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BM, Northern Illinois Univeristy, K-12 Music Education
2013-John Philip Sousa Award
I am a high energy funny type of teacher. I enjoy making students laugh and opening their minds up to the incredible world of music. I enjoy incorporating technology and games into lessons. Graduated recently from Northern Illinois University's School of Music with a B.M. in K-12 Music Education. I love working with students of any age! I believe that practicing music can teach you more life skills than simply how to play an instrument. Working on music can teach you organization skills, critical thinking & problem solving.
I started teaching when I was in high school, by first teaching private lessons. Soon after I started providing instruction to the middle school jazz bands in the my area. After entering college, I started working several marching bands throughout Illinois including Wheaton Warrenville South's Tiger Marching Band & Plainfield South High School.
While continuing my studio and teaching marching band, I also gained experience teaching young children by instructing the camps at Cosley Zoo. Since then I have taken on the privilege of writing the zoo's camp curriculum as well as instructing it. The camps have now received 5 out 5 reviews as well as several wait lists. While growing the zoo's program I also did clinical teaching at Lincoln Elementary School, Hubble Middle School, and West Aurora High School. On top of all of that I was the assistant director of DCI's Midwest Connection (an all brass alumni group). Finally, I have been finishing up my time at Oak Prairie Junior High School in Lockport.
However, while all of that is great experience that still does not cover my performance experience. While that was all occurring, I also had the privilege of performing with NIU's Philharmonic Orchestra, Woodwind Ensemble, Huskie Marching Band & Wind Symphony. I performed my on public recital that was sold out, as well as released a private CD on campus.
Piano: For beginners students who are children, I usually start them out of the Piano Adventure Series. They usually stay in this series for a majority of their time developing piano skills. However, when they reach book 2A or 2B I let students select their own music within the guidelines of their current ability level. I also use Hal Leonard flashcards to review fundamental music theory.
For adults, I will either start then in the Piano Adventure Series or the Adult Hal Leonard series, which ever one is more comfortable for them. Depending on how quickly they learn I will guide further music selection outside of the books. Advanced students can select their own music or have my provide them with a list of recommendations.
Flute: For beginners, I like to use the book they are currently using in their band class. That way my instruction will line up with what they are studying in class. After achieving a good start we will venture off into either the First or Second Book of Practical Studies for Flute by Ralph R. Gunther. While in the beginning and intermediate stages I am flexible with music selection. Students can choose to work on current band repertoire or select solo type music. Advanced study 18 Etudes by Berbiguier or Melodious and Progressive Studies by Robert Cavally as well as solo repertoire.
Trumpet: Same as flute although we use different etude and solo books.
Clarinet: Same as flute although we use different etude and solo books.
I love to make students laugh and have fun while working with music. My goal is not only to help the student to progress as a musician, but also to help cultivate their appreciation for music in general. To help motivate students, I provide a reward system at each lesson based on lesson performance and participation. I also allow for most students to select their own music. (This next one is a huge philosophy of mine) I WILL NEVER YELL AT A STUDENT! I understand that we are human and that mistakes happen. I believe that mistakes are a learning tool not a crime and therefore should be punished.
To also help students feel comfortable, I will only go as fast as the student is comfortable going. I also always try and approach the same concept in different ways to make sure the student truly understands the materiel. To make sure students understand the materiel I engage them in questions that require critical thinking skills. For students to answer properly the must answer in complete sentences and combine concepts we have been discussing. I do adjust these questions based on age level and ability. So no student should ever fear of not having the right answer. The answer might be "tricky" but you always have the tools to answer. If a student needs help answering, I am always willing to guide them to the correct answer.
We signed up for piano lessons after my daughter had taken a break from piano for about 2 years. Matt was able pick up were she left off. He also found that she was stronger at music theory than at readying music. Although he still had her work on reading, he utilized her strength and taught her how to play fake music. She had a lot of fun doing this and was able to play through more songs quickly.
I had my son start piano with Matt. Although my son stopped playing it was not because of Matt. Matt is a fantastic teacher, and my son loved coming to lessons. He learned all of his notes and vocabulary. My son just decided to focus on sports instead, but Matt is an amazing young man. I highly recommend!
My daughter started playing flute in 5th grade, and started taking lessons with Matt at the beginning of her 6th grade year. She as greatly improved in her tone and range. She definitely sounds better after only having studied with Matt after a month. I can't wait to see what she will sound like after two months. She thinks his breathing exercises are really fun!
Matt is a great music teacher! Although I started taking piano lessons with him a year ago, I started to become interested in composing music. I talked to him about it and he said that we could combine the two. Only about a month later I have finished composing my first song! I am super happy with his ability to be flexible and to help me achieve what I am interested in.
Matt is a wonderful teacher! My son started taking piano with him a only a few weeks ago, but my son loves to practice and is excited to attend each lesson. He really likes the prizes Matt gives for good practice and likes that he was able to start playing Harry Potter after completing the first book. I highly recommend Matt as a teacher.
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