All families who want to do the work of learning an instrument are invited! I strive to make my studio a safe place for people of all learning styles, backgrounds, identities, orientations, and family structures.
I'm not "a Suzuki teacher" in the strictest sense, but Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy of immersive learning and step-by-step mastery, supported by an encouraging parent, is the greatest influence on my teaching style. My outlook was profoundly shaped by my teacher-training courses through the Suzuki Association of the Americas with Ronda Cole, Carrie Reuning-Hummel, Martha Shackford, and Linda Case. I attend regional Suzuki institutes as often as possible to observe visiting master teachers in action.
My experience studying and performing early music -- pre-classical repertoire that lies outside the musical canon I'd grown up with -- also influences how I teach. Recognizing that today's music students will have an unprecedented degree of choice in the kinds of music available to them to play in their later lives, I like to incorporate diverse styles in our studio repertoire. I also introduce some knowledge of music theory and history so that my students will have more tools to understand our modern, pluralistic musical landscape. I like to think that this approach is valuable whether the students continue in later life as amateur or professional players in any genre, or simply as curious, thoughtful listeners.
Kids and families who look forward to participation in student orchestras and classical chamber music programs, and who welcome our forays into traditional music, will get the most enjoyment out of our repertoire.
My students have enjoyed positive experiences and leadership roles in the excellent orchestra programs at Hamilton, Washington, Eckstein, and Jane Addams Middle Schools. They have had fun playing at Vivace Chamber Players and other classical-music camps, my own Early Music Youth Academy camps, and various traditional-music courses.
I love working with new students whose families are eager to build music study into their family routine as a happy and successful part of life. Here are some commitments for parents to consider:
- What will the challenges be for you in helping with daily practice?
- Are you willing to create an immersive musical environment by playing our repertoire CDs every day and attending live musical events several times each year?
- Can you commit to regularly attending lessons, group classes, and performances?
- Are you able to manage a home schedule that makes time every day for your child's practice?
All kid and teen students share a common repertoire, which they master and develop over time, reviewing it by heart. Violinists play most of the pieces in Suzuki books 1-4 and add material from fiddler Mark O’Connor’s new student progression of multicultural American music. After Book 4, students interested in pursuing more advanced classical music choose among sonata movements, concerto movements, and showpieces in various styles. Students at all levels get more variety in sight-reading and our short-term seasonal ensemble projects.