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teaching Philosophy

I'm an ordinary person committed to making extraordinary music, and helping others do the same.

I grew up in New England in a family that loved music. There was always something playing in the background, whether kids' music, folk songs, classical music or the Beatles. My parents were not musicians. They loved me and encouraged me, and when they noticed how much I loved to play my recorder, they made sure to get me started with music lessons. I'm incredibly grateful they gave me this early start. I was in the second grade.

I knew from when I was young that music was my favorite thing to do, and that when I grew up, I would to be a flute player. I wasn't sure what form that would take, and I had no idea what it would take to get there. I entered a competitive undergraduate music program as an eighteen year-old and failed to thrive. I loved music, but didn't know how to live like a musician. After that one devastating year, I concluded that I wasn't "good enough" to be a professional flutist. In a choice that would become my saving grace, I changed my major to psychology.

 

Thankfully, I had the chance to pick my flute up again and rediscover how happy it makes me. I enrolled as a music major at Southern Oregon University on a full Mountain Meadows / Chamber Music Concerts Scholarship. I used what I had learned as a psychology major to form new practice habits, make practicing more efficient and transforming performance anxiety into musical expression. I love to share what I learned on this path with my students and other musicians in need of support. 

The knowledge I gained as a psychology major also informs my approach to teaching. As I teach, I gauge each student's progress and provide fun music that is challenging yet do-able for their current ability. I give my students in-the-moment positive feedback on their playing, so they can start to realize how proper playing technique feels. My students, half of whom are adults, enjoy the large lending library of flute music that I provide at no charge. 

When I teach young students, we spend a lot of time laughing. Lessons include fun games and, if desired by the child, weekly playing challenges and prizes. With this approach, I quietly prepare them to be successful lifelong musicians, and allow them to build self-confidence as they master new skills each week. My youngest students (age 7) start on recorder, then switch to a Yamaha Fife and finally graduate to flute when they have mastered the basics.

I am inspired by the three wonderful teachers who most influenced my playing: Julie Armstrong in Keene, NH, Alex Ogle in Brattleboro, VT and Katie McElrath in Ashland, OR. I have also learned a tremendous amount from my students, past and present. 

Qualifications
  • B.A. in Psychology, Boston University, 2002

  • B.A. in Music, Southern Oregon University, 2012

  • Orff Level I Certified, University of Las Vegas, Nevada

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