the long version…
I began playing piano when I was four, singing along diligently with all my quarter notes and half notes. I loved it, and memorized all the songs about caterpillars, practicing cheerily everyday until I was twelve, when I dedicated myself to becoming a classical concert pianist. My senior year of high school I began auditioning at Universities and was offered top music scholarships and chosen as the Perry & Walters Music Foundation Scholar. I was privileged to have a vast portion of my studies paid for by their generous support and belief in my art.
After graduation, I moved to Portland, started a studio, and continued performing classical music at receptions, weddings, and wine-tastings. A few years later, I expanded my musical pursuits, delving into songwriting and singing with in folk/jazz duo, playing ukulele, piano, and singing. My bandmate and I performed all over the city, and I found so much joy in creating music that I began emphasizing composition and songwriting with my students, and a whole new world of opened up to me.
I've been teaching now for twelve years, and my passion to train musicians is only growing. This past decade, I've worked with over a hundred students of all levels and ages, even mining music therapy practices to work with stroke survivors, and Alzheimer's patients. I read countless books containing music therapy case studios, and developed a music program at a school for children with mental and physical disabilities, where we improvised songs on the upright piano, played rhythmic exercises with hand held percussive instruments, and created music together that fostered connection, strengthened bonds, and brought us all joy.
I continued collaborating, teaching, and composing after I moved to Birmingham, and last spring I was invited to be a guest lecturer at the Journey to Justice conference in Nottingham, England, to discuss three songs I'd written, and the creative process behind using music and poetry to shift culture and build empathy. Here is one of the songs I was asked to dissect:
Since then, I've been travelling across the country, and to Peru, writing books and articles, and after a year and a half of being on the move, I'm excited to be settling in Little Rock, and building a new music studio! I've just missed teaching, I really have, and I'm so glad to be stepping back into the journey with my students and watching them grow into skilled musicians, equipped to take on the world.
And you know what? I think you, and people you know—old and young—need music, so fill out the form below, join my studio this fall, and see how much better a life with music can be.