I provide mindfully crafted musical instruction that engages and cultivates the student on many levels -- carefully sequenced and chosen repertoire to build note-reading skills; dynamic rote exercises and playing by ear to develop aural sensitivity, pattern-recognition, and beautiful, healthy, technique; improvisation and composition activities to cultivate each student's innate creativity; thoughtfully presented level-appropriate theory so that students build independence and confidence in their musical understanding. Beyond just one-on-one lessons, my students also benefit from fun group classes and inspiring recitals throughout the year. I bring a spirit of patience, curiosity, and positivity to all my teaching.
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During the free first lesson, I work to get to know about each student's personality, interests, past studies, and areas for growth. I then work to craft a course of study that engages the student and helps them to build the skills needed to be well-rounded, inspired, and competent musicians at whatever age and stage of development they are.
I have studied and played piano for 23 years; singing for 19 years; and composition for about 15 years. I earned the Bachelor of Arts in Music at Swarthmore College in 2006, which entailed rigorous work in music theory, piano performance, music history, and composition. The liberal arts approach to music at Swarthmore emphasized critical thinking around the historical, social, and philosophical context of music, which I think helps me to bring a unique perspective to my teaching. I've been teaching private lessons since 2008, working with a broad range of students of different ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. During that time I've enthusiastically and continually worked to build my skills as a teacher and a musician. These professional development pursuits have included membership in the Music Teachers National Association; workshops in music teaching techniques and strategies; 2 years of work as a classroom Spanish and music teacher at a small Friends school; participation in the 4-week composition program at the Atlantic Music Festival; and membership in The Curious Piano Teachers, an international professional development network for innovation in music education.
All students get a free first lesson/interview. This serves as an opportunity for me to get to know the student, and for the student to get an idea of my personality and teaching style, in order to see if we'd be a good fit to work together. Once enrolled, students pay tuition in equal monthly installments, based on a calendar of lessons for the year (sort of like signing up for a college course and paying tuition in equal payments over the course of the academic year). There is also a once-per-studio-year Enrollment and Materials Fee, which, among other things, covers the cost of all books the student will need for the year (i.e., I select and buy them on behalf of the student). I sometimes consider alternatives to this arrangement (i.e., lessons scheduled individually or on a month-to-month basis), generally for more advanced adult students.
After a year of working in music from an administrative angle after college, I made a decision to move to Portland, Oregon in 2008 with the express goal of only working directly with music -- namely writing and performing it, but I thought I would try out teaching it as a way to make ends meet. What started out as just an experiment and a necessity has turned into a true passion for teaching and sharing ideas about music.
I've worked with students as young as 4 and as old as 80-something, with every age in between. I feel that I have a special knack for working with beginners and adult students coming back to the piano after a hiatus, but I'm excited and able to work with intermediate and advanced-level students as well. Apart from piano students, I've also worked with voice students from elementary-aged singers to teens to adults, focusing on folk and pop-rock songs as well as classical repertoire from the art song and opera realms. My experience also includes working with composers, singer-songwriters, and performers to help build their individual voice (literal and figurative) while pushing them to expand their skills and perspective.
Picking a music instructor is an important and meaningful decision, and one that can make the difference between lessons being a frustrating and short-lived experience and one that will lead to growth, inspiration, and fulfillment through music. I work to make my rates competitive with other committed, experienced teachers in the area because I understand that finding a teacher who fits with the budget is a big priority for every student. However, I encourage students to look beyond just price -- as in so many other things, you often get what you pay for. I work to make my prices fair for students, while also honoring and supporting the service I provide.