Where did you receive your postgraduate education? Bachelor of Music, Piano Performance and Pedagogy (Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio). Graduate studies in organ performance and church music (Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio). Continuing education through conferences of Music Teachers National Association and National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy.
What is your hometown? Born the daughter of an Air Force serviceman in State College, PA, I do not have any one town to claim as home. But I’ve been fortunate to live in many beautiful and diverse places: upstate New York, North Dakota, Texas, West Germany, South Carolina, and Ohio. I spent the majority of my childhood in Wichita Falls and San Antonio. And I spent my high school years in Spangdahlem, Germany. These are the places I hold dearest in my heart.
What is your preferred age to teach? I have experience teaching age 3 through senior citizens, and I enjoy teaching each age for different reasons. I love early childhood because the lesson is as much about teaching general life concepts and experiences as it is about exploring the world of musical sound. I love that younger children are generally lacking inhibition and willing to try anything. And even in the case of the shy children, I love that they will show that they were observing and processing even if they were not engaging through participation at that moment in time. Children are a joy to teach because of their enthusiasm and their flexibility. They absorb information so quickly!
I love teaching junior high and high school students as well because they reach the point of realizing that their music study fills an emotional/spiritual need for their well-being. I am overjoyed when a teenage student tells me that they “got lost at the piano” for an extended length of time. Adult students are also a joy to teach, whether they are returning to the instrument after many years away or experiencing structured music study for the first time. It takes tremendous courage and dedication to begin music study as an adult. Perhaps the most joy I’ve had as a teacher is through the many parent-child pairs I’ve been able to teach through the years. It is especially beautiful when a parent begins/resumes music study so that they can model and experience with their children.
What is your preferred student level to teach? While I enjoy teaching beginners because they are a blank slate, I have a special place in my heart for transfer students at any level. After so many military moves, I spent MANY years as a transfer student myself. I am very patient in assisting the transfer student adjust to a new teaching style, different expectations, and sometimes, a completely different style of playing and learning music.
How long have you been at Sherwood? Since 2009.
What do you want to impart to your students through your teaching? A love for music that will last their lifetime paired with a rich musical foundation that will allow them to make music self-sufficiently at an artistic level. In addition to basic music competency, it is important that we develop a firm theory knowledge, sight-reading, and ear-training skills, and also explore more creative areas of music making (such as harmonization, accompaniment styles, and composition).
What do you most enjoy about teaching? As a private studio teacher, it is so fulfilling to teach a student for many years and to share in their growth as an individual. It makes me very happy to see a student reach their full musical potential and to know that I had a part in their development. I teach to GIVE to my students, but I am always amazed at how much I receive in return.
Describe your musical pursuits outside of Sherwood. My favorite opportunities are performing as piano duettist with my husband, Luke (also on faculty here at Sherwood). Assistant director of music/organist at Immaculate Conception Church, Chicago (Harlem/Talcott). Collaborative pianist for choruses, vocal soloists, and instrumentalists.
What is your earliest musical experience or best musical memory? As a child, hearing my Dad sit down to play the piano after returning home from work. I grew up hearing him play Beethoven, Chopin, Gerswhin, and many show tunes.
Please describe one of your favorite teachers or mentors. My first college teacher was a top-notch performer, an excellent teacher, and an amazing listener. In general, he was just a really kind, genuine, and thoughtful human being. He is the one who first inspired me to teach. And by example, he taught me to teach the whole person, not just the musical part.
Who is your favorite composer or what is your favorite musical period? How can I have just one favorite when there is so much variety? I have a different favorite depending what mood I’m in. Bach, Chopin, Griffes, Gershwin.
About you: Spending time with my family and friends, especially my husband and 2 year old daughter. Reading, long walks outdoors, and keeping fit at the gym (pilates and yoga especially). Cooking and baking, skiing in the winter, listening to ALL kinds of music: jazz, popular (techno, Paul Simon, U2 to name a few), world music, etc.