Photo: Sven Haakanson
Welcome! It's an honor to work with my students and their families. The kids work hard and learn well, in the context of a balanced life. They graduate from the studio with a strong foundation for whatever they want to pursue with their instruments in the years to come.

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.

Approach

I believe in supporting kids and teens by respecting them in two balanced, complementary ways. I hope to ground our relationships in a nurturing respect that welcomes the kids' personalities, learning styles, and needs for connection and support in the moment. I also want to honor their developing capabilities. In order for the students to be able to experience the satisfactions of success, I know that they will engage with a healthy degree of challenge, struggle, and growth in their learning. I respect my students in the belief that they can do it.

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.

Students

The usual age range in my studio is around 6-15. Starting as a beginner around 6-8 years old is most common, though beginning at a younger or older age happens too. Students should be able to function cooperatively in group classes. There are often openings for transfer students (kids who are already playing). I teach students through the level of playing concertos by Vivaldi and Bach, and then help them transfer to an advanced teacher who suits their interests.

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.

Commitments

Since music students see their teacher only once per week but practice at home every day, the commitment and support of parents is the most powerful factor in students' learning. This parental role is most central for young children, whose parents participate in lessons and daily practice -- but students who are old enough to practice on their own (usually at age 12 and up) still rely on their parents to support their learning. The whole family embarks on a long-term adventure of music listening, concert attendance, practice, lessons and ensemble opportunities in the studio and beyond it.

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?
I have great admiration for parents who make these substantial but rewarding commitments! We can work together to create an atmosphere in which your child will experience the deep joys of learning well.

Repertoire

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.

Ensembles