I seek to create music in order to explore and express. I seek to teach music in order to facilitate exploration and expression. I am both a dedicated musician and a dedicated music educator; and I’ve found that each role gives me more perspective and more passion to be successful at the other. As an artist, I study, create, and perform music of the American Roots Music tradition on fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, guitar, and voice. This has defined a major tenet of my approach to music education: the use of music to explore society and culture.
I offer an engaging ethnomusicological and inclusive lens to the study of music. I am eager to learn more about the musical cultures represented within my school's community of diverse students and families as well as our host country's musical traditions in order to integrate these important elements into my music classroom. In my current position, I am teaching aspects of jazz and American fiddling traditions to my elementary string classes and middle school orchestra. I am also adapting John Feierabend’s (1) curriculum for the general music classroom to include a more diverse and inclusive array of music including jazz, blues, and folk music from various cultures.
Another tenet of my approach to music education is the inclusion of musical creativity and expression. As a songwriter and recording artist myself, I know the courage it takes to create and share one’s own ideas. I lead by example as I encourage authenticity and risk-taking, supporting these brave, creative souls as they reach new levels of musical competency and strive towards self-actualization. Starting in Kindergarten, I’ve utilized John Feierabend’s “First Steps in Music” approach to prepare children to become artful by facilitating a space for students to make up original tunes and songs to express themselves. In my elementary classroom, students make up songs about what they had for lunch or what they’re doing after school. In my middle school orchestra, I am teaching improvisation through the lens of the Gypsy Jazz genre to provide an outlet for students to express their unique musical ideas.
A good teacher knows that teachers teach more than their respective content. A great teacher is eager to lead by example and work collaboratively. Because “how we teach is as important as what we teach, (2)” I am eager to work with my fellow-teachers and community-members to build a strong school community and provide engaging opportunities for my students to learn and experience music collaboratively. I have many ideas that I am eager to pursue, but I know that we’re better together and I look forward to collaborating with the professionals around me to find cross-curricular ties into the humanities, visual arts, dance, technology, as well as avenues into local culture.
Above all, I believe that students need a safe and joyful learning environment. Through my warm and positive teaching personality, prioritization of inclusivity, and dedication to encouraging the development of social and emotional skills and growth mindset, students will experience a supportive environment to learn, play, sing, create, explore, and express in my classroom. I am eager to help more students work towards becoming the best version of themselves, contributing members of their communities, and globally-minded citizens.
1 Feierabend Association for Music Education https://www.feierabendmusic.org/ 2 Principles & Practices of The Responsive Classroom https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/about/principles-practices/