I was fortunate enough as a child to have a classical violinist for a mother and have been brought up in a musical environment. This has given me a deep and natural love and understanding of the music that I now play. As a child, there were always students coming in and out, and if I was lucky enough, I was even able to miss a half day of school to travel with my mom to Bloomington, Illinois, 60 minutes from my hometown of Springfield, Illinois, to see her rehearse and give a concert with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. I started taking piano lessons at the age of 8, but did not get very serious about the piano until the age of 15 when I attended a summer music camp at Western Illinois University, where I found a teacher that made piano lessons inspiring. I didn’t know what sort of inspiration I had been missing out on until I began to seek out new and more advanced teachers at about this age.
At the age of 17, I decided to devote my life to the piano, began practicing 4 hours a day and was accepted into the Piano Performance Program at Southern Illinois University. My undergraduate professor Dr. Jungwha Lee, taught what I now believe to be perhaps the most important lesson in music for me; to listen, and your ears will teach you everything you need to know. In 2010, while attending the International Keyboard Institute and Festival in New York City, I met my soon to be teacher Steven Mayer whose pedagogical expertise on technique has been instilled in me since then. I am currently in the process of finishing my Masters in Piano Performance at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.
As a performer of classical music, my goal is to find the humanistic message that lies at the heart of each work, and present the music in a context that can be related to a person living in today’s society and culture. Too often classical music is given a social or cultural context that displaces the message, and makes it unrelatable to people living in the world today. My goal as a performer is to help people as best as possible see the innately humanistic and loving message with which the music of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, and Schumann was created.
As a teacher, it is my purpose to help guide a student to what they love most about music, and to help them form a skill with which they can express that love. Every student is different, and every student should be taught to their strengths, and their passions. Whether it be classical music, rock, jazz, or their own idiosyncratic musical ideal, it is most important for me to help that student find that. By helping the student find different ways to use their ears and listen to themselves, and to others, they can then begin to form their own ideal sound with which they can then pursue. I teach technique as a means through which to express oneself. Technique is not a means by which to play music simply faster or more efficient, it is teaching the body to better understand the ear, and shaping the body to more effectively communicate one’s ideal sound. Ultimately, it is my goal to inspire students to love their music more deeply, so that they may in the end have a skill that will give them a lifelong tool for communicating themselves.