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BM, Appalachian State University, minor in Music Performance
2006-2008 - Recipient of J. Pedigo Vocal Scholarship
2010-2011 - Director of Appalachian State A-Cappella Group "Higher Ground"
2011 - Best Vocal Ballad Arrangment - A-Cappellageddon, ASU
2011 - Best Rock Arrangement - A-Cappellageddon, ASU
I have been an enthusiastic musician since the time I began to sing at age 3. At 8 I began learning the piano and at 11 I began learning guitar. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Bachelors Degree in writing, but my minor was in Music Performance. Inititally, I had planned to major in music but after some career changing decisitions I switched. I continued however, to continue taking music courses through the school. I also took many performance opportunities in the area through the school of music, through a student led A-Cappella group named Higher Ground (which I directed from 2010 to 2011), and through my own private gigging playing guitar and piano. I currently live in the Raleigh area and am employed part time as the Worship Music Director at Hope Presbyterian Church. I have been teaching privately since my time studying at Appalachian State, but I have just recently joined on with Musika. I offer instruction in guitar up to an advanced level, and I also offer instruction in voice, piano, and mandolin to an intermediate level.
I began teaching guitar while in college 7 years ago now, but I have been teaching at a more professional level for the past 3 years. Through the past years I have developed many different strategies that allow me to teach a diverse range personalities in my students. My youngest student began with me at age 8 and my oldest student is age 65. I do not see a challenge in teaching different age ranges and personalities, just a need for a different approch. I also work part time as the Worship Music Director at a local church here in Raleigh. This work has helped me develop my teaching skills in many different ways and on many different levels as I have worked with a wide range of volunteer musicians throug the church. In working with them I often have to do a great deal of teaching and rehearsing the music with the praise team members.
I have a few different book options for my beginning students that help pave the way into the learning mindset. The choice of literature often depends on the student's perceived methods of learning. In other words, I try to find the approach that is the easiest to understand for the individual student. I have found that my student's have a more enjoyable time when the material is more relatable, thus giving us the momentum to continue learning. For my instrumental students (guitar, piano, mandolin) we do start off with some introductory material that both the student and myself agree upon and eventually move our way out of the lessons books and into learning through other methods. These other methods include sheet music, or they may focus on ear training and learning songs through other ways. For my vocal students, I focus little on teaching repetoire to them. Instead, I focus on teaching them vocal technique and ways to improve the quality of their voice. We will certainly learn songs during this process, but I believe the caliber of the vocal instrument and the singer's ear will go much farther for any singer than learning a lot of material. I teach how to properly support one's voice, how to avoid bad habits such as straining, and I spend time training my vocal student's musical ear. For ALL of my students, I do require they have an understanding of the fundamentals that can only be found in classical music. While I do want each student to learn the types of music they want to play (rock, jazz, blues, folk, etc.), they must learn the basics before they can truly understand these other great styles.
Ultimately, the goal is to teach my student how to propel themselves forward after they have become skilled in their instrument. I teach my students how to think for themselves. I simply show them the way and give them the tools necessary to accomplish their musical dreams.
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