My teaching style and philosophy
Being primarily self-taught, I have benefited from many mentors along the way, one of whom is a highly respected teacher here in the Olympia area (Paul Edwards). I have always worked hard to be able to write/perform what I want, and it is my desire to pass that work ethic on to my students. I teach what I know, strive to learn what I do not, and work hard within my abilities to equip each student to reach their goals.
- I am passionate about being a positive part of every student's musical education, and I think my greatest strength as a teacher is that I can be gentle and patient when the student is frustrated or not comprehending the material. I do not believe every student learns the same way or at the same pace, and I try to be aware of what is or isn't working and to connect with the student in a way that helps them see I care and want to help them succeed. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all teaching method; I try to be perceptive and flexible so that I am able to bring out the best in each student.
- My students learn to have good posture, read notes, recognize and play rhythm patterns, play and understand 1-2 octave scales, chords, and arpeggios, recognize intervals, play basic articulations, comprehend theory concepts, know key signatures, grasp major/minor relationships, learn intuitive fingering, recognize intervals and other ear-training concepts, and basic sight-reading. They are encouraged to explore creatively within the pieces they play, to write their own arrangements, and to compose.
- I encourage each student to progress at the rate proportionate to their ability, stressing practice and effort over performance, and offering incentives for extra effort.I reward younger children with a treasure box, stickers, and positive affirmation. I reward older children, teens, and adults with positive affirmation and extra attention based on effort rather than musical ability.
- Though much effort may have been given to practice, the results can often be disappointing to a student. I endeavor to show them how they can use those experiences to become stronger in their determination to practice, and in their ability to perform confidently.
- I work hard to be proactive and aware, and I encourage students to take responsibility for their own success. For younger children, especially, parental involvement is an integral part of a child's success! I believe that with the combined effort of teacher, parent, and student anything is attainable.
- I believe that learning piano should be fun and exciting, and that achievement can feel empty unless the journey is taken with joy. If a student leaves my studio, I endeavor that it should never be because they felt defeated or inadequate! I believe I should stop teaching when my expectations become more important than the hearts of my students!
I believe music is a gift from God given first of all to bring glory to God because all abilities are meant to reflect His beauty and power not our own. They are also given, I believe to bring us closer to each other, and in that closer to Him! To me, that means the gift is entrusted to us, and what we do with it is very important.I believe that we can use our music to please ourselves first, or to please God first. I believe that He is pleased when we bring others joy through our music, and so in keeping with that belief, I hold at least one recital a year at a nursing home or a retirement home, giving back to those in our communities who have built what we now enjoy.
Curriculum & Range of study
I use Piano Adventures, which can be used with young children, adults, and anywhere in between.I also use Dozen and Day, have almost completely transitioned out of Alfred's, and I use Hanon and scales books. I integrate sheet music (often simplified classics) as quickly as possible. I also teach with chord, scales, books and worksheets.I am always looking for new ways to teach complex ideas. I just purchased and am learning how to incorporate a rhythm curriculum known as Rhythm Cup Explorations, which I may offer this summer as a workshop experience for students. I have experience teaching Beginner through early Intermediate piano. If a student is ready to progress beyond my skills and knowledge, I will help them prepare to transition to an appropriate instructor.