I am so excited that you are interested in joining my studio! I consider myself lucky to be able to teach students every week and have the opportunity to pass down what my teachers have taught me. I am incredibly grateful. Below, you will find my thoughts on this incredible journey.
Favorite things besides bassoon include coffee, dogs (especially basset hounds), hiking, and cooking!
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My Teaching Philosophy
My role as a teacher is to help students develop a personalized path toward
their goals. I believe the role of a teacher is heavily influenced by their surroundings, education, and professional upbringing. I was brought up by receiving endless support in the choices I make, leading me to learn how to become independent in my musical and life decisions. Through trial and error, I was constantly stimulated in the possibilities I could achieve and continue to engage in a never ending act of curiosity and I hope to instill these same qualities in my students by being nothing short of supportive.
Inquisitiveness, motivation, and persistence are some of the cornerstones of my philosophy as a student, teacher, never ending learner, and human being. I follow a quote that I believe I am the originator of, “never be satisfied, but always be proud.” Another quote that means a lot to me is, “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” If we are satisfied with the product we give out, then where is the need to continue working on it? If we can chip away at the never ending goal of improvement, always find areas where we can do just a little bit more, and be proud of the progress but still want more, then that is worth pursuing! If we love that never-ending cycle of satisfaction, then pursue it. Everything takes work, but it will never feel stuck from the amount of joy and endless curiosity that come from it. I say “it” a lot because “it” is not always going to be music or the bassoon, and that is okay! As a bassoon teacher, I want my students to enjoy being a musician. I want it to enrich their quality of life, but I also want them to know that it is okay if the bassoon is not “it.” If they can take away the two quotes, the inquisitive nature, the motivation, and persistence, and apply it to their own ‘it,” then that means I was successful at my job. Find your “it.”
If the bassoon does happen to be “it” for my students, then a more specific set of qualities I look for are as follows; aural skills, pitch, timbre, and tone. They should be able to look for multiple paths for the best outcome such as different fingerings, voicings, and as they advance... reeds! Students will be able to formulate their own words in providing feedback on what they play and how they might be able to fix those in their practice. Efficient practice is vital to the success of being a musician. Proper posture, air support, embouchure, and attitude are essential for success as a wind musician! If I were to boil down all of these qualities down to one word, I would pick awareness. Awareness of what we do well and what we could improve upon are aspects of a mature musician, and are valuable for self growth.
My last important piece of the teaching philosophy puzzle is something I take to heart, and credit my upbringing from my undergraduate studies at Florida State University. I am one of the luckiest students to have had such a kind hearted, constantly supportive, funny, understanding, and sympathetic mentor in my life. My mentor, Jeff Keesecker, has stuck by me from the beginning. During my freshman year, I was ready to quit the bassoon. I was going to switch to Jazz Bass, and Professor Keesecker supported that decision, and did everything he could to help me. I of course did not switch. I actually won my position as 2nd Bassoonist in the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and that motivated me to get even more serious on bassoon. It sparked a fire under me, constantly wanting to be pushed, and grateful to have a teacher who supported me in whatever avenue I took in or out of music. Keesecker went at the pace I proposed whether it benefited him or not, and once he saw my drive, he adjusted his plans with me. I believe this comes from the teaching principle of, “teaching the student in front of you.” I am certain that if I had a teacher with a “cookie cutter plan,” I probably would not be the person I am today. I believe in developing a personalized path to success, and that is different with each and every student. There is no one path, pace, or goal. I will always teach the student in front of me, and cater to their needs on an individual level.