Teaching Philosophy

I attended Montessori schools from age 2-8, and feel those years truly made me who I am as a learner. So the Montessori philosophy is a major influence on my teaching style — I keep my approach flexible and tailor it to each individual student's particular needs and abilities. I also like to be able to explore related side topics in a lesson beyond learning a particular piece or exercise (music theory and history, the physics of piano technique, the physics of sound and the way the piano itself works) as they come up to help fire up students' curiosity. So I am really not focused intensely on using the lessons just to prepare students for performance, as some teachers are, though I do hold one studio recital per year, at the very end of May — I have had students opt out of it, and will not force anyone to perform who is absolutely opposed; however I find that working toward a performance goal can be a very positive motivating force, and the performance itself is usually a very emotionally fulfilling experience, when a student is well prepared.

All this said, I am conservatory trained (two degrees in piano performance, from Oberlin Conservatory for undergrad and New England Conservatory for my master's) and I do endeavor to pass along strong technique, an understanding of music theory and how it informs our playing, the necessity of intelligent listening to develop artistry; I also consider it my responsibility to help students develop effective practice strategies so they can grow at home in consistent daily practicing, which is the essential piece, above all, which unlocks the joy of making music for any piano student. The brain needs this daily confirmation and training to internalize and transform all the many pieces of information given in a lesson into physical realities the body can understand and perform.