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Bachelor Degree: University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
CNAfME, U of M Twin Cities Chapter; Communications Officer (2018-2020)
I am a driven and passionate instructor who focuses on students' artistic and personal growth as musicians. I began my musical journey as a singer, moving towards piano and guitar throughout my formative years. In high school, I performed as a choral singer, musical theatre artist, and as a pianist for both jazz groups and worship settings. While an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, I studied tenor voice with renowned operatist John De Haan and piano performance with Jamaican pianist Paul Shaw. Before earning my bachelor's degree in K-12 Music Education in 2020, I held a longtime position as a tenor vocalist and choral leader with First Christian Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and post-degree as a K-12 music teacher in dual-language immersion public schools and technology-focused charter schools in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Currently, I reside in Oregon's Willamette Valley, and deliver private lessons throughout the South Portland metropolitan area for a variety of instruments. I continue to play and perform with local groups as a keyboardist and vocalist, and I compose music for chamber orchestra as well as with experimental artists specializing in DIY-DAWs. I'm excited to bring a love of music to everyone I meet, with a desire to connect students to how music serves the world around them. Let's get started!
My teaching experience dates back to my high school years, as I assisted in arranging and directing performances for my high school's Varsity Men's chorus. During my undergraduate years, I was involved in the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities' School of Music University Singers, Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir, and Madrigal Singers; these groups allowed me to serve as a section leader, soloist, and as a conductor for classes on advanced choral conducting. I was employed at First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ - Minneapolis during this time as a tenor section leader and soloist, and assisted with directing the bell choir with fellow musicians Adam Conrad, Michael Vasich and Tanner VanderKrabben. As a post-graduate I accepted a teaching position with Cyber Village Academy in St Paull, Minnesota, teaching K-12 general music. These classes involved music composition, performance, appreciation, and individualized studies in piano, guitar and choral singing. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted my teaching style, as I learned to involve in-person musicmaking with virtual lessons and performances. Due to the pandemic I returned to the west coast, continuing to hone my skills as a private music instructor while keeping active in composition and performance. In total, I have more than 12 years in professional musicianship and performance experience, 5 of those years as an educator.
For students who are first getting started with their instrument(s), I use a variety of introductory book series and pieces depending on the student. Hal Leonard, FJH Method, Alfred, and Faber series are just a few that I keep an inventory of for new students. I typically keep a large Google Drive library dedicated for beginners and younger students, as these lesson plans will include fun activities and pieces not unlike those of elementary general music. Once students are past the fundamentals and rudiments of their instrument(s), I introduce large selections of solo repertoire to sight-read in lessons; this process allows students to try out a large number of pieces, and then selecting a few to study forward. For every instrument I teach, I keep a large variety of warmups, games, activities, composition strategies, and improvisational pieces in circulation to keep my lessons fun, engaging, and rewarding for every student.
I encourage students to focus on their personal expression and growth as a musician. While I select pieces for students based on their skill level and ability to take challenges effectively, students are given the freedom to browse their own musical library or lexicon to perform music they enjoy or is moving to them. Since many modern songs can be found without sheet music or proper notation for each instrument, I arrange pieces and songs for students' instruments as close to the recorded version as possible. Students can then add their own expression, motifs, or perform with other students for fun!
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