music as genre-less and boundary-less, something they can love and approach from many angles, unhindered by definitions. I often play games with students that encourage them to make connections between sounds and scales and the stories or interests they have outside of music. For example, I might ask a dinosaur-lover what a T-Rex would sound like versus a Diplodocus, or I might encourage a teenager to identify major and minor keys in the Hamilton soundtrack. I also encourage students to study history, theory, and entrepreneurship, whether they are planning to be professional musicians or lifelong lovers of music.
I expect students to show up weekly with curiosity, a positive attitude, and a readiness for learning. My studio is a safe space and I have zero tolerance for judgment and criticism, including and especially the student of themselves. Music education is a nonlinear process and I encourage my students to approach their playing with excitement and an open mind. It is my greatest pleasure to guide my students along their unique musical paths and to help them share their unique stories.