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BA in Psychology with Minor in Music
MA in Counseling Psychology
I began my journey into the world of music by writing lyrics and poetry at the ripe old age of 14 years old. I was keenly interested in books and literature and this passion led to further interest in composition and verse. At 15, my big sister gave me her used and no-longer-played acoustic guitar and from there I taught myself basic chords, scales and simple songs. It didn’t take long before I began matching lyrics to chords and composing songs, strumming chords and creating melodies. I began taking guitar and voice lessons from a local instructor and fine tuning my skills. I continued to play music throughout high school, writing more songs, developing more complex melodies, and taking lessons in music theory and voice.
In my modern musical life I live in Broomfield and play and perform in my studio which has numerous guitars as well as a full p.a. system for my students to practice through. This gives them the opportunity to play through professional gear and practice singing and playing in a live environment.
I believe that performance is the essence and ultimate expression of music and I impart this idea to other aspiring musicians through my lessons. Intrinsic to this process is the application of emotion and the use of dynamics which ultimately is the ebb and flow of music and the core of what draws others into one’s musical world. This process, along with proper warm-ups, practice, developing good study habits and personal dedication is what I want every student to learn. I apply these concepts to my own performances and play regularly to this day. I’ve performed at nearly every venue in Colorado and have opened for numerous national acts as well as on local radio stations in Fort Collins and Denver.
I would describe my methodology as strength-based but rooted in patience and enjoyment. As each student brings with them characteristics that are physical, mental as well as emotional, learning these characteristics allows me insights which form the creative process. For example, I had a student years ago that had a finger anomaly (he had been bit on the finger by his wife's cat so we called it "cat scratch finger") and this prevented him from laying his ring finger flat on his fretting hand. This difference in his physical person helped me to create subtle differences in his lesson plans that allowed him to create chords in a different way while not beating himself up for his physical limitations.
As stated above, I believe that emotion plays an integral role in the mastery and performance of any instrument. Consequently, my teaching style revolves around the use and application of emotion in play. A simple example of this would be a simple discussion of the differences between major and minor chords and the relative emotion conveyed by each, as interpreted by the student. Positive reinforcement also comes into play as each step the student takes towards applying their emotional self to their instrument is recognized and acknowledged.
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