My family was the center of my world growing up. As we moved frequently for my fathers work, my mother, two younger sisters, and three younger brothers were my core that gave me early opportunities to explore what it means to guide young minds - to inspire, be creative, set boundaries, and to keep each unique individual in their own space and time moving forward. I was also homeschooled which gave me the ability to explore the world of education with freedom even though my family environment was a defined and controlled environment. As I grew, I felt the need to learn and experience a wider variety of life for myself--although I am so grateful for my upbringing with the wisdom, joy, and insights of my beautiful and inspiring family.
I learned so much from each move with the experience of different cultures and atmospheres. Born in Salt Lake City, I absorbed a lot from people of all different walks of life in Arizona and North Carolina. The most challenging and largest growth for me was living in Las Vegas - there was so much noise all the time and so many of my core family beliefs were challenged, awakened and cemented in contrast to the other range of lifestyles the city provides.
We lived on a farm in Indiana, learning the importance of hard work and going the extra mile as well as highlighting the value of community and support that has always been part of my life. I also had the opportunity at 11 to travel to Thailand and Cambodia to see first-hand how lucky I am to live in America, with a family and faith that supports me.
I first heard the violin at age 7 at a church meeting and was immediately compelled to have it as part of my life. Forever. After convincing my grandparents to help me get a violin and lessons, at first I didn’t like it. I was older than everyone else (they had started as early as age 3), and so I was challenged by my colleagues all being so young. It was another insight into the value of hard work, focus, intention, self-worth, confidence, well-being, balance, patience, love, understanding, strength and hope. I used all of these and by age 11, I was humbled to be one of 4 competitors accepted to perform as soloist with an orchestra.
The first performance was a breeze, it was pure joy and happiness. I can still feel the energy that filled me to this day. To my surprise, I was distracted during the second performance and afterwards, feeling ashamed at not being able to keep my focus, some harsh words from my mom added extra weight. I have struggled (still do!) from that moment forward with performance anxiety. I continue to focus my time, energy, and mindset to overcome and work with my fears - they are not completely gone but I can say that they are something that I am able to manage now and I see how my own experience fuels how I teach, support, and educate my own students.
When I lived in Las Vegas, there were two teachers we were considering. One required 3 hours of practice per day and the second said nothing about duration - I chose the later. Her studio was supportive, inspiring, fun, with a gentle yet firm hand moving me forward and I soon found myself spending 4-6 hours a day on the violin because I wanted to. It was my choice from an inspired and loving place.
Later, when I was studying with a professor at Indiana University’s renowned Jacob School of Music - I was told to practice 8-10 hours a day and I gave it my best. Despite the long hours I put in, each week my lessons were tragic, constantly feeling like it was never good enough, not meeting the ‘mark,’ and falling behind. I was being exposed to a different style of teaching, a different way of motivating students, and I rebelled. It was not the right fit for how I inspire myself and how I choose to inspire others. I see the importance of all of these experiences now, though I will admit it was very challenging in the moment.
I was 17, doing pre-college courses, working at an ice cream shop/deli/catering company, practicing, and fulfilling a large number of family commitments such as tutoring siblings in different topics, cooking X amount of meals a week, house chores, church commitments, farm obligations, and my other music classes. I was certainly learning time management with very little room to breathe! In order to get everything accomplished each day (including the 8-10 hours of practice), my life began at 4:00am and ended at 10:00pm. While I was ‘with’ my family, I did not feel like I was really present and enjoying our time together that we did have. Practicing was taking me away from everything I loved and it began to feel pointless. I made a decision that I no longer wanted my life to feel or be pointless.
This is where the magic of teaching, something I had been loving, came back to me. There was a feeling that I loved about inspiring others through teaching, helping students overcome obstacles, realize their worth, feel loved and help them create an environment where they love the way they learn. I had been so focused on performing that it only took the realization that I had something I truly loved in my life the whole time.
In 2016, my husband and I moved to Charlotte NC and I accepted a position teaching violin at a creative music school. I also began growing my private studio and worked as a nanny - this time focused on the type of teaching I wanted for my students as well as the balance and inspired environment for myself. Learning from so many different teachers with different styles helped me create my own unique approach which continues to grow with each of my students. I put my heart and soul into each of my students and want their unique voices and perspectives to be part of how they move forward. All the while providing a guiding hand and firm support and foundation for them to fail and succeed.
In my studio I focus on personal growth, confidence, setting goals, hard work, patience, expression, and having a space for each student to explore who they are. I love working on language and creating an atmosphere that builds up rather than tears down. I also enjoy helping each student apply the things that have meaning in their lives while using humor. I support my students and their families by offering my love and friendship, accomplish goals, dream about their future, and live the inspired life they want to live.
For students and families that connect with what I do and are interested in learning more about my studio openings, and availability, feel free to contact me anytime by email and I will get back to you for a free consultation firstname.lastname@example.org.
My own family lineage of violin teachers began in Utah in the studio of Carrie Salisbury and Nonie Reesor, who introduced me to the foundations of learning the violin in 2006. While in Utah, I also had the privilege of being a student of Dianne Austin, (herself a student of Dr. Suzuki), and finally Russell Fallstad and William Fedkenheuer of the Fry Street Quartet. Following my move to Arizona in 2009, my principle teacher was Louise Scott and shortly thereafter moved to Las Vegas to study with Mary Straub at the Nevada School of the Arts (NSA). I completed my formal studies at the Jacob’s School of Music in the studio of Sibbi Berhahrdsson before moving to North Carolina and devoting myself to sharing all that I have learned and am still growing with. I have continued to seek out my own lessons and training for my own violin playing, teaching, and professional development and have compiled a list below of courses and teachers to give some insight into the diversity of my training, perspectives, and all I seek to grow in my studio and with my students.
I began my teacher training as a teacher’s assistant with Mary Straub, the visionary founder and leader of the Nevada School of the Arts (NSA). I led both group and private classes while learning the wealth of information from all of the teachers I myself looked up to. My first Suzuki Teacher Training for Unit 1 was with David Strom, who I call the modern Dr. Suzuki. David’s teaching has fundamental love and support for the teacher and their individuality and he stresses the importance of descriptive language especially when working with small children. I also took unit 6 with David. I continued Unit 2 and 3 training from Charles Krigbauhm, who holds the award for the youngest Suzuki trainer. Charles has a very different teaching style, he opened up my perspectives on how different personalities can impact how I approach a student and their learning styles, challenges, and strengths. Through all of these trainings, I was observing multiple teachers including Dr. Terry Durbin who is famous for how he engages children through fun and laughter. I jumped at the opportunity to complete Unit 5 with him at Stand University which was eye opening in so many ways and helped me transition awkward or uncomfortable situations in the classroom into engaging and fun growing experiences. I also found a kindred spirit in James Hutchins when I took Unit 4. He taught me a lot about the importance of involving the family and incorporating empathy when appropriate. I also took unit 7 with Linda Fiore who early in her years was a student of Dr Suzuki. Linda taught me a lot about organization and layering each principle. Excited and full of new ideas from so many amazing teachers, I decided to have myself evaluated by many amazing teachers and teacher trainers through Violin teaching Strategies and Practicum. My Trainers for these courses were Ann Smelser and Rolando Freitag. Other training courses I have taken include Music mind games and Leading extraordinary lessons online. Meanwhile I continue to pursue education to the highest degree as I work towards my certificate of Achievement.
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