Exceptional musicians are far more than the stunning sounds they produce. They have a robust technical foundation that can be relied on in countless situations. They know how to effectively research the compositions they perform in order to provide informed, meaningful performances. They are supportive colleagues with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and a desire to collaborate to build better musical experiences. These are the qualities I endeavor to develop in the students who enter my classroom.
In a multi-student environment, lessons are given using a diverse collection of instructional techniques to accommodate a variety of learning styles. This strategy also provides further engagement by presenting diversity within the learning experience. Students are presented with clear assignment goals and detailed instructions regarding the successful completion of these tasks. To facilitate clear understanding, an open dialogue is maintained between student and instructor to address any and all questions that may arise.
Within the private voice studio, individual student’s goals and learning styles are taken directly into account when structuring repertoire assignments. All students are given the necessary tools to maintain their vocal health and progress as well as methods for providing instruction to others.
I believe that study should be a positive, communal experience and strive to ensure that students have a strong connection with each other as well as myself. To encourage this, I work to establish an environment where students can safely learn how to support and communicate effectively with their colleagues while testing their personal technical and expressive boundaries.
Though exceptional performers are desirable students, some of the most fulfilling experiences can come from students who struggle through an array of challenges to achieve success. While teaching private lessons to non-majors at Indiana University I encountered a young man who could only match pitches that were within his normal speaking range. Over the course of the semester we worked together to reinforce accurate pitch responses, and focused on building healthy phonation techniques from the ground up. Over the course of a single semester he grew from a functional range of a 5th, to giving an enthusiastic performance of the Pirate King’s aria for a jury of myself, my peers, and my instructor. His hard work and total engagement in lessons led to phenomenal progress over a very brief time. This student remains in my memory as one of the most positive teaching experiences of my career.
By providing a strong academic and technical foundation for students to further their studies as well as fostering enthusiastic participation in classroom activities, I aspire to develop resilient, expressive, and informed musicians for future generations to come.