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BA, Wheaton College, Anthroplolgy major and music minor
MA, Fuller Graduate School, Intercultural studies with applied ethnomusicology emphasis.
Teacher Training, Strings Without Boundaries with Julie Lynne Liberman
I trained classically for almost six years, and then branced out to old-time, celtic, and bluegrass fiddling. I performed in, and won, several fiddle contests throughout high school, but then discovered jazz and improvisation, and found my true calling. I have performed with a wide variety of groups, from traditional bluegrass to country-punk, from folky singer-songwriters to a hip-hop group, and love nothing more then creativly interacting with others, adding my own voice to whatever else is going on. Musically speaking, I don't believe in boundaries - I don't think musicians need to be categorized or put into little boxes that tells them what they can and can't do. I think people should be allowed to explore whatever voices they find true and beautiful - and feel free to add their own voice. I believe we should learn from anything and everything, because music provided a window into another human's soul - and I believe each soul has value. I don't exalt Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms above anyone else, but I prefer to learn the music of the outsider and the marginalized.
I have been teaching both private and group lessons for five years, teaching a total of seven students in their homes. I have noticed a lot of violin students tend to be tense, and judgmental against themselves, so afraid of making a "mistake." So my first task is often to get them to relax, and love playing the violin. I search for ways to make it fun for them, and help them learn the music they want to play. I've discovered that once a studnet feels empowered to teach him or her self, they will automatically start practing more, helping us make really progress. Proper technique doesn't need to be presented as rigid, uncomfortable rules, but rather, as something that will help the student play more naturally and comfortablly, and help his or her body cooperate with natural creativity.
If a student has never played violin before, I usually start out with a combination of the Suzuki method, the American Fiddle Method, and Jazz Fiddle Wizard to develop a holistic approach, comfortable with playing multiple styles, improvising, and playing both from sheet music and by ear from the very begginning. After the fundamentals are grasped, I ask the student what he or she really wants to play, and we develop technique and theory based on his or her favorite songs. I try to push the student to become comfortable playing in all keys, so before playing a song, we practice the scales suggested by the chord structure. I continually search for new ways to keep the student intersted. For example, if they aren't motivated to play with a metronome, I will have them practice with drum beats instead.
At the core, I believe everyone has a voice, and my job as a music teacher is to help someone realize his or her own voice. The violin is a hard instrument to master, and many people get discouraged when progress doesn't come faster. Thus, I exhibt patience and encouragment, always helping the students feel good about themselves. I try to find out each student's "heart-music," and use the same basic method with whatever style he or she really wants to play.
A comfortable teacher, I feel less panic when I practice with him. An overall nice teacher. Great at teaching me fixing mistakes and learning songs.
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