In celebration of our 60th anniversary, we will feature NSMS alumni as part of our Alumni Spotlight series throughout 2020.
Which years were you at NSMS?
I taught at NSMS from 2003-2007.
What is a favorite NSMS memory?
My favorite NSMS memories are centered around the faculty I met during my four-year tenure. I'm still terrific friends with Fiona Christano and Kelsy Tinsley, and those relationships would not have happened without our shared NSMS experience. I loved our faculty recitals as I believe they were both an inspiration for our students and an encouragement to one another. The Carnival of the Animals program was especially wonderful as we were able to collaborate with other local instrumentalists.
I was also on faculty during the inaugural Piano Progressions year. What a great program to unite us under common curriculum standards, and it certainly elevated the skills and musicianship of the students! As I have moved around the country, I have been pleased to cross paths with other NSMS alum and instructors familiar with the school's pedagogy. My 8-year-old son is now taking lessons with a like-minded instructor in Watertown, WI, and the experience has been joyous not only for him, but for his parents!
What are you doing now?
I am the Director of Program and Pedagogy at Prairie Music & Arts in Sun Prairie, WI. I oversee development and implementation of all program. With NSMS's blessing, I have developed our own version of Piano Progressions, which is in its third year. I have also been mentoring, observing, and coaching young piano instructors in pedagogy. Additionally, I teach a music course at Charis Classical Academy for grades 2-4.
I am pleased to have started my own studio business this summer, and I have been incredibly encouraged by its growth, even during the pandemic. A strong, musical approach to teaching will always win students and families to the piano-lesson experience! I am grateful for the time I had at the NSMS, and I pray its rich tradition lasts for many future generations.
What role does your education at NSMS play in your life today?
The number one takeaway from NSMS is the strong pedagogical standards, centered around expressive performance and musicianship, stay with me to this day. To have been mentored by Marvin Blickenstaff, and to watch his masterful teaching was an experience I'll never forget. Every subtle technical adjustment, nuanced dynamic mark, or descriptive articulation was taught through the music, not by the printing on the score. I try to approach my daily teaching in this manner, and it does not disappoint!
Are you an NSMS Alum? We'd love to hear from you. Please complete this alumni connection form.