Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It was elementary school music class which first inspired me to practice at home, and piano lessons which gave me the music reading tools necessary to turn my love of singing into a career path. Learning to read music enabled me to work independently, following my musical whims wherever they led. From Beethoven to Bette Midler, Cats to Carmen, I was able to access and explore music beyond my level of technical proficiency simply because I could read and interpret the language of music notation. As I pursued singing throughout middle school, high school and college, be it in choir, stage productions, private lessons, solo recitals, or singing with a jazz or rock band, I was always able to learn music quickly, and practice independently thanks to my music reading skills. I continue to apply those basic skills today both as a music educator in the classroom, and as a professional performer.