“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Aristotle. Maintaining an open mind and heart is key to remaining teachable and adaptable to new possibilities.
“Music is indivisible. The dualism of feeling and thinking must be resolved to a state of unity in which one thinks with the heart and feels with the brain.” George Szell
My teaching philosophy is simple—the joy of learning flourishes with the right balance of nurturance, guidance and curiosity. Teaching through the heart, not just the mind, makes it much easier for us to embrace failure as a golden opportunity to improve further, as a valuable learning tool rather than a source of disappointment or embarrassment. With the calming of fear, frustration also subsides, and patience begins. As an attitude that permits success is acquired, the joy of performing and sharing with others what is meaningful to us is born. The consequence is unleashing our inner creative selves and the freedom to be individuals. This freedom allows us to cheer for our competitors, to eagerly learn from them as we collectively pace each other on the road to excellence. The study of music is one of self-discovery, not merely about polished technical ability and academic markers achieved. Musicians are the Olympians of musical instruments, the storytellers without words understood universally.
“Without music, life would be a mistake…” Friedrich Nietzsche.
I believe that music is core to the health of our civilization. In a world becoming increasingly visual and socially fragmentized, the study of music holds the key to the human connection, the art of listening, being heard and understood, new perspectives and possibilities and being valued. The opportunity to study music as taught by truly qualified artist-teachers opens the mind and the heart to think with our whole bodies. The study of music is core to all subjects. Therefore, the study of music will enhance the study of all topics. The multitude of highly transferable skills and neuroplasticity acquired through excellent music education helps us become more versatile and successful everywhere as sought-after, creative problem-solvers, thinkers, and visionaries.
To joyfully nurture culture, health and social justice through innovative education for the betterment of society.
My Teaching Goal
My teaching goal is equally simple: To give all students the opportunity and tools with which to achieve their personal best with increasing self-confidence, self-acceptance, and curiosity as they discover the glorious magic of music-making and overall freedom of creative, artistic self-expression and the joy in sharing it one baby step at a time.
“I never practice. I always play.” Wanda Landowska.
The critical points are:
- I never ask my students whether they practice. I can hear, and so can they.
- We all do what we value and what we believe we can do well. There’s a lot to learn in music. Sometimes going for a walk instead is essential. Less is more. Learning music is about the freedom of self-expression and building a positive self-concept. A supportive team is necessary for success.
- We discuss interests, choices, and the consequences of our decision-making and consider the impact of life experiences. Learning how to apply critical thinking and strategies to calm down is vital.
- I work hard to make the study of music a positive and rewarding journey for all.
- Time management is an art we all work on forever. Lifestyles vary. Life is not a race.
- My students teach me how to teach them what music is.
- I encourage my students to give themselves intrinsic rewards for small achievements as they are far more powerful and long-lasting than any extrinsic reward.
- I know my students want to play well, learn, and love the experience of finally turning on their superpowers. They have incredible imaginations.
- At the same time, it takes a lifetime to nurture an artist.
We laugh a lot in my studio, prompting student complaints such as “My cheeks hurt again.” That said, young students often cruise through school on auto-pilot. One frustrated elementary student about to start playing piano stated emphatically that the feeling in their head was “bad!” My student proclaimed that they kept “trying to turn it off.” I finally figured out the dilemma. They thought thinking was “bad!” Learning how to enjoy working hard contributes to another common student complaint: “You make my brain ache. You’re making me think again.”
My Musicians’ Health Education Goal
My Musicians’ Health Education Goal is to foster new collaborative opportunities for combining experiential knowledge, science and the art of education to enhance the longevity of careers by focusing on injury prevention.
My Diabetes Education Goal
My Diabetes Education Goal is to foster new collaborative opportunities for combining experiential knowledge, science and the art of education to greatly enhance the longevity and quality of daily life for individuals with diabetes.
The bottom line is that I listen.