Teaching Philosophy Statement
As an educator, it is my responsibility to provide an environment where students feel welcome and free to seek experiences that aid them in growing as musicians and members of our community. They must feel safe to make mistakes as they explore concepts and techniques that may be new to them. I believe that lessons learned from failures, and the perseverance required to overcome those failures, are wonderful opportunities for individuals pursuing any career.
I serve as a facilitator of growth and encourage students to engage with material and opportunities that will aid them as they work toward personal and professional goals. I offer structure and guidance for their learning while encouraging them to develop their own voice. My students have the freedom to explore musical interests and seek help in the areas they wish to grow. Band students regularly eat lunch in the band room and will frequently make use of this time to practice or talk with classmates about their musical interests. Once several trumpet players were discussing the music from a video game they enjoyed. I joined their conversation and asked them to play some clips of the music on their phones. I created an extra credit assignment where students transcribed the music from their favorite video games. The trumpet players not only transcribed the solo parts to the music but created an arrangement for a small jazz ensemble as well. I was so impressed with their work I had them perform it on our spring concert. This was wildly popular and would become a regular activity that saw students arranging music for our performances. Aside from occasional advice during the arranging process, I was able to allow students to independently guide their own learning in a collaborative environment with their peers.
Students deserve assessment of their progress that is honest and compassionate, while providing them with a path to achieving success. I regularly provide formative assessment that allows students to alter their approach throughout the process of preparing performances. I provide this clear and consistent critique of their performance while seeking to validate their progress. Shame and abuse have no place in a functional learning environment, and students have the right to be treated with respect no matter the quality of their work.
No student is an island, and individual learners are best served by feeling as if they have the support of a community. I strive to cultivate a culture of cooperation based on mutual respect and consideration. My students have a learning community that helps to shape their progress and mirrors the professional community of which they are gradually becoming members. I include students from varied backgrounds to provide a spectrum of ideas that deepens our empathy and broadens our understanding of individuals from diverse origins. I seek to engage with students from myriad cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I strive to assess them as individuals and allow for their personal experience to guide the process of their learning.
I am dedicated to building relationships with students to help them achieve their goals as musicians and professionals. I work to stay engaged with current research and performance techniques to provide my students with the best possible chance of success in their career.