Private Lessons

Private Lessons (Bass, Music Literacy, Aural Skills)

I accept a limited number of students—typically, no more than 3-4 at any given time. This allows me the time to plan and focus on each student’s individual needs and goals.

My rates for 2015 are:

 Lesson Length  Rate
Up to 45 minutes (per lesson) $55.00
Up to 70 minutes (per lesson) $85.00
4-pack of 45-minute lessons $200.00
4-pack of 70-minute lessons $310.00

Payable in cash or check, at the lesson, or in advance.

I am also available to consult on college audition preparation, development of personal musical style, and entrepreneurial topics.

Approach to Teaching

I believe that music lessons should be a learner-centric process. Which means that I focus my instruction around what the student brings to the table, regardless of his/her age, ability, and past musical experience (if any). I believe that every student is unique and presents his/her own case for instruction. That said, I let the music that the student is working on dictate what technique s/he needs to develop. I am first and foremost interested in helping a student to develop his/her own natural musical intuitions and instincts, because it is these traits above all else that will guide the student along his/her own path of self-discovery as an emerging musician.

Once I have started to identify my students’ musical traits, I map out an individualized curriculum that I believe will help to strengthen and scaffold what skills need additional support. This scaffolding is not limited to building physical facility (if applicable) – it can also include the development of music literacy skills like improving a student’s fluency in music reading, dictation, aural skills, sight-singing and sight-reading using fixed-do Solfege, score reading using multiple clefs, various degrees of improvisation, and rhythm training. Each of these skill sets holds its own value as a tool in any musician’s toolkit, and I introduce these skills as appropriate to my students.

Multiple Entry Points for Music Teaching and Learning

Music learning is one of the most natural forms of experiential learning. However, musicians not only learn through their own experimentation, but also through the critical analysis and reflective practices that take place when listening to themselves and one another. With this in mind, I try to structure my classroom teaching (whether in individual/private or group settings) with the following lesson criteria in mind:

    • Listening. Students shall develop active listening skills, and be engaged in listening-focused activities (i.e., hearing performances by other musicians; listening to recordings of themselves or professionals).

    • Questioning. Students shall be encouraged to ask questions about the subject material, and be taught the value and importance of asking such questions.

    • Creative Work. Students’ work is at the forefront of their study, and is treated with the utmost respect. There are no mistakes, only opportunities for learning and improvement. In group settings, students are encouraged to share this philosophy, and participate/share their work with others as much as possible, thereby creating a safe environment for experimentation and learning. Additionally, improvisation and experimentation are both valued as important steps towards further development.

    • Performing. Students are given the opportunity to perform what they’ve learned, both in the traditional definition (i.e. playing in formal settings like concerts and recitals) and in alternative contexts (i.e. teaching peers the intricacies of certain passage work, sharing lesson journals and notebooks with parents). Students recognize that performance opportunities are not an “end-all, be-all,” but rather milestones marking their individual learning explorations.

    • Reflecting. Students are encouraged to reflect on lessons, work, and their own questions. This is often prescribed via journals and notebooks, but could happen informally within the lesson as well. Students become aware that their own thought processes are central in guiding them as learners.

    • Documentation. Students are strongly encouraged to keep process-portfolios (“processfolios”) of their work throughout their study. Documentation can include reflective writing, recordings of concerts, practice tapes, practice logs/notebooks, comments from teachers, correspondence from parents, concert programs, lists of musical interests and activities, videos & photos of playing/practice, student compositions, repertoire lists, goal statements, statements of self-assessment, learning narratives, learning maps/webs, and more.

Teaching Contexts

I am most familiar/comfortable working in private (1-on-1) and semi-private (small group/sectional) contexts. As a private bass instructor, I have worked with students as young as 4th grade (10 years old) as well as adults.

Students come to me with varying degrees of musical experience: Some have had basic study on other instruments (i.e. flute, cello, or piano) but have never played bass; others have already studied bass in school or privately, and come to me looking for further development of their natural musical intuitions.