Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember! I started playing the electric organ when I was about 7 years old. I couldn't read music yet, but I would listen to my dad play and just copy him. When I was in 3rd grade I started playing cello... in 5th grade the trombone.... in 8th grade the drums.... in high school the bass guitar.... and later it was the guitar, violin, viola and ukulele. The love and passion I have for music is what has inspired me to want to share it with others. I earned my BA in Music Education from The College of New Jersey in 2000 and I have been teaching ever since. Besides teaching, I have performed in various ensembles, recorded for other artists as well as composing and recording my own music. My lesson studio is in my home which is located in Marlton, NJ. Right now I am doing both in person and online lessons, and I even have students who will do both.
After receiving my degree in 2000, my first job was in the public school system in Bridgeton, NJ. I was brought in to build the orchestra program from scratch. I was in charge of selecting instruments and supplies to be purchased for the district as well as write the curriculum. During my time in the district, I taught 4th to 8th grade strings, as well as band, and was the assistant marching band director for the high school. My next job was in the South Brunswick public school district where I taught elementary strings and band, as well as some general music classes. Upon leaving the public school system, I shifted my focus to teaching private individual lessons. Although I enjoyed working in the public schools, this was the best decision I ever made! I have found so much joy in being able to work with students one on one, to help them become the best musician they can be. Besides teaching privately, I am also the adjunct cello teacher for The Pennington School. My responsibilities also include running sectionals, orchestra rehearsals as well as performing for various functions and with the students in their concerts. This has given me the opportunity to work with an ensemble, which is something I did really enjoy while working in the public schools. With over 20 years of teaching experience, I have worked with students from the beginning level through advanced. I have taught students as young as 4 years old to adults in their 70's. I have worked with students who want to learn to play an instrument just to have a basic knowledge, as well as those who are preparing to audition to get into a community, regional or college level orchestra. No matter the goal of the student, I am here to help on the journey ; )
For my string students learning violin, viola or cello I typically use the Suzuki method books. There are times that I might recommend the Essential Elements series for those who are just starting off, but at some point I switch the student over to Suzuki. Another supplemental book I encourage my students to get when they get to a certain level is Essentials for Strings. This is primarily a scale book, but it also contains a number of other helpful exercises and resources. For my students learning guitar, bass guitar or ukulele, I recommend the Hal Leonard Series. Depending on the age and level of the student, there are a number of options to pick from, which allows me to get just the right fit! Along with the method book, I recommend what's called a blank TAB book which is used to write down chords, exercises and songs. Although the method books are important in guiding the students' progress and developing their technique, they are just a piece of the bigger picture. The student may need help working on music from school so sometimes that becomes the priority. Other times, the student is interested in learning a song for their own enjoyment, and that will guide the direction of the lesson. In a typical lesson I will try to incorporate a little of all these things where applicable. I customize the learning experience based on the students' needs so they get the most that they can out of each lesson.
You can not use a "one size fits all" kind of approach when teaching an instrument. It is important to me that the student is involved in creating their musical journey, which means each lesson I teach and the way that I teach it will be different. I understand that not everyone learns the same way, and what may work for one student may not work for another. One of the things that has made me a better teacher is that I learn from my students. I feel that if I want to be effective in how I teach, I always need to keep an open mind and even change the way I do things to cater to the individual student. My job is to be here for the student in whatever capacity they need me. I can push them really hard and really fast, or I can move as slow as they need to. I never liked having a teacher that yelled at me or said words I found discouraging.....it certainly didn't make me look forward to going to the lessons. I pride myself in giving the students an experience they can enjoy! To help with this, I feel it is important for the student to be able to play music they know and enjoy listening to so they can develop more of a connection with the instrument and with the music. To this end, I have a lot of resources to help find sheet music for those songs or I write out the songs myself. I always stress to my students that practice is important, however, it is also important how you practice. This is something that I take the time to instill in all my students. Along with how you practice, how much you practice is also important. One thing I always stress to my students is that it has to be something that you can fit into your schedule. With my adult students this is always more challenging, but I remind them not to be discouraged and to focus on keeping their passion for wanting to learn. I recommend that my students start off with a short amount of time practicing so it doesn't seem too overwhelming, and then you can add time from there. As my students start playing songs they enjoy and connect with, I find that their practicing time increases and it is usually because they want to and it doesn't feel as much like a chore. This is how I feel playing an instrument should be! The beginning stages are always the toughest, but in the end, it should be about enjoying the experience.... and that's what I want for ALL my students! : )
Ken has been my son's Cello teacher for over a year and my son loves learning Cello from him. Before we met Ken, my son almost gave up Cello because he felt it's no fun. But now he is enjoying every lesson with Ken and is excited to practice his new techniques. Ken helps my son on his school pieces during semesters and learn new pieces either from book or some songs my son wants to try. My son is in school's orchestra (7th grade) and his string performance is A+ last year. We're very lucky to have Ken as my son's Cello teacher. I highly recommend him to everyone.
My son has been learning violin from Mr. Ken L. since 3rd grade for two years. It has been a fun and rewarding journey. Mr. L. knows how to teach young kids and have them enjoy music. He has been very patient and encouraging. My son started from scratch and in 4th/5th grade he was able to get in the the selective chamber orchestra program in school. We rate Mr. L. a 5-star teacher and we would recommend him to anyone.