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BIO

compressed versionMusic and Teaching Background:

I have a performance degree from Oberlin Conservatory, and have played violin or viola since I was 7.  I have taught music since High School in private lessons, chamber music coaching, summer camps and professionally as an adult.  As a son of two teachers, I have always taught, and tutored others.

String & other beautiful music goes back far in my family, my grandmother played in the Vermont symphony orchestra, was a violin teacher and choral conductor for 50+ years, & my grandfather also sang until the last days of his life, including a concert performance of the Brahms requiem at age 99!  He passed away only months later.  The same grandfather also founded the Vermont chapter of the American Medical Association.  My great grandmother was also a piano teacher!

I have worked with children across my lifetime, babysitting from a young age, and have trained in violin/viola pedagogy with a variety of people, all who work with young children.  I embrace working with children of all ages, though I only work with 3 year olds if the family has done ‘SECE’, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, classes.

I am a proud and happy father of 2 girls, who have inadvertently refined my teaching style for little kids.

I have worked extensively with nationally renowned teachers including Roland Vamos, Peter Slowik, the late Philipp Naegele, and Joël Belgique!  I’ve taught in Portland since 2009, and I have ~4 combined other years of teaching experience (a few months over the summer doesn’t count as a whole year).

I was a teacher for the Portland community music center, and a few other organizations but prefer to work directly with families.  While I have a program I like to follow, with direct contact, I can personalize my work with you.  References available upon request.

 

My philosophy of teaching and vision of what kids will take out of lessons…in a nutshell…

I seek to instill a love of music, and to help kids take ownership of the learning process as they are able.

 

My philosophy of teaching and vision of what parents will take out of lessons…in a nutshell…

I seek to instill a love of music, awe of their child’s ability, and to help parents be in integrity over their role in the learning process.  (Parents are asked to be involved in their child’s learning, and I want that approach to be consistent.)  However, I also do support parents who, for whatever reason, make a choice to not be a traditional ‘Suzuki’ practice parent.

I teach lessons with an eye to developing character by having a consistently high standard of achievement.  It is my job to help you understand what the next step is to reach that goal.  I value the efforts made, as that is the real lasting change in these kid’s lives.  The parent’s primary assistance comes in helping the child stay on track at home.  Suzuki said, ‘Character first, then ability.’  Parents guide this, but it looks different in each home.  Depending on the child, I can work directly with them with varying degrees of success.  I love this direct avenue as well.

 

More about me:

One thing that is unusual about me is that I also have degrees in Environmental Science (Masters from OHSU) and Neuroscience (BA from Oberlin College) in addition to music.  As such, please rest assured, while my pedagogical foundation is solid and excellent preparation, my goal in teaching students is never ‘to create professionals’.  I think children that learn music at a high level are just as inclined to keep it as a hobby, as it is an excellent accompaniment to many other professions.  Personally, I tried everything I could to be happy outside of music and suggest the same to all of my students.  In the end, I love working with people, one on one and small groups, and seeing your improvement and change week to week.  The problem solving is very dynamic as well, and I enjoy the creativity needed, and the relationships with children, and their families.

There is nothing else that gets me up in the morning more than wanting to help others with their musical goals.  I feel very lucky to enjoy my work as a teacher and a musician.  I enjoy furthering my craft of teaching, and my relationship with music.  Lately, I find myself working more on expanding my understanding of non-classical styles as well!  Teachers who continue to nurture their passions are excellent role models for kids!

I am assistant principle viola with the Vancouver Symphony, and a lover of chamber music.

Non-musical interests are primarily about raising my two daughters, and being a practice partner on violin to one of them!  Helping them develop emotionally, intellectually and finding their place draws me to greater depths of enjoyment of the world, through the hard work of being a parent.  Before them I had time for Mankind Project (mkp.org), tournament level chess, and other ‘European’ board games.  My exercise and adult hobby is tennis, when I get the chance.  Musical hobbies include piano, expanding my fiddling, exploring improvisation, and singing harmony.