As a teacher, composer, performer and having earned a Master’s Degree in Music Composition and a New York State PreK-12 teaching certificate in Music Education, I realize that the ability to execute a task deftly does not automatically translate into the ability to teach that task.
For over 28 years I have taught guitar, general music, and music theory to students of all ages, but my recent teaching experiences have honed my skills in regard to teaching school-age students. It is important to remain in touch with the popular musical culture to which students of all ages enjoy. This is crucial when attempting to gain a student’s acceptance, capture his or her interest, and create the ideal learning environment. For example, explaining how music has evolved over many years and demonstrating how diverse musical styles are interrelated can arouse a student’s curiosity. I have found through teaching the unknown through the known evokes interest in students, even if they do not contemplate pursuing music seriously, and it also encourages them to be more aware of cultures outside their own and opens them to learning in general. Studies have shown that instruction in music and art can enhance the ability to learn other subjects.
In a classroom setting, I was able to keep the students engaged by utilizing my enthusiasm to communicate my knowledge of music. My teaching techniques include demonstration, modeling, listening exercises, as well as the standard practice of students taking notes. I also stress active classroom participation, discussion and group work, encouraging students to feel comfortable in a creative and positive learning environment. I believe that everyone has the ability to be creative to a varying degree, and my teaching goal has been to elicit creativity from all students, including those who are less practiced and do not see themselves as "creative." It is always gratifying for me to see students’ reactions when finding they can gain satisfaction and enjoyment in a disciplined, musical learning environment. My experiences achieving these positive reactions and results from students have made teaching very exciting and gratifying.
I relate well to younger children in the instructional environment and have learned the teaching techniques to be different than those used with older students. I focus on making lessons more stimulating, interesting, and playful while conveying a sense of discipline and organization, which are required for continued improvement. I never underestimate a young student’s ability to process information through music education and am often amazed at his or her ability to do so.
I have taken my responsibilities as an educator very seriously and understand the importance of the profession. And as a New York City native, I am also aware of the wonderful cultural diversity that exists here and the sensitivity that is required when teaching students from different cultural backgrounds.
As a music teacher, I am responsible for positively influencing the young people of today by enriching their present lives through music with the hope of them achieving continued happiness and success into the future. Memories created through music making can last a lifetime. As a young student who unfortunately did not experience a quality music education at the elementary and secondary school levels, I firmly believe that all students should receive a quality music education. Their lives can be enriched through music making, creating and acquiring a deeper appreciation through listening.
Students never forget a teacher who has deeply affected them at some point in their education. They carry the words of a good teacher in their heart and minds, serving as a guiding light and source of inspiration throughout their lives.