As a teacher I strive to engage my students by offering multiple entry points to learning, by encouraging collaboration, and by fostering creativity and fun. These core values drive and inspire my teaching, while also inspiring my own learning. My students consistently offer new perspectives on the topics I have studied for many years. I look forward to continuing to share my enthusiasm for the comprehensive study of music by teaching and learning from my students in music performance, theory, history, and appreciation.
Multiple Entry Points to Learning
I believe music education should transparently connect music history, criticism, theory, and skills-based learning. Using these four different lenses, students can individually explore and think critically about music. For example, while teaching beginning piano at Indiana University, I encouraged my undergraduate students to learn not only basic keyboard skills and music theory, but also to critique graduate student recitals. By doing so, students are exposed to new musical languages, different performance techniques, and able to better contextualize abstract concepts.
Discovery through Collaboration
Group work, peer-to-peer performance critiques, guest artist visits, field trips, and class discussion are all tools I regularly use to further engage my students. This fosters an open environment where students can benefit from their peers’ diverse opinions, experiences, and expertise. Students achieve greater ownership of the material and ultimately a better understanding of the subject. Additionally, I have seen that collaborative, active learning increases participation and develops the soft skills necessary for my students’ future careers.
Fostering Creativity and Fun
The educational process should be filled with joy, encouragement, positive reinforcement, and lots of room for creativity – this is especially true in music. Each class is a balance of lecture time and activities allowing students to test their knowledge, explore concepts, and above all ask questions. The diversity of activities and the sense of humor that I bring with me to each class are appreciated by my students and reflected in their post-semester evaluations.