MUSIC AND MINDFULNESS
My Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy exists at an intersection between musical exercise and the cultivation of mindfulness. I am prepared to offer guidance to students on the spectrum of standard classical repertoire for violin and viola from beginner to advanced levels, and I specialize in tailoring a unique regiment of technical exercise to develop the playing potential of the student. I liken this kind of technical practice to a sequence of yoga poses, and I find it is an effective vehicle for the mindfulness principles which I am always trying to bring across. For me, this includes cultivating healthy breathing and posture, developing relaxed playing habits which are kind to the body, and practicing exercises which use the violin as a prop in helping one manage their own state. I think "bowing the string" is intuitively akin to breathing, and violin exercises are capable of effecting the nervous system state of the player. I see this in real time with my students; I think it is a revelation to be able to calm one's self down and find focus and clarity (or charge oneself up with excitable energy) using the violin as a gateway. It is an awesome bonus that through regular exercise of this kind one develops their capacity for playing the bounty of beautiful repertoire which exists.
Another important aspect of my teaching is about the process of practicing and learning itself. Through practicing a musical instrument we may pick up certain habits for solving problems and accomplishing goals quickly and effectively, both at the instrument and away from it. I always try to communicate to my students what the most effective modes of practice have been for me as part of my regular lesson, and I offer my Practicing Buddy services to anyone who finds they need an accompanying voice to support their practicing and guide them through my motions for effective learning. It is my recommendation for all young students starting out in violin that they have a parent or guardian who is compassionately involved in both the lesson process and the practicing process for the first year or two of study as all of our foundational habits are being built up.