Music is a huge part of my life. In addition to teaching, I love creating and sharing music. It has been a key way for me to connect with others, emotionally regulate, and express myself.
I started learning piano when I was 8 and, believe it or not, I wanted to quit after my first year of lessons! Fortunately, my parents strongly encouraged me to stick it out, and I'm sure glad they did. I worked my way up through the Royal Conservatory grades and earned my A.R.C.T. in Music Pedagogy when I was 20. In high school I played tenor saxophone in jazz band and picked up clarinet and flute. I've played keyboards and saxophone professionally in jazz, funk, and folk-rock groups.
In my thirties I started singing and learned the guitar to accompany myself. Although I had dabbled in instrumental composition before this, I threw myself headlong into learning the craft of songwriting and released an EP of my original songs, Walking Tall, in 2013.
I'm currently learning how to play violin along with my son as he learns. It is...humbling.
Besides music, I love learning in general and have a variety of interests that keep me busy. I've also worked as a freelance writer and was an elementary school teacher and teacher-librarian for 12 years.
My first priority as a teacher is to make music accessible to my students. I want them to experience success that motivates them to want to learn more. Practice does not make "perfect," it makes it "easier," and when something is easier it's usually more fun and we're likely to do more of it. Every learner is different and I try to respond to what I feel a student needs in the moment in order to stay connected with music. This can mean making repetition practice into a game, or switching gears to try something different, or taking a movement break -- there is usually an adaptation that can make things easier and more enjoyable. And there are many paths towards the same outcome. My challenge and joy as a teacher is to help each student find their path.
If I meet a student in many years time and they tell me that they still play the piano and get enjoyment from it, then I know I have succeeded.