My Teaching Philosophy

Making music is one of the most pleasurable and entertaining activities in which humans can participate. I believe that first and foremost, students should always enjoy the process of making music. If music is not enjoyable for students it becomes a dreaded chore and progress comes to a standstill. It is crucial to understand and master the fundamentals of music. The best way to achieve this mastery is by practicing well, practicing often, and learning music in a step-by-step process.

I have created an acronym to represent five basic elements of music:


Sormelharf represents Sound, Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, and Form. Often, some of the elements are taken for granted and students only focus on one or two elements, like playing the correct pitches and getting some of the rhythms right. However, all of the elements are equally important, and they come together to create what we love: music. In all of my teaching situations I emphasize this fact, thus helping students become well rounded musicians.

I have put a great deal of time and thought into creating a sound pedagogical approach to teaching students of all levels. In teaching beginners, I use the method books and songs which I have written. They all take a step-by-step approach to developing musical and technical skills, and they progress gradually so that students will be challenged to improve and will enjoy the process as they go.

Intermediate and advanced students must have strong fundamental skills, too. In many cases advanced students are forced into situations where they must play music that is far beyond their technical skills and musical understanding. If this problem occurs too often, it will lead the student to frustration and a dislike of music and performing. In private lessons it is far more important to gradually build up to difficult pieces so that the students do not lose touch with the meaning and feeling of the music that they are playing.

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