To be an artist and an educator, one must be open to constant challenges and learning experiences throughout the process. As an educator and performer of music, the most important thing to learn about music is how to interpret the music and to convey that interpretation to communities throughout the world. Teaching music is an essential component in a person’s education because it helps students to develop skills such as time management, communication, patience, and perseverance.
Providing opportunities to my students involves me in taking an active role in ensuring my own education is open to all types of cultural practices through music and dance. During my graduate program at California Institute of the Arts, I was afforded courses specifically geared towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. While at CALARTS, my education in North Indian Classical music, Javanese Dance, and West Ghanaian African dance and music allowed me to learn, respect, and diversify outside of Western Classical music. Performing and learning these musical traditions, carved a path for me to explore music making utilizing different instruments, styles, and strategies not only in my own artistic abilities but also implementing these strategies in my students. Additionally, I encourage my students to integrate their knowledge of music into other content areas of study, such as math and language arts. Such integration enhances the learning of all subjects and gives my students meaningful access to the curriculum that I provide. I have successfully fostered this perspective at the Claremont Community School of Music (CCSM) through private lessons and a harp ensemble class. My students at CCSM come from varying backgrounds and age ranges (Ages 6 – 80) .
I believe in equality of opportunity. Each student deserves equal opportunities to learn music. At CCSM, I have been able to provide multiple performance opportunities for the Claremont Community at coffee shops, performance halls, and art galleries. In addition, I have given my students opportunities to attend harp concerts, conferences, and workshops. During the Summer of 2018 at the University of Redlands, the American Harp Society hosted their National Conference and I had organized a field trip for all my students to attend the conference as well as offer volunteer opportunities to participate in the music making process. These performance and educational opportunities enabled students to harness the wealth the possibilities harp music can bring to their lives and community.
I firmly believe that there should be more educational opportunities for harp and its role with music education. Students should have fair access to instruction suited to their abilities, interests, and talents. As an educator, I strive to reach out to both the most and least advanced students no matter what age, gender, or race and to use a variety of techniques to relate to the different learning styles and student experiences. Utilizing these teaching methods, I am able to reach out to each student, introduce new concepts, foster an engaging learning environment, and to help students expand their potential in becoming successful students and well rounded individuals.