My Teaching Philosophy
National Board Certified Teacher®, Early Adolescent-Young Adult Music
I believe that music study provides a springboard for all other learning. Music has the potential to reach students at their deepest level of feeling and understanding in their emotional and intellectual worlds. Through music, students are fully engaged, developing curiosity and a love for learning. Music allows students to participate in goal-setting toward group successes that would not be possible unless the students are learning and growing together in community. In addition, when students perform music, they are able to safely channel their emotions, energy, creativity, and passions in such a positive fashion that both the students and their community are enriched.
My teaching reflects my belief in the power of music in my students’ lives. I work to earn my students’ trust, and set goals for them that are both challenging and manageable. I endeavor to motivate them to do their best. I encourage them when needed, and I can also press hard when a student needs to move forward. I am strongly committed to do all that I can to reach every student in my class. I work with energy, compassion, humor, and consistency. I clarify our long-term and short-term goals and hold high expectations for each student to reach those goals. Students know that they are expected to perform at their best ability and to take personal responsibility for their own progress each time they come to class. I teach with the conviction that success in music is particularly hard-earned, and students who invest in this process will not only reap amazing intrinsic benefits, but will also learn lessons needed for success in other areas of their lives. I present music in its entirety: from its intellectual components of theory, music reading and comprehension, music writing and analysis, and sight reading skills, to proper sound production, care of the body as the instrument, blending sounds with the choir, and carrying individual parts as musicians listen and balance those parts with the rest of the choir. I connect music learning to other disciplines the students encounter in their other classes. I teach students to improvise and create songs on their own. I use technology in the classroom when its applications help us better meet our curriculum goals. I teach leadership and teamwork throughout our learning processes. I let my students know that their input is a valuable part of our classroom; they also know that I will give them loving, guided correction if they are not exercising their leadership with the entire class’s best interests in mind. I believe that the aesthetic beauty music brings to students as they perform music generates a power unparalleled by other disciplines. Music brings the students a sense of joy and “belonging” to a community that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
I teach music because when a student experiences an “aha” moment in my class, it is often accompanied by a resulting beautiful sound, creating an internal experience that can only be found in music. I teach music because I believe the next generation of citizens are in my classroom, learning, living, and growing in a responsible, joyful community that they will recreate wherever they go. Finally, I teach music because music is life-changing for many of our young musicians. When our students experience the joy of making beautiful music together, they are empowered with vision, inspiration, and hope to become the best they can be in all areas of their lives.