I am passionate for my students to:
– develop the tools for independent learning
– read, hear, and think music
– explore and appreciate multiple genres of music
– become skilled to bring musical joy to others
– keep the joy of creating music
– establish life skills for personal management, academic study
Come along with me in exploring music from across the millenium and the world, establishing your family’s music culture, understanding how our children learn, sharing music through ministry and hospitality.
Coming from a musical family, I’ve always loved music. One grandmother played the piano for nursing home chapel services, while my grandfather played the violin almost every day of his adult life, almost up until he died at age 100. My mother and aunts played organ in their respective churches, and one of my uncles just retired from professor of organ and harpsichord at Agnes Scott College, Atlanta, Georgia.
I can not remember a time without the joyful experience of music: whether sliding across our hard wood floors in my holey socks to the stirring Mendelssohn’s “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream,” singing Sunday School songs or opera tunes with “Bugs Bunny,” listening to my mother practice the pipe organ, or my dad’s LPs of different styles of jazz. My formal music education started with the violin at age 6. After a couple of years, I started begging for piano lessons. As finances were tight, my mother started teaching me piano around age 9, even while continuing violin. The passion was lit–all through high school I was glued to the piano bench!
While studying at Western Kentucky University, I was inspired to pursue piano instruction under Sylvia Kersenbaum, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Later on in Sacramento, California I studied under Barbara Weiman, a student of the great Nadia Boulanger. Both women have been significant to me as teachers, not simply for the musical content which they taught, but because of who they were. They both enabled me to see the music I was studying in connection with the personalities and historical contexts in which it was created. I took that picture with me, even while I home educated our children. With homeschooling came teaching co-op classes in music appreciation, the instrument families of the orchestra, introduction to choral singing, Handel’s “Messiah,” and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
The way people learn has long intrigued me. Even in high school I started to observe and study different learning styles, incorporating those principles into my academic pursuits. Homeschooling furthered my studies in learning theory, resulting in a more fully developed approach to musical pedagogy. Learning is not all in your head–each child learns differently. Consequently, I emphasize individualized instruction, application of theory through hands on activities. Furthermore, I believe that each child can be creative with the proper tools and guidance.
Music is meant to be shared. Our children need to be equipped to worship God through music. I look inspire and equip them through hymn training and improvisation. They, in turn, can play music for themselves that feeds the soul, they can lead others in worship, and in the long term, they can help preserve the excellent, historic hymns of the Church. I encourage my students to enjoy music here in the context of the home, family, church, and community, with informal music performances such as tea parties, nursing homes, and family gatherings.