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Doctoral Degree: University of Minnesota
Master Degree: *The* Ohio State University
Master Degree: Antioch University McGregor School of the Arts
Graduate Degree: Hochschule (Conservatory) for Musik
Bachelor Degree: University of Texas
Winner, Inge Pittle Prize for Art Song (Piano and Voice), Heidelberg, Germany
Winner of Kenwood Symphony Masters Aria and Concerto Competition, Minneapolis
Composer in Residence, International Centre for Composers, Visby, Sweden
Semi-finalist, Southwest Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing Graduate Competition
I am a composer, pianist, and singer with extensive performing and teaching experience across the U.S. and in Germany and in France, Norway, and Sweden. I have performed as a soloist and ensemble member in operas and choruses and as a pianist have performed with singers, instrumentalists, choirs, and ballet companies across the U.S. and in Europe. I am also a choral conductor. From 2008 - 2019, I taught music theory, composition, voice, piano, choir, opera workshop, and varied classroom courses at Hiram College, a respected liberal arts college in Northeast Ohio. I also taught at music theory and composition and accompanied the string studio recital at Gonzaga University from 2017-2018. I believe strongly that studying an instrument brings lifelong rewards. I am an active, professional composer of opera, choral music, wind and orchestral music, chamber music, art song, film music, and dance music. During my undergraduate years, I was a pianist for the Milwaukee Ballet as well as several other ballet schools and departments in Milwaukee, Texas, and Germany. I enjoy being outdoors and hiking, biking, canoeing and camping. I do have a cat, so if you are severely allergic, this is important for you to know. (I used to be allergic myself till I switched to a mainly vegan diet, so I know how sick you can get even if the cat is not in the room at the time.) I have lived in Olympia since July. My spouse works at the State Capitol and my two sons live in Enumclaw and Auburn.
I began teaching piano when I was in eighth grade, teaching beginners. During my undergraduate years, I maintained a full private studio of beginning to intermediate students, and while living in Germany, I taught piano and voice at a private German music studio and in my home. The age range of my students has spanned from five to 70, and I enjoy teaching all levels of students. I have taught piano, voice, and composition to college level music majors. I incorporate composing and improvising into all of my teaching. My goal is to help my students not only become fluent in the language of music so that they can pursue music as an activity throughout their lives, whether as professionals or amateurs, but also to develop physically and mentally healthy, positive approaches to their practicing and performing. I am fluent in German and have studied French, Italian, Norwegian, and Swedish, so I am also able to coach advanced singers in diction. I have worked extensively with opera singers and professional instrumentalists, so I am also available as a coach for singers and instrumentalists.
An important element of my teaching is a holistic coordination between mind and body. I have studied Alexander Technique, which is a method of finding the most relaxed, efficient physical movement, beginning with natural, healthy posture. I have studied vocal pedagogy extensively and have done research on vocal injury. With my beginning piano students, I have developed my own methods and exercises to familiarize them with notation and the keyboard. I use Bela Bartok's Microcosmos, a series of small, fun, interesting pieces designed for teaching piano, and as students gain musical fluency, I introduce easy classical pieces. I have also used the "Russian method." For adults, I find James Lykes piano method book to be wonderful. For voice students, I often use Clifton Ware's "Adventures in Singing," which includes valuable information, exercises, and a variety of songs. I help students discover and explore their voices and find music that is appropriate for their age, range, and timber. Helping my students develop healthy physical and emotional practice habits, whether on piano or in singing, is of utmost importance to me. I encourage students to let me know which pieces they especially enjoy learning. I find that in many cases, even young beginners gravitate towards the classics and well-composed music. As a female composer, I am passionate about incorporating improvising and composing into my teaching, not only because it accelerates musical fluency and sensitivity, but because many individuals with innate creative talent do not explore this area because they don't think they are capable of creating music themselves. I also help students discover music via listening to performances on Youtube. Although I was mainly trained in the classical tradition, I have performed some jazz, folk, and pop. There are many commonalities between all music genres, and I help singers and pianists develop the musical knowledge, sensitivity, and skills appropriate for whatever style they choose.
My approach to teaching is holistic, positive, and gentle and influenced by my interest in music psychology. I begin by learning about the student's background, interests, and goals. Since goals can change as we gain experience and skill, I help my students discover the possibilities available to them as they study. One of the most important parts of my teaching is to help students learn how to practice in healthy, positive, consistent manner and to develop faith that persistent healthy practice will yield life-long fruits. While I never force a student to perform in public, I find that organizing studio recitals helps students work towards a goal and gives them the rewarding experience of sharing their music with an appreciate and supportive audience.
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