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Graduate Assistantship - University of South Carolina
Teaching Assistantship and Student Internship - San Francisco State University
Nagel Scholarship - San Francisco State University
Vocal Scholarship - Biola University
Academic Scholarship - Biola University
My musical background and experience started my early years. My family and I sang together, in church, in school, and in shows and special events. I began studying singing and song leading with my father at age six, piano with my mother at age seven, and guitar with my cousin at age thirteen. Through the years, my love of music—performing, learning, teaching, and sharing has never waned. My college studies focused on voice, church music, and conducting, and my graduate work emphasized choral music performance, music education, theory, and history. Since my high school years, I have sung in musicals, operas, home recitals, church services, and concerts. I have played piano and guitar for gatherings, school concerts, and party and social gatherings. I have especially enjoyed and been blessed by the use of the voice in ensemble—singing in and directing choirs through the years, in churches, communities, and businesses.
I have been teaching since my college years, as an informal coach, as part of pedagogy or internship assignments, or as a paid instructor. Lessons or work sessions may have been part of readying a friend for a solo in a church gathering, giving tips or pointers for an upcoming stage musical number, assistance with learning an art song, or a formal paid lesson to focus on technique, artistry, diction, interpretation, and delivery. As I teach, I learn—both about the instrument or voice and about the style (both musical and teaching) that interests or motivates the student. While I have a basic method in lessons with certain techniques, exercises, and repertoire to be drilled and mastered, I will try to adapt and modify my approach for the needs and personality of the student. In addition to the areas mentioned in the checklist, I also teach conducting (choral and instrumental) and music theory. On many occasions through the years, I have taught groups of individuals simultaneously—from two students to a class of more than thirty. In these instances, the students can support, learn from, and perform for each other—creating an extended and valuable dynamic in the instruction process.
My teaching method include a combination of technique, artistry, interpretation, expression, musicality, and repertoire. This approach attempts to build synthesis and synergy between the different elements of musicmaking—both vocal and instrumental: the development and honing of sound technique provided a basis for informed and tasteful musicality as well as, by extension, effective and meaningful interpretation and performance of literature. At the same time, an awareness of and attention to expression, emotion, and interpretation informs the building and practice of technique, giving it context and artistic function. An example of this concept is that exercises such as warmups, scales, and arpeggios can and should be executed musically, as though one were singing and playing a song. Conversely, when a song is being learned, the teacher and student can together derive musical and technical exercises from the song itself to strengthen the technique needed to perform it with artistry and excellence.
My teaching style relates to my personal practice of building and nurturing a rapport and working relationship with individuals, in any setting, including teaching. If the student(s) and I can foster mutual trust and understanding, we can be productive as we work together. As the great William Vennard once noted, I think of the lesson not only as “the student’s lesson” but as “our lesson.” I try to listen to the student’s desires and needs and to discern what will work best for the personality and interests of the student, both generally, and in that particular session. As the student is working, I give both accurate and positive feedback on a regular basis, encouraging and complimenting each success, large and small, so as to enhance and facilitate ongoing improvement. The joy that I find in teaching is that of leading the student to self-discovery of the satisfaction of accomplishment and of aesthetic reward, along with continuing to strengthen the student-teacher relationship.
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