Teaching is a passion for me, and the role of a teacher/mentor has become an integral part of my professional and personal identity. My central pedagogical objective is to create a positive environment where supervised exploration of learning and creativity can be catered to the needs and goals of each student. My teaching is flexible and responsive to the unique atmosphere of each situation and I continuously assess my teaching strategies and their effectiveness. At all times I strive to engage, challenge, and inspire the musical growth of my students. My students quickly realize I am genuinely invested in their academic and performance advancement.
Embracing the learning process is essential for students. My lessons are designed to develop students’ concentration levels, aural and visual memories, problem solving skills, and goal setting/task completion skills. As part of this process, I require students to regularly engage in critical reflection on the learning experience. My goal is for students to actively contribute to their own learning, extending it beyond the classroom and the semester. These skills are fundamental to pursuing a career as a performer or educator. Naturally, these are life skills transferrable to many different contexts.
Diversity of pedagogical method in music is obligatory. As an instructor, I tailor my teaching approach to each student’s learning style. My own cultural competency is a direct result of a lifetime of international experiences. I strive to set aside my own perceptions of what might be “easy” or “hard” to accomplish, as these assumptions are based on my cultural and educational background. Rather, my focus is to connect with each student on a level that they can relate to; a method that works for one student might not transfer to another. I continually work to broaden my knowledge of alternative practices and metaphors to aid in my teaching effectiveness. When students are inspired, guided, and genuinely supported by a positive teacher utilizing diverse strategies, the probability of success is much higher.
Technique and musicality are inseparable. It is important to have a healthy balance between the physical development of technique and its application in musical context. Technique in not taught as an end unto itself. Rather, I direct technical work in a manner that aims for freedom of musical expression. I teach students ways to systematically break down technical barriers, as these skills are essential in facilitating high-level performance. One of my main technical focuses in teaching is relaxation and balance of both body and mind. Many performance problems begin in the mind and transfer to bad physical habits, so I believe it important to be proactive in defense of healthy performance. I am diligent in ensuring that students maintain a strong foundation of natural breath support, efficiency of movement, body alignment, timing, and concept.
Motivation comes from inspiration. My role as a teacher is to lead by example and systematically direct students in a way that fosters engagement, curiosity, individuality, and inspiration. At any level of accomplishment, musicianship is a continual work in progress. It is vital to teach students how to relish the success of smaller achievements on the path towards larger goals. This will motivate students to become lifelong learners.