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2019 - Carnegie Mellon Advanced Music Studies program - full ride
2017 - Music teaching assistantship at Penn State University
2016 - Contract with the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra
2015 - Contract with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra
Two of my favorite things to do are playing music and sharing my passion for music with other people. I graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Music degree at Florida State University and I received my Masters of Music in Viola Performance at Penn State in 2019. As someone who has been a contracted member of professional symphonies, played in rock bands, and performed in jazz ensembles, I believe that I have a wide and unique range of experience playing music. Teaching has also been a prominent part of my adult life: whether giving one-on-one lessons or volunteering at local youth symphonies, I have always made sure to include teaching in my career as a musician.
My teaching experience started in my undergrad when I began giving individual lessons as well as coaching sectionals from time to time. When I became a TA at Penn State, I would routinely teach students of different levels and backgrounds, giving me a wide grasp of the different needs that individual students have. Throughout the years, I have had experience teaching a healthy variety of students: scientists, bodybuilders, musicians who play other instruments, and people who just have an itch for learning the violin or viola. Although most of my teaching experience is with teenagers and adults, I am happy to teach all ages. Whether someone wants to dedicate their life to music or simply take it up as an enjoyable hobby, I believe that lessons should be a positive experience where the student develops a strong appreciation of everything that music has to offer.
For people just picking up the instrument for the first time, I find “Essential Elements for Strings” to be a very helpful because it addresses basic technical issues and throws in fun songs and pieces along the way. In these books, the students can learn everything from scales and rhythm to vibrato and shifting from different positions. I like to have students playing repertoire as soon as possible and I find Barbara Barber’s “Solo’s for Young Violists/Violinists” to be great for beginners because the music starts off at the beginner level and gets more and more advanced as the books progress. If the student is willing, I also like to throw jazz and fiddle music into lessons as well. I find that the more variety of music the student knows, the more well-rounded he or she will be.
One of my favorite things to hear from a student at the end of a lesson is “I know exactly what I need to do.” Knowing how to practice on our own is important because it helps foster a greater sense of self-awareness and it leads to us becoming more confident and secure players. As a teacher, I like to approach challenging passages in a holistic way, addressing basic ideas like pitch and rhythm but also more large-scale concepts such as breathing and posture. I find that we can get so caught up in getting the notes that we forget about important things like making sure we’re breathing normally and standing in a secure way. If a student has difficulty in a passage, I try to avoid statements like “you missed that note” and instead steer towards asking questions like “what would happen if you relaxed here?” Or “What does this passage remind you of?” I find that lessons centered around this teaching style are enjoyable for everyone and, even more importantly: they help students learn how to teach themselves how to practice.
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