2017 - 2019 Connecticut Music Educators Executive Board
2017 - 2018 Southern CT Regional Mixed Choir Chair
2017 - present Southern CT Regional Treble Choir Chair
2018 - present Connecticut All-State Mixed Choir Chair
Connecticut Student Affairs Commission Vocal Czar
“Hell is full of musical amateurs.” - George Bernard Shaw
I believe that making music is the ultimate form of self-expression. Teaching music must then be a vocation in the purest sense. Music education is a lifestyle that demands humility, vulnerability and selflessness. My father taught me that I must always lead by example. Therefore, if I want my students to be engaged, passionate, and dynamic, I must consistently demonstrate my commitment to the transformative endeavor of music making. This pursuit of artistic expression is a fundamental tenant of being human and should be recognized as an equal within a balanced school curriculum. Shaw was not amending Dante’s famous poem; rather, I believe he was riffing on society’s inability to fully live.
In an effective music classroom, students learn to rely on each other. Thus, the learner will develop necessary collaborative skills through successful group work. However, each student is ultimately responsible for his or her own learning. The music selected for study becomes the curriculum. Careful planning to facilitate desired student achievement is necessary when picking repertoire to efficiently plan for student growth. Music selected must have a fundamental uniqueness. A music educator should always know why a piece is selected for study and what the students should glean from encountering that repertoire.
In my classroom, I believe that music literacy is paramount to becoming a lifelong learner and appreciator of music. Music is a language and should be studied with the rigor required for fluency and artistry. Students should be exposed to appropriate, quality literature. Through the study of excellent compositions, students can be taught practical music theory, music literacy fundamentals, cultural awareness, poetic understanding, and historical facets of music - all within the context of one piece. This daunting, humbling task becomes engaging to students because of the inherent beauty and joy of music making.
Modeling the concept of lifelong learning, teachers must remain professionally active in their field of study. I maintain a rigorous performance (playing, acting, singing, conducting) schedule outside of school in addition to my teaching role at Hamden Hall. I value my affiliation with the Connecticut Music Educators’ Association and the American Choral Directors’ Association because through journals, conferences, and performance opportunities, they help to hold me accountable for my students’ learning.
It is my hope that students who encounter music in my classroom are validated and uplifted through consistent, positive experiences. Short and long term planning is necessary to maximize instructional periods. Time with our students is often finite and should be considered as a precious commodity. In the music classroom, we are not teaching students music; rather, we are teaching people about life.