The eldest of four children, I grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine.
Mine happens to have been a musical family. I'm not gonna let you tell me that musical ability is genetic because then I'm out of a job, but it was great to have exposure to all kinds of music as a kid in order to develop a love and passion for it. My mother is an amateur flutist and my dad plays guitar and drums. My uncle is a classical pianist. Everybody sings.
My dad has had a band with his friends since I was in utero, and they practiced weekly throughout my childhood. My pianist uncle lived with us for awhile. One night I would fall asleep to Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl"; another night it might be Chopin's Nocturne in E-flat. We also listened to lots of music, from Blondie to Roy Orbison to Chuck Berry to Patsy Cline. When my extended family got together, we would sing song after song into the night. It was a lovely way to connect with each other (and another great soundtrack for falling asleep).
Eventually I took some piano lessons, and a few years after that I took up guitar. I sang in choirs and played in bands all through middle and high school. I went to music school, majoring in music education with a concentration in voice. Upon graduation, I went to California for a bit to do some service for the Baha'i Faith, then found myself back in Maine teaching K-4 general music at two elementary schools. While I learned a ton and loved working with the kids, I was frustrated by how little I could do for each child given the logistical constraints.
I decided to set out for Atlanta (where my parents married and where much of my extended family remains) in early 2002. I put out some flyers in coffee shops in Virginia-Highland and surrounding neighborhoods, advertising my availability as a teacher. I drove to homes from Alpharetta to Decatur teaching lessons and also taught out of my one-bedroom apartment on Greenwood Avenue (piano lessons in the bedroom, guitar lessons in the living room).
By 2007 I was teaching in a studio in Virginia-Highland Church, blessed with more referrals than I knew what to do with. I decided to bring on some additional teachers. We moved over to 1187 Virginia Avenue in January 2008, and added a second studio in 2009. Our latest studio, in Ansley Park, opened in January 2011 so that we could offer group music classes. In 2012, I founded The Little Middle School, a comprehensive homeschool program that lives at Eclectic Music's Ansley Park studio.
These days, I'm continuing to sharpen my vision for what a music school can be, and what music instruction can do. I am fortunate to have a great team of teachers and support staff who believe, as I do, that all human beings can improve their ability to express themselves through music.
For anyone who doesn't think they have a musical bone in their body, I want to recreate that loving musical family I was lucky enough to be surrounded by as a child. Grab a tambourine, a shaker, clap along - just start where you are. If it sounds good, it is good.
For those who are further along the path, I'm passionate about refining best practices in music education - continuing the process of innovation begun by the great minds of the past, from Kodaly to Suzuki to Montessori to Vygotsky. I'm a total nerd about this stuff, and I blog occasionally on topics related to music, achievement, education, self-development, entrepreneurship, and learning theory. Among other things, I'm working on a method book that teaches students to read notes intuitively, the way they read words.
I'm involved in day-to-day operations at Eclectic Music, and also actively teaching. I'm easy to get ahold of, so let me know if there's anything I can do for you.
Thanks for reading! I hope to meet you soon.