Philosophy of Performance Practice

My approach to teaching is one in which each lesson is tailored specifically to the student’s interests and needs. Everyone learns differently at a unique pace, so there is no standard course of action or prescribed timetable. If you know what you want to get from the lesson, I can give you that. If you don’t know, I will give you what I think you should have. In most instances, tunes are taught by ear. If desired, I am happy to write out notation, but I prefer to emphasize the aural learning of music as it heightens your awareness to the sounds you are producing.

I consider learning to read music essential, but as a supplement to aural learning. The reason ear training is optimal is because it is easier to listen closely to what you’re playing when you don’t have to split your attention between discerning notes on a page and hearing what they sound like. Also, I have found that it is easier to learn to read notes later on than to learn by ear later on. In this way learning music is like learning a foreign language. It is far easier to appropriate pronunciation and inflection of speech early on and to become literate later.

An overriding tenet of my teaching style is to choose music the student prefers and wishes to learn. Learning music requires a significant time investment, so you may as well be working with material that suits you--material you will enjoy practicing for hours. Whatever the tune, it then becomes a vehicle for technique, ornamentation, and variation.

I believe that it is important to have a foundational understanding of basic harmony. Such knowledge facilitates a firmer grasp of the music at hand. In all instances, well-rounded musicianship is ideal.”





illen odyssey