My approach to teaching is informed by both my experience in the music field and my work within the academy as a lecturer, student, researcher, music tutor, and teaching assistant. During my graduate studies my thinking about music education shifted towards recognizing the importance of fostering a conception of musicianship that includes not only the practical skills related to performing and composing in a specific idiom, but also the broad skills required to function as a productive musician and critical listener in contemporary society. I aim to facilitate the development of a creative and critical thinking disposition in my students, an ideal I pursue through lectures, assignments, and exercises that illustrate the connections between sonic materials and the social and historical contexts from which particular musical practices emerge.
The increasing variety of musics available in contemporary society is mirrored in the demographics of university classrooms, as students from an ever-widening range of musical backgrounds are pursuing formal music education. This diversity in the classroom challenges educators to address the needs of students who bring a multiplicity of experiences and creative priorities to their university studies. To respond to this challenge I foster a learning environment where students feel comfortable talking about the music they are interested in, and where they will be encouraged to explore new musical ideas through the experiences they bring to the class. My experience as a freelance musician has demonstrated to me that working in the music field requires flexibility in practical musicianship and in how one thinks about music; the increasing diversity of the student population offers opportunities for learning new skills and concepts that can enrich students’ participation in the production and consumption of music.
After finishing my courses I hope that students will be more deeply engaged with the music they want to make or study, and will be prepared to make their own aesthetic judgments about, and develop creative responses to, the sounds they experience in their daily lives. By emphasizing the importance of active listening and participation in music-making—both in the classroom and in the community at large—I aim to give students the tools to begin pursuing their own creative and research priorities in the music field from a position of increased musical, historical, and cultural knowledge.