Down the Teaching Road - New Projects

January 27, 2023, 2:18 PM · It seems the longer I spend time with teaching lessons, the deeper I go into the world of music education. I never thought of myself as a teacher until I took a Teaching Assistantship for Music Theory during my Master's degree. Now, I have over 30 students I'm teaching on piano, violin, and even cello. It's been a wild time, and I've learned quite a lot about my musicianship and teaching style along the way, through all the ups and downs. With all this going on, some new opportunities have opened up for me I'm quite excited about.

A project I am hoping to help run at Apollo Music, the music school I teach, is a group ensemble class. This will involve taking several of my strings students on violin and cello and getting them into our big room on Saturday afternoons, and rehearsing music together. Thinking of my string orchestra directors at middle and high school, this opportunity really excites me in hopefully helping me think about what I learned from them and how I can impart some of this knowledge with my students. In addition, I harken back to my Conducting classes at Augustana, and spending time conducting my own composition for my senior recital. While we're focusing on strings for now, hopefully we can expand this in the future, depending on how our first rehearsal goes, into other instruments and even having smaller duos and trios playing in recitals on piano and guitar and that.

Besides running the group, another thing I expect I'll be spending time with is making arrangements of music that will fit the unique group of students I'll be working with. I'm not sure what students will want to sign up and what the age range will be, but I'm hoping to be able to pick music and make adjustments as necessary so everyone has something within their skill level to play. I also have written an original piece last fall when my boss first imparted this idea on me. It would be neat to lead a performance of that, just as my string orchestra at Waubonsie played my "Into the Forest" composition in 2015. All of my experience as a composer and arranger will of course be quite helpful here.

I'm also hoping to have more jam sessions with some of my colleagues there, and just be able to play more music with them. Teaching at Apollo reminds me a lot of being in college again, with other music majors and people right there to play stuff I've written or just improvise something in a practice room together. It's really quite nice to get back into that world after spending so much time stuck at home in isolation. It gives me an excuse to pull out my violin every single day, even if it's just to teach my violin students that day. I'm hoping to get back into practicing some larger pieces sometime later this year.

Anyways! Just wanted to write a short post here about how much I've been enjoying teaching as my afternoon job. I am beyond excited for these future projects - and getting to accompany students at the Solo and Ensemble festival in the middle of next month! I'm still composing (I just finished a new academic work that will be premiered in Urbana next month) and arranging covers and all of that, and I've got a big project I'll share more about later. But for now, taking time to appreciate teaching and the rewarding experience that is, even if it was something I never thought I would do much of, has been quite lovely. I'm excited teaching is something in my future.


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