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Do What You Love; Love What You Do

Music Education
Brain Functioning

Music Education Is For Everyone

Everyone is

Basic Skills Matter

Do What You Love; Love What You Do.  
There's no denying it -- life can be tough.  So many voices, so much advice... and it all comes down to a change in perspective.  The arts are the ideal venue to hone this skill -- thinking outside the box, trying different interpretations, exploring the human condition, and most of all, searching for beauty.  What life situation could not be aided by higher-level, more critical and creative thinking?  As we march through the mundane stuff of life, what a better companion than an aspect of oneself that looks beyond, to the beautiful, the inspired?  Learning, discovering, loving are all part of making work fun!


Music Education Supports Brain Education
The relationship between music study and cognitive strength is well-documented. Due to the multifarious nature of musical understanding and performance, neural connections are made and strengthened through use in this medium.  At one time, a musician is called upon to employ hand-eye coordination; fine-motor skills; pattern analysis; coordination of diverse articulations and phrasings between the hands; complex and integrated counting; reading/code-deciphering; emotional content; theoretical understanding; cultural awareness; memorization; and performance skills, like poise and stress management, among others; and all at once!  The complexity is such that great focus and ability to multi-task are demanded simultaneously for success.  These connections literally forge more neural synapses, thickening the myelin sheath and resulting in greater brain plasticity (enhanced fluid intelligence) -- all great reasons for doing something so completely enjoyable!


Music Education Is For Everyone
We rarely question the study of music in those with great "talent", and with good reason, but what about the student in the margins?  A great mentor said that although she could not draw well, it did not keep her from appreciating fine works of art. Similarly, exceptional aptitude is not necessary to learn and appreciate music.  In fact, it is often the case that students with special needs (Asberger's Syndrome, autism, ADD/ADHD, blindness) are exceptionally suited to understanding music; the many-jeweled facets of music and musicianship provide doors for any type of mind. Students who are not stimulated by lots of time alone, practicing - a requirement of the pianist - may be served better in groups like chorus, musical theater, band, or orchestra.  However, the piano becomes more collaborative as skill increases, and the independent student no longer finds herself alone.  A foundation in piano is necessary for any serious study in another instrument; all music degree programs require piano proficiency.


Everyone Is Different
As a teacher, I never know what aspect of music a student will latch onto:  the advanced patterns, theory, mathematical aspects, emotional content, discipline, rules, or predictability of progression; cultural or historical aspects; performance; competition; or self-discovery.  I do utilize the general curriculum, but I strongly believe that my own comfort zone should not hinder a student’s potential and creativity.  Therefore, despite the commonality, no two lessons will ever be the same in my studio.  


Basic Skills Matter
While I celebrate the individual child, it is still the case that I teach a skill, and fundamentals matter in developing proficient musical skills.  A totally student-directed lesson may be all fun and games at first, but without basic skills, the enthusiasm wanes. Creative thought loses luster with the inability to execute it.  Therefore, all students in my studio learn sight-reading, theory, scales and technique along with curricular and performance pieces.  Additionally, students perform regularly in group performance classes to promote regular preparation and ease of performance; annual recital; annual graded MTNA Studio Festival; NVMTA Skills, Sight Reading and Theory or Royal Conservatory of Music assessments; and many other optional programs.