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BM, University of Michigan, Cello Performance MM, Northwestern University, Cello Performance Suzuki Teacher Certification, School for Strings New York
2017-Sunday in the Park with George on Broadway 2015-2016-An American in Paris on Broadway 2014-2015-If/Then on Broadway 2012-2014-Carrie, Dogfight, Venice, and Little Miss Sunshine 2010-2011-Next to Normal on Broadway
I am a professional freelance cellist in the New York City area and I love performing a wide range of music from classical to Broadway, jazz to rock/pop, and beyond. I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee where I grew up studying with my "cello dad," Peter Spurbeck at the University of Memphis and spending my summers at the Sewanee Summer Music Institute where I learned to appreciate orchestral music. I always believed I'd be in an orchestra one day, but when I ended up at the University of Michigan for my undergraduate degree and then Northwestern for my Master's, my interests began to change and I began to realize that I am not truly a section player, but more of a soloist. After a brief stint in LA, I made the move to NYC to join The Inventions Trio with my bandmates and jazz heroes, Marvin Stamm and Bill Mays, and to start subbing in the hit Broadway musical, Spring Awakening...and the rest is history!! Over my almost 11 years as a freelancer in NYC, I have been lucky enough to perform and record with some incredible singer/songwriters, cabaret singers, and pretty famous rock/hip-hop artists. I have been very lucky to be able to perform in many Broadway shows and make a living for the most part by performing on Broadway although times are hard and shows can open and close as quickly as they open, so as exciting as it can be, it's also a very scary field!! Overall, I feel that living in the NYC area provides me with the opportunities to play and teach every type of music that I would not have in any other city in the world! After living in a studio apartment in Chelsea/Manhattan for 9 years, I have relocated to Edgewater, NJ where I have a teaching studio and am looking to concentrate on my teaching as well as performing now that I have space to do so!
In addition to my love of performance, I am an avid educator and i STRONGLY believe in the importance of arts education. I have experience with students of all ages, levels, and backgrounds--in group settings and in classrooms. . I am a former Suzuki student and fully trained Suzuki teacher working with children ages 3 and above. In addition, I have traveled extensively with my trio, The Inventions Trio, giving master classes and workshops for music students at prestigious institutions such as the San Francisco Conservatory and Indiana University. I have also enjoyed working in the Memphis (Tennessee) City Schools whenever I am in my hometown, as well as working in the Bayonne, NJ and other schools to teach in classrooms whenever possible. As a private instructor, I believe that it's important for a child to think of their lessons as a special time that is set aside for their music/cello and I always traveled to my own teacher's studio and that was our cello place for lessons, so I think it is important for my students/parents to travel to my studio as well.
I am a former Suzuki student--I began at age 3.5 with my mom as my teacher--so I believe that Suzuki is an incredible method for teaching young string players. The aural memory I attained by learning this way still continues to benefit me in my career each and every day! I obtained my Suzuki Teacher Certification from the School for Strings, NY, with Pamela Devenport, and am happy to teach the Suzuki method only or in combination with traditional methods. When I studied the Suzuki method, I developed such a strong aural memory, I managed to escape learning much note reading and now as a teacher, I am determinded NOT to let that happen to any of my own students!
When anyone first meets me, I think they will notice that I am a very energetic, outgoing, and positive person and teacher which I believe directly translates to my teaching style. I am very patient with my students, but I also push my students to achieve their greatest aspirations--whether that is merely to play a scale or to play a concerto! I am extremely empathetic to a fault and sensitive to each student's individual needs and the pace at which they want to learn. I love to reward my students for even the smallest of accomplishments because I know how hard it is to learn something new and I know how a bit of encouragement can go a LONG way:)
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