L e s s o n s O f f e r e d :
P i a n o , V o i c e , C o m p o s i t i o n
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T e a c h i n g P h i l o s o p h y
My musical education began at a very early age with Suzuki violin lessons, and then took a hiatus until at age five or so I expressed interest to my parents in piano lessons. If the Suzuki method gave me an intuition for musical sounds, the first piano lesson was the moment when the world of music truly began to open before me. I remember wondering how anyone could take the overwhelming number of barely distinguishable keys on a piano and create something so captivating as music from them. Later, as I began to compose, the keyboard became a way for me to reach down into what seemed like emotion itself, and pull on its strings until I could fashion something new out of it that, amazingly, other people could interact with and relate to.
Though I began choral singing a few years after the piano lessons, and voice lessons later still, my singing experience—especially in choirs—was just as important to my musical development as the piano. To generate musical sound and expression out of nothing but your own voice truly confers a sense of what a musical line is and does; and to weave and blend that line into an ensemble of other choristers does wonders for thinking on different levels at once, and for understanding the workings of more complex musical structures that rely on counterpoint and voice leading.
As a composer, a pianist, and a singer, I value these early musical experiences immensely and see piano and voice lessons not only as opportunities to learn how to play an instrument or how to sing more beautifully, but also as an invaluable chance to unlock music itself for a student and open their eyes to a world of nuance and possibility, musically and otherwise. With some understanding of what goes into making the music, what it feels like to play or sing a line, and how the notes work together, even the experience of listening to music goes from a passive form of entertainment to a deep and life-informing journey. That, along with the technical knowledge, is what I strive to give my students.
Above all, I want my students to feel comfortable approaching music—if a student comes to resent their lessons for whatever reason, they can easily lose interest in continuing their musical education. Because of this, I tailor my lessons to each student, making sure to keep them interested in what they are doing, and following what they find most engaging about music. I count myself lucky that my own piano teacher recognized my interest in improvisation and composing early on, and encouraged me to show her in my lessons what I was working on. In the end, it was this practice that kept me coming and improving my technique for years.
Because I am a composer, I'm also happy to offer composition and/or theory lessons to any students who express an interest. I am particularly careful when it comes to younger students in this regard, because the drive to compose is a remarkably personal one. It is of the utmost importance, in my opinion, to protect this inner drive when it shows itself, and neither to discourage nor to over-encourage such a student. Nevertheless, if a student asks for compositional advice or theory, I am more than happy to oblige.