I would consider myself to be methodical and thorough so as to sequence learning for optimal results. I do my best to adapt to learning styles and music preferences. I have years of experience in public and private settings both as a teacher and a performer.
I am currently working with a student who appeared to have some learning disabilities at first. Note reading came very slow and there didn't seem to be much coordination. In the last couple of months something seemed to click. Hand eye coordination has improved dramatically and they are tackling more challenging music with each passing week. It's pretty exciting to watch someone bloom like that.
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
On piano; keyboard orientation (groups of twos and threes), finger patterns (five fingers starting on white notes) and using proper posture and hand position. I use method books chosen to match the students age, personality and leearning style plus my own technique diagrams and charts. I encourage students to enter festivals and contests and perform as early as possible. And of course, lots of variety in music selection.
On violin: instrument orientation (parts and function of the instrument), right hand bow hold, left hand shaping on the neck, bowing and finger patterns and developing the ear. I use the Suzuki approach with younger students and adapt that for older students and adults. Traditional classical music, fiddling, music for church and music for the orchestra are all explored and developed.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a bachelor in music education from Boston University and a Master of Music in Piano Performance. I have attended a minimum of 10 Suzuki workshops plus years of independent piano workshops and Texas Music Education Association conventions. I have accompanied choirs, band students and orchestra students for years and continue to serve as a church pianist. I am currently the pianist in a piano trio and preparing a recital in the fall. I have also played in community orchestras in Irving, Sherman, Longview, Marshall and in Arkansas.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
For years I charged $40 a lesson, but considering the going rate in Dallas and my training and experience, $50 is about as low as I would go.
How did you get started teaching?
I started teaching after college forty years ago. Currently I am teaching school full time as a high school orchestra director as well as elementary strings teacher. My private teaching hours are limited during the school year, however I am set to retire in June of 2018, after which I hope to build a more active studio.
What types of students have you worked with?
I've taught everything from 3 year old violinists to 60 year old beginning cellists (yes, I play cello as well). Some students just do it "for pleasure" but many are motivated by festivals and competitions. Each year my piano students are encouraged to participate in National Guild of Piano Teachers auditions. Many students over the years have prepared 10 piece programs from memory for this event in the spring. I am actually a judge for the piano teachers' guild and have judged piano in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisianna and Texas.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
I teach two sisters who just participated in the Carrollton Music Teachers Association (an MTNA affiliate) "sonatina" festival. They both rose to the occasion and brought home first place ribbons. I just joined this association this year and am most impressed with their operations and festivals.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Observe a lesson, read up on the method and make sure you have an accoustic piano or a weighted keyboard for piano. And for violin, buy something over $200 that is not painted! And if that is not an option, you can always rent to buy instruments.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
How much time are they willing to practice? Will they attend lessons faithfully? Are they willing to work through beginning steps before jumping into a particular style they are longing to play.