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Berklee General Music Studies Certificate
I have been a musician my entire life, and I get a great deal of joy out of passing my knowledge and passion on to others. My classical background on violin and viola combined with my vast experience in songwriting, recording, and performing rock and pop music as a guitarist and singer have given me the tools to provide well-rounded musical training for my students.
I spent many years as a violist playing in the prestigious Norwalk Youth Symphony and New England Music Camp, and as an adult played guitar and sang in several successful bands including Victoria Watts, Amsterdam (with EBE Talent), 88mph (with Shore Bets Booking Agency), and Jackson Moe.
I began teaching in earnest over the past two years, as I preferred its immediacy and human connection over the arduous yet fleeting nature of performance. Whenever possible, I weave lessons in music theory and performance into regular lesson work, giving my students a deeper understanding of the concepts they are learning. I encourage students to get into composition, as that was a huge factor in my own understanding of music. My teaching history dates back even further than my formal, professional experience. I started by helping my younger sister learn guitar, and was encouraged to see her become a formidable player in her own right. I taught a young viola student when I was in high school, and have helped several friends expand their horizons as guitarists, songwriters, and music theorists.
I always start by gauging the student's existing knowledge of music so we know where to start, then I tailor the lessons to each student's needs. Generally, I start guitar students with the Hal Leonard beginner guitar books, which break down how to read and play notes on each string before getting into melodies and chords. Even if guitar students are primarily interested in rock or pop music, I like to work in some classical practice, which helps develop dexterity. Alfred's piano method books are great for beginning pianists, and they have separate books tailored to adults and children. They use familiar melodies to help get both hands moving, and once we get into chord structure and transitions, we can move into popular songs and other specific works the student is interested in. Of course, nothing is set in stone, and every student is different, so we can always work out a good program together.
Music is a personal journey, so I always work with students to help them find their own path. While there are some basics that everyone needs to know, there is more than one approach to learning those basics, and once they are mastered, the sky's the limit. Whatever musical path the student wants to take, I can help them set realistic goals along the way, and develop specific skills that they can apply as they move forward. This is also why I encourage students to try composition, as it is the most direct way to express their personal relationship to music.
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