“Liberal Education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) as well as in-depth study in a specific area of interest.” (Association of American Colleges and Universities)
In my teaching, I strive to to create a positive, safe, and vigorous learning environment dedicated to developing well-rounded persons; citizens who are open to the idea of change through learning, who ask questions and seek truth. I apply these principles in the voice studio, the performance hall, and in the classroom.
One of the primary techniques I use in teaching is to ask questions. Through questioning, I try to engage with the student, to help focus their self-examination and development as an artist. This ultimately leads to more questions, but now the student asks them. By looking for and finding answers to these questions, the student forms their own basis of opinion and ideals founded on scientific fact, historical perspective, and a connection to today's life in the arts. I work to lead the student through the process of discovery in vocal technique, in dramatic characterization, and in intellectual inquiry.
Studio Teaching Philosophy:
In my teaching and in performing, I have two primary goals. These two goals are equally important, and are non-separable. That is to say, one goal does not exist without the other, like the twisting double helix of DNA. These goals are:
To achieve these goals, I rely on three main sources of information: experience, science, and observation. By way of illustration, imagine a pedestal holding up a beautiful work of art. The pedestal has three pillars of support; the work of art is the complete vocal artist. One pillar is made up of knowledge gained from teaching and performing experience. While great instruction can occur without being an active performer, I find that the challenges of keeping in shape vocally (and academically) help to ignite the sparks of creativity in the studio and on the stage. Another pillar is the firm foundation of factual, science-based knowledge of human anatomy and the physics of singing. Without this understanding, it can be very easy for technique to deteriorate and fail under stress and intense vocal demands. The final pillar is that of awareness - a keen sense of observation of, and empathy with, the student. By being aware of the physical, emotional, and academic stresses that manifest in the student, one can more effectively craft techniques to help the student overcome these obstacles.
Using these tools, I strive to help each student realize their dreams and potential as professional performers, educators, or life-long arts appreciators. I welcome the opportunity to engage in discussion about value of a liberal arts education, teaching philosophy, strategies, techniques, and the practicalities of developing voices in the 21st century.