BA, Emory University Economics & French
MBA, University of Iowa
Jill Gilbert, Esther Ahn & Joe Page piano studios (Iowa City, IA from age 6-17)
Kansas City School of Music - opera study under Dr. Scrivner
2018 - Mission Creek Festival performing artist
2017 - Des Moines Music Coalition - Little Big Fest performing artist
Iowa Music Teachers Association (IMTA) Festival 'Superior' rating in intermediate-advanced categories from 2000-2006
I'm a passionate and dedicated instructor who believes in the power of music to free your self expression! I started learning piano at age 6 and never stopped. I've been playing over 20 years as a soloist, accompaniment and for church services. I also sang in the school choir starting in middle school, but I've been singing and writing poetry pretty much my entire life. About 6 years ago I started pairing piano with voice to write and perform original music. I've performed with a variety of artists spanning an eclectic range of genres in New York City, Atlanta, Iowa and now Kansas City and have held roles varying from backup vocalist, lead vocalist, and keyboardist. I currently perform in Kansas City and around the midwest with my solo band and as half of an experimental electronic soul group.
My teaching experience started in High School when I would exchange piano lessons for guitar with a musician friend of mine. My formal teaching experience began in Atlanta 5 years ago when I co-taught group keyboard lessons for beginner elementary school students and taught adult beginner voice students through my in-home studio. I took this experience back to my home town of Iowa City where I traveled to teach beginner adult piano and beginner adult voice and taught beginner-early intermediate piano and voice through a local music lessons studio.
One of the most important things that I stress is consistency in practice as well as correct practice. Both my piano lessons and vocal coaching emphasize technique but my main goal is to build confidence in performance. Confidence can only come from correct practice, but correct practice can only come if you're motivated and you're having fun! For my younger students I make sure to change things up to avoid boredom while teaching new angles of a certain skill. I also highly encourage my students to participate in recitals and open mics as interim goals.
For beginner Piano students who are young, I teach either from Hal Leonard's Essential Elements or Faber & Faber. Both are great interactive resources that help guide toward mastery of the basics. I also like to include games using flash cards and note names for my youngest students who learn best through a variety of activities. For those that are past beginner lever, the Faber & Faber series works well to incorporate solo repertoire with technique and theory practice.
For the beginner voice student who is young, I teach breath control and ear training through solfege. For adults, I take an assessment of what they want to learn and the goals they want to achieve musically. What I've found is in a lot of cases, adults want to learn how to sing a certain song, fix a pressing issue with their voice, or they just want to discover the joy of developing their ability to play. Because they're learning later in life it's important to me to understand their goals so that I can develop a curriculum that will reap the greatest reward in terms of their individual goals. I do like to set a generalized goal for adult students to perform in an open mic after a certain period of time.
The ultimate goal for me is to help my students develop a life long love and passion for music. I want my students to develop a first- hand appreciation for the creation of music and use it as a way to problem solve in other aspects of their lives. In order to do this, I set small goals each week that allow us to track progress through time. A lot of times regardless of age, students will come to me initially self conscious and afraid that they're terrible. I work to deconstruct this notion and help to build confidence in their ability to learn and develop. Positive affirmation is how I work. I believe focusing on the strengths of a student while working to develop past what may be perceived as weaknesses is paramount to cultivating a life long relationship with music. Although I am a stickler for practicing, I do this because we are setting goals for each lesson and the only way to reach these goals is through consistent practice.