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My Background and Philosophy

Teaching Background
I began studying string pedagogy while at the University of Illinois, after having already taught for a number of years. There I learned Paul Rolland's technique for teaching string students. I continued study of teaching with my mentor and renowned pedagogue Roland Vamos. It is his teaching techniques that I still adhere to:

     -a strict regimen of technical exercises, scales and etudes to free-up music

              making and build facility.

      -three levels of solo pieces: a review piece to assure self-confidence, a moderate piece

             hone "polishing" skills, a challenging piece to keep the student reaching higher. 

       -group pieces to reinforce sight-reading skills and listening. 

For young beginners I use the Suzuki repertoire as a starting point for learning. I have attended Suzuki training courses through Book 4.  Games, song singing and motion plays are all a part of my method to infuse joy and a love of music. I also incorporate the pedagogy of Mimi Zweig whose summer workshops I have attended twice. Hers is a blend of Suzuki, Paul Rolland and her own ideas. It is an extremely successful method.

Teaching Experience

I have been teaching strings for over twenty years in many different facets.
    -as a private studio teacher one-on-one
   -as a group teacher in area public schools and currently at West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts
   -as an orchestra conductor at Portage Northern High School
   -as a chamber group coach at Maple Street Middle School and various summer camps
   -as a college instructor currently at Kalamazoo College

  As a professional musician and string teacher, I am proud of my students' acheivements. Locally, my students have been section leaders in area youth orchestras, and some have soloed with these groups and the KSO. Many have continued their musical training at esteemed institutions like Oberlin, Interlochen, Northwestern, and Eastman. All have developed a sense of themselves through music.

Teaching Philosophy

The goal of my teaching is to create a studio of competent young musicians who value the rewards of practicing; and to help foster a life-long love of and respect for music, musicians and art.

To study music is to develop a self-discipline and confidence in all areas of life; to engage the brain in synthesis-the highest level of thought; and to challenge the spirit to create and express the inexpressible. Musicians, in particular string musicians, make the best all-around academic students and citizens.

I teach the whole student, trying to find the best mode of learning for each individual (e.g., visual, auditory or kinesthetic). I encourage expanding skills they already possess and exploring new ones. I strongly believe in a positive and non-threatening environment in which to learn. And ultimately, I feel that my job is to teach them how to teach themselves by helping them learn how to analyze problems and situations and to find solutions.