As a teacher, I am humbled to learn from my students-THEY teach me. I employ a patient, multifaceted approach that tailors the lesson to each student. Musical skills translate into every area of life and I help students to learn the correlation between diligence and success while experiencing targeted praise and increased self-worth. They learn to recognize the importance and beauty of music.
Over the last 25 years, I have enjoyed guiding my students of all ages through the joys of solo piano, piano ensemble, chamber music literature, theory/composition, theater productions and general music. I believe in equal access to the arts and have volunteered my time to under-served students on a periodic basis. I have been an enthusiastic adjudicator in the Chicagoland area. It is wonderful to see the culmination of students’ dedication and guide them even higher. I have been on the faculty of The Musical Offering in Evanston for 15 years as well as a private teacher in the greater Chicagoland area.
As a performer, I believe in getting out of my own way and serving the composer’s intent as purely as possible. I started playing piano at age 6 and earned my B.A. in Piano at Northern Illinois University School of Music in 1995. I pursued graduate studies in Music Education and Performance at both NIU and Middle Tennessee State University. Other areas of expertise have included composition, clarinet, saxophone, singing, steel pan, guitar and percussion. I am currently pursuing Piano Tuning and Repair studies as an apprentice.
My work as a collaborative pianist and music director has deepened my understanding of the creative process and improved me as a musician. I am active in the music theater, choral, instrumental, and operatic communities some of which have included: Chicago High School for the Arts, Sinfonietta Bel Canto, Merit School of Music (Renee Fleming Voice Initiative), Le Cantanti di Chicago, Music Institute of Chicago, The Opera Divas, North Shore Opera Hour, Northwestern University, Salon, MTNA, Wheaton College, Chicago NATS, Opera on Tap, Opera Inter Alia, Actors Training Center, DePaul University, Loyola University, Temple Beth Israel, Chicago Waldorf School, and Taft and Lincoln Park High Schools.
I have a long history of involvement in musical theater productions and camps as a coach, music director and pianist in the Chicagoland area. It is one of my loves. Through my many years of playing for singers(voice lessons, opera productions, musical theater productions, choirs, classes),running a choral program, I have come to channel these skill sets in very distinct ways. I love guiding young singers into healthy vocal habits and musicianship and have done so at Merit, ChiArts, the MO, Northwestern, and more. In the sacred music realm, I have planned, played and cantored music for services at Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, and Presbyterian houses of worship. I was also a former manager of Opera on Tap Chicago, bringing opera to the masses in a fun and educational manner…in bars.
Music takes you to all kinds of interesting places! Once got to run through the Elgar Cello Concerto with Marc Johnson of The Vermeer Quartet. I have played for Renee Fleming several times, been praised by Ramsey Lewis for my teaching, performed at the Polish Consulate, The Kennedy Center, on WFMT, music directed at Mayne Stage, performed Mozart’s first opera in a haunted mansion in Oak Brook, was the pianist for the world premiere staging of an operetta at The Royal George Theater, provided a comb for the character Donald Trump in an MO summer camp production, and played outdoor weddings where my music once flew away over a muddy cornfield. (that wasn’t fun!) There are MANY more stories…..
Great People I Have Learned Things From: Piano studies with Carol Stubbs, Dr. William Koehler, Mr. Donald Walker, and Ms. Charlene Harb. Composition studies with Mr. Mike O’Mara, voice studies with Ms. Diane Schoff, Dr. Victoria Holland, Ms. Sammi Block, Mr. Michael Orlinsky, Ms. Marla Aviva Bentley and Ms. Marley Dzis, guitar studies with Tim O’Donnell and a piano tuning apprenticeship with Lila Wolfe.