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Bachelor Degree: Briercrest College, Course Work: City College of San Francisco, Bachelor Degree: San Francisco State University, Teaching Certificate: San Francisco State University
I have been a lifelong lover of music. As a young child, I received a little organ for Christmas, and it wasn't long before I was picking out "Jingle Bells" and other tunes on the keys. I went on to take piano lessons during my elementary years, and continued on my own after that. In college, I started out as a music major and took further piano training and music theory courses. Since that time, I took up bass guitar and quickly progressed while playing at church and also in two different bands. Over the decades, I have continued to progress as a musician and have spent the past six years instructing my two children in piano.
My experience as a musician goes back to when I tinkered around on an organ as a young child, then continued when I started formal piano lessons. As an adult, I have performed on bass guitar in two bands and participated on an ongoing basis in church worship bands, which involves learning a new set of songs for every service. During college, I began as a music major and received further training on piano as well as took three semesters of music theory courses. I have continued to advance in my piano skills over the years and have taught piano to my children for the past six years. I am currently teaching piano to students ranging from teenage to adult, but I also love working with children.
For piano students: I love to get my students started with the fundamentals of music through hands-on experience with the piano. I want them to explore the instrument and get creative from the get-go! I also want them to understand that: - creating music is fun and easy - music can tell stories - music is more than pushing down keys—it is art, which involves dynamics, speed, feeling, etc. - music is made up of chords, patterns and melodies - music can be transposed into different keys At the first lesson, I show my students how to sit properly at the piano and use their arms, wrists and fingers correctly. Even before I assign written music or note-reading, my goal for beginners is that they would: - develop a good sense of time - be able to tap rhythm and keep a beat - be able to sing a song and keep a beat - be able to chant and play rhythmic patterns - know the names of all the white keys and be able to quickly find them - improvise on both black and white keys - be able to tell a story with music - know the difference between 3/4 and 4/4 time and also be able to explain and demonstrate their knowledge - understand the basics of harmony At the appropriate time, students will be assigned scales and exercises, and will also use lesson books suited to their age-level. Music theory will be taught both informally and formally. At first, though, musical concepts will be taught mainly within the context of direct experience with the piano (rather than through “bookwork”). At all stages, I strive to choose songs and styles of music that will be particularly interesting and motivating to individual students. Especially for younger kids, I include games and other activities to make learning as fun as possible. Students will learn to read music along with how to play with expression/dynamics, good voicing and articulation, use of pedal and so on. They can also work on solo pieces that would be appropriate for recital performances. For bass guitar, I would take a slightly different approach—it's less focused on learning songs from a book and more about learning the layout of the instrument (parts of the bass, how to tune, etc.) and good technique with some basic music theory.
As someone who delights in music myself, what I want more than anything for a student is to foster that same love of music in him or her. Students need to know that anything worthwhile takes hard work. But if they are intrinsically motivated, they will find it much easier to apply themselves to the task of practicing their instrument. That's why I strive as a teacher to acknowledge any strides my students make and point out to them how their efforts have paid off. It's also why I try to find out what inspires and motivates each student and, as much as possible, tailor my instruction to their individual preferences and needs. I also make sure that students are able to progress at their own pace while working on music that is challenging enough for them to continue to improve.
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