My teaching philosophy is an amalgam of my experiences with a few wonderful teachers and colleagues, and my own extensive empirical methods. The former Music Director of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Paul Nadler, placed the most stringent demands upon tone, intonation, and inflection before me. Through his direction, I have altered my approach to rubato, vibrato and legato. Lessons and master classes with Peter Lloyd changed my flute playing simply by altering the balance of breathing and resistance. I now teach breathing extensively, with less emphasis on embouchure, with the exception of eliminating obvious problems. A single statement from my former Youth Orchestra confederate, Music Director James Palmer steeled my efforts to accept “nothing less than musical”. These three influences have aided me in formulating a more flexible, humane and results oriented method of teaching.
A student that has a spark of musical engagement, has a proper attitude and an appropriate amount of aptitude has the potential to succeed. Once accepted into our studio, with some deference to a prescribed regimen, I teach the individual. Strengths are recognized but attention is given to fundamental weaknesses in order to bring them to the surface and address them.
Obviously, students should be introduced to the materials necessary for success in their own performance and for their own teaching experiences. These are the basics of their education, but hopefully become stepping-stones towards further exploration.
By learning to control a musical instrument, and finding a voice through that endeavor, the student has learned the primary discipline of learning perhaps not found in other educational pursuits. To that end, my intentions are to teach my students how to teach themselves.
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