Bio and Teaching Philosophy
I am a caring and imaginative teacher, bringing joy and attention to detail in my lessons. I enjoy thinking critically and creatively about music, technique, and pedagogy.
I began Suzuki cello in Cincinnati at the age of six. After graduating high school from The School for Creative and Performing Arts, I attended the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (BM), the University of Kentucky as part of the Niles String Quartet Residency (MM), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the Hunt String Quartet Residency (DMA). While completing my Masters and Doctorate Degrees, I was a member of the Lexington Philharmonic and the Madison Symphony Orchestras. Following completion of my DMA, I joined the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra in Japan and played orchestral and chamber music with musicians from around the world. After 3 years, I moved to New York City, where I freelanced and taught Suzuki cello lessons, group classes, and early childhood music in several schools. I lived in Canada for 2 years where I coached chamber music, taught lessons, and freelanced in several orchestras, before moving to Bloomington in the middle of the pandemic. Although I have been teaching online during this time, I have missed in-person teaching; with pandemic restrictions lifting, I have finally decided to open an in-person private studio here.
I am registered to teach all 10 Suzuki cello books. This gives me a thorough perspective of how the beginning stages in Suzuki relate to the end of the repertoire ("It all starts with Twinkle!"). I completed Books 1-8 in long-term training with Pam Davenport at the School for Strings in New York City and I recently completed my Book 9 and 10 training with Avi Friedlander, teacher-trainer at the Music Institute of Chicago. I believe in the technical foundation that the Suzuki repertoire and training provides, as well as the philosophy of communal and respectful learning.
In addition to my Suzuki pedagogy, I am an avid student of Dalcroze and use many of the teaching principles and approaches used in Dalcroze classes. Dalcroze provides a wonderful way to experience music before analyzing it. Through movement, ear training, and improvisation, students and musicians can augment their appreciation and understanding of the music they hear and play.
In September of 2021, I co-founded and currently direct the local chapter of New Horizons, an orchestra for adults to learn to play a string instrument with others. Facilitating life-long learning and a love of music and community has been an interest of mine, and I feel lucky to have been able to help initiate this amazing group. I will also be joining the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in the fall of 2022. Chamber music is a passion of mine, and I am thrilled to be able to make music with others.
I live with my partner and young son. In my spare time (apart from practicing scales), I enjoy reading and Taekwondo.
The first step is believing
When I came home with my cello for the first time after my first lesson, my mother encouragingly said, "I love the sound of the cello!" I vividly remember not really understanding what she meant by this, but still wanting to make her happy. So without really knowing how I could possibly make this wood box sound beautiful (ever) I said, "One day I will play you a beautiful song." And somehow, it came true.
Everyone was once a beginner. As teachers and parents, we have to believe that our children will become more than they are. It is our duty to see the bigger picture, to guide them through various phases, to provide them the steps they need to find their own potential.
Our first step is believing in that potential. It is something that we will not be able to see tangibly, perhaps for a long time. We might be blessed with flashes of it from time to time but we have to believe in it always, even if it isn't there to see and hear. In the times we are discouraged, it is our job to step back and ask what is going on, and how can we direct our energy in a more loving and supportive way. Perhaps we can keep working and expect change, or perhaps we need to work differently. As teacher and parent, we work together through these times.
Where are we heading? How do we get there?
Each person is truly unique and has a gift to share with the world. They and their parents may not be able to see what it is, but it is there. Everyone also has a unique way of learning and interacting with the world which means that lessons for one student may be very different than for another. Some students may need to move, and others may prefer to stay still. Some may prefer to watch first, and others prefer to dive right in.
As a teacher, I will try my best to get to know your child, but I will rely on you to help me. We will work together to observe the way they work, what motivates them, how they learn, when they are productive, and how they interact. My goal is to see what they do well and what they enjoy and to find a way to augment that and cultivate it through music.
There are so many reasons to study music! Of course it teaches discipline, problem-solving, teamwork, attention to detail, physical coordination, self-motivation, awareness of self and others, math ratios, imagination...there are few things that can't be covered in musical training!
It is wonderful to give our children something so beneficial in the beginning of their lives. However, I believe a musical journey does not need to justify itself in lists of skills and attributes. It carries an inherent magic that begs to be understood, but is always changing and always out of reach. Music is one of those spaces where humanity can brush against the sublime. If it teaches us lessons of living well in this world, that is wonderful. But I believe the experience itself is worth walking.