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Teaching Philosophy

Teaching Philosophy

Playing the viola is an art of communication above all - in my teaching, I strive to give my students the technical tools that will allow them to play music with creativity, expression, and freedom from tension.  Each student is an individual, with unique strengths and challenges - my job is to help you find your strengths, develop your technique, and overcome any problems in your playing so that you can feel free to express the music -- which is what drew you to the viola in the first place!

I encourage creativity - in lessons, through approaching problems with a spirit of curiosity and exploration, asking directed questions, experimenting with new ideas and repertoire, and finding out what kind of teaching best helps the student to learn; in individual practice, through encouraging students to be self-directed learners, and in developing individual, comprehensive practice goals and strategies for each student; and in performance, through providing plenty of opportunities for performance, giving constructive feedback, and encouraging individuality and self-expression.

I encourage students to find a natural, relaxed physical and psychological approach to playing the viola. I have studied Alexander Technique, and this knowledge helps me to work with my students on physical awareness and healthy playing habits. I emphasize fluid, relaxed motion and careful attention to posture and positioning of the instrument for optimal efficiency and ease of motion. I help students address issues of performance anxiety through approaching performance as an experience that is grounded in sharing one's love of music with others, and fostering a sense of supportive community in my studio.

I encourage students to explore a wide repertoire of music, from Baroque to contemporary, and work to help students understand historical performance practice, stylistic differences, and schools of playing. I also encourage students to listen to a wide variety of recordings, historical to modern, to understand the context and rich history of viola playing.

And finally, I feel it is my responsibility as a teacher to prepare my students for successful careers in music. I am very proud that my students go on to have productive careers teaching in the public schools and/or private studios, performing as orchestral and chamber musicians, and working as professionals in performing arts organizations.  I enjoy guiding students in their career choices, from preparing for graduate school auditions to negotiating the job application/audition process. 
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