Teaching Philosophy

As a violin/viola instructor, I have been greatly influenced by my mentors, Mimi Zweig, Dr. Brenda Brenner, and Dr. Metro Kozak. In their teaching practice, they instill the importance of establishing a strong technical/musical foundation with all students within a nonjudgmental teaching environment. Through this perspective, I believe that the quality of instruction from the outset of study affects all future development and potential for musical artistry. I value and honour this responsibility as an instructor and make every effort to create an atmosphere that fosters personal well-being through learning, experimentation, and creativity in a safe environment. I believe that every student has the ability to learn and cultivate an individualized, well-rounded music education through efficient daily practice, patience, and parental/peer support. Through the teacher-student-parent triangle established in the early stages of study, students are encouraged to develop technical prowess, artistic creativity, aural/reading skills, theory/history as it relates to their level of proficiency, and ease in performance. I consider weekly applied lessons with students as an opportunity to communicate effectively, reward efforts through encouragement, and challenge potential. In addition to private lessons, I believe that group class instruction nurtures social interaction with peers, healthy motivation, ensemble/improvisation skills, concert etiquette, and performance practices. Through weekly private and group lessons, students become a part of a community of musical practice, where they have the opportunity to enjoy music making with peers, nurture a skill that is important in itself as a form of personal activity and development, improve self-esteem and metacognitive awareness, positively affect the social and economic well-being of a community, create social cohesion, and integrate diverse cultures and populations.

In addition to my passion for string pedagogy and community building through music education, I am equally interested in teacher education. In postsecondary classroom/studio settings, I encourage students to pursue excellence in their own teaching, regardless of the situation or setting. I believe that all students pursuing a music degree should be exposed to a variety of pedagogical lenses and methodologies in order to successfully teach young beginning students, either within the school system, through private instruction, or through community music programs. I also believe that students require practical knowledge to forge individualized, entrepreneurial careers within the music industry, including: how to conduct a teaching studio (business), write grant proposals, acquire professional materials (bio, resume/CV, press releases, studio policies), create website and social media presence, and navigate through continually changing market conditions. In the classroom/studio, I present pedagogical concepts in a holistic manner, where students are introduced to a wide variety of learning experiences: critical thinking, creativity, skill development, problem solving, and applied listening/teaching activities. I firmly believe in an interactive setting, where students feel comfortable to ask questions and learn from their peers through immediate feedback. This effective means of learning is encouraged through performance opportunities, small and large group collaborations, hands-on teaching experiences, and observations. As a result, students are able to transfer the knowledge acquired in the classroom and studio to other disciplines, and acquire effective practice strategies and communication tools that can be implemented in the future in a variety of settings. Within a nonjudgmental classroom/studio atmosphere, students embrace their personal learning styles, feel respected as both musicians and scholars, and process performance and pedagogical feedback in meaningful ways.