My musical experience started with piano lessons at age 9, and I continued for 6 years. I loved lessons, and excelled at reading music, which was a great asset as I progressed. In High School, a friend connected me with the band director, who was looking for someone that could read music. I played bass clarinet in the symphonic band, and this was my first exposure to a large group. I developed a significant appreciation for other instruments, as well as playing in an ensemble and following a director. After graduation, I started playing piano professionally with bands and other ensembles, in a wide variety of venues, places and events. At age 20, I studied classical piano for 2 years with a professor at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor MI, and at age 22, I was awarded a FULL MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP at Jackson Community College in Jackson MI. At JCC, I led the band on the piano and sang for the Jazz Show Choir, accompanied and sang in the Concert Choir, and I was also employed at the college playing for voice classes. I received a 4.0 GPA in advanced music theory and ear training while there. After college, I was hired at a church in Ypsilanti MI, playing organ and piano, and I am currently employed as a praise band director and accompanist at a church in Belleville MI. I also have a lot of fun playing in various jazz groups and choirs, and tune pianos professionally. Music is such a huge part of me. It enriches my life in so many ways, and this is my goal for all of my students; to have an experience that has a lasting positive effect on their lives! *** Lesson Details ***
My approach to teaching is reflective of the philosophy that students learn in different ways. However, there are a few basic things I like to start with as each new student begins lessons. The first is a brief overview of the pianoforte, specifically how it works, how it makes sound, and a some history of the instrument. This is a fun, hands on exercise that new students really enjoy. I want them to kind of "own the instrument" in a way. Electronic keyboards have become increasingly popular, and they are okay to use for a period of time, but a full 88-key hammered upright or grand is the best for learning. After 3-6 months, my students should expect to be able to identify all notes on the staff by name and location on the keyboard, play complete songs with both hands in a variety of rhythms, styles and time signatures. I use the Alfred method, but I also do some teaching that doesn't involve books; Depending on comprehension and ability, I start introducing chords and scales very early on. This is done by looking at the keyboard, and developing recognition of chord patterns and relationships. It is not difficult, and helps progress an understanding of WHY certain notes sound good together, as well as note reading proficiency and ear training. It also takes the eyes from being buried in a book, and fosters improvisational skills. In general, the ultimate goal is to make great music, and great music goes beyond just black ink on a white page.. I also incorporate other teaching tools such as flash cards, a white board to demonstrate visually, work sheets and fun online games the students can play at home. All material is introduced at the students own pace, aptitude and comfort level.