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2015-2019 - Bemidji State University Half Tuition Scholarship
2015-2019 - Dr. Sylvia Dyrhaug Piano Scholarship
2017 - DeKrey Vocal Scholarship
2018 - Marchand/Ganware Music Education Scholarship
When I was 8 years old, my aunt gave me my very first piano lesson. I have such fond memories of that time with her. I still remember how we would sit on the couch and Id try to name off the notes on my music flashcards as quickly as possible so no card would be put in the back of the pile for a redo! Fast-forward 14 years and I am a Bemidji State University alumna with a dual degree in K-12 vocal music education and piano performance & pedagogy. This year, I am excited to continue my journey in Pittsburgh by opening my very own studio!
This will be my fifth year as a private lesson instructor! I taught my first lesson during college, when I worked for a local studio with three other teachers. I have been a church accompanist since I was 13 years old, and since then have accompanied for many soloists, school choirs, and musical theater groups. I even played keys in a few jazz bands! I've also sung a variety of repertoire including Jazz, Classical, Opera, and have been singing in choirs since middle school. Each of these experiences has strengthened my ability to relate to students and help them discover their niche in music. I like to introduce students to musical styles because it provides a well-rounded education and a chance for greater motivation to practice. When we find the right style, practicing actually becomes a little fun!
For young beginners, I like to use the Faber and Faber series. They do a wonderful job incorporating reading, listening, and writing into the curriculum. I also think creativity is a huge part of music. I love asking students to write their own songs. When I play their compositions on the piano, their reactions are priceless! For older beginners, advanced students, and voice students I use a similar approach but with supplemental materials. These students typically know what style they really enjoy playing or singing. From the repertoire we pick, I find technical skills within each piece to focus on during the lesson and use staff paper, play-by-ear, and a variety of other repertoire to work on writing and listening.
In my studio, I encourage students to look solely at their own track. Everyone's journey is different. We all start lessons at a different age, have different strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes! I welcome my students to share what they love...and hate... so I can tailor our time together to fit their specific learning styles. Questions are also a big part of my teaching style. My teaching philosophy includes asking questions and planning activities that enhance cognitive function. I want to give my students the tools they need so they can look at a piece of music and say, "I know how to practice this," or "I can play this." If my students don't need me anymore, I have done my job!
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