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TEACHING PHILOSOPHY


I believe that the best educators teach by example. It has been my experience that a teacher must serve as more than a good orator; in addition to the curriculum taught in the classroom, a teacher must also demonstrate commitment to his field. In the case of a professor of music, this means maintaining an active performance and lecturing schedule outside of the classroom. It means organizing and implementing relevant content within the educational offerings of the university. It means maintaining an interactive, dynamic classroom. It also means having a solid foundation on which to build your classes.

The key musical skills that I teach: performing, composing/improvising, appraising, and application/understanding; are quintessential to good musical foundation. The implementation and utilization of these skill sets on both ends of the educational spectrum (teacher and student) are a curricular recipe for academic and professional success.

As a teacher of vocal music, my goal is to have students experience the joy of singing and become lifelong learners. To this end, I will develop studentsí fundamental music skills and a basic understanding of vocal technique. My method and techniques with piano and guitar students are similar. Music appreciation will be fostered by guiding them in the art of educated listening and becoming engaged audience participants, as well as focusing on expressive abilities. Basic compositional and improvisatory techniques are not the sole provenance of theory majors; they are indispensable to both the classical and contemporary performer. They enable the performer to exhibit the flexibility necessary to perform effectively in all conditions. I include improvisatory technique in my lessons and incorporate counterpoint realization in my piano and guitar lessons.

I will structure my courses to the intended audience whether it is a classroom full of music majors, a group who is filling an elective, or an eclectic mix. I will instill an appreciation for a variety of musical genres and create a broader understanding of diverse cultures and traditions. 

As a peer, educator, and professional, it is vital to plan effectively, to adjust to the unexpected, to be flexible and open to suggestions from colleagues and students. In the performing arts, aesthetic expression and tolerance for differences in skills must be addressed. I will be accessible to students for extra help, review and guidance, as well as to my peers. Professorial appraisal allows students to internalize an appraising rubric by which they can gauge their own musical progress.

As an educator, I endeavor not only to draw on textbook knowledge, but also on my personal experiences, both positive and negative. Working actively as a classical musician, I have experienced my share of trials and tribulations. As a performer, my experiences have run the gamut from singing while ill to blissful, smooth performances. World travels with the Notre Dame Glee Club as well as my doctoral thesis on Japanese Western Classical Music have extensively broadened my repertoire. Working with One Ounce Opera has enabled me to adapt to a variety of venues and circumstances. I will cultivate opportunities for students to perform and I will provide artistic experiences for each student, whether as a soloist or member of an ensemble. It is important that they understand and are able to demonstrate that they can apply the skills they have learned in lessons and classes to the real world.

Another area of education to which I am admitantly committed is course cost reduction through Open Education Resources (OER). As a music division chiar, I am keenly aware that the overall cost of course and materials can act as an educational barrier for students. By providing free and quality textbooks and public domain sheet music wherever possible, I endeavor to keep additional course costs as close to $0.00 as possible. I personally loathe hidden costs and seek to avoid saddling my students with them.

A person who takes on the role of both educator and performer also takes on another role: he becomes an ambassador of his respective teaching field. Whatever he does in terms of personal growth must also been seen in terms of fostering academic growth within the educational setting. In these terms, it is my hope that by taking on these roles, I will not only serve to educate those I am working with directly, but function as someone who increases general interest and appreciation for classical music among the populace at large. 

 

 

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