I had the privilege to be born into a musical family, and music was always a part of my life. I have memories of singing with my family when I was very young and beginning piano lessons when I was in elementary school. Like many students, I started band with a shiny new flute and much anticipation in 5th-grade, but I soon began struggling to keep up, mostly due to ineffective practice sessions and frequent lack of practice.
By the time we auditioned for chairs in 6th-grade band, I placed 8th out of 8-dead last, and I remember feeling utter humiliation, not just because I sat in last chair in band every day, but when we performed public concerts I knew everyone in town would see me and know that I was the worst flute player in 6th grade.
I gradually began practicing a little more each year, then a little more, and started working my way up the flute food chain. Eventually, in my sophomore year, I placed first chair in band (there were only two flutists in band that year, but still...). THEN something amazing happened. That summer I started taking lessons from a teacher who lived two towns over (we lived in rural Colorado along the Kansas-Nebraska border and private music instructors were hard to come by). She helped me really understand how to grow as a musician and practice effectively. I also spent the entire summer practicing pieces that were way over my head, just for fun.
I didn't realize what had happened, but when I returned to school in the fall, my music skills had somehow skyrocketed. Not only was I the best flutist in school, but I won 2nd chair in All-State band that year (validating that I was one of the best high school flutists in the state of Colorado) and I received the highest honors (1+) at Solo & Ensemble Festival in the spring.
You see, the guidance of a good private teacher combined with good-quality practice can make a tremendous difference in the life of a student. I just wish I had known all of this sooner in my young life, instead of struggling along with my own meager talents for years and years before seeking intervention.
My Education, Experience, or Qualifications:
I majored in Flute Performance in college and am currently pursuing a master's degree in Instrumental Performance and Pedagogy at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. During my master's studies, I've been researching how individuals best learn music and how classroom and private instructors can implement these techniques into their teaching. Spoiler alert-it's not the way music teachers have been teaching for generations! And there is solid research supporting this claim!
Currently, I'm an active instructor and performer with a diverse musical background. Most recently, I performed as a flutist with the Stuttgart Theatre Center Orchestra in Germany. I was a member of the Island Chamber Players in Honolulu, and a member and soloist with the Kansas City Flute Choir. I also dabble in double bass and played big band with the Austin Community Stage Ensemble in Texas.
As an approachable mentor, tenacious troubleshooter, and steadfast encourager who sets and maintains high expectations, I have experience connecting with students of all ages and skill levels. I can empathize with beginners struggling to learn basic fundamentals, performance techniques, and band and orchestra skills, and I can relate to advanced students who are preparing for contests and competitive audition processes. I'm acquainted with teaching children as young as four or five, and am also very fond of tutoring senior citizens.
As a committed educator, I attend instrumental and pedagogy conferences annually to stay on top of new repertoire, curricula, techniques, software, and teaching styles. I am devoted to developing accuracy in rhythm and pitch, purity in tone, excellence in music-reading ability, superb breath-support, and dynamic posture. I help my students understand the context of performance in the complementary fields of Music Theory, Music History, and Composition.
I am a member of Music Teachers' National Association, National Flute Association, National Federation of Music Clubs, and the Flute Society of St. Louis, where I also sit on the Board of Directors.
My husband, Joe, and I live a crazy gypsy military lifestyle as we traipse around the globe with our 8 noisy-but-loveable children and giant canine in tow. I enjoy dance, yoga, photography, science, calligraphy, genealogy, traveling, education, sewing, cooking, baking, and eating. I also run a nonprofit organization called Zeteo Mission Partners (www.zeteomissionpartners.org) that cares for young children in Asia who have been rescued from trafficking situations.
Very Cool Flutey Things I Get To Do: