My Education, Accolades, and Experience
I graduated from Oberlin Conservatory of Music in 2012 with a Bachelors of Music in Violin Performance and was a recipient of several awards, including the Conservatory Dean’s Scholarship and a National Merit Scholarship. While attending Oberlin, I also participated in the conservatory’s Student Teaching/ Non-Music Major Instruction program, providing violin lessons to children and adults in the local community, as well as other Oberlin students.
In 2013, I continued my post-graduate education at the University of Colorado—Boulder, working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the String Department, and earned my Masters of Music in Violin Performance in 2015. During my two years at CU, I was also a Violin Section Coach and String Mentor with the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras.
I started teaching violin lessons around 2007, teaching violin/viola, piano, music theory, and ear training in my home-state of Illinois. Since then, I have built up and maintained teaching violin lessons in the various states I have lived in—Illinois, Ohio, and now Colorado.
My performances have taken me across the globe to China, Singapore, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, and Barbados, as well as numerous cities across the U.S. Some notable experiences include playing in Natalie Merchant’s orchestra at CU’s own Macky Auditorium (2015); a string quartet performance at the White House (2012); and a recording session with Alice Cooper bassist, Kip Winger (2012). As a multi-instrumentalist, I have had some fine accomplishments as a pianist as well, including a gig as one of the keyboardists/synth players for the Decease film tour in New York City (2012) and a solo performance with the Peoria Symphony Orchestra (2006).
My Approach to Teaching Violin Lessons
I do not subscribe to ‘one-size-fits-all’ teaching philosophy — I draw from various different pedagogical methods and ideas I have researched and picked up over the years, tailoring the techniques, repertoire, and concepts to fit the student’s interests, skill-set/ability, and perceived talent. I also desire to have my students think of learning and playing music as a recreational and therapeutic endeavor, rather than a rigid, formal, academic exercise.
While acknowledging the huge contributions that Classical (Western) music has made to the body of work available for violin and piano, I also encourage my students to explore genres outside of this, while studying the historical and cultural context behind these. I also include music theory, ear training, and occasional singing/keyboard recognition, as a means of providing extremely thorough, well-rounded instruction to my students.
One of My Practice Techniques
I will actually offer two — during my practice sessions, I try to always set aside time to 1) practice in front of a mirror; and 2) record myself, listen back, and take detailed notes on what I hear. You will gain a tremendous amount feedback on your technique, poise, and musical expression from dedicating a a good chunk of of your daily practice time to this. Plus, there is a definite kind of satisfaction in seeing and listening to yourself improve over time!
My Favorites in These Five Styles
- Classical — Johann Sebastian Bach
- Pop/Electronic — James Blake
- Hip-hop — Sángo (DJ/producer)
- Jazz — Dinah Washington
- Musical Theater — Les Misérables
My Favorite Quote
Not just a favorite quote, but more like a life philosophy… “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” - Maya Angelou
How I Started Playing Music
My mother would alway play Classical recordings during breakfast time, and the sound of the violin always stuck out to me in a particular way. I remember asking her if I could learn to play the violin at around two years of age. Shortly after turning four, she finally bought me a violin and took me to my first lesson. My first violin teacher quickly got me involved in group lessons and ensembles with other kids. I know this had a huge impact on my orchestra and ensemble skills, as I got into more advanced repertoire and my abilities progressed. The following year (at age 5), I also started learning piano, another instrument which I had taken a keen interest in, and have been playing the two instruments seriously ever since. It should be noted that I had the incredible privilege of studying with my piano teacher for about twelve years. Overall, I had many fine teachers over the course of my musical education, and I am exceedingly grateful to them for all the different musical perspectives they imparted to me.